Honestly now, Coco Martin!

Honestly now, Coco Martin!

CONVERSATIONS - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - July 1, 2018 - 12:00am

No contest now: Coco Martin is the new Commercial King (with the likes of Marian Rivera, Maine Mendoza, Heart Evangelista, et al as his female counterparts). He’s endorsing, among other products, Cebuana Lhuillier, MyPhone, TM, Coffee,  Bench, Boardwalk, Argentina Corned Beef, Neozep and, the latest, King Cup Sardines which was launched last Thursday at Luxent Hotel where The STAR sat down with Coco for an exclusive Conversation. (The brand comes in two variants: King Cup Sardines in tomato sauce and King Cup Sardines in tomato sauce with chili added.)

No objections now: Coco is the real Primetime King with FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano, his top-rated Kapamilya teleserye remaining unchallenged (shows pitted against it have been relentlessly toppled), celebrating its third anniversary in September and running (by insistent viewers’ demand) perhaps until end of the year…and beyond?

We gave Coco no choice but…

“You will have to be honest,” Conversations “warned” him, and Coco nodded, ‘Yes!” But before that, Coco entertained three cancer-patient kids being cared for by the Make-a-Wish Foundation, who are his fans. “I have a soft spot for kids like them,” said Coco, “because I have a nephew who is a special child.”

Here’s how the one-on-one went:   

Congratulations for giving otherwise “idle” stars well-deserved exposure in Probinsyano. Also for having been chosen by your Probinsyano co-star Susan Roces as the FPJ Memorial Award recipient (at the recent FAMAS).

“Actually, we started taping in May 2015 so we count that date as our third anniversary; the airing began in September 2015.” (Coco is now one of the teleserye’s four directors including Malu Sevilla, Toto Natividad and Enzo Williams.)  

What lessons have you learned so far from Probinsyano?

“’Yung pagbibigay ng importansya sa mga ka-trabaho and definitely ang pagiging professional. I learn a lot from my veteran co-stars like Tita Susan and Tito Eddie (Garcia).”

You have confirmed that you and Vic Sotto are starring in a movie for the MMFF in December. Who are your co-stars?

(Last Friday, the script for the Coco-Vic movie titled Popoy en Jack, The Puliscredibles was among the four accepted as among the eight official 2018 MMFF entries together with Aurora, Viva Films, starring Anne Curtis, directed by Yam Laranas; Fantastica: The Princesses, The Prince and the Perya, Viva Films/Star Cinema, starring Vice Ganda, Maris Racal, Loisa Andalio and Maymay Entrata, directed by Barry Gonzalez; and Girl in the Orange Dress, Quantum/MJM Films, starring Kim Chiu, Jessy Mendiola, Jericho Rosales, Sam Milby, Tom Rodriguez and Kit Thompson, directed by Dan Villegas. The four more entries will be selected from among the submitted finished films, with deadline on Sept. 21.)

“My movie with Boss Vic is an action-comedy, co-produced by his M-ZET, APT Film and my own CCM Productions. Boss Vic and I will play cops. Binubuo pa namin ang cast. There are so many adjustments.”

Your entry, Panday, in last year’s MMFF finished second to Vice Ganda’s Gandarrapiddo: The Revenger Squad. Disappointed ka ba sa results? (Gandarrapiddo reportedly grossed more than P571M and Panday, more than P200M)

“Disappointed? Hindi naman po!”

Did you and Vice really have a “cold war” (over last year’s MMFF when neither of you would give way to the other)?

“Actually, kami ni Vice…we are best friends; matagal na kaming magkaibigan. Siempre, hindi mo ma-i-aalis na magkatampuhan. We didn’t have a chance to sort things out kasi we seldom saw other. He was always in the studio (for It’s Showtime) while I was always out taping for Probinsyano. ‘Yung tampuhan at hindi pagkaka-intindihan, normal between friends, di ba? When we saw each other during the MMFF opening parade, we talked at wala na, everything was okey na, tapos na!”

