Monday, August 24, 2015

Dramatis Personal: JV Ibesate.

Jan Vincent Ibesate, commonly known as JV, has been with the Tanghalang Pilipino Actors Company for about 2 and a half years, and is also the acting coordinator for the AC. His most recent production with TP was Mabining Mandirigma, essaying the role of the illustrado Pedro Paterno. I lucked out swinging by the TP office during his downtime for a little chat.

How long have you been with the Actors Company?

Since 2013, so roughly a little over 2 years.

When did you start acting?

Non-professional acting, I started high school days pa lang, when you discover that you have a knack for acting. But when I wanted to become an actor, college sa UP.

So what made you decide to act?

I don't know. It came out naturally. Natatawa ako kasi I never thought of it as a profession. Pero yung recollection ko nung bata pa lang ako, I would put curtains on top of our beds, tapos kunwari stage siya, but I didn't know back then that it was already a sign that I already wanted to become an actor. Ngayon lang, na parang feeling ko na it's a profession talaga.

What were your previous theater experiences before becoming part of AC?

Before becoming an AC scholar, I was already doing theater sa iba't ibang companies, pero medyo madalang lang, kasi meron akong corporate job. But I did productions for maliliit na companies lang.

You said before that you had a corporate job. Paano mo na-balance yun before?

Matagal-tagal na pakiusapan sa boss. (laughs) I started doing part time theater when I moved from one company to another (Globe). When I moved to Globe, luckily they also practiced work-life balance. So when I said that I wanted to pursue while doing the work, they automatically said yes. So what happened was they gave me a work schedule that will fit the rehearsal schedule. So like for example, I come in at work at 7am, I leave at 4pm so I can be at the rehearsal space by 6pm.

Hindi ka naman nangangarag?

Medyo. There was a time na napagsabay ko yung corporate job at yung AC. Sakin, what happened was I told them that I got a scholarship tapos that I have to take classes from 1pm until 10pm. So what they did, yung boss ko, as long as I complete the 40 hours--I can come to work at 6am, I can leave at 12nn--so I can get to class. But hindi siya healthy eh. It only lasted siguro 6 months, after that, burned out na talaga.

What made you decide to try out for Actors Company?

Meron akong isang production before, Livin' La Vida Imelda. It was a show by Carlos Celdran. One of my co-actors there, si Andrew Cruz, was an Actors Company scholar. Pero batch 90's pa siya. I was already asking him what was it like na maging AC. Tapos kasi nung time nila, I think sobrang hirap yata talaga nung process, na you never get casted kaagad. So meron siyang mga horror stories, tapos sabi ko, "Oh my God, baka hindi ako pang Actors Company." But then I also met other former AC people, nakatrabaho ko before. And sabi nila, parang nagbago na. So nagkaroon ng auditions ng AC, I tried. And I got in.

In your opinion, what does it take to be part of the Actors Company?

What's good about AC is that they don't require you to be a great actor kaagad. I think what they wanted to see from you is your ability to learn. Kasi I think a good actor is the one who learns, who wants to learn more.  Otherwise, wag ka na mag-AC. Mag-professional actor ka na, mag-freelance ka na, kasi you can get roles naman. You can pass auditions. But I think, kami sa batch namin, we all have our strengths, we all have our weaknesses. And I think what they saw from us are opportunities for us to learn to become better actors, so when we got in, it’s not like, "Uy, ang galling ko, nakapasok ako sa AC." Ang naisip ko agad nun, baka they saw me as someone who can practically learn more from what they will be able to teach us, na hopefully na mai-apply sa mga next productions.

You get lots of training and classes in acting, movement, voice, etc. Do you have a favorite class among those?

I know that I can sing long before I know that I can act. Parang bata pa lang ako, that's always been the talent na alam kong meron ako. So yung voice class namin. If it's Wednesday, sobrang gaan siyang feeling sakin, kasi alam ko na that's one of my strengths. Tapos OK rin kasi yung voice teacher namin eh. And meron akong ibang points for improvement na nakukuha ko, na nai-improve ko because of the class. So ayun, voice class talaga.

Can you describe a typical day as an AC scholar?

Even if there's a show, we still have classes. Not unless it's tech week, kasi pag tech week diba, it's 1-10pm. But if it's a regular day na nagre-rehearse for a show, we have classes from 1-5pm, and then we have break from 5-6pm, and then rehearsal from 6-10pm.

Other than your classes, shows, rehearsals, what else do you do?

Kasi we all know naman that the pay in theater is not that big. Actually, very true for us, kasi we don't really get sweldo unless we have a show. Allowance lang, which is very maliit talaga. So what I do, since ang background ko sa corporate ay PR (public relations), I write. I'm connected now with an events company, so I write for events, I conceptualize, I pitch in events for them. So actually full time theater actor but official source of income ko ay yung events company. (laughs)

At least you have something to fall back on.

Yeah. Kasi parang for you to stay in AC, you have to have backup financial resources. Marami nang umalis na AC, because of finances.

Do you think that the starving artist is the most common misconception people have about actors, or meron pang iba?

Sakin kasi, there's no such thing as a starving artist. You only starve when you're tamad. Kasi like for example, me, if I don't get any productions, I'd go to something that I'm capable of doing and earning from it. And if you're really a great actor, you can find ways, you can audition for as many roles as you can. You can audition for as many productions as you can. Kasi for me, yung concept na "Uy, magugutom ka diyan"--it doesn’t make sense kasi. Kung masipag ka, kung madiskarte ka, you won't starve.

