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Friday, July 24, 2009

Piolo Pascual: I don't want people to sin

It is said that a minor vehicular accident happened along EDSA, Guadalupe caused by Piolo Pascual’s splendid, glorious Bench billboard where he displays a body, a face, a spirit (and yes, a pair of jeans) that’s so arresting, not even the stench of the Pasig River can rudely distract anyone looking at it.

“You’re causing some people to sin,” I asked. “I just do my job. It’s a Bench billboard. We follow concepts. And I don’t want people to sin,” he chuckled. Some actually suggested that Piolo’s billboard be pulled down as it distracts motorists. Piolo is clueless, does not know what to say because he genuinely knows in his heart that he has done nothing wrong.

“Rica Peralejo is getting married and if you were asked to be part of the entourage, would you accept?” Piolo, Rica and Joseph Bonifacio, her pastor boyfriend all come from the same church. I continued to probe, Would you take the role of a man who does not believe in God? “Yes. I don’t want to limit my range as an actor. For as long as there’s redemptive value at the end, I would do it.” Would you fall in love with a woman who does not believe in God? “Yes. And if that happens, she’ll believe in God,” he shot back laughing.

As a child Piolo lived and played in the streets of Mandaluyong. He was painfully shy. As the youngest of six siblings, he got the hand-me-downs from his elder brothers. His father was a disciplinarian. His mom was a doting mother. He went to school at St. Francis and the University of Sto. Tomas and found his way to Teatro Tomasino where he experienced the seductive power of theater.

“You and your friends are producing the launching movie of Eugene Domingo (Kimidora which opens in theaters nationwide on Sept. 1). Why is she the most deserving from among your many talented friends,” I asked. “It’s about time that a talent like Uge (Eugene’s nickname) is given a break. I believe in her and in her talent,” he explained.

Last week, Piolo’s indie movie Manila opened Cinemalaya 2009 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. This movie is said to be inspired by Lino Brocka’s Jaguar and Ishmael Bernal’s Manila by Night. People who have seen the movie say that he delivers a sterling performance here.

“How much are you worth?” I looked at him straight in the eye trying to get a figure. “I work hard. I share. I spend my money wisely. I save. I am comfortable and I am grateful,” he enthused.

“Are you afraid to be a has-been? A lot of things have been said against you. Pero hindi ka pikon. What will make you see red? Will you ever leave showbiz? Are there days when you wake up feeling ugly?” I fired this series of questions.

“No, hindi ako natatakot na malaos. We all get there. I can’t complain with all the blessings I have. But I want to age gracefully. I am not afraid to grow old. Hindi ako pikon. I think after what I have been through, it’s hard to make me pikon. I’m fair game. I don’t think I’ll leave showbiz. For as long as the public wants me, I will stay. Oh yes, there are days when I feel ugly,” he answered.

I reminded him that “many years ago, you told me in an interview that you wanted to die early.” “Not anymore. I have changed in that respect. It’s God’s call. I’m grateful for the gift of life,” he declared.

“Some girl out there like Kimidora will come out and say, “Nabuntis ako ni Piolo Pascual, what will you do?”

“Lagot. Babatukan ko siya,” Piolo roared in laughter like the young man that he is who truly loves life with a passion.

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