Kiko Estrada pays homage to late grandfather Paquito Diaz

Nathalie Tomada - The Philippine Star
Kiko Estrada pays homage to late grandfather Paquito Diaz

As Kiko Estrada plays his biggest role yet in the ongoing TV5-Viva drama “Lumuhod Ka Sa Lupa,” he couldn’t help but acknowledge the influence of his late grandfather, the famous kontrabida Paquito Diaz, on his acting journey.

Paquito died in 2011 at the age of 73 but a decade before that, he suffered a stroke. He passed on before Kiko started acting but somehow, the veteran movie star, once hailed as the Philippine movie industry’s “King of Kontrabidas,” helped shape the acting path of his grandson.

“(His death) was a long time ago but it was really tough for us. I wasn’t in showbiz then. Before he died, he told me, ‘Ikaw papalit sa akin.’ But I was like, who’s gonna replace a legend, right?” Kiko told The STAR in an exclusive chat.

“I don’t know if he saw that potential in me. Maybe? Maybe it was God telling him to say this to me? Because it was after his stroke, he was half of himself already when he was talking to me. It stuck in my mind.

“I can still remember his face, before and after the stroke, it’s two different people. There was one guy I grew up with and there was this guy that I don’t want to know, too, because I don’t want to see that (to see him like that). When I close my eyes, I want to remember Paquito Diaz.

“Everybody is saying he was a villain, yeah he was a villain (onscreen) but in my life, he’s the lead, he’s the bida (hero) of my life.”

‘He’s the hero of my life’: ‘Lumuhod Ka Sa Lupa’ star Kiko Estrada recalls his favorite memories with late grandfather Paquito Diaz. Photo above shows the actor as a baby with his lolo.
Kiko Estrada


Nevertheless, those words stuck with him until he decided to enter showbiz.

“So maybe he just told me to try this out, try this act out and I fell in love with acting.”

He further shared his favorite memories of his Lolo Paquito.

“The only thing I can remember with Lolo Paquito was, he was so different from what you see onscreen. He was tender. Yeah he was macho, he was tough, he was like, you know, this hard (character) but he was actually soft, sweet. He was a sweet guy.

He continued, “He hated it if you’d do any activity and you were wearing slippers. So he’d make you wear shoes.

“When he woke up, naglilinis siya ng mga gamit sa bahay. (He was) very organized as a person. He would clean his car, pagkatapos sa labas ng side ng street namin, siya ay nagwawalis para malinis on the street. He loved working out, he was a love boat.”

Some two to three years ago, Kiko got himself a tattoo dedicated to the memory of his grandfather.

“I have a tattoo on me, it’s a butterfly and it’s him… ‘Cause I recently found out and ‘cause I thought that we were well-off ever since we were kids, I didn’t know… I found out Lolo Paquito, you know, he had to grow up under the bridge in Mexico, Pampanga, not well-off and he had to fight. But I never knew.

“He had to fight his way to become (who he was) and that’s why I thought of a butterfly. From a caterpillar turning to a butterfly.”

Asked if there was any memorable character or movie of his Lolo Paquito, he cited, “‘Asiong Salonga’ where he played the villain, he played ‘Nardong Toothpick. But if I’m gonna make it, I think I will be Asiong hahaha!”

Kiko also shared what he learned about acting from his grandfather. “Lolo Paquito had this one thing that he told my mother and then she told me: Acting is about bringing the audience along for the ride. You have to reach a climactic point in a scene. So it’s not a monotone thing. Before you scream or get mad in tone, you have to be light … then it goes up and up and up.

“Of course, there are scenes that the director wants (things to be steady). But yeah, that’s the acting thing that I learned — bringing the audiences to the journey and making them feel something. If I cry right now and there’s tears already, I’m not gonna bring you there. But if I don’t and then eventually my eyes bawl, (they can say) I felt that. So, it’s about being in the moment. Not really memorizing your lines but being open.”

Just because of his acting pedigree, it doesn’t mean Kiko had it “easier” pursuing a showbiz career.

“How do you say that when the pressure is immense, hahaha! (There’s constant pressure to be like) hey, better be good! Before I acted, I did a year of workshops. I did the basic, advanced and masterclass of Star Magic workshops. I worked hard,” Kiko told this paper.

“People think na just because… that’s why I was saying I hate entitled people and I might be accused of that when I was a kid. But I believe I worked for what I have right now. It was not easy, it was not given.”

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