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Paolo Elito Macapagal Ballesteros IV, simply known as Paolo Ballesteros, is a Filipino television host, actor, and comedian. He currently hosts the noontime show Eat Bulaga! and has been since 2001.

His first foray into the Philippine entertainment industry is through Eat Bulaga! as a co-host of the segment U-Bet, a pageant for university students. As part of the segment, Paolo hosted on remote locations visiting university campuses across the country. Eventually, he became a regular host of the noontime show.

He was 18 years old at the time he joined the show.

During his early years on Eat Bulaga!, Paolo was paired with co-host Ciara Sotto and were together dubbed as CiaPao. He was eventually included in the segment Juan for All, All for Juan: Bayanihan of d' Pipol with co-hosts Jose Manalo and Wally Bayola. Together, they became known as JoWaPao.

From a simple provincial boy in Nueva Ecija, Paolo has since become a valuable part of a comedy trio proclaimed by fans as the successor of industry stalwarts TVJ and the future of Eat Bulaga!.

Early life

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Ballesteros family

Paolo Elito Macapagal Ballesteros IV was born on 29 November 1982 in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, Philippines Elito Amorsolo Ballesteros Jr. and Danielida Macapagal, the only boy and youngest among three children. His sisters are Lailin and Roxanne. His father was a self-employed artist who served in the United States Navy during the Vietnam War. His mother is a dietician who works in a hospital. Paolo grew up in Cabanatuan. Since he was six, his father moved to New York and decided to start a family with his new wife there. As a result, Paolo has a half-sibling named Jamie.

SLU days

Paolo's college days at Saint Louis University

He finished his elementary education at the College of the Immaculate Conception, while his secondary education was at the Cabanatuan City Science High School. Paolo pursued a degree in AB Communications at Saint Louis University in Baguio, but failed to finish after entering showbiz.

Paolo is the great-grandson of Filipino National Artist Fernando Amorsolo; Paolo's paternal grandmother is his daughter. Interestingly, that same grandmother is the sister of Eula Valdez's mother, so Eula is his aunt. In addition, Paolo is also a distant maternal relative of Joey de Leon's wife, Eileen Macapagal, who is also related to former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Prior to Eat Bulaga!

Aspiring to join Eat Bulaga!

Paolo in Heart toGet

Paolo once joined Eat Bulaga!'s dating segment Heart to Get as a searcher

Growing up, young Paolo Ballesteros aspired to become a famous celebrity someday. In high school, Paolo was part of the theater guild and the glee club, starring in plays like Once In This Island, Three Rats and Kutob.

In an interview, Paolo revealed that he wrote at the back of his notebook and memorized the address of TAPE Inc. office, the production company behind Eat Bulaga!, in hopes of joining the show's segments and contests, especially Mr. Pogi, someday. Even though he never joined Mr. Pogi, Paolo actually became part of the special Valentine's Day reality dating segment Heart to Get in the late 1990s as a searcher. The segment at that time was hosted by Vic Sotto and Donita Rose.

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Paolo with the hosts in Heart to Get

Paolo was studying at Saint Louis University in Baguio when one of his cousins took him to an advertising agency. He went to auditions and did VTRs, which started his appearance in various television commercials. Well-known actress Eula Valdez, his aunt, took notice of Paolo's attempts in showbiz that she introduced his nephew to Joji Dingcong, a talent manager who previously handled talents like Piolo Pascual and Cogie Domingo.

In 2001, Paolo was introduced by his talent manager to TAPE Inc. executive Malou Choa-Fagar, who then offered him to become a host of a segment. He accepted.

As an Eat Bulaga! Dabarkads

New kid on the block

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U-Bet hosts Anjo Yllana, Paolo Ballesteros, Derek Ramsay, and Allan K

In October 2001, Paolo Ballesteros joined the longest-running noontime show as a host of the segment U-Bet, a pageant for university students from all over the Philippines. As part of the segment, Paolo hosted on remote locations visiting university campuses across the country with Ruby Rodriguez and fellow showbiz newcomers Phomela Baranda and Derek Ramsay. Paolo was only 18 years old at the time he joined the show.  

By February 2002, the big bosses of Eat Bulaga! made him a daily regular host, so he decided to quit his studies and relocated with an uncle in Makati City. Initially, his father was against the idea of him quitting school, but when his father came home for a vacation and saw what he was doing doing, he consented.

