Aljur Kylie Alas

YES! (Philippines) - - Cover Story - TEXT BY JO­CE­LYN T. VALLE CAP­TIONS & SIDEBARS BY SHARA CAYETANO PORTRAITS BY JOSEPH PAS­CUAL HOUSE PHO­TOS BY KURT AL­VAREZ

In the Que­zon City home where new par­ents Aljur Abrenica and Kylie Padilla live with their baby boy Alas Joaquin, the red gate stands out in the row of neigh­bor­ing en­try­ways painted in the usual dark and neu­tral hues. The color red and its var­i­ous tones like­wise dom­i­nate the en­tire ground floor of the young fam­ily’s three-story res­i­dence, start­ing from the liv­ing area and all the way to the back-kitchen.

Red is such a strong color that not many home­own­ers choose it for an in­te­rior color scheme. Less than 10 of the nu­mer­ous dwellings that the home mag­a­zine Real Liv­ing ( RL) has fea­tured in its 14 years of ex­is­tence, first in print and then on­line, had red on its color pal­ette. But those who did con­sid­ered their shade of choice as lucky, RL ed­i­tor in chief Rachelle Me­d­ina tells YES! ( RL and YES! are both owned by the Sum­mit Me­dia pub­lish­ing com­pany.)

On the other hand, var­i­ous web­sites deal­ing with the topic of col­ors as­so­ciate red with en­ergy, pas­sion, ac­tion, de­sire, love, anger, ag­gres­sion, and joy. Ac­cord­ing to www.em­power-your­self- Rich, deep wood is the dom­i­nant ma­te­rial in the liv­ing room, which is fur­nished with a bench, a sofa, two arm­chairs, wall-towall book­shelves (op­po­site page), and an en­ter­tain­ment cen­ter (above).

Th­ese fur­ni­ture pieces were also de­signed and made by Di­rek Richard and his team. But the di­rec­tor’s style in­flu­ence on the liv­ing room doesn’t end there. Hang­ing on the walls are three of Di­rek Richard’s paint­ings, which were given as gifts to Aljur. Two paint­ings flank the TV set, while the third paint­ing is dis­played next to the book­case (pre­vi­ous spread).

“Ma­hal na ma­hal niya ’yang mga ’yan,” Aljur says of the paint­ings. “So, thank­ful ako. Kasi ang sabi sa akin no’ng isa kong kaibi­gan, pag may gi­nawa si Richard, he treats it like his own. Parang ini­isip niya, ba­hay niya rin, kaya pin­er­son­al­ize niya. ’Bini­gay niya sa akin.” with-color-psy­chol­ogy.com, the color red is a warm and pos­i­tive color as­so­ci­ated with our most phys­i­cal needs and our will to sur­vive, and it ex­udes a strong and pow­er­ful mas­cu­line en­ergy.

In the course of the YES! af­ter­noon photo shoot, Aljur looks around the liv­ing area, his ba­sic out­fit of white tee and blue jeans break­ing the in­tense color scheme. He gives an enig­matic smile as he ad­mits that opt­ing for red was a “strong, dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion.” But he doesn’t elab­o­rate.

In­stead, the 27-year-old ac­tor re­calls buy­ing the town­house in 2013 for him­self and his fam­ily. Three years later, his fa­ther and mother had gone their sep­a­rate ways, and his three younger sib­lings—broth­ers Vin and Allen (who would both even­tu­ally fol­low in Aljur’s foot­steps and join him in show­biz) and sis­ter Al­leah—had lives of their own.

Aljur then de­cided to turn the fam­ily home into his own bach­e­lor pad. Some­time in July or Au­gust 2016, con­struc­tion work be­gan with the help of his friend Richard Somes, who is a movieTV di­rec­tor and pro­duc­tion de­signer.

At that time, Aljur and Kylie, then an ex-cou­ple, were go­ing through a process of rec­on­cil­i­a­tion. They got back to­gether some­time in Septem­ber or Oc­to­ber 2016—also the same pe­riod when Aljur’s New York loft-style man cave was com­pleted. The 24-year-old ac­tress then moved in with her boyfriend, and not long af­ter­wards, she found out she was heavy with their child. Kylie gave birth to Baby Alas on Au­gust 4, 2017.

