The Golden Standard
Karla Rule (The Freeman) - November 18, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Everyone knows who Charo Santos-Concio is, and for good reason. The ABS-CBN Chief Content Officer is held as the golden standard for the entertainment industry and even leaders in general—becoming a vibrant example for both men and women in the country.


As DiaGold Jewelry recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, the brand translated its vision with their newest ambassador in no less than the showbiz icon herself, aligning themselves with the same sense of ambition, excellence and passion that the media executive and seasoned actress holds.

In a media huddle at Radisson Blu Cebu, the 63-year-old “Maalala Mo Kaya” host was poised, calm and held an undeniable air of authority and purpose. In her trademark soft-spoken timbre and unfailing stately disposition, Santos talked about how she presents herself through  jewelry, her upcoming film with Bea Alonzo, what “MMK” taught her and what, pray tell, can make her lose her cool.

What made you say yes to this endorsement?

When I was a young girl, I grew up with a mom who had an admiration for the finer things, who loves good pieces of jewelry. I had that influence from my mother. So when they asked me if I could be the endorser for DiaGold, I said yes right away. They showed me the pieces and they were beautiful. I was amazed by the collection.

How do you put together your accessories?

Everything has to fall into place. Pieces of jewelry have to go with what you’re wearing, the time of day…everything has to be appropriate. I don’t really go with anything flashy. I’m more of a minimalist and so, if you look at what I’m wearing, I wear very basic stuff and so the accessories would really come out.

Do you imagine yourself designing or coming up with your own line of jewelry?

I’d love to! Oh yes. Maybe one day when it’s less hectic. I can go to the production area, and maybe time my trips to learn more about the business. That would be really nice. It’s building a relationship more than just being the face. You go beyond a contractual arrangement.

Tell us about your upcoming horror film “Eerie.”

Finally, it will premiere at the Singapore Film Festival on December 3. I’m looking forward to that. I’m excited. In the Philippines, baka next year pa [national release].

Who are you going to be in “Eerie”?

Naku! I’m the principal of an all-girls Catholic school. And the setting is in the 90s when the rules were very, very important. In a Catholic school setting, sometimes, there are teachers or leaders in the organization who make you feel like everything is a sin. That’s the setting, that’s the milieu. When you go to an all-girls school, you’re somehow brainwashed to think and behave in a certain way. There’s a play on your guilt. “Bad yan!” they would say and before you know it, you’re punishing yourself already.

Is your role like those teachers and leaders?

There’s ambiguity in my character. I’m not all black, neither am I white. Very human… I’m constrained. My hands are tied with the teachings of the institution. Diba, ganon yun eh. When you join an institution, you go by the rules of the institution. Sometimes you don’t see that the world is evolving and that it’s time to change, that it’s time to see humanity from a more compassionate set of eyes. Sometimes, you can be too cloistered that you don’t see reality for what it is.

How scary is it going to be?

It’s not an out and out scare type of movie. It’s a psychological-thriller. It involves a lot of introspection, and processing what the viewer would go through when they’re watching. May magre-resonate sa’yo eh.

How does it feel to work in a horror film?

My first movie was “Itim”, which is a horror genre. I was possessed by the spirit of my dead sister because her death was a mystery. I was used as the medium. I love doing horror. I love horror. There’s precision to it. You have to know just when to cut, and when to do a close up. The director should know that. You’re working on kalian tatakutin yung audience. Kailangan sigurado ang director when handling the material.

How did you feel working on that very first horror film?

I’m a sponge, eh. I sit quietly in one corner and observe. From observing people on how they do things… I read up. I watch a lot of cinema and television. All of these elements put together, the dots kind of connected noh? Andon lang ako, nakaupo sa isang tabi. Pag sinabing ganito yung eksena, ganyan, aralin mo yung script… and when you’re with your seniors you see how they’re doing and how they perform, and you get into the groove.

Do you love horror more than doing drama?

Well, a Lav Diaz drama is so different from your mainstream dramas. The camera does not move, it takes the position of the observer. And he just gives you the set as a playground. Sasabihin, “Oh Charo, dito yung camera ko, ganito yung frame ko. Wag kang lalampas diyan. Bahala ka kung anong gagawin mo.”

How do you go about doing a Lav Diaz film?

The first three days, I was so lost and insecure. Tama ba yung ginawa ko? Hindi ko alam kasi with others, sasabihan ka—ituturo yung blocking, they give markers. Kay Lav, wala. Bahala ka. Tama ba tong ginagawa ko? On the third day I really had to go to him and ask, “Direk, tama ba tong ginagawa ko?” and he said, “If you don’t hear anything from me, that means you’re doing well.”

How do you keep such a youthful glow?

A positive mindset. You have to look forward to every single day that you wake up. Learn to take things in stride. When you get to a point in life where you learn to choose your battles, yung hindi lahat pinapansin. Yung iba, maliliit naman, tayo lang ang nagpapalaki. When you’re more in control of who you are, and you know yourself more, and you’re more mindful of the triggers that will make you lose your temper, make you lose your poise…

Do you ever lose temper?

Bihira naman. But I do. Pero bihirang-bihira akong magalit. I look for authenticity. I can live with imperfection. I look for transparency, yun lang. Sana totoo lang tayo diba? In any relationship, I think it’s very, very important whether it’s personal of professional. Transparency is key to keeping a relationship.

What are your hopes for “Maalaala Mo Kaya”?

I hope it will evolve into creating some stuff for the digital platform where I can have more time with the letter senders. Now, I get to meet them, eh. They come to the studio when I do my spiels. I get to meet them. I hope my conversations with them in the studio can be used also as content in the digital platform. Nami-meet ko sila! And speaking of youthful, kasi tinuro ng “MMK” sa akin yung humility and compassion. “MMK” put into context the way I see my own pain, trials and suffering. Magko-complain na ako, pero pag may nabasa akong mas malungkot… Ay, nakakahiya naman ‘to. I have no reason to complain.


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