I guess living in Manila is a lot like living in L.A. You just never know when you’re going to run into someone famous. After a Christmas visit to see my lola (grandma) and relatives, I went out with my brother and his wife to their friend’s bar. The place was filled with people, which is further proof that even on Christmas day, there is always a party going on in Manila.

My brother wandered off and when he came back, he smiled and said, “I have a surprise for you guys. [Insert celebrity’s name] is here. Come on.”

I won’t name names, but I’ve heard of this celebrity before and have even watched a few of his movies. I wasn’t super excited to meet him, but I figured it would be a pretty interesting experience, so I followed my brother to the KTV room.

This celebrity has a reputation for being a “boy next door, good guy” type, so I was a bit surprised to find that he was a kind of a snob and carried himself like he was God’s gift to women. When we joined his table, he barely acknowledged us. He was too busy flirting to even make conversation. I felt like I was watching a lion in the wild, showing off his big mane and ability to mate with whomever he wanted when he wanted.

One of his childhood friends was also there and he swore that fame hadn’t changed his buddy, but I really doubted that. I wanted to know what this celebrity was about so I abandoned politeness in favor of questions that would get his mind out of his pants long enough to talk to me. I was really curious about him.

“What’s it like being a celebrity in the Philippines?” I asked, brazenly.

He looked at me strangely, fighting through a drunken haze to understand me. “It’s nothing special,” he replied. Then, with venom, he added, “I just hate how everyone is always in my business. Like they think I’m gay just because I’m taking out my buddy who’s visiting. I hate it.” He frowned deeply.

For a minute, I really felt bad for him. It did sound awful to lose your privacy and have your every move scrutinized by strangers. He looked really choked up about it. But then a girl came up to him and he was in flirt mode once again, all the bad things about celebrity forgotten.

I quickly lost interest in getting to know him further. At least now whenever someone mentions him, I can say that I met him, sang karaoke with him and that he’s nothing more than another rich, d-bag.

Only in the Philippines…

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