Just as their latest onscreen romance blossomed into a happy ending in the GMA Network prime time teleserye My Destiny in October, talented actors Tom Rodriguez and Carla Abellana have become more open in admitting their real-life relationship.
Having first worked on the set of the groundbreaking series My Husband’s Lover (MHL) in 2013, the actors’ good looks and on cam chemistry immediately made them a favorite pairing by producers, directors and showbiz observers.
But while fans hoped for more than just a make-believe romance for the two, Carla was very much in a relationship during the height of MHL, and, showing good breeding politely effaced such suggestions, no matter how persistent they became.
Tom, in respect for Carla’s private life, also did the same, and acted like a true gentleman when her relationship with then boyfriend Geoff Eigenmann officially ended early this year.
Confirming they had become good friends from constantly working together, Tom, egged on by everyone around him to finally go for it, gave
Carla the space she needed and offered her a shoulder to cry on.
In an interview with The Manila Times before My Destiny premiered in June, Tom said that Carla is too special a person for him to pursue if he is merely getting carried away by efforts to pair them off.
“I have to be really sure that my feelings for her are real before I court her because that’s the only way I can be fair to the both of us,” he said. “But who wouldn’t fall in love with someone like her right?”
A series and a movie later, it seems that Tom finally ascertained his fondness and admiration for the smart and beautiful daughter of ‘80s leading man Rey “PJ” Abellana were all true, and happily, Carla accepted them to be so.
In an Instagram post on Tom’s birthday on October 1, Carla had written, “Dearest @akosimangtomas [Tom’s handle] , happy happy happy birthday! I am so blessed to be witnessing firsthand your growth and success, both as an actor and as a man. I can’t wait to continue seeing how life will beautifully unfold right in front of you, all in your favor, for you are a good man with a pure heart. I know God will bless you abundantly so I pray that he will give you the strength to endure all the trials that come before those blessings. Always remember that i am your partner and your friend before anything else so i’ll be by your side no matter what. Happy birthday, tommy! You are so loved.”
Soon after, the couple confirmed that they are indeed “dating exclusively.”
Carla, who also said in the same June interview with The Manila Times that she is amazed how her onscreen projects with Tom make so many people happy, seems all the more generous in sharing their newfound joy as a couple.
In fact, she and Tom have signed up to be GMA Kapuso Foundation’s (GMAKF) newest advocates and will lead this year’s traditional “Celebrity Ukay-Ukay” bazaar for a cause on November 14.
Since 2010, the network’s corporate social responsibility arm, in cooperation with Cut Unlimited Inc., has been mounting this special Christmas project, enjoining top celebrities to donate pre-loved or even brand-new items to be sold at the bazaar. The proceeds go directly to the foundation’s relief operations and its various year-round socio-civic programs such as the Kapuso School Development, Unang Hakbang sa Kinabukasan and Give A Gift Alay sa Batang Pinoy Christmas projects.
“It is truly a blessing that the network and its stars continuously support the Foundation’s endeavors and we are fortunate to have Tom and Carla as this year’s advocates for social change,” remarked the foundation’s executive vice president and chief operating officer Mel Tiangco. “Through our combined efforts, we can truly put smiles on the faces of our beneficiaries this Christmas season.”
In past years the bazaar has seen the biggest couples in show business actively participating in the charitable endeavor including husband and wife Ogie Alcasid and Regine Velasquez who served as the pioneer advocates of Celebrity Ukay Ukay in 2010. The network’s “royal Kapuso couple” Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes, who are scheduled to wed this December, took their turn in the bazaar in 2013.
This year, Tom and Carla cannot be happier to follow in such a meaningful tradition taken by GMA’s most popular artists.
“I am grateful for this opportunity to give back in a personal way,” said Carla, who has already begun sorting through her closet for shoes, bags, and other trinkets to sell at the bazaar. “And, not only do these shoppers get to come home happy with their purchases, but they can also feel good that they have contributed to helping those in need.”
Also, Tom has also started selecting some of his personal belongings to donate to the cause. “With Christmas just around the corner, this is the perfect opportunity for us and our fans to pay it forward. We not only get to make our fans happy, but we are also helping the Kapuso Foundation bring hope to our less fortunate brothers and sisters.
Other Kapuso celebrities who have donated to Tom and Carla’s Celebrity Ukay-Ukay are Jaya, Heart Evangelista, Barbie Forteza, Jonalyn Viray, Ryza Cenon, Joyce Ching, Bettinna Carlos, Chariz Solomon, Chef Boy Logro, Betong Sumaya, Mona Louise Rey, Miggs Cuaderno, Teejay Marquez, Boobay, Lovely Rivero, Sherilyn Reyes, Lolit Solis, Ricky Lo, Butch Francisco, and Eugene Domingo. GMA’s News and Public Affairs personalities such as Jessica Soho, Arnold Clavio, Rhea Santos, Lyn Ching-Pascual, Suzy Abrera, and Luanne Dy have also given items to be sold at the bazaar.
Tom, Carla, and other GMA artists will be present at the grand opening of the Noel Bazaar at the World Trade Center on November 14, featuring their special “ukay-ukay” offerings. The couple’s booth will continue to run on November 15 and 16, as well as the weekends of November 21 to 23 and 28 to 30.
“Celebrity auctions will also be held each bazaar weekend,” the couple added, clearly eager to share the happiness they both truly deserve.
The Noel Bazaar at the World Trade Center will run from November 14 to 30. Bazaar hours are from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information on GMA Kapuso Foundation’s various projects, log on to www.gmanetwork.com/kapusofoundation.