BBC’s Rico Hizon on London, Bill, Lebron, KimXi, Martin, Lea & John Lloyd

WILL SOON FLOURISH - Wilson Lee Flores (The Philippine Star) - February 16, 2014 - 12:00am

Television:  chewing gum for the eyes.  --- Frank Lloyd Wright

Award-winning broadcast journalist Rico M. Hizon is news anchor of BBC World News´ daily business and finance program Asia Business Report and general news based Newsday live from Singapore and London, broadcast every weekday morning to over 300 million households worldwide. An alumnus of De La Salle University, he started out at GMA 7 and is the only Filipino and Southeast Asian TV broadcast journalist to have worked for two leading global news networks CNBC and BBC.

Among his TV interview subjects include Microsoft´s Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer,  Air Asia's Tony Fernandes, Virgin´s Sir Richard Branson, billionaire Warren Buffet, hedge fund tycoons George Soros, and Mark Mobius, former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad, European Union President Jose Manuel Barroso, Nobel Prize Laureate Mohammad Yunus, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yughoyohono, US President Bill Clinton to Philippine President´s Fidel Ramos, and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Manny Pacquiao, NBA Superstars Lebron James and Kobe Bryant, top women golfers Michelle Wie and Lorena Ochoa, Hollywood and Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh, K-Pop star PSY, American Idol judge Steven Tyler, Supermodel Naomi Campbell, pop music composer David Foster.

Not many people know that Rico is a lifelong fan of local showbiz. He granted the Philippine Star an exclusive interview, here are excerpts:

Philippine Star: First of all, you’re based in Singapore, but how come viewers recently saw you anchoring the news from BBC News London?

Rico Hizon:  I had an anchor swap with colleague Babita Sharma of Newsday for a few weeks. I was on her anchor’s chair in London and she was in Singapore. It was such a great experience broadcasting live from Studio C of the BBC’s new global headquarters in Central London. This will go down in my book as one of the most memorable events in my broadcasting career. It was indeed a successful presenter swap and looking forward to the next opportunity.

Was it all work, or did you tour London too?

I had such an unbelievable experience! Just being in New Broadcasting House, the spanking brand new state-of-the-art facility of the BBC was an experience in itself. I was enjoying every minute of my stay there, it seemed like I was a tourist and not staff.  Aside from work, during my free time, I visited the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, St. Paul’s Cathedral.  I went to Tate Modern Museum, Saatchi Gallery, etc. I also went to Portobello and Notting Hill, the place where the 1999 romantic comedy of Julia Roberts and High Grant was filmed--- I really love romantic films! 

Also, I finally met the lovely business news presenter Sally Bundock. I've been doing financial news updates on World Business Report for more than 10 years and this was the first time I met her in person. It was one of the highlights of my trip. I also met all the presenters and reporters that I've either co-presented with or spoke to down the line - from Kasia Madera, Adnan Nawaz, Mike Embley, Aaron Heselhurst, Chris Rodgers, Lyse Doucet, Zeinab Badawi, Philippa Thomas, Tim Wilcox to Alice Baxter. I was star struck! I tried as much as possible to have "Selvies" with some of them.

Despite your being well-versed about global and Asian economics and geopolitics, you’re really updated on Philippine showbiz? Your opinions about the Vhong, Deniece and Cedric controversy which dominated our primetime TV news recently?

No opinion on this issue, I will just pray for them.

What latest movie have you watched?

The Wolf of Wall Street starring  Leonardo DiCaprio. It's an outrageous, crazily energised film.  Also recently watched the space-film Gravity with Sandra Bullock and Captain Phillips starring Tom Hanks. All Oscar-nominated films.

I heard you love to watch local Tagalog movies, what latest one you’ve watched?

Bride For Rent starring Kim Chiu and Xian Lim.

You’re based in Singapore and here only for short trips, but you’ve watched that? Why was it a box office hit?

Kim and Xian really have great chemistry on and off camera. The movie was hilarious, very funny, and romantic. I think Kim Chiu is the next Maricel Soriano, because she’s good in both drama and comedy.

Your opinion on some media criticisms when Kim Chiu didn’t want to reveal the real status of her rumored romance with movie co-star Xian Lim?

I think everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but I personally respect the opinion of Kim. If she and Xian don’t want to reveal details of their private lives, we should respect that.

By the way, before I forget, I’ve been wanting to ask if your family’s related to Hizon’s bakeshop in Malate, Manila?

It’s owned by the second cousin of my father Jose Hizon, and they have the best ensaymada in town.

