Look How Vice Ganda and “Kuya Escort” Ion Perez’ Love Story Started
As Vice Ganda and his team were crowned as the grand champion in the Magpasikat 2019, a week long event and performances for “It’s Showtime’s” 10th anniversary that was concluded last October 26, the “Unkabogable” star added another highlight of the evening when he officially introduced Ion Perez as his boyfriend.
“Meron na akong katuwang sa buhay,” Vice said after the performance.
Many were happy for the couple, especially for Vice that he has finally found that one great love who is not afraid of expressing his love or being judged for being in a relationship with the same gender.
Vice and Ion reportedly have celebrated their first anniversary as a couple on October 25, 2019.
In a recent report by the entertainment website, PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal), they did a summary of how this couple that started with continuous teasing by their co-hosts on the noontime variety show It’s Showtime up to the moment of revealing their real relationship status.
Ion Perez, whose real name is Benigno Perez, was first discovered when he won the international male pageant Mr. Universe Tourism 2018.
Their first meeting was when Ion, together with two other male beauty titlists watched the late-night talk show Gandang Gabi Vice! (GGV) hosted by Vice back in May 2018.
In the said episode “Gigil Kid” Carlo Mendoza picked Ion, who was seated at the front row of the studio to sit between him and Vice on stage. He was requested to do a dance number while Carlo sang “Pusong Bato.”
Vice can be remembered saying, “Pogi ba? In fairness, ha! Marunong umi-spot ito, ha!”
September 19, 2018
After that, Ion was launched as Kuya Escort on ABS-CBN’s noontime show It’s Showtime on September 19, 2018, replacing the former Kuya Escort Greg Hawkins in the Miss Q & A segment.
Vice got distracted by the handsome chinito guy who was was called on the stage and asked to comfort a gay “Miss Q&A” contestant who was feeling emotional over a long-distance relationship.
Vice said in jest, “Naku, Greg! Nanganganib ang buhay mo! Ayusin mo mga papeles mo sa lalong madaling panahon. Isang iglap, mapapalitan ka, e!”
The kilig started when Vice asked for some personal details such as his ge, address, and relationship status, which Ion answered that he’s 27 years old who lives in Tivoli Garden in Mandaluyong, and has no girlfriend.
Vice said, “Ang guwapo, kamukha ni Bong Revilla!,” he also joked that he and Ion would make a perfect pair. “Hi, I’m Lani Mercado!” referring to the wife of Revilla.
September 27, 2018
They delighted all the viewers with their onscreen romance and kulitan, particularly in their episode on September 27, 2018, where Vice made fun of Ion’s quirky voice.
Vice said: “Bukod sa boses mo, ano pang maliit sa iyo? Sabihin mo na hangga’t maaga pa, para hindi na ako umasa.”
Kuya Escort assured Vice, “Wala na. Boses lang talaga yung maliit sa akin.” He then showed his six-pack abs on the show. This prompted Vice to continue flirting with him, “Alam mo nagdra-dry lips mo, basain mo.” He added while brushing his finger on Ion’s lips, “Ay, wala ka na atang laway!”
October 22, 2018
During the October 22 telecast of It’s Showtime, Vice said: “Hinanap-hanap kita ng isang linggo,” referring to Ion who went on a short break to visit his hometown in Tarlac.
“Ako rin na-miss ko talaga dito. Umuwi ako ng probinsiya. Pero nandun man ako, pinapanood kita,” Ion replied.
Vice went on to ask: “Kailan mo ako dadalhin diyan?”
“Ikaw, kung kailan ka puwidi,” he said. Mimicking Ion’s Kapampangan accent, Vice replied, “Puwidi naman ako mamaya. Papakilala mo ba ako sa pamilya mo?”
Ion said, “Kilala ka na nila, pero gusto ka rin nila makilala.”
“Sana makilala ko sila kasi hindi ko pa sila kilala,” Vice added.
November 27, 2018
Kuya Escort’s 28th birthday and the time he introduced his mother, Mommy Zeny to Vice. Ion’s mom came to the studio to watch the live telecast of It’s Showtime.
Vice cheerfully greeted Ion’s mom who was there among the studio audience. “Hi, Mother! Ayan pala yung nanay mo, si Nanay Zeny.”
“”Nice to meet you, Nanay. Kasi palaging sinasabi sa akin ni Ion, ‘Gusto kang makilala ng nanay ko.'” Vice continued.
