Freeman Cebu Entertainment

The rebirth of Jericho Rosales as a creative

Karla Rule - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — Fresh from his well-documented solo trip to Morocco, Jericho Rosales is seeing the world with brand new eyes and with a more impassioned sense of purpose. It seems that life restarted for the actor at 40 after what he calls the best jaunt he’s ever had. While he didn’t exactly leave his heart in the Sahara, he did depart with a heart and spirit that’s more whole than when he arrived.

Upon his return to the country, among his first order of business was dropping by the municipality of Cordova in Cebu on Sept. 28 to visit sari-sari store owners and thank them for their support of San Miguel Pale Pilsen as part of the liquor brand’s Idol Sari-Sari Store Tour. An opportunity to get in touch with his humble beginnings, Jericho, fondly called Echo, didn’t mind strolling in the heat and meeting men and women, young and old, outside 20 stores along the streets of Barangay Dapitan.

Echo can make a press conference feel as if you’re lounging with friends over a beer or two. Going on about all sorts of stuff from how he wants to make action-drama, comedies, and straight dramas, to the state of the world and why that makes him and wife Kim Jones not want to have kids, and even looking back on his journey, one thing is clear: Echo doesn’t want to be, well, an echo, but someone who makes waves, and powerful ones at that.

“I just celebrated my birthday and I think to myself that I have a fresh start,” he tells us. “Things aren’t bad. I think this is a special chapter. It’s very exciting. I have a clear picture of what I want to do and it excites me. I appreciate life more, I appreciate people more, I appreciate myself. This life needs to be dedicated to something.”

In an interview at Cordova’s Lantaw Floating Restaurant, we caught up with Echo about how he’s been since the hit ABS-CBN teleserye “Halik,” his dreamy holiday in the desert, how he’s treading life as an actor, and his rebirth as a creative.

Before taking a break from television, you said you wanted to repackage yourself. How is that coming along?

It was a little heartbreaking and shocking to everybody when they heard me say that I’m going to repackage myself or that I’m not going to do the same thing. People think na hindi na ako magte-teleserye. Hindi naman. Makikita pa rin naman ako sa TV pero pwede akong mag-comedy, maybe go back to singing. This year, I promised myself that I would work on my film career. I decided to do that and immediately called a lot of directors and writers. I started my own team. We’re collaborating and co-producing films and I have some scripts that I’m working on. I’m very happy kasi talagang nararamdaman ko na tinrabaho ko siya. I’m working with friends who I can trust and who trust me back. Kailangan ko lang talaga na maging mas disiplinado pa at mag-stick doon sa ginagawa ko ngayon. It’s going to be an exciting 2020.

Even with the success of “Halik,” you decided not to take advantage of the traction. Instead you not only took a break but also went a different path. For fellow actors who feel the need to explore, can you tell us how you did it?

As an actor, I’m naturally restless. I want to keep doing different things, I want to keep growing and taking on different shapes and forms. You have to be honest with yourself, accept who you are and follow your heart. If your heart tells you that you want to be a musician then go be a musician. If it’s acting, then sipagan mo, aralin mong maigi. If it’s directing, pag-aralan mo ng maigi. My advice is really to follow where your heart leads you. Happiness will be the result. A lot of the actors feel like they have to strike while the iron is hot. Yes, to a certain degree that’s correct. But sometimes tatanggap ka ng proyekto na alam mong hindi ikaw, o hindi yata ako bagay, o alam mo na may ibang tao pang mas bagay but you do it because you want to be seen all the time. The quality of work dwindles. On a personal level, there’s nothing wrong about that. Follow your heart, train yourself, educate yourself and go for it. On a bigger scale, I think we have a responsibility to make the industry better. In terms of content, there are now so many avenues where you can express yourself. I used to be super negative when it comes to the Philippines. In my mind and heart there was always a battle. Parang palaging ganito nalang. Now, I kind of changed that. Kim helped me realize na hey, we have a great film industry and I want to be a part of that.

Where did this desire and confidence to push the envelope further and become a creative come from?

In the first five, seven years of my career naramdaman ko na. I want to be a director. I visited New York for the first time and I got so inspired. Then I met Kim. She saw the passion and dream to start writing and looking for stories. Yun yung parang pogi points ko sa kaniya. Now, we live in a house that’s very creative. Kim is a very creative person. Right now she’s studying to be an actor and a director. A lot of people think she’s a vlogger but she’s not anymore. She’s the creative director of her own company, she’s a photographer, she does her own editing and everything. At home you can just smell the creativity. Parang nakita niya yung frustration ko na I was somehow stuck doing TV work and all of my dreams naka-backseat. Si Kim, siya ang nakikita kong nag-aaral, nagke-create ng content. I had the desire. I didn’t want to wait and I wanted to be proactive. If you’re an actor who just waits for a script, okay naman, no problem. I had a desire to tell and create stories and tell them how I want to tell them. Even with the success of “Halik” and all the other shows, the itch and the hunger never went away. After the show, we decided to focus on film. I would do films and I will keep writing and focus on doing the things that I really love and something people will actually benefit from. Wider range of audiences. I’m all about bigger, higher, deeper, better.