Now that he has his own fam­ily, Aljur con­cedes that he needs to make some changes in the house in­te­ri­ors. “Kailan­gan mabago talaga,” he says, not­ing specif­i­cally the heavy fur­ni­ture with sharp edges in the sala.

But Kylie has an­other idea. “So­bra ’yong ef­fort niya sa baba, so ’wag na lang baguhin,” she points out to YES! in a sep­a­rate in­ter­view, also dur­ing our photo shoot.

The in­ter­view with Kylie is held in Baby Alas’s soon-to-be do­main on the sec­ond floor. “Eto ’yong gagaw­ing play­room,” she says. “Min­san ko na lang siya ibababa. Pero ipa­p­atang­gal ko ’yong car­pet dito.”

The cou­ple are hands-on in car­ing for their child.

Kylie—who has tem­po­rar­ily stopped ac­cept­ing act­ing as­sign­ments from her mother net­work, GMA—de­votes her time to look­ing after Baby Alas. There’s no full­time yaya for Alas, but there’s a lone al­laround house helper who car­ries the baby when Kylie has to do other tasks.

Aljur is of­ten at work the whole day and late into the night. A re­cent in­clu­sion in ABS- CBN’s ros­ter of ac­tors, he ini­tially had a guest stint on the Coco Martin TV star­rer, FPJ’s Ang Probin­syano, and then he was cast in the weekly fan­tasy se­ries Wansapanataym. He comes home from tapings at about three in the morn­ing. And that’s of­ten the bond­ing time for fa­ther and son.

“Nati­tiyempo na kagigis­ing niya lang,” he says of Baby Alas. “So laro, laro kami. ’Ta­pos, pag­tu­log ko, gis­ing na si Kylie nang seven. Pa­paarawan na niya.”

Kylie con­curs: “Yes, gano’n nga ’yong nangya­yari. So pag-alis niya, tu­log kami ni Alas. ’Ta­pos, the whole day will pass. Whole day ko siyang in­aala­gaan. Pag-uwi ni Aljur, pa­pakainin ko lang si Alas, and then ha­hayaan ko na si­lang mag-bond­ing. Matu­tu­log na ako.”

The first-time mom has ob­served that Baby Alas’s sleep­ing pat­tern is im­prov­ing. “He sleeps for a longer pe­riod of time now, hindi ka­gaya no’ng first two weeks. He would wake up at seven and even be­fore that. He’d wake up two times ev­ery night. So ta­la­gang wala akong tu­log, ’cause he’s hun­gry all the time. Pero sa ngayon, okey na.”

FLASH­BACK TO DAY ONE

When the in­ter­view moves to the love story of Kylie and Aljur, the new mom’s chinita eyes dis­ap­pear in slits and her full lips part to form a wide grin on her flaw­less face.

“Ayan, gusto kong pag-us­apan ’yan!” she an­nounces. She gets even more ex­cited upon learn­ing that Aljur has been asked about the same sub­ject in his ear­lier in­ter­view. “Baka iba ’yong ’kin­uwento niya,” she says, gig­gling.

Kylie Padilla, the sec­ond child of ac­tor Robin Padilla and his ex-wife Liezl Si­cangco, takes us back to the time when she re­turned to the Philip­pines after years of liv­ing with her mother and sib­lings in Aus­tralia. She was then start­ing out in show­biz, and she caught sight of Aljur Abrenica early on.

“Ang story kasi niyan, we had a work­shop, wushu work­shop,” she re­calls, re­fer­ring to the Chi­nese mar­tial arts. “Naalala ko pa ’yon. ’Ta’s ando’n siya. Nagdya-jog siya. Nagtiting­i­nan na kami no’n. Ako, hindi ko pa siya ki­lala. Ac­tu­ally, sa to­too lang, di ko ki­lala kung sino si Aljur Abrenica no’n.”