Mommy Zeny also shared a birthday message for her son: “Pagbutihin mo yung pagsasayaw mo. ‘Tsaka sana gumanda lalo ang trabaho mo.Mahalin mo sarili mo. Pasalamat ka sa Panginoong Diyos binigyan ka ng pagkakataong ito. Sa bumubuo ng Showtime, lalo na kay Vice, maraming salamat sa inyo, at sa mga staff dito.”
After that, Ion became emotional and said: “Si Nanay kasi, yung pinagdaanan ng buhay namin… Na eto po, andito po ako ngayon. Sobrang nagpapasalamat po talaga ako sa Panginoon.”
November 4, 2018
Ion opened up about his life on the episode of late-night talk show Tonight With Boy Abunda on November 4, 2018.
He shared his story of coming up from a low-income family in Concepcion, Tarlac. Ion was the eleventh child in a brood of 15. His late father was a jeepney driver while his mom was a kakanin vendor, Ion used to help his mother in selling kakanin.
“Si Ion po ay isang simpleng mamayanan sa probinsiya. Tinutulungan si Nanay sa pagtitinda ng kakanin at lugaw doon po sa lugar namin,” Ion shared.
Sharing more of the difficult scenario that their family went through. Ion recalled the time when his elder brother passed away because their parents couldn’t afford to buy medicine.
“Kaya sabi ni Tatay, huwag maging madamot, kasi naranasan natin pagdamutan ng ibang tao. Kaya sobrang sakit din po,” he stated.
But while his onscreen romance with Vice continues, he also received accusations of just using Vice for fame. In the same interview with the King of Talk, Ion went on to clarify his on and off cam closeness with Vice.
Ion said: “Nagkakamali sila kasi sobrang bait na tao ni Vice. Hindi ko inaasahan na mapapalapit ako sa kanya, na magugustuhan din niya yung pagka-jologs ko. Siguro yun ang masasabi ko. Nagustuhan niya yung pagka-jologs ko, sa pagiging bulol ko minsan. Kaya yun po siguro, naging malapit ako sa kanya.”
It was in December 2018 when Ion and Vice closeness grew closer. Many have witnessed how the two became more relaxed during their impromptu skits on Its Showtime.
Ion also competed with “Ate Girl Jackie” or Jacque Gonzaga in vying for Vice’s attention and their love triangle that regularly seen during the “Miss Q&A” and “KapareWho” segments that added more fun in the show.
January 1, 2019
Its Showtime went live on New Year’s Day, and for this episode, the viewers witnessed their “tampuhan” as Vice refused to speak with Ion during the show.
During the “Miss Q&A” segment, Jhong Hilario asked Ion how he spent New Year’s Eve. To which he explained by sharing how he spent New Year’s Eve.
“Napasarap yung inom namin, kaming mga magkakamag-anak. Nakalimutan ko siya batiin. Hindi naman ako na-lowbat, e. Nawala lang yung signal sa kuwarto ko.”
Ion also tried to reconcile with Vice by saying, “Hello, Miss! Happy New Year po. Pasensiya na po, napasarap lang yung kuwentuhan.”
But instead of speaking with Ion, Vice shared his side of the story while looking at Ate Girl Jackie, “Nakakatuwa yung napasarap daw yung kuwentuhan. Tayo din napasarap yung pag-aantay natin. Sana habang napasarap yung kuwentuhan niyo at pag-iinuman, sana napasarap din yung pag-aantay natin. E, hindi e! Kung gusto niyo mag-inuman, e, di mag-inuman kayo. Pero sasabihin mo para hindi kami nag-aantay. Ta’s sasabihin mo pa, ‘Huwag kang kakain, sabay tayong kakain.’ Ayan, nabulok yung appendicitis ko!”
The two hinted about their late night texting during one of the February 2019 episodes of It’s Showtime. Anne noticed that Ion’s eyes looked swollen and he went on to explain that he overslept because he stayed up late the night before.
He said: “Kasi yung isa dapat laging nire-replyan, e.”
Anne then exclaimed, “Naku, naku, naku! Yung mukha ng isa!”
Vice also asked, “Sino yung ka-text mo?” Ion answered, smiling, “Alam mo na yun!”
Screenshots of Ion’s guest appearance on GGV surfaced online with netizens claiming Ion admitted the real score between him and the comedian-host.
It happened during the March 12 taping of GGV with celebrity guests Bea Alonzo and Charo Santos-Concio who appeared on the show to promote their horror movie “Eerie”.
