In this business, one cannot argue with success. Just after his latest film with Judy Ann Santos scored big in the box-office race, Piolo Pascual went on to seal his grand-slam win at the recent Urian Awards.
Piolo’s felt portrayal of an activist son in the Chito Roño film Dekada ’70 made a clean sweep of the Best Supporting Actor trophies from all the award-giving organizations, and paved the way for him to join the elite company of lead actors Vilma Santos (Relasyon), Phillip Salvador (Ora Pro Nobis), Sharon Cuneta (Madrasta), Elizabeth Oropesa (Bulaklak ng Maynila), and second lead actors Ronaldo Valdez (May Minamahal), and Glydel Mercado (Sidhi), all of whom have scored grand-slam victories through the years.
For millions of Filipino fans who believe that Piolo is the hottest male celebrity today, the grandslam feat has affirmed his claim as the industry’s best young actor. And that’s extremely reassuring for Piolo, who, during his early days of trying to get a shot at being noticed, almost gave up from the rat-race and intrigue-laden world of show business.
For someone so impeccably wholesome and interestingly good-natured, Piolo is reaping the fruits of years of patience and hard work. That’s probably good karma. He is perhaps one of the nicest and most grounded personalities in tinseltown.
Like many other success stories in this business, Piolo has taken all those hard-earned lessons to heart and put them in good use. As an artist, Piolo has truly evolved from just merely being a picture-perfect caricature into a thinking person with opinions to give and standpoints to share.
The reason why he is trusted with important roles which used to belong to the likes of Christopher de Leon and Gabby Concepcion, who have since been tasked into playing more daddy characters, if not exiled into total oblivion.
Also, it is such a breather to know that Piolo has tried very hard to remain sensible and mature in his outlook despite the strong pull of the industry to be otherwise. Specially these last few years, I have seen him pass through that phase of caring too much about what people think.
"I know I’m a good person and so do my real friends and family. Criticism and nasty rumors do not upset me anymore," he once told me. Piolo feels liberated that he can now move on and not delve into the many issues that have continuously baffled him in the past.
"Past is past, and the more time I spend trying to defend and clear myself from these issues, the more energy I waste. It’s good I realized early on that there are more important things to get busy with," he says without sounding all-too-knowing.
Like film work, for instance. Piolo has already graduated from appearing in the usually nonsense multi-lead projects and has gathered enough experience and real acting evidences to be able to carefully choose his outings.
Piolo’s promise as an actor was first noticed when he played the coveted title role in Lagarista years ago. Aside from registering so beautifully on the big screen, he showed both flair and depth which made the industry’s important people take a second look.
Although it could be said that generally, he surfed quite well with the waves, Piolo has also dived into mediocre stuff like his over-the-top acting in the disappointing movie Mila. But his performance in Dekada ’70 is altogether a different story – it’s a testament to his evolution as an actor.
"Initially, I rejected the offer because I didn’t think I could do justice to the high level of acting difficulty required by the character. But direk Chito (Roño) prodded me and his trust in me as an actor was unwavering. Finally, I was convinced to give it my best shot."
On the personal front, Piolo takes pride in the fact that he can happily function alone – well, at least for the time being, when work schedules fill up most of his waking hours. He affirms, "I’m okay, really, although it would be nice to have someone, but I don’t, and that’s the truth. I don’t really mind, though," he says.
All too often, specially in this pretentious and highly-jaded society, we are told that being single is being unwanted and lonely. Specially for movie stars, it seems that the more women an actor romances, the higher his manliness soars, and the better his prospects for movie projects.
But truth is, and I’m glad Piolo genuinely agrees, that "single" is more than just a painful transition between relationships and that "show-love" sucks because such relationship, (which we, showbiz insiders know all too well, is a by-product of the continuous madness of the major studio’s publicity machinery) eventually catches up with the stars, making them more miserable as humans.
Piolo can now stare at his shelf full of well-earned acting trophies and smile. "These will serve as my constant reminders that dreams can come true when one continues to work at making them come true," he says, almost in whispers. With more than enough good acting skills, sex appeal and multi-level talents, not to mention a refreshing blend of childlike-ness and unruffled thought and behavior patterns, Piolo Pascual is definitely on his way to becoming the country’s next best lead drama actor.