Aljur, a na­tive of Pam­panga, had emerged as the male grand win­ner in Sea­son 4 of GMA-7’s re­al­ity-TV com­pe­ti­tion StarStruck (2006-2007). He was given the ti­tle “Ul­ti­mate Hunk,” in recog­ni­tion of his chis­eled physique and ma­cho mag­netism. He would later take

With two vo­ra­cious read­ers in the house (that’s Aljur and Kylie, of course), it’s no won­der that the book­cases in the liv­ing room are nearly filled two-thirds of the way. The man of the house has racked up quite an im­pres­sive col­lec­tion, es­pe­cially since he got into reading only two years ago. “Pero marami pang books si Kylie sa sec­ond floor,” he points out. “Mas marami siya sa ak­ing li­bro.”

So what does an ac­tor, mu­si­cian, and now fa­ther-of-one like to read about? “Mahilig ako sa his­tory, the rise of Rome. ’Yong The Prince, ’yong di­nam­pot ko kan­ina— Machi­avelli. Hi­rap niyang intindi­hin,” he says with a laugh. “May Bud­dhism din. Cu­ri­ous din ako sa mga re­li­gions, e.”

The Prince is “a 16th-cen­tury po­lit­i­cal trea­tise by the Ital­ian diplo­mat and po­lit­i­cal the­o­rist Nic­colò Machi­avelli,” ac­cord­ing to Wikipedia, which adds that the book “con­trib­uted to the mod­ern neg­a­tive con­no­ta­tions of the words ‘pol­i­tics’ and ‘politi­cian’ in western coun­tries.” on roles in the TV se­ries Boys Nxt Door, Zaido: Pulis Pangkalawakan, Mars Ravelo’s Dye­sebel, and Luna Mys­tika be­fore he was paired up with fel­low StarStruck dis­cov­ery Kris Bernal. The two new­bies then starred in four tele­dra­mas ( Sine No­bela: Da­pat Ka Bang Ma­halin?, All My Life, The Last Prince, Pablo S. Gomez’s Ma­chete) and one movie ( Nan­dito Ako... Nag­mama­hal Sa ’ Yo).

Kylie con­tin­ues her rec­ol­lec­tion of the first time she laid eyes on Aljur:

“Di ko alam na gano’n siya ka­gal­ing, gano’n ka­ganda ’yong katawan niya. Di ko talaga alam. Ang alam ko lang, ang ganda ng mata niya… ’ Yong nagtiting­i­nan kami, ‘Sino ’to? Ba’t ang cute niya?’

“’Ta’s ang nang­yari, after no’ng work­shop— e, di, kinikilig na ako, crush ko na siya—nag-re­search ako sa In­ter­net kay Aljur Abrenica. ’Ta’s may in­ter­view do’n. May one ques­tion do’n sa kanya: ‘Sino ’yong mga crush mo sa show­biz?’ Wala pa ako, ha, di pa ako nagsa-start sa in­dus­try. Sabi niya: ‘Mar­ian Rivera, Cris­tine Reyes, and Kylie Padilla.’”

Kylie’s gig­gles and shrieks be­come louder.

“E, di, talon ako ngayon. Ta­la­gang nag­wala ako sa condo ko. Kasi, ‘Oh, my God, bi­nang­git niya ’ko! Ibig sabi­hin, gusto niya rin ako.’ So ’yon. And then fast for­ward to next year na, birth­day ko na. Sabi ng man­ager ko, ‘Sino’ng gusto mo i-in­vite, mga artista?’ Sabi ko [in a lit­tle girl voice], ‘Puwede bang si Aljur?’ E, di, pumunta siya. Ayun na!”

Aljur con­firms that he got an in­vi­ta­tion and at­tended Kylie’s 18th birth­day cel­e­bra­tion, held in a shel­ter for aban­doned chil­dren in Que­zon City in Jan­uary 2011. “’Ta­pos, sabi niya sa akin, ‘Punta ka ma­mayang gabi, kasi me pa-birth­day sa akin si Papa,’” he says, re­fer­ring to Kylie’s fa­ther, Robin Padilla. “Do’n ko naki­lala si Robin. After no’n, nag­ing kami na [ ni Kylie]. After a week, nag­ing kami na.”

Kylie agrees that things hap­pened real fast, al­though her high-spir­ited nar­ra­tion of their love story greatly con­trasts with Aljur’s mat­ter-of-fact telling.