Not to downgrade the work I’ve done on TV but I feel like there is something that I can do with cinema and maybe I can contribute to the industry. I’ve never been so alive. Sumasabog ang bahay with creativity ngayon and a little bit of impatience. As Kim always says, nagiging creative ka kapag may kailangan ka or may need.

What kind of movies are we expecting from you?

Laging sabi ng tropa talaga is action. We’re writing an action film. It’s an action film, it involves motorcycles and the current state of the nation. Medyo political. We’re all living in this country, everyone has a story to tell. There are action film offers. I want to do action, action adventure, adventure drama, action drama, straight drama, action comedy, uplifting family films…

What inspired you to go on a trip alone?

It was Kim’s anniversary gift to me. I’ve been telling her that I needed to go on a trip na ako lang mag-isa. I was so touched. Every person deserves to go on a very personal journey. A very personal, spiritual, cultural, adventurous trip. Yung culture nila, talagang solid. I needed to take a trip alone where nobody knows that I’m this person and nobody treats you differently. I craved for that. Gusto ko natural yung conversations, walang filter. I’m always conscious of my calibration. I have to be that person, kailangan naka-tono ako eh. For me, best solo trip ever!

Have you and Kim ever thought about having kids?

No offense to families, I love kids. I’m all about family. [But] We’re both not thinking about having kids. I have a son, Santino, who is 18 years old and I want to spend more time with him. Kim and I know we can’t give that time to a kid. Also, we’re concerned about the situation of the earth with the heat, traffic, air quality, food quality, living challenges and all that’s happening. I think I would love to use my time and voice on something that would help. Having a kid right now is not a priority. Ang anak namin ngayon is our responsibilities.

Spending your time alone in Morocco, what did you discover about yourself?

The journey was about…It’s on my alarm clock: Find yourself and find God. “Eat Pray Love” kind of thing. What surprised me was when I was sitting alone in the desert, and I was the only one awake, I was just looking at the stars, listening to whatever animal was out there, listening to nothing, to my throat swallowing my saliva and chewing and breathing. Your life flashes in front of you and it’s like nothing else matters. The same way I felt when we were helping people during typhoon Ondoy. Nothing else matters. What matters is now. And I saw myself. Every time I would have a meal or talk to someone I didn’t know or has a different culture and asking me things, I’m not thinking of myself na merong fixed answer. I was looking at myself na parang, let’s see how you react to things like this. Let’s see how you respond, manage and carry yourself. There are nights I can’t sleep. Sometimes you can’t face yourself. You don’t want to be alone. This one, I had so much silence. I was talking to myself and I was able to accept who I am. I think that’s the first steps of growth – to know who you are, accept who you are and take it from there. I was blown away. I suggest everyone, kahit saan ka magpunta, kahit hindi sa Morocco, everyone has to do it. No one’s telling you what to say or do, you decide on your own and that’s what I needed kasi artista ka eh. Lagi kang aalagaan ng mga tao. It was nice to get away and surprisingly, I managed and survived.

Is fame everything you thought it was going to be and how did your initial perception evolve?

I don’t think being an actor or creative is the end of being me, that it defines me as successful. When I was in the desert, I was still thinking of my life. What am I doing? Who am I? What are these things in front of me? What do I have? What is this life? Being an actor doesn’t define me. I love acting. I would say that’s my skill. From the day I became an actor, gift yun sa akin ni God to get out of poverty. My dreams were to have a house of our own, have a bed, running water, electricity, a meter, a family computer…But that only lasted after a few years. The second chapter was having a purpose. What is the meaning of being an artista? How can I use my tools to help people? Now, iba naman, and iba naman. I think I’m a storyteller now most importantly. And in my own way, a servant. I don’t know in the next 10, five years kung ano ang gagawin ko. What I know is that I’m enjoying this and life goes on. It will always evolve but the core doesn’t change.

You seem like a guy who is self-aware. Your fans rave about your authenticity. How do you maintain that humanness?

The highest point of success is trust. If you gain the trust of people, and then you trust yourself. For me, it’s a form of success and you get that in a combination of a few things – when you have conviction, and you have your mission, and you stick to your goal no matter how hard. The greatest mistake is to think that when you are rich or powerful, you are successful. I guess if you start to think that you are something because people think of you a certain way then that’s the problem. I never really enjoyed titles. Asian Drama King… alam mo yun? It’s something they create for you. Thank you, I love that people love me. Who doesn’t want that? When you face people, be you. Don’t put on a brand. If you make a mistake, if one day, as an actor I’m not in a good mood, then that’s me. It doesn’t mean I’m a bad person. If you’re always working on an image, it becomes fake. If it’s just you, it’s easier for people to accept who you are. He’s just a person. I don’t consciously have that thing. I’m just me.


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