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Diet does some 'Seoul'-searching

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Diether ocampo relaxing on the railroad tracks between takes.FUNFARE UPDATE By Ricardo F. Lo
April 27, 2009 12:00 AM 

During the two weeks and a half that he and co-stars Angel Locsin and Sam Milby (plus Iya Villania) spent in South Korea shooting for the ABS-CBN soap Only You which premieres tonight, Diether “Diet” Ocampo said he had more than enough spare time to do some soul-searching. It was his first time to visit Korea.

“Far away from home,” he told Funfare Update in an exclusive one-on-one, “your mind is uncluttered, there’s less stress, so you can make decisions more effectively...you can see things more clearly.”

For instance, his past relationship with Kristine “Tintin” Hermosa which is inevitably being dug up by the movie press everytime either of them has a new project (Kristine’s is Komiks Presents...Nasaan Ka, Maruja?). His marriage to Kristine, suspected to be a “gimmick” to promote their short-lived soap Till Death Do Us Part at that time, was nullified due to some technicality (wrong birthdates, etc.).

Although she denies it (even if her action speaks louder than her words), Kristine has been “specially friendly” with Oyo Sotto while Diet has found a new love in Rima Otswami, at 23 a few years Diet’s junior, who is part-German, part-Spanish and part-Filipino, related to the prominent Oppens of Bacolod. Rima is an International Relation graduate from La Salle and is working at Rustan’s, in-charge of dealing with and entertaining foreign clients. She hopes to be a diplomat. Friends said that Diet couldn’t have found a better girl. “Jackpot,” they said. The sweethearts met in November last year.

“But Tintin and I have remained friends,” Diet said, “and whatever happened between us should not be an issue anymore. I have moved on and I hope she has done the same. I am happy with my life now and I hope she is.”

No, Diet added, he and Rima haven’t talked about getting married contrary to stories in the tabs. Kristine was reported to have said that Diet shouldn’t get married again after what happened to theirs.

“I think it’s unfair for her to have said that,” Diet said, visibly irritated. “That was uncalled-for. I think we should respect each other. I never make any comment about her love life and she should do the same. Basta, I’m happy where I am now.”

Rima is up-to-date with showbiz and, acording to Diet, she knows everything about him.

“But we never talk about the past...my past,” Diet clarified.

Directed by Rory Quintos, Only You is the Filipinized version of the hit Koreanovela aired in the Philippines a few years ago. It’s about a love triangle (Diet-Angel-Sam) set against a culinary backdrop, so televiewers can learn a recipe or two while following the ups and downs of the three characters’ tangled romance.

Besides soul-searching, Diet also had a chance to do some “Seoul”-searching since they shot scenes not only in the city but also around the countryside.

“Nagulat ako kasi sobrang developed pala ang Korea, very progressive. We had a chance to see two sides of Korea, the urban side and the rural side. The country reminds me of Japan. The people are polite even if, I noticed, they seemed to refuse to speak in English.”

Luckily, because spring came a bit later, Diet and company were able to catch the ephemeral cherry blossoms (sakura in Japanese).

“We decided to stay for five more days just to wait for the cherry blossoms to come out. We also shot some scenes in Nami Island, the same place where the movie Winter Sonata was filmed. Ang ganda!”

Is it true that Only You is his “reward” for changing his mind about moving to rival network GMA?

“No naman. Even long before that GMA story broke out, may plano na talagang soap para sa akin ang ABS.”

Several weeks before he went to Korea, Diet was in the US as one of the 40-plus youth delegates from Asian countries to the annual Harvard Projects for Asian International Relations (HPAIR) conference. Four delegates came from the Philippines and Diet was the only one from showbiz. He qualified for the HPAIR in his capacity as head of the K.I.D.S. Foundation which distributes books (etc.) among schools in different parts of the country.

The good news is that Diet has also been accepted to a business conference in Oxford in August, this time revolving around the retail business.

“The conference is very timely and very useful,” said Diet. “You know, Rima happens to be in the retail business and, in fact, we are planning to put up a retail shop.”

Incidentally, Only You also stars Tirso Cruz III, Al Tantay, Dimples Romana, Iya Villania, Irma Adlawan, Candy Pangilinan, Bing Pimental, Ella Cruz and Dick Israel.

“The two weeks and a half that we were in Korea was not enough,” said Diet. “I’d like to go back and see more of the country.”

Maybe with Rima?

“Why not?”

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