“I know better than to judge gay people. I know that everyone has their own preferences,” said Iñigo Pascual, who also confessed to have had encounters with male friends “coming out” as gay to him.

The young singer-actor is currently promoting the movie “Boyette, Not a Boy Yet,” which tells the struggles of a 17-year-old gay (played by Zaijian Jaranilla) pretending to be a straight guy in order to be admitted to a prestigious dance group where his childhood crush, Charles (Iñigo), is a star dancer.

“Charles is a homophobe. We are not alike in that aspect,” Iñigo told reporters during a recent Zoom meet organized by Black Sheep, producer of the romantic-comedy film.

“I know of a lot of friends who have different [sexual]preferences and grew up not judging them because of this. I actually have several friends who ‘came out’ to me. They said this was because they felt comfortable being around me enough to do this. I feel special because they trusted me with their secrets. As a reaction, I had wanted to comfort them and make them feel that there’s nothing wrong with that.”

However, Iñigo said he once had to tell a gay person off for being “extra friendly.” He recalled: “Even though I’m not a homophobe, there were encounters when I felt uncomfortable being around gays. These were instances when you’re no longer sure what the intention of these people is for doing certain things to you. It’s then that you have to draw the line. Tell them, ‘I don’t think we’re on the same page.’ For me, it’s never bad to communicate that.”

He further said: “As a personal experience, I’ve had someone touch my leg in a really uncomfortable way. I told him I wasn’t comfortable with what he did. That’s the only time I told off a person. I have yet to experience something worse than that.”

Asked to describe his character, Charles, Iñigo explained: “He is going through a lot emotionally, but he knows better to hide it. He puts up a facade. Charles pretends that he is OK, so no one knows what he is struggling with inside. I can somehow relate to Charles in this aspect. I also like that, even though he is the group’s star dancer, he is not a snob. He is friendly and jolly. He is not choosy when it comes to who he hangs out with.”

In “Boyette,” Iñigo has once again teamed up with Maris Racal, his former onscreen partner, and rumored ex-beau. Maris plays Nancy, Charles’ all-time crush who, ironically, took a liking to Boyette.

Iñigo said he has missed being around Maris, as well as talking with her about their music. “I’m glad that there was a moment during our shoot when we got to do this. I just missed the times when we would share ideas and listen to each other’s music even before everyone else got to hear them,” Iñigo added. “When Maris and I talk about music, it’s like nothing else matters. We understand each other. It’s just nice to be able to talk with someone about that.”

Zaijian Jaranilla (left) and Iñigo in “Boyette, Not a Boy Yet”

Iñigo said a lot has changed in Maris since the last time they worked together two years ago. “On the set, I saw for the first time a Maris who wasn’t trying to impress people because she’s the new one. She used to be so proper,” he recalled. “I noticed that she’s more relaxed, and that she enjoyed everyone’s company. She’s so confident and comfortable with herself. Her energy was so contagious. I decided to simply enjoy the work like Maris. It was all fun for us from that time on.”

When a reporter pointed out that Iñigo is clearly still very much attracted to Maris, this was the former’s quick reply: “Oo naman! Especially since she is so talented and passionate, and that she’s so confident these days. When you see her doing her thing, it’s hard not to be in awe of her.”

He added: “We made a lot of memories together when we were still a love team—I think that lasted for two or three years. I admit that I miss working with her. We used to perform together a lot. Now, they’re just a memory we could look back at … I’d rather stop talking now. I don’t want to complicate things.”

Is Iñigo ready for a romantic relationship? “I also thought of that while we were all in lockdown. I realized that it’s difficult to start a relationship while we’re battling a pandemic and are on quarantine. I’m the type who longs for physical touch. I want to be able to spend as much time with my partner and hug her. At this time, it’s difficult to be in a ‘quaranfling.’”

For Iñigo, Miss Right is “someone I can relate with when it comes to music. I connect with people who can sing and who can appreciate music the same way I do. She also has to be someone who appreciates simple things—I’m the type who prefers to just lounge on the couch and hang out over going to parties,” he explained. “I also like someone who appreciates just being in the moment, who appreciates unplanned things in life.”

Iñigo continued: “She also has to be someone who is easy to get along with and can relate to my family and friends. I guess she also has to be someone who enjoys hugging, just like me.”

Maris has all these qualities, another reporter pointed out. To which, Iñigo responded: “That’s true. I’ve actually mentioned that before. When I describe my ideal girl, people say it’s like Maris. Whatever the two of us said (in our respective interviews), let’s leave it at that.”

“Boyette: Not a Girl Yet” is directed by Jumbo Albano, and also features Joey Marquez, Alma Moreno, Jairus Aquino, Phi Palmos, Jhi-an Lachica, Andre Garcia, and Christian Antolin. Distributed by Cinexpress, the film is shown starting Nov. 27 on the following platforms: KTX.ph, iWant TFC app and website, TFC IPTV, Cignal pay-per-view and Sky Cable pay-per-view for P150 only.

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