CiaPao: Noontime's original loveteam

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Paolo and Ciara as CiaPao

Since Ciara Sotto became a regular host on Eat Bulaga! in April 2005, she has displayed her own flair for comedy through knock-knock jokes in the segment Bulagaan. Along the way, Ciara and Paolo were paired together and slowly morphed into noontime's favorite loveteam. The show's fans immediately fell in love with the tandem, which became known as CiaPao. According to Ciara and Paolo, the reason they click on and off the camera is that they are just being themselves. They are not "nagpapa-showbiz" or being pretentious when it comes to their friendship. Ciara expressed,

"I think it is very different from the ordinary and traditional love team kasi we are not being paid in Eat Bulaga! para maging love team kami. We are being paid for doing the show as ourselves."

Immediately, the loveteam appeared on GMA Network shows such as Mahiwagang Baul (2005) as well as the Season 8 episode "Love-an o Bawi" and Season 11 episode "'Best Friends" of the drama romance anthology Love to Love (2005).

In the meantime, Paolo also became famous for dressed in drag for the beauty pageantry segment BEBOT on Eat Bulaga!. An impersonation of Miss International 2005 Precious Lara Quigaman, Paolo played Precious Paula Nicole and won the segment's crown in 2005.

One-third of a comedy trio

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Jose, Wally, and Paolo as the comedy trio JoWaPao

Originally, the only mainstay hosts of Juan for All, All for Juan: Bayanihan of d' Pipol were Jose Manalo and Wally Bayola. On 12 October 2010, Paolo Ballesteros was asked to host in the barangay for the first time when Wally developed sore eyes and was absent for a few days. When Wally returned two weeks later, Paolo stayed and became the third mainstay barangay host of the segment, ultimately forming the comic trio of JoWaPao.    

In 2015, the comedy trio eventually became even more popular after finding fame as the Zobeyala triplet sisters in the hit segment Kalyeserye. Paolo Ballesteros played the role of Lola Tidora, the fashionable and trendy sister who is known for her "Regine. Whoo!" catchphrase. The trio's portrayals of the characters were positively received by critics and fans alike, further fueling the fire of the AlDub phenomenon.    

Since the conception of Juan for All, All for Juan, the hosts have visited countless barangays across the Philippines, bringing surprises and providing entertainment to the Filipino people.    

Beyond Eat Bulaga!

Artist... in every sense of the word

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Paolo and his resin painting

Apart from being a regular host on Eat Bulaga!, Paolo is also an actor and comedian. He is also popular for his numerous makeup transformations that he shares on social media for all his fans to see, which has garnered international recognition from celebrities and media outlets. Whether it’s to look like Lady Gaga, Angelina Jolie, or Anne Hathaway, among many others, Ballesteros has shown time and time again just how skilled he is when it comes to his prowess with cosmetic brushes.

As the great-grandson of Filipino painter Fernando Amorsolo, Paolo has produced some of his own artworks, which he calls #PAOnting, in the form of resin paintings. His impeccable artworks have been praised by fans and other celebrities after posting them on his Instagram account. Some of his painting have been purchased by his Eat Bulaga! co-hosts as well as other celebrities like Jed Madela and JP Duray.

Gayfully playing television and film roles

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Paolo as Ida in Zaido: Pulis Pangkalawalan (2007)

In addition to being paired with Ciara Sotto on Eat Bulaga!, Paolo also played Danica Sotto’s love interest in the sitcom Daddy Di Do Du (2005–2006). He also became of Roxanne Barcelo’s leading men in the early Sunday afternoon soap, Kahit Kailan (2002). On television, Paolo also appeared in Ikaw lang ang Mamahalin (2001), Dyesebel (2008), Ang Babaeng Hinugot sa Aking Tadyang (2009), The Last Prince (2010), I Heart You, Pare! (2011), and Kung Aagawin Mo ang Lahat sa Akin (2011). Paolo Ballesteros is notable for playing LGBTQ roles on television and in movies as well. His first gay role was in the "Best Friends" episode of Love to Love (2005), in which Paolo played the role of a gay man and Ciara Sotto played the role of a tomboy. He then played the role of Ida, a transgender villain, in Zaido: Pulis Pangkalawakan (2007).

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Paolo as Trisha Echevarria in the drama-comedy film Die Beautiful (2016)

In the 2010s, he started to play more LGBTQ roles on the big screen. Such films include Bakit Lahat ng Gwapo May Boyfriend? (2016), the internationally-acclaimed Die Beautiful (2016), Trip Ubusan (2017), Barbi D'Wonder Beki (2017), Amnesia Love (2018), and My 2 Mommies (2018).

He admits that he is more comfortable playing gay roles than straight ones. Paolo expressed, "Sa bakla kasi mas nalalaro ko yung role eh. Mas nage-enjoy ako".