Going back to your love of local movies, your assessment of the 2012 Metro Manila Film Festival? Did you get to see any of the films?

Yes I did! “Lagi kong tinatangkilik and pelikulang Pilipino.” I watched the film’s of Vice Ganda and Eugene Domingo while spending Christmas here. Both were wacky movies. I also had the chance to watch the horror movie of Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo, it was really scary and hair-raising!

You love Tagalog telenovelas and films, what about your our singers?

I love Martin Nievera. He has the best singing voice ever in my book! He’s a great guy too and also a dear friend. I go to most of his concerts, I really fly in to watch. I’ve been to almost 30 of his concerts, including his “Tatlong Dekada” concert last September 2013. Gary Valenciano, Zsa-Zsa Padilla, Regine Velasquez, Ogie Alcasid are also among my favourite OPM (Original Pilipino Music) artists.

Heard you’re really a big fan of Kim Chiu and Xian Lim, that you even went to their Bride For Rent movie set? How did that happen?

Yes, Xian invited me and my family to their movie set, because he found out that we were in Manila for the Christmas holidays. We really like their love team ever since Kim and Xian’s first TV series My Binondo Girl in 2012, then Ina Kapatid Anak last year. My son Migo loves goofing around with Xian. They have become good friends of the family.

Aside from good acting, why do you like Kim and Xian?

They’re both very simple, down to earth, humble and hardworking. We talk about various from their careers to their respective families and their likes and dislikes. I have so much fun talking to both of them.

You’ve interviewed Manny Pacquiao, will he win the fight against Bradley?

Manny still has the killer instinct and the fire in his belly to win any fight. He’s a Filipino Pride! When I asked him about his future political ambitions, Pacman said that all he wants is to serve his constituents well and to give them the necessary basic services and leadership.

Your impressions of NBA star LeBron James, whom you’ve interviewed?

LeBron is a very competitive athlete, very straightforward, very ambitious,. He’s a team person, and very focused on winning another NBA championship with Miami Heat. He’s also a wonderful family man, with 2 boys. I asked him if he wanted them to follow in his steps, he said he’ll leave it up to them,  and won’t pressure them to be basketball players.

Bill Clinton?

A very charismatic person. When I met him for the first time at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in Hong Kong, I was surprised when he approached me and said: “I’m glad you accepted our invitation to moderate the CGI, because when I’m in Asia, I watch you on the BBC.”  After Hong Kong, he invited me once again to facilitate a CGI forum in New York. What an honour and privilege.

Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler?

Wow! He’s one wacky person. When I told him my name was Rico, he said we have the same name, I said you’re kidding me. He said his real full name is Steven Tallarico. He’s very friendly, outgoing and funny. Of course, his daughter is the beautiful actress Liv Tyler of Armageddon, and played a key role in Lord of the Rings.

Your impressions of Michelle Yeoh?

The star of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon? My goodness, when I saw Michelle Yeoh in person for the first time, the first thing she said to me: “Rico Hizon of BBC, I watch you on TV! parang (as if), my jaw dropped. I was star-struck and at the same time, when she called out my name, I got goose bumps and was in awe. I admire for good causes such as being a Global Ambassador for the Make Roads Safe Campaign.

Kobe Bryant?

Kobe Bryant is an absolutely friendly person. No primadona attitude. He’s always smiling and a happy person. When I met him before the interview, we immediately connected and after our conversation, he shook my hand and gave me a half hug.

Matt Damon?

A talented, smart and a passionate person. He’s a person who loves to give back providing 50,000 people in Haiti with safe water and sanitation over three years.   

Is it true you’re also a fan of Lea Salonga?

Wow, she has one of the most beautiful voices I’ve ever heard. She has a very bright and sweet tone. Her diction is impecable, it’s very clear. Every word that comes out of her mouth is really understood and has emotion, you feel it, you feel the song.

Last and a serious question now, if a Rico Hizon film bio is to be produced, who would you want to portray you and who actress to portray your wife Melannie?

(laughs)  Ikaw talaga, that’s a cool question. I never even thought of that? … Hmmmm, I want John Lloyd Cruz to portray me and my wife Melannie? Bea Alonzo (laughs). Our son Migo could play himself (laughs)

Why are you laughing?

Kasi (It’s because) I really like their (John Lloyd and Bea) tandem, religiously watch their movies and teleseryes. I’ve been a big for more than 10 years now.


Thanks for feedback! E-mail willsoonflourish@gmail.com or follow WilsonLeeFlores on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and http://willsoonflourish.blogspot.com/

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