You mentioned you all have your strengths and weaknesses. For you, what's your core gift, or X-factor, that you believe is a good asset as part of the Actors Company?

Nagkakaroon kasi kami ng evaluations every year. And I think it's really voice talaga for me. But it's far from being excellent, pero at least I think that’s what got me in AC. So the others are syempre for improvement pa.

What’s your favorite production so far?

I think Sandosenang Sapatos. That was my very first TP production, and parang ano siya sakin eh, biglang suntok. Kasi the first day of rehearsal, music rehearsal yun, so ok, Sandosenang Sapatos, ni-brief na kami about the story and all that. Ang unang tanong sakin ni Sir Tuxqs, nilapitan niya ako, "Hi JV, welcome to AC. Marunong kang mag roller blades?" Sabi ko, "Sir, pwedeng matutunan." It took a lot of perseverance, it took a lot of guts for me to learn it. Parang it’s one of the hardest na productions. It may look, "Aw, cute, naka-rollerblades sila." But it's really the process itself. Every night umiiyak ako, the first few weeks.

But you pulled off a really good show.

I think the people saw how hard the production is and how bigay na bigay yung actors, kasi nga we went through a lot for that. Ako, seryoso talaga, umiiyak talaga ako gabi-gabi, parang iniisip ko, pwede naman akong mag corporate na lang. Bakit pinapipilitan ko ang sarili ko mag rollerblades?

What's your favorite character that you’ve done?

I'm not sure if you’ve watched Melanie. It's a commissioned work from UNICEF. It's about the spread of HIV and AIDS. Yung character ko dun, sobrang for me, pinaka-real life sa lahat ng ginawa ko. Yung ibang characters ko parang hindi naman siya normal. (laughs) Walang ka-normal normal. Yun lang talaga, na baklang dancer na malibog na nakakuha ng AIDS. Ang daling hugutan ng emosyon kasi alam mong totoo yung character mo.

What's the most challenging role you've done?

Kama. La Ronde. Recital. First time kong na-feel sa sarili ko na ang tanga-tanga ko as an actor. May way si Sir Dennis (Marasigan) eh. He will make you feel like meron siyang hinahanap sa iyo eh, na up until the the show itself, mararamdam mo na, parang hindi ko yata nabibigay sa kanya yung gusto niya. Ang ganda kasi ng process. Alam mo naman yung process ni Sir Dennis, diba? He won't give you the role unless it's a few days before the show. So it's one of the most challenging kasi apart from memorizing... Actually siya yung may pinakamaraming linya. Tapos meron pa siyang monologue dun na one page. Yung role ko kasi dun, count, yung konde, the last one. Meron siyang monologue na pagkahaba-haba.  So apart from memorizing the lines, it's really getting into the character, na buti na lang si Sir Dennis was able to... alam mo naman yun eh, objective, and then the rule of three... It helps. Pero up until the TDR, feeling ko talaga, parang walang nangyari sa two years ko ah, ang bobo-bobo ko as an actor. Kasi I think it's just his way of making you feel na hindi na hindi ka makampante sa role mo. So it was really challenging. Isa yun sa mga iniyakan kong role. Kami ni Aldo (Vencilao) yung favorite niya nung time na yun. Pero that's his way eh. I mean, he knows how to make you do better. Medyo harsh, pero at least you learn.

With what you’ve accomplished so far, where do you see yourself as an artist in the next 5 years?

Ang immediate goal ko is to reach until I become a member of the company. Not just because it's a tenure thing. But because I think from what I saw, the past members of AC, kahit si Tad (Jonathan Tadioan), sobrang hands down ako na kahit ano na role na ibigay mo sa kanila, they can do justice with the role, so I want to be in that stature. Kasi as it is now, pahirapan pa eh, mahirap pang pumick-up ng role. I think gusto ko na maabot ang status na yun, like yung status ni Mayen (Estanero), yung status ni Bong Cabrera, yung status ni Angeli (Bayani). If they're given a role, they automatically give the best performance. So feeling ko, immediately, yun yung gusto ko marating. Tapos technically it will take you a minimum of 5 years eh. So up until that time comes, yun talaga, mag-stay ako sa AC. But apart from that, honestly I don't know. After becoming a member, wala pa.

Now for something different. Think of one thing that would best represent you in each of the 5 senses.

Alcogel. (laughs) Neat freak kasi ako minsan,tsaka gusto ko palaging mabango, for some reason. Oo, kilala yan, tanungin mo sa lahat ng AC.

Carpet. Yung fluffy na carpet. Kasi I like things soft.

Yung seafood kare-kare ng Kanin Club. Kasi pag natikman mo siya, wala ka nang hahanapin pa. (laughs)

Lahat ng kanta ng The Corrs. Kasi kahit stressful ang araw mo, pag narinig mo yung mga kanta nila, parang OK, masaya. OK lang, diba? Iba yung feeling. Lalo na yung "Paddy McCarthy." It doesn't have lyrics, but every time I listen to it, parang ang sarap maging Irish, no? May distinct sound siya.

CCP. The façade ng CCP. Kasi iba yung feeling that it gives you whenever you look at it. Gusto ko lang i-share na hanggang ngayon, nandun ako sa phase na... Naglalakad lang kasi ako from LRT, minsan from Harrison, papuntang CCP. Alam mo yung kinikilig ka pa rin? Oh my God, andito na ako, eto na siya eh. Parang si Doray (Dayao) kasi dati, AC apprentice, sabi niya dati dinadaanