Freeman Cebu Entertainment

Daniel Matsunaga: ‘God’s most precious gift is time’

VAB - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - If some showbiz couples are leery of working together lest it mess up their off-cam dynamics or to grant the other professional space, Daniel Matsunaga and Erich Gonzales apparently do not have that hesitation.

 The 27-year-old actor is in fact delighted to have landed a TV gig alongside his 25-year-old beau of almost a year, seeing it as a rare chance to bond with his girlfriend and earn a paycheck– both at the same time.

“Hindi ako natakot, because we take it as a blessing. The set is so fun, and there has been no reason to fight,” Daniel gushes in an interview during the Friday opening of Citizen Philippines’ branch at The Watch Store, located at the Upper Ground Floor of SM City Cebu’s The Northwing.

 Daniel, a Citizen watch brand ambassador, helped unveil to guests the company’s revolutionary Citizen’s Eco-Drive technology, which allows their watches to never need a battery.

 The Brazilian-Japanese dreamboat stars with the lovely Erich, a Davao native, in the ABS-CBN morning rom-com “Be My Lady,” a series that tackles the challenges of an interracial relationship – a subject that doesn’t fall far from the duo’s real-life scenario.

 Daniel plays Phil, a liberated Brazilian-Japanese who’s based in Singapore and who comes from a broken home. A friend’s wedding brings him to the Philippines, and he uses the trip to also search for his childhood nanny. Erich is Pinang, a reserved Filipina nurse whose mother (Janice De Belen) had to work abroad in hopes of earning enough to reclaim the piece of farmland her husband (Al Tantay) used to own. The two of course, bump into each other and try to navigate a romance despite the differences in language, beliefs and culture.

 “We’ve been doing well. It’s one of the top-rating morning shows. Yesterday, we scored 19.5 percent against the rival program’s 7 percent,” shares Daniel proudly.

 “The feedback has been really positive and inspiring. A lot of OFWs from Saudi Arabia, Dubai and other countries have actually been messaging us. They say they’re very proud to be abroad working for their loved ones back home. I’m sure they often miss their families here, so through this show, it helps them connect with their families.”

 Erich, he says, lends him a hand on set, something he’s very grateful for. “She has been in the business for quite a while now. Sobrang galing. Our director [Theodore Boborol] is also very good. We all help one another. Erich always helps me with my lines, how to enunciate the words properly. Even if my character speaks English, I also need to know when to pause and all this other little details.”

 Asked what challenges he himself faced or is facing with his previous and current interracial relationship (he’s dated Heart Evangelista in the past), the “Pinoy Big Brother” winner insists that his love outweighs any cultural disparities that exist.

 “I have no challenges actually. Everything has been positive. Mahal ko si Erich and we are very blessed for this opportunity to have a show together. We’re working and spending time with each other. The most precious gift that God can give a couple is time, and we get to have that and work at the same time,” he says.

 The pair first met in the ABS-CBN morning show “Kris TV” when it taped in Palawan in March. But it was only after Daniel as cast in Erich’s 2014 primetime series “Two Wives” that they got to know each other better.

 Almost a year in, and they seem to still be in the honeymoon stage. “A lot of people don’t believe it, but we don’t really fight. If there is any misunderstanding, it’s just a matter of conversation,” says Daniel. “We solve things by putting God in the center of our relationship – which I think is important whether you’re in an interracial relationship or not.”

 And so will we hear about him putting a ring on it anytime soon? “Hopefully, in God’s time,” was his terse reply. (FREEMAN)

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