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JOKO

I was in grade school, living in the province of Batangas. I always had a crush on the actor, Joko Diaz.

I would watch shows that he would guest in. I regularly watched his stints on the TV show, That's Entertainment, as well.


Back then, our town (which is about a 2-hour drive from the city center) had a newspaper delivery man named Marcelo. I called him Ka Celo--he would bring us the paper daily. He also had showbiz magazines with him, too. The magazines were expensive to subscribe to, and I did not have the money to sustain it regularly. He would see me look at them everyday, and I’d ask if it had Joko Diaz pictures in them. One time he said, “OK, I will lend them to you, but do not crumple them.” I was so happy! I thanked him as he drove off on his bike. That became an everyday thing for us. I could not cut out any photos because they were only borrowed.


Then came 1992. They were filming the movie, Angelito San Miguel: Ang Batang City Jail, at the church adjacent to our School. The school was run by nuns who were very strict. The news spread that the heartthrobs were, in fact, shooting a movie a few feet away from us. Everyone was amazed to know that the actors were breathing the same air we were.

After a few minutes of us waiting for them to start filming, one of the crew guys asked me to come inside with him.

So myself, being naughty, I cut school just before dismissal with a few of my school friends. We snuck over to the basilica but much to our dismay, it was locked for fans. That did not stop us, as we went around the back of the church and entered through a small black door that led us to come out right beside the altar of the 400-year old church. We saw them at the end of the long aisle and rushed there.

Joko then came and sat right beside me, and just looked at me. I felt like shouting! But I kept my cool.

I, of course, ended up in front of the crowd, right by the velvet rope that cordoned them off. Joko and the other actors saw us. I was trying to keep still and not show too much excitement, but I smiled. Joko then came and sat right beside me, and just looked at me. I felt like shouting! But I kept my cool. He did not talk--he was just quiet and wasn’t being snobbish, so to break the ice I then said, “Hi Joko!” and I asked him how old he was. He said he was 14, and I said, so am I. The crew called him away soon after to go back to filming.

After a few minutes of us waiting for them to start filming, one of the crew guys asked me to come inside with him. Then it started there--I stayed with them, chatting the time away. The moment came when I had to go home, and he asked for my phone number. After that, he would call me via long distance operator assisted calls, and visited me every year. We lived far from each other, but calls were constant, and the visits consistent every year.


It was funny because he told me everything that happened to him, including all the girlfriends he had. Being the kids that we were, he once told me he would just court someone from Manila because I lived too far from him. I then said, OK then I will just say ‘yes’ to the guy who has been courting me. Very childish--and stupid, even! The calls were still there, but it did not come that often. Every time Joko would visit me, I would always break up with my then-boyfriend. Poor guy. I guess it just shows that Joko really was the boy for me.

Years passed and calls became non-existent. But we were both happy with our separate lives then, so that was OK.

I remember in our talks when we were young, Joko said that when he gets a car like another actor’s, Keempee de Leon's, that I would be the first to ride in it. Years passed and calls became non-existent. But we were both happy with our separate lives then, so that was OK. He was just a memory. Last time I heard from him was in 1996.


One day, in the year 2000, he suddenly showed up at my aunt’s restaurant in our province, driving a car he said he would one day get--and fulfilled a promise that I would ride in it. I was already working in the airline industry around this time. From there we started dating as adults, but this time we ended up getting married. Joko already had two lovely daughters and one handsome son by then.

From there we started dating as adults, but this time we ended up getting married.

In 2001, we got married and now have 2 beautiful children of our own, Ashley and Pacqui, whom we both love and cherish. We now live in Batangas, where our story started, and has come full circle.

Story by Abby Alcaraz-Diaz

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