“Oo,” she says. “Oh, my God! Argggh!” And she starts laugh­ing. “Me­dyo nahi­hiya pa ’ko no’n. Wala bang pakipot mode?”

She takes a deep breath. “It was love at first sight,” she con­fesses. “So, bam! We’re in love! Gano’n lang kaano, it was very… So­brang taas, e. Ang taas!” She shakes her head. “Hindi nabuo ’yong friend­ship. So­brang lovers lang kami. So, when­ever we’d fight, ta­la­gang we would never talk. Yes, it was in­tense.”

Kylie owns up to be­ing child­ish and selosa— traits that largely con­trib­uted to their un­sta­ble re­la­tion­ship. Aljur men­tions im­ma­tu­rity, which caused them to ar­gue over and dis­agree on many things, in­clud­ing “maliliit na bagay.” They fi­nally called it quits in 2014.

“It was both our fault,” Kylie says. “I mean, sig­uro no’ng time na ’yon, I made it look like it was just his fault. But I had a fault din. ’ Yon nga, e. I was a rebel, so I was con­tribut­ing to the fact that we weren’t work­ing out.”

Kylie flew back to Aus­tralia to heal her bro­ken heart and mull over the di­rec­tion she would like to take in her life. But she re­al­ized that she wanted to pur­sue her pas­sion for act­ing, so she re­turned to the Philip­pines and picked up from where she had left off in show­biz.

She had ear­lier played the lead star in such drama se­ries as Elena M. Pa­tron’s Blu­sang Itim (2011), The Good Daugh­ter (2012), Un­for­get­table (2013), and Adarna (2013). Back in her home coun­try, she started anew by play­ing Leonor Rivera in the minis­eries on the life of national hero Jose Rizal, Ilustrado (2014), and by tak­ing on guest roles in the drama an­tholo­gies Wa­gas and Maynila, be­fore tak­ing on star­ring roles again in the tele­dra­mas Buena Fa­milia (2015-2016) and En­can­ta­dia (2016-2017).

Aljur also con­tin­ued work­ing as lead­ing man in the soap op­eras Kam­bal Sirena (2014), Dangwa (2015), and Once Again (2016), and as guest star in Maynila and sim­i­lar shows such as Kare­lasyon and Mag­pakailan­man.

BACK IN EACH OTHER’S ARMS

Even after they had split up, Aljur and Kylie kept in touch.

“Meron kam­ing con­nec­tion na nag‑jive kami,” he says, his soft voice re­veal­ing his ten­der nature. “Tu­mindi lang ’yong con­nec­tion namin no’ng naghi­walay kami. Si Kylie, ka­pag me mga tanong siya na im­por­tante, kung tungkol sa buhay, kami rin ’yong nag‑uusap, e.”

She agrees: “Nag‑uusap lang kami about life. Pag may ibang mga prob­lema, mag­tatanong ako sa kanya, kasi walang ibang nakakak­i­lala sa ’kin, e. I’m a loner kasi. So siya lang ’yong nakakausap ko.”

After the breakup, the exes be­came friends.

“Me nabuo kam­ing friend­ship ni Kylie no’ng naghi­walay kami na hindi namin nabuo no’ng kami pa,” he points out. “Masasabi ko na mas naki­lala namin ’yong isa’t isa talaga no’ng nagkahi­walay kami. Kasi, usap lang, e. Na to­too. Tungkol sa kanya, tungkol sa akin, tungkol sa pam­ilya niya, tungkol sa mga nakakasama niya.”

She shares his sen­ti­ments: “’Yon lang pala ’yong hi­na­hanap ko—’yong friend­ship. Nag­tataka nga kam­ing dalawa na ‘’Yon lang pala ’yong ku­lang sa ’tin.’ Kasi ma­hal na­man talaga namin ’yong isa’t isa. Ta­la­gang hi­na­hanap‑hanap namin ’yong isa’t isa. There would be a call, there had to

Has Kylie dis­cov­ered any­thing new about her­self since be­com­ing a mother?

