MANILA - Model and "Pinoy Big Brother" graduate Tommy Esguerra initially did not recognize his ex-girlfriend Miho Nishida when he was shown a photo of her transformation post-cosmetic surgery.
Esguerra was asked on the topic on the sidelines of the star-studded Sunpiology Resolution Run last Sunday. A video of the showbiz newcomer's interview was uploaded on YouTube by entertainment blogger Albert Abelido.
Esguerra, whose relationship with Nishida ended in early 2017, recalled he was at a get-together with fans when he was first asked about her new appearance.
"I had no idea talaga. I am shocked," he said. "They showed me the photo. At first I didn't recognize her, but then, I was like, 'This is Miho! Oh my gosh!' Because I never heard anything, never saw anything, so when I saw it, nagulat lang ako. But it's good, ah."
"Maganda, especially sa concert niya. Maganda siya talaga," Esguerra added, referring to Nishida's first solo concert held last December, which also a birthday celebration.
Esguerra is aware of mixed reactions to the transformation of Nishida, who has built a loyal fan base since her 2015 "Pinoy Big Brother" win, but he pointed out what matters is how the actress feels about her self-image.
"Yes, people will bash, say things or whatever, pero if she's happy at the end of the day, you have to be happy for the person. So I'm happy for her," he said.
Esguerra told Nishida similarly when she brought up her plans of going under the knife during their relationship.
"She talked about it, that she might do something like that. I just told her na, 'For me, I don't care for that. If you do or you don't, it doesn't matter to me,'" he recalled.
Asked if they have managed to be on speaking terms again, nearly a year after their breakup, Esguerra answered: "No. Mahirap kasi. I know a lot of people will say, 'Wow, how can you not stay friends or can you not still talk?' Every relationship is different.
"We were really close, we were very close, as close as any two people can be. We got into showbiz together. We did it together. When we broke up, it's not easy to move on. We had to take different paths."
Esguerra mused he and Nishida will be able to communicate again "when the timing is right."
He explained: "I think it's one of those things na you don't push it, you don't actively seek for it. If it comes into your life, if it happens, we'll talk."
Esguerra is now being romantically linked with showbiz newcomer Kelley Day, while Nishida is rumored to be in a relationship with rapper JV Kapunan.
"I hope she's happy," Esguerra said when asked for his reaction to Nishida's new romance. "He's a good guy. I'm happy for them."