MANILA — Ion Perez, who formerly didn’t believe in having “forever” with a partner, believes he has found just that in his “It’s Showtime” co-host, Vice Ganda.
In his most revealing — and candid — interview yet, Perez opened up about his one-year relationship with the comedian, whom he said he endearingly calls “Betle.”
“Hindi ko inisip na darating kami sa ganito,” said Perez, who joined “It’s Showtime” in September 2018 as a stage escort of candidates in the Miss Q&A segment.
“[Inasahan ko na] maging kaibigan lang talaga na kung may problema siya, baka isa ako sa mga puwede niyang pagsabihan. Pero hindi ko talaga in-expect na darating kami sa ganito,” he said.
“Hindi ko masisisi ang sarili ko, sobrang bait ni Vice. Hindi mo rin ako masisisi kung bakit ako na-in love sa kaniya, kasi sobrang bait niya talaga,” Perez added.
Perez was the guest of actor-host Ogie Diaz in his YouTube vlog released over the weekend. Diaz is a known close friend, and the former talent manager, of Vice Ganda.
Owing to his close ties with Vice Ganda, Diaz managed to ask personal questions to Perez, including matters of sexuality, family, and marriage.
On the topic of his gender identity, Perez said he considers himself straight, who happens to have fallen in love with a gay man. Vice Ganda has previously identified himself as gay, not transgender, addressing assumptions then in relation to his feminine style.
“Straight ako. Nagkataon lang na nagmahal ako sa isang bakla,” Perez said, answering Diaz in the affirmative when asked if he sees Vice Ganda as a girlfriend.
Perez said he has long stopped pursuing women, pointing out his serious relationship with Vice Ganda.
“Dati, hindi ako naniniwala sa ‘forever,’ pero ngayon, nararamdaman ko na makakasama ko talaga siya nang matagal,” Perez said.
The couple has already talked about getting married, Perez admitted, after Diaz noted same-sex marriage is allowed in other countries.
“May time na pinag-uusapan, pero sabi namin, hindi namin kailangan magmadali, basta nagkakaintindihan kami ngayon, nagmamahalan kami. Darating din po siguro ‘yung time na ‘yon, ‘yung magpapakasal,” Perez said.
While having a family of their own is not an immediate plan, Perez said he looks forward to the prospect of seeing a “little Viceral,” referring to the last name of his partner.
Diaz brought up his personal situation in asking Perez whether he and Vice Ganda have discussed how to go about having their own child in the future.
Diaz, who considers himself gay, has five biological children with his long-time, female partner. He mentioned to Perez that surrogacy can be an option for same-sex couples who want to have a biological offspring.
“Ako, unang-una, nalilibang ako sa mga pamangkin ko,” said Perez, who has 14 nieces and nephews. “Pero kung sa kaniya po manggagaling… Ang sabi ko, kung saan siya masaya, masaya na rin ako. Wala namang magiging problema sa akin iyon.”
If their first child happens to be biologically Vice Ganda’s, Perez quipped that that would be ideal, as his partner his smarter than him anyway.
A year into their relationship, Perez has also started becoming close with members of Vice Ganda’s family. He shared that he has had serious conversations with Vice Ganda’s mother, Rosario Viceral.
“Alagaan ko raw si Tutoy, mahalin ko raw si Tutoy,” Perez recalled, referring to the childhood nickname of Vice Ganda. “Sabi ko, ‘Nay, sa abot ng aking makakaya, aalagaan ko at mamahalin ko si Tutoy.’”
Bringing up accusations of some fans online, Diaz then attested to Perez’s sincerity with his intentions for Vice Ganda, before asking the showbiz newcomer to address those who allege he is only “using” the comedian for money and fame.
“Sa lahat ng nag-iisip na piniperahan ko si Vice Ganda, masasabi ko lang sa inyo, pakisamahan niyo lang ako sa maghapon. Kung may masabi kayo sa pag-uugali ko, sige, magpapakilala ako,” he said.
Asked to give a message to Vice Ganda, Perez answered: “Hi, babe! ‘Diba lagi ko namang sinasabi sa’yo, mahal na mahal na mahal kita. Basta nandito lang ako. Hindi ako papaya na masaktan ang damdamin mo, dahil, babe, mahal na mahal kita.”