“Meron pala akong ma­ter­nal in­stinct, akala ko wala,” the ac­tress says in a joy­ous voice. She tells YES! that while she al­ways wanted to be a mom, she never thought she could take on the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of be­ing one. “It was a dream, but I would never think na kaya ko, kasi nakakatakot ’yong gano’ng com­mit­ment.”

But all that has changed, now that she has her Baby Alas. For one, Kylie says that she has be­come less “ego­is­tic.”

“No’ng nabun­tis ako kasi, I can’t think about my diet, I can’t think about ‘Am I pretty?’ I stopped work­ing, e, and I’m not think­ing about what any­body else is think­ing. I’m just fo­cused on keep­ing him healthy… So, so­brang it’s not for me na. So­brang for him, so­brang self­less­ness.” be a call, like, ev­ery three months, or six months, or ku­mus­ta­han, or gan­ito-ganyan.”

That breakup pe­riod made Aljur re­al­ize that Kylie was re­ally the one for him. “Kasi, kahit nagkahi­walay kami, never siya nawala sa isip ko, e,” he says. “Hi­na­hanap ko siya, e. After no’ng kami, me nakasama din na­man akong iba. Pero hindi ko ma-ex­plain… Hi­na­hanap ko siya, e.”

Kylie has a bet­ter grasp of what draws her to Aljur.

“He’s not like me na na-ex­pose sa show­biz,” she ex­plains, tak­ing note of her ex­pe­ri­ences as a child grow­ing up with a fa­mous fa­ther like Robin Padilla. “Probin­siyano siya, which is what I love about him. Be­fore, wala siyang in­teres sa so­cial me­dia. Wala siyang in­teres sa ini­isip ng tao. So­brang to­too lang niya sa sar­ili niya.

“’Ta’s ako, siyem­pre I grew up in show­biz. Alam ko kung paano ’yong laro niyan. I know how, and I know how to play it din. No’ng naki­lala ko siya, nakita ko kung pa’no ‘mag­pa­paka­to­too ka, ’wag kang matakot kung sino ka talaga.’ So­brang na-ap­pre­ci­ate ko ’yon, na parang gusto kong ma­hawa. ‘Ang gal­ing mo na­man.’

“Min­san nga, pag nagsasalita siya, ang dami niyang wis­dom na na­papa-wow na lang ako na ‘Ay, ang gal­ing!’ Kasi hindi ko nakita ’yon. Mas grounded ’yong tin­gin niya sa mundo kesa sa ’kin na al­ways raised in the spot­light… Ibang-iba, which is why I think na nag-match din kami. In some way, nabuo din ako bi­lang tao kasi ’bini­gay niya sa ’kin ’yong gano’ng per­spec­tive.”

The new­found friend­ship be­tween Kylie and Aljur brought them to­gether again. From mak­ing oc­ca­sional phone calls, they started talk­ing more fre­quently and even meet­ing up on a whim. They would have cof­fee or hot cho­co­late in the mid­dle of the night, and th­ese mee­tups some­times ended with the two of them walk­ing to­gether in the street.

“’Ta­pos, nag-araw-araw na,” he says, show­ing a bit of kilig. “’Ta­pos, sabi ko sa sar­ili ko that time, ma­hal ko talaga ’to— on my own lang. And then even­tu­ally, hindi na namin na­pa­pansin, nagk­a­ba­likan na kami. Smooth lang, nang­yari lang siya. So, ’yon ’yong makaka­pagsabi na she’s the one.”

Aljur says they of­fi­cially rec­on­ciled ei­ther in Septem­ber or Oc­to­ber 2016—or two years after they broke up. From Oc­to­ber 29 to Novem­ber 1, 2016, the cou­ple had a va­ca­tion in Ja­pan, vis­it­ing tourist spots such as the Tokyo Dis­neySea theme park and hav­ing their pho­tos taken in those places. Their sub­se­quent Instagram posts made pub­lic their rekin­dled love af­fair.

Three days after re­turn­ing from the Land of the Ris­ing Sun, Aljur ad­mit­ted to

On Aljur: StyliSt’S own

On Kylie: Top, SATUR­DAY DRESS; Pants & Heels, STYLIST’S OWN

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