Other films he starred in include Pakisabi Na Lang Mahal Ko Siya (2002), Anghel sa Lupa (2003), Xenoa (2007), Pak! Pak! My Dr. Kwak! (2011), D' Kilabots Pogi Brothers Weh?! (2012), and My Bebe Love (2015).

The King of Makeup Transformation

Paolo transforms into Beyoncé

Paolo transforms into Beyoncé

Beginning in 2015, Paolo Ballesteros gained international fame due to his artful makeup skills. Through wigs, contact lenses, and extremely talented contouring, the actor has been transforming into pop stars, famous actresses, and socialites and sharing the pictures on his Instagram account. He's quick to comment on current events via his makeovers, even posting a blonde Kim Kardashian selfie just three days after Kim changed up her look.

His transformations have earned him nearly two million followers and comments demanding that him to guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Nevertheless, he was featured in countless international news sites and his photos were even featured in shows such as Entertainment Tonight and The Today Show.

Personal life

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Ex-couple Maria Katrina Nevada and Paolo Ballesteros with their daughter Keira Claire

Paolo Ballesteros was romantically involved with Maria Katrina "Kaye" Nevada, Paolo’s classmate in college. Their relationship was only short-lived before breaking up a year later. They have a daughter named Keira Claire. In the early 2010s, Paolo and his ex-girlfriend was caught in a controversy following a lawsuit with Katrina's parents who took custody over their daughter. The courts favored the custody of Paolo’s daughter to the pair. However, their daughter stayed with Kaye to live in the United States, which is an amicable agreement between the former couple.

While Paolo has never publicly announced or confirmed anything about his sexuality, he has very strongly hinted that he is gay through his Instagram posts, by accepting gay roles both in film and television, and with jokes about his sexuality on Eat Bulaga!. In April 2017, Paolo posted pictures of him together with another man, wearing identical rings and matching tattoos. Included in the caption were the heart and rainbow emojis, a symbol of the LGBT pride. Netizens speculated that the man in the picture may have had a relationship with Paolo, and the post is their way of publicly coming out.

Segments

Eat Bulaga's Lenten Special

Year Episode Role
2006 "True Love"
2007 "Star" Jamie Canlas
2014 "Karugtong ng Puso" Reynaldo/Baldo
2015 "Biro ng Kapalaran" Obet
2016 "Kaputol ng Buhay" Lola Tidora
2017 "Inay"
2018 "Pamilya"


Notable roles within Eat Bulaga!

Year Segment Role
2015 Kalyeserye Lola Tidora
Lola Isadora
Doña Ariana
2018 The Barangay Jokers Paolito Nunal

Awards and nominations

The following list only includes the awards and nominations of Paolo Ballesteros for his contributions as a host and comedian on the noontime show Eat Bulaga! as well as other notable accolades for his important contributions to the Philippine entertainment industry. His achievements in the art and film industries as well as television accolades not associated with Eat Bulaga! are not listed. The list also excludes awards that he received as part of a group, such as JoWaPao.

Eastwood City Walk of Fame

The Eastwood City Walk of Fame is a sidewalk along Eastwood City, Quezon City that serves as a Philippine entertainment hall of fame. It is embedded with hundreds of brass star plaques featuring the names of celebrities for their popularity and contributions to the entertainment industry.

Year Category Result
2015 Eastwood City Walk of Fame Star Inducted


Illumine

Illumine is an annual innovation awards ceremony presented by Global City Innovative College to recognize outstanding and innovative personalities and programs on Philippine television.

Year Category Result
2018 Most Innovative TV Personality Won


PEP List Awards

The PEP List is presented by the Philippine Entertainment Portal to honor showbiz personalities, television shows, and movies that made a great impact in the year. The list is divided into two categories: Editors' Choice and PEPsters' Choice. The Editors' Choice subcategories will be chosen by the editors and staff of PEP, while the PEPsters' Choice subcategories will be decided upon by PEP users through an online poll.

Editors' Choice

Year Category Result
2016 Male Comedy Star of the Year Nominated


Tatt Awards

Globe Telecom's Tatt Awards celebrates the ten individuals, groups, or communities who have made a great impact in social media with their brand of content. The awardees, known as "The Great Ten," are distinguished for their positive acts, ideas, talents, or movements that achieved greatness by choosing to connect online. Paolo Ballesteros were included in the list for his heavy presence in social media during the peak of the AlDub phenomenon as well as his makeup transformations.

Year Category Result
2015 The Great Ten Included