Are you and Vic really joining forces purposely against Vice Ganda?

“Honestly, sabi ko nga po ang natutunan ko ‘yung MMFF is not about competition, not about palakihan ng kita. Kasi kapag ‘yon ang nilagay mo sa utak mo, ang hirap gumalaw, nakaka-pressure. I think ang dapat mindset mo is that all of us are joining together in giving the viewers the best entertainment. Iba-ibang klase naman ang mga pelikula, iba’t-ibang flavor, iba’t-iba ang paggawa.”

Are you and Maine Mendoza doing a movie together?

“Honestly, I would love to do a movie with her. Pero hindi pa maayos ang schedule.”

Coco with cancer-stricken kids, his avid fans being cared for by the Make-a-Wish Foundation... — VER PAULINO

Kasama ba si Maine sa pelikula ninyo ni Vic?

“Hmmm, sana! Hmmm, bumebuwelo pa. Oops!!! Nasabi ko tuloy, hehehe!!!”

There’s a rumor that Alden Richard’s new GMA series, Victor Magtanggol, will be (might be) pitted against Probinsyano. What’s your reaction?

“Walang problema.”

What’s your advice to actors aspiring to be an action star? (Coco started in indies where he reigned supreme, built up by Brillante Mendoza starting with Masahista and Serbis where Coco did daring [read: nude] love scenes.)

“Never pumasok sa isip ko na mapupunta ako sa action. Unang-una, ang liit ko; 5’7” lang ang height ko. Nagkataon lang na tinatangkilik ang Probinsyano ng mga tao. I don’t look like an action star. Ganoon din siguro ang mangyayari sa ibang artista…with the right project.”

Incidentally, where do you put your money?

“Sa investment. When I started in indies, you know naman na walang-wala ako. I know that there’s no forever in business. I know that things will come to an end. Time will come na hindi na ako ganito ka-busy, so when that happens, I want to be prepared. Pinag-hahandaan ko talaga. So every time na may mga artista kaming nabibigyan ng second chance in Probinsyano, I always remember that when I was starting nobody gave me money but only opportunities. That’s the most important; ‘yung bibigyan ka ng opportunity. So when I see people winning in contests at bagay sa role, I give them a chance sa Probinsyano.”

You are so busy. No time to pamper yourself, enjoy time away from work?

“I must admit na pangit siguro that I don’t have time for myself. Bumabawi na lang ako, I’d rather spend my free time with my family kaysa lumabas-labas pa ako. I guess I don’t miss going out because it took time for me to prepare where I am now. Before, now you have work; the next time wala kang work. So now that I have work, why should I waste my time? Alam ko ang pakiramdam ng walang trabaho.”

...and as King Cup Sardines endorser with the president of Permex Jimmy Yap, vice president of Sales and Marketing Jaydrick Yap and CFO of Permex Eugene Yap.

And you don’t even have time for your love life?

“Wala pa nga, eh!” (Spoken with hesitance.)

Siya pa rin? (Referring to rumored but unconfirmed girlfriend Julia Montes.)

“Hindi…wala pa nga, eh! Mahirap mag-work, eh. Sa sarili ko nga wala akong time, ibibigay ko pa ba sa ibang tao?”

But you and she (JM) live near each other, right? So it’s easy for you to see each other.

“Hmmm, medyo-medyo, hahaha!!!”

By the way, what’s between you and Yassi Pressman (as his wife in Probinsyano)? A photo of you kissing Yassi went viral on social media.

“Wala ‘yon. There was no malice there. We were not alone in the tent when that happened. There were other people. I guess nabigyan lang ng ibang meaning because we play husband and wife in the teleserye.”

In Probinsyano, you tackle various issues like the drug problem, terrorism, etc. What if you are invited to enter politics?

“Wala sa isip ko. As it is, I am able naman not only to entertain but to help many people.”

(E-mail reactions at rickylophilstar@gmail.com. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

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