The Joker
Cate de Leon (The Philippine Star) - April 26, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - It’s a mad world we live in. Sometimes when we least expect it, we get dealt the worst hand, and the house of cards seems to fall again and again and again. What Vhong Navarro loves about his job as a comedian is how he is able to let people momentarily forget about the realities they wish to run away from. And, indeed, as he walks onto the set of our photo shoot, he makes joke after joke after joke. And despite what each of us in the room may have been going through and thinking and feeling at the moment, we laughed along.

Vhong does just that in his return to the big screen with Da Possessed. “Nakaka-possess talaga siya sa saya. Kumbaga dito eh makakalimot ka ng bahagya at panandalian ng iyong problema kapag napanood mo ‘to.” He imagines movie goers exiting the cinema with their friends, dates, kids, or families with smiles on their faces. “It’s a movie for everyone, and that’s what I’m proud of,” he says of his P40-million box office hit.

In this interview, we got to ask Vhong about his seemingly “loser” character, Ramon, how a comedian deals with real life horrors in the public eye, and the kind of person he emerged as from that dark hole. You be the judge.

Supreme: Can you tell us about your character in Da Possessed?

Vhong Navarro: Si Ramon ay sobrang matatakutin sa lahat ng mga bagay. Maski hangin takot siya. Maski anino takot siya. But how does he survive all that? There are events in this movie that cause him to face his fears, and he does it for his family. He also meets Anna (Solenn Heussaff) who helps him face his fears. Kumbaga tungkol siya sa kung ano ang kayang gawin ng isang anak para sa kanyang pamilya.

What did you learn from your new character?

I learned a lot, especially from a person like him who, when most people look at him, is seen as a loser. Mukha siyang api-apihin. But deep inside he turns out to be the brave one, having to face being possessed by three ghosts, all different characters. Nagawa at naharap niya lahat.

Being a comedian who makes people laugh on a daily basis, how was it dealing with what you did in the public eye?

It’s hard because you want to make people happy. Gusto mong mawala yung mga problema at mga pinagdadaanan nilang mga lungkot sa buhay. Pero ikaw mismo ay may pinagdadaanan ding mahirap. But what is more important to comedians like myself is to be able to make people happy. It’s the gift that God has given us.

Both your person and reputation took a huge blow. How do you plan to turn your life and your career around?

Basta ako tuloy lang. Binigay ko na talaga ang buhay ko kay God eh, kung saang direksyon ba talaga pupunta. What I can say is that I’m always here to make people happy, because that’s what makes me happy.

Describe Vhong Navarro now.

Siguro ngayon mas napapalapit ako lalo kay God. Mas napalapit ako lalo sa pamilya ko. I get my strength from them, my girlfriend, and of course, sa madlang people. It turns out being brave isn’t so much a physical thing as it is spiritual. You need that to face the challenges you meet in life.

What’s next for you?

I hope Da Possessed gets a Part 2. Da Repossessed daw, ewan ko (laughs). Basta hangga’t gusto pa nila ako. I hope I also get another movie project because I really want to keep making movies.

* * *

Tweet the author @catedeleon.

Photo by MJ SUAYAN of At East | Jed Root

Produced by DAVID MILAN

AT EAST DA POSSESSED DA REPOSSESSED DESCRIBE VHONG NAVARRO JED ROOT KUMBAGA MASKI PEOPLE SOLENN HEUSSAFF
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