David Licauco surprised by audiences’ response to his Fidel character

Jerry Donato - The Philippine Star
David Licauco surprised by audiences� response to his Fidel character
They (the people behind the show) told me that he’s the best friend of Ibarra (played by Dennis Trillo) na medyo modern yung attack,’ says David about his character in GMA 7’s Maria Clara at Ibarra. ‘They also told me that he has a love interest in Klay (Barbie Forteza). To my surprise, I didn’t expect that people would like the pairing of Klay and Fidel. Nakakatuwa talaga.’
STAR / File

David Licauco has embodied the competitive entrepreneur Ace and legitimate son-heir apparent Anton in Heartful Café and Mano Po Legacy: The Family Fortune, respectively. His portrayal, to some extent, has made these characters grow on audiences and swoon-worthy to some.

The Kapuso actor is showing such knack again as Fidel in GMA 7’s historical portal series Maria Clara at Ibarra. Despite his character’s being a red flag for displaying male superiority, David’s Fidel has his own following that finds him endearing.

“Well, prior to my accepting the role, I asked, of course, what my role was (and what would it be like),” said David in a recent virtual interview with The STAR. “They (the people behind the show) told me that he’s the best friend of Ibarra (played by Dennis Trillo) na medyo modern yung attack. They also told me that he has a love interest in Klay (Barbie Forteza). To my surprise, I didn’t expect na kakagatin siya ng mga tao (that people would like the pairing of Klay and Fidel). Nakakatuwa talaga.”

Given Fidel and Klay’s aso’t pusa, he says-she says confrontations, and the opposites attract eventuality, netizens and viewers have bestowed upon them the FiLay uniname and look forward to their next encounters and verbal jousting. Some even entertain the possibility that Fidel will traverse to the milieu, where Klay comes from.

“As a fan, who’s watching the show, I would love to see Fidel making a crossover to the present world,” David shared. “I think it’s the best thing to do for fans na medyo kinikilig sa tandem namin ni Barbie… I think that would be good for the show and good for the fans.” That is to see Klay give Fidel a tour of the contemporary world’s sights and sounds. She will treat him to fast food and introduce him to independent women.

David’s onscreen partnership with Barbie started in Heartful Café, where the actress made a guest appearance as Ace’s girlfriend Cors, and continued on in Mano Po Legacy: The Family Fortune, in which the two acted as Anton and Steffy. The TV adaptation of the Mano Po movie franchise and Maria Clara at Ibarra were answers to David’s wish of sharing the screen with Barbie.

“(Barbie) is an amazing actress,” said he in a previous group interview. “She was throwing so much emotions at me and I just had to react to what she was giving me.”

It’s safe to say that there’s no need for David and Barbie to establish rapport. They only have to revisit their then onscreen chemistry, and apply it to their Fidel and Klay.

“I think kahit sinong i-parehas sa kanya magiging maganda pa rin (Whoever will get paired with her, they will still yield good results),” said he, who was glad to have accepted the role “kasi maganda yung show (because the show is really good) and a lot of people are enjoying it.”

According to David, who feels proud and happy because of audiences’ support for the teleserye and characters, considers his role one of the hardest, given Fidel’s Spanish and Tagalog lines. He hopes for viewers’ continued patronage. The upcoming episodes, added David, will see Fidel and Klay in more scenes together.

From what one can glean from David’s thoughts is that the charm of Fidel lies in that consideration of a lady to see and meet someone, who is a contrast to Crisostomo Ibarra, a green flag for his gentleman ways. “I feel like for sure naman kahit ikaw personally, ma-bo-bore ka rin makipag-date sa isang taong masyadong mabait, tama, mali?” he said and added that Fidel is also a well-written character.

While attending to his showbiz commitments, David is also on top of his business pursuits.

“I think as the business grows bigger, it’s also becoming hard like every day, I have a lot to do,” shared he, who has just opened physical stores for his Sobra Café in Alabang and Kuya Korea in Katipunan. “I’m planning (for expansion) very soon, right after the teleserye. It’s something I will study. What I plan to do here is like (make it) a franchising company. Many are inquiring.”

David will take on the task of knowing its nitty-gritty as soon as the tapings for Maria Clara at Ibarra are completed. “Kailangan lang nating maging grateful sa kung ano yung mga binibigay sa atin (We need to be grateful for the blessings being given to us),” said he. “With the opportunities I’m getting… hindi kasi lahat ng mga tao nabibigyan ng mga opportunities na ganito (not everyone gets the same opportunities).” This and fans’ support are some of the reasons that make him stay in the acting business. The challenge for him is how to manage his time as an actor and a businessman.

“I’m super hands-on,” said David. “Actually, all my businesses… other people are part of a business, like for marketing’s sake (or side of it). But with my businesses, I’m the one who has started them up, from operations to the system and everything.”

With that, David is lucky to have opportunities to pursue both his creative and entrepreneurial interests.

(Maria Clara at Ibarra airs from Mondays to Fridays after 24 Oras.)

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