Sunday Lifestyle

Dingdong Dantes as Ninoy, Piolo Pascual as Marcos & Vilma as most beautiful

WILL SOON FLOURISH - Wilson Lee Flores - The Philippine Star

I care about the connection with the audience. Film is such a powerful medium. Movies can change the way people think. — Nicolas Cage


One weekend not long ago, I brought two of the country’s top interior designers to the country resthouse property of 93-year-old former Senate President Jovito “Jovy” Salonga in Pansol, Laguna, a property with a natural hot spring pool that I recently purchased and am now restoring. Their assistant was a UP Diliman graduate who had no idea who Salonga is, despite his being an outstanding alumnus of her school, a nationalist statesman and World War II hero.

This isn’t so shocking, since I heard of a survey reportedly showing many young people think that “People Power” — the 1986 civilian-backed military uprising — was a reality TV show that launched Kris Aquino into showbiz.

I’m sure many of the young generation have already totally forgotten the country’s struggles during the three years of Japanese military occupation in World War II, the turn of the century Philippine-American War, or the truths about the Katipunan revolution despite the National Historical Commission under Professor Maris Diokno urging people to mark Andres Bonifacio’s 150th birthday this Nov. 30.

Perhaps it is time we use pop culture media such as TV and the movies to depict the lives of contemporary as well as historical figures, but in objective, dispassionate and balanced portrayals?

Recently I chanced upon the 33-year-old GMA-7 actor Dingdong Dantes at the restaurant of Quezon City’s new Sequoia Hotel. The co-star of ABS-CBN 2’s Bea Alonzo and Enrique Gil in the current hit movie She’s The One is also star of the ongoing GMA-7 TV drama Genesis along with Rhian Ramos, Lorna Tolentino, Jackie Lou Blanco, Ronnie Henares and others. Dingdong agreed to give the Philippine STAR an exclusive interview. Here are excerpts,

PHILIPPINE STAR: Is it true you recently played on TV the role of the Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan who “discovered” the Philippines for Spain?

DINGDONG DANTES: Yes, I depicted Magellan at the ending of Marian Rivera’s Amaya TV series.

Lots of young people do not know Philippine history. Who are some of the other historical personalities you’d like to portray on TV or in film?

Ninoy Aquino, the late senator. I want to depict him in a biopic.

Do Kris Aquino and her brother Noy know that this is your dream role?

No, they don’t know yet.

Who would produce this, GMA Films or ABS-CBN 2’s Star Cinema?

Maybe I will produce this film.

Do you know in 2008 when I saw actor Piolo Pascual at Annabelle’s Restaurant with her then Lobo TV series co-star Angel Locsin, he told me his dream role was to portray the life story of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos? If you can have a balanced and perhaps non-political portrayal of both leaders as human beings and rivals, maybe you should have Piolo as co-star and your co-producer since he has produced films as well.

Wow, to have Piolo Pascual as Marcos and as co-star in a movie, that would be a dream! Ang ganda (That would be so good)!

Speaking of your former movie co-star Kris, what are your views on her publicly stated plans to run for Tarlac governor in 2016?

People love Kris. A good leader should be a good communicator, and I think she is an excellent communicator. Iyan ang pinaka-strength niya (That is her main strength). I also know that Kris has a pure and sincere heart.

I heard a few years ago that you were already thinking of running as councillor here in Quezon City. When do you see yourself entering politics?

Yes, that’s true, I’ve been invited to run for councillor here before, a long time ago… With or with politics, I’m committed to helping others. I have the Yes Pinoy Foundation. Honestly, wala pa akong specific plans sa pulitika (I still don’t have any specific plans in politics). I would prefer for now to focus on improving my craft as an actor, because I think it’s not good to have too much on your plate.

Your reaction to an international media story ranking Quezon City as the world’s No. 7 in terms of good-looking guys, and specifically citing you as an example?

Yes, I read that in the STAR and your column about it. (Laughs) You know, it’s really flattering. I believe that on the issue of good looks, it’s more than the physical. I think the basis for good looks is more yung ugali, mas nakakapogi ang magandang ugali ng isang tao (the behavior, the good behavior of a guy makes him more good-looking).

It seems you’re one of the few showbiz stars who’ve completed college: you’re an Ateneo graduate. If not showbiz, what would your profession be?

I’d probably be a soldier, because I grew up in a family of soldiers. My various family members served as soldiers, including my grandfather, the former Philippine Constabulary General Sixto Dantes. My uncle was also from the service. Malapit sa puso ko ang service (Military service is close to my heart).

What is your view of the hated pork barrel controversy?

My personal view on the pork barrel issue, I hope that we find the root of all these, where the pork barrel funds were really spent, those public funds that were intended for the people. In analyzing, let us understand what went wrong. I believe that our taxpayers’ money should only go to those who deserve it.

Any suggestions how to reform or change the rotten pork barrel system?

My suggestion is that they strengthen the ongoing process, analyze and find the root of the problem, in order to make sure that the same problem will not happen again. Let us please be more careful with public funds.

On a lighter note, the three most beautiful women in Philippine entertainment?

Vilma Santos, manghang-mangha ako sa ganda niya (I’m in awe of her beauty). She’s so sincere in her kindness, she’s like a mother.

Dina Bonnevie is so beautiful too. I’ve worked with her before, she was in her 20s and I was only 14 years old then.

Gloria Romero, the movie queen, she’s always beautiful, ever since, up to now.

You forgot to mention your girlfriend Marian Rivera, who was voted the sexiest according to Summit Media’s FHM magazine. Is it true you’re both already secretly engaged, because she seems to be wearing a special ring these days?

Of course, Marian is the most beautiful for me. No, what she’s wearing now is not an engagement ring. When we’re ready to be engaged, we’ll let you know. (Smiles)

If you have not yet secretly given her an engagement ring and Christmas season has started here in the Philippines, what were your most special gifts for Marian?

I’ve given her many… I don’t consider giving jewelry as “the most special gift,” because that is expensive but could just be flushed down the toilet and lost. My best gifts for the woman I love are memories, like my gifts of our travels together.

What are the top three most unforgettable trips you’ve given Marian?

Our trip to Amanpulo resort in Palawan for three days, that is my favorite of all. Then there’s our vacations to Spain two times, in 2009 and 2010. The third most unforgettable is our recent vacation to Bali for three days during her birthday.

You seem to be on top of the world, with success, lots of income, fame and with the most beautiful girlfriend. What was the worst crisis in your life?

There was a time in 2006, when I didn’t know what to do, but I surpassed it.

Your worst fear?

For the world to end, without my loved ones beside me.

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E-mail [email protected]. or follow WilsonLeeFlores on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and http://willsoonflourish.blogspot.com/.










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