•Fil-Am hunk eyeing showbiz •John is back in good health

FUNFARE - Ricky Lo - The Philippine Star

Crazy about eye-catching gasoline boys, Alden Richards lookalikes and country boys with a sack full of carrots on their back?

“There are more like them where I am,” reported Funfare’s New York correspondent Felix Manuel who singled out one of them and sent his photos to this corner. “Take a good look. Isn’t he star material?”

The Fil-Am, Matthias Rhoads, was among the lookers (male and female) who participated in the Philippine Independence Day Parade in New York City. Dressed as Lapu-Lapu, the hunk made heads turn along the 12-block route, unwittingly stealing the scene from, among others,  2013 Mr. World Francisco Escobar (from Colombia).

“After the parade,” related Felix, “while everyone was checking out the food stalls, we noticed some sort of a commotion. Girls were lining up to have a selfie with Matthias, us included. That’s how we found out what his name is.”

Felix learned from Matthias that his mom grew up in Quezon City and migrated to Chicago to study. His father is from the Washington D.C. area; his maternal grandfather is a doctor from Batanes; and his maternal grandmother, who recently celebrated her 100th birthday, is from Guinobatan, Albay. 

“Matthias grew up in the south in a not very diverse city and had always identified with eastern culture even at an early age,” Felix wrote. “As he grew older, he became heavily involved in the New Orleans Asian Pacific American Society (APAS) where he learned traditional Filipino dances such as La Simpatica. It is with this group that he found himself modeling Filipino couture and eventually enjoyed networking with Filipinos.” 

He grew playing the piano and eventually found a love for singing. He then became interested in acting and has performed in various musicals and Shakespeare plays. He went to school for design where he learned about architecture and sound design, but eventually graduated with a BFA in Communications with a focus on advertising design. 

“Matthias currently works in finance and dreams of building his own company,” added Felix, “but his passion for acting and modeling is definitely burning!”

Surely, Matthias can easily join the growing ranks of Fil-Ams in Philippine showbiz. Any taker?

* * *

(Right) John Regala (center) with fellow officers of Project Green Revolution, Inc. Edwin dela Torre (inventor, leftmost) and Clair Baniaga (treasurer, second from left), with Dennis Bialen (secretary), William Galvan (auditor) and George Orden (marketing). (Left) John and his bonsai in a bottle.

When John Regala invited his friend reporters to lunch recently, he gifted them with bonsai in cute plastic bottles.

“I never imagined that I would come to this,” said John, one of Philippine Cinema’s finest kontrabidas. That is, become an environmentalist.

Back in good health after surviving three months in the hospital with stones in both his kidneys, John bounces back not yet in the movies where he rightfully belongs but as president/CEO of the Project Green Revolution, Inc. which produces the Water Bonsai Root Grower, marketed as a “miracle powder” for growing indoor plants. The powder was invented by Edwin dela Torre who said that he started it as a hobby.

“It’s not fertilizer,” clarified De La Torre. “It’s a kind of mineral powder that can make plants grow faster. All you do is place a twig or a branch in a small bottle and when it grows, you can transfer it to a bigger bottle.”

“It’s a promoter of good health,” swore John who has filled up his condo unit with bottle of grown plants that help clean the air.

John narrated that last February when he was in the hospital, De la Torre visited him and broached the idea to him. They soon closed the deal.

Several pounds lighter, John has learned a painful lesson from his hospital confinement. Asked how his kidneys got infected, he said, “I was paying for bad habits through the years. I have reversed my lifestyle. I am now clean-living.”

The only son of former actors Ruby Regala (one of the sexiest during her time) and Mel Francisco (the first cousin of Robin Padilla), John should answer the call of the kleig lights soon. What a pity if he lets his versatility go to waste (he was memorable in the Asiong Salonga remake starring former Laguna Gov. E.R. Ejercito, remember?).

Unlike most actors who are mum about their personal life, John doesn’t mind talking about his.

“I have three sons, lahat panganay,” he admitted. “The eldest is 25 and a Masscomm graduate, the second is graduating and the third is a starting stage actor in US,” adding in jest, “all boys kaya walang pambayad,” referring to his colorful love life. From his paternal side, John said he has several half-siblings, “and I’m close to all of them but not to my father who had denied me years ago.”

Before the movie writers called it a day, they asked John what advice he could give his colleagues who are still bugged by bad habits (including, well, you know what it is).

“Drop the bad habits before it’s too late,” said John. 

(E-mail reactions at [email protected]. You may also send your questions to [email protected].)


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