On March 31, 2019, they aired the said episode where Ion admitted that he considers Vice as someone “special” to him.
Meanwhile, netizens also shared video clips of Ion stating, “Hindi talaga ako magtatago. Makikita nila kung ano yung nararamdaman ko sa ‘yo.”
March 29, 2019
On March 29, 2019, Ion Perez asks for approval from Vice Ganda’s family.
In this episode on “It’s Showtime” it was Vice’s turn to introduce Ion to his mom. When the comedian-host revealed that his mom and sisters came to watch him live that day, he also asked Ion if he wants to say something to them.
“Ay, nandiyan yung kapatid ko, dalawa, tsaka yung nanay ko. May gusto ka ba sabihin sa kanila?”
Ion said, “Ate, Nanay… Humihingi po ako ng permiso. Puwede ba ako sa puso niya?”
After this, Vice playfully gave him a quick kiss on the cheek.
The two also had the chance to bond in between the comedian-TV host’s concert tours abroad.
Based on some reports, Ion introduced Vice to his sister Natalia Perez-Chen and brother-in-law Frank Chen in the US. They all went out on a date at Madame Tussauds Hollywood, a wax museum in Los Angeles, California.
Ion’s sister shared their photos on her Facebook account with the caption, “Summer is Lab Lab.”
Another one is when Vice himself posted updates about his “workation” with Ion in Canada o May 20. The rumored couple together with Vice’s mom and sister went sightseeing in Banff, Canada.
Providing more hints about his blooming love life, Vice shared on It’s Showtime’s June 27 episode that he’s in a relationship with an unnamed guy for “seven months.”
Many were quick to guess that it could be Ion, who’s the closest guy to Vice at the time. However, none of them has gone on record seriously confirming their romance at the time.
During his book launch last June 6, Vice said: “Happy naman ang mga buhay namin ni Ion, that’s the real score.”
After a month, the rumored couple was spotted spending time together in Ion’s hometown at Concepcion, Tarlac.
Photos of Vice and Ion together with their moms surfaced online. Other photos also showed how the comedian-host with Ion’s relatives.
Another highlight for this month was when Ion shared a photo on his Instagram account, showing that he got a tattoo on his left leg that reads “03 31 1976” which happens to be Vice’s date of birth.
He wrote in the caption: “PLEASE DON’T BREAK THE RULES.”
In an interview with some entertainment reporters Ion tried to mislead the media on his rumored relationship with the comedian-host by saying that he only loves Vice as a “friend.”
Vice, on the other hand, refused to react to what Ion said about them being just friends. He said in a separate interview on Tonight With Boy Abunda, “Ay, happy lang kami. Sa happiness lang tayo,” he shared.
On August 29, Ion then posted photos on his Instagram Stories showing his sweet moments with Vice when they played against Gerald Anderson’s team for ABS-CBN’s All-Stars Game 2019. Ion also added a GIF in the photo where he and Vice were hugging each other, the image says “MINE MINE MINE.”
Many fans were delighted after they saw them in several photos holding hands in this game that was held at the Araneta Coliseum on August 25, 2019.
In their It’s Showtime episode on September 20, 2019, Vice and Ion caused another kilig scene when they were asked to pretend like no one can hear them. In that way they can tell each other whatever they want.
Anne even told them: “Kunwari lang naman. Walang malisya ‘to, Tol!”
The main highlight of their “kilig” moments was when Ion said, “Tutal tayo naman dalawa sa mundo, siguro eto na pagkakataon ko para sabihin nararamdaman ko. I love you!”
To which the comedian-host replied in a soft voice, “I love you.” This made Ion to become emotional, and Vice eventually teary-eyes as well. When asked by Anne why he reacted like that, Ion explained “Wala… Kasi ang saya kapag nakikita ko siyang masaya, e. Ang sarap makitang masaya yung taong mahal mo.”
October 26, 2016
The much-awaited date of the official confirmation happened right after he and his team Magpasikat performance.
Vice said: “Hindi na ako nag-iisa. Meron na akong katuwang sa buhay. And I am so happy,”
He went on to say, “Dito sa 10th year, natagpuan ko. Yung sinabi ko—you don’t need to be loved by the whole world, you only need yourself and one person that you love to accept and love you back…And meron na ako nun.”
For his part, Ion said: “Siguro bonus lang na naging Vice Ganda, pero yun talaga yung minahal ko—si Tutuy.”