Pokwang: Life is not a comedy
Pablo A. Tariman (The Philippine Star) - June 9, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Pinned down in a quiet corner after a raucous presscon that had movie scribes ribbing her about her bed scene with leading man Zanjoe Marudo, Pokwang looks back at her life with ease and a sense of calm that comes from a decade of relative financial stability.

As the private Marietta Subong in real life, she is queen of her beautiful house in Antipolo City and admits to being a perfectionist. “I want everything in the house in order. But I am not the kind who will shout at the household help for every minor mistake. I actually treat them as family and I talk to them before I make my decision on what went wrong. We are one big happy family.”

She can say she has had a colorful first decade in the profession.

“I have been in showbiz for 10 years,” she says.

How she started out was simple: She is a natural bubbly person with her group and discovered she could entertain outside her friends’ circle. She was discovered in a comedy bar called Funline and it was a good time as any to make a good start in the showbiz world.

A few weeks later, she moved on to Music Box and became a regular attraction and later won a network’s search for Clown In A Million. One good break led to another and the rest is showbiz history.

She treats her lucky streak matter-of-factly even as she recounts how showbiz changed her life.

She expounds: “Of course, I was able to save to build a house, buy appliances you could only dream about before. The big change is that I’m able to send my daughter to a good school.”

Indeed, life is good but what she went through before showbiz beckoned was another material for a teleserye.

Indeed, the details of her pre-showbiz life were colorful enough to deserve a full airing in Maalaala Mo Kaya.

Snatches of that life further found reflections in her first solo film, A Mother’s Story, which was rated A by the Cinema Evaluation Board

Asked if she could relate to the character in My Illegal Wife, which looks like a funny version of The Legal Wife, Pokwang says the mother with two children from different fathers is what she is in real life.

Yes, she learned a lot from that difficult chapter in her life, lost some and won some, so to speak, but in bouncing back every time she falls, she kept her sense of humor and found a happy way to earn a living.

Do the sad chapters in a comedian’s life help them get better as comedians?

The comedians in My Illegal Wife have varied answers.

Joy Viado opines, “The sad part in one’s personal life is an encouragement to have a happy life. You have to be personally happy before you can make other people happy. I am in good company in this film and their presence is enough inspiration to do well. I don’t take it against some people when they tell me I can’t do drama because they find me ugly. Truth to tell, I am happy doing comedy, regardless of what is happening in my real life.”

Pokwang adds, “I think all comedians went through sad chapters in their lives. I like to treat them as part of growing up. They are also good when motivating yourself for a film role approximating the same life. But when it happened to me. I felt I had to be strong. My inspiration was my children. Their fathers were nowhere in sight and I have to take over. Sabi ko sa sarili ko, ‘Mawalan ka na ng asawa huwag lang mga anak.’”

Zanjoe offers a good testimonial on how he  finds Pokwang as a colleague and friend. “I have worked many times with her and what strikes me about her personal life is that she is a good mother and a good friend. It’s not hard to like Pokwang.  Character-wise, she is beautiful inside and out and mind you, she has a beautiful body.”

Director Tony Reyes says that since comedians went through varied life experiences, they can only have different approaches to any role or situation. “The best way to handle them is to give them leeway to interpret what is good for a particular scene. When you are working with professionals, I limit myself to guiding them and making sure they are not straying away from the script.”

For now, Pokwang is happy how her life has turned out to be.

She rues: “Before, my audience is limited to just a few friends and some loyal ones in the comedy bar. Now, I can say my audience has expanded worldwide. What can I say to those who want to make good as funny girl? First, I would say believe in your dreams; believe in your talent; magpakatotoo ka lang; and be natural in everything you do. Enjoy life for what it is and everything else follows. Just a reminder: Don’t overlook the power of prayers.”

My Illegal Wife opens on June 11 in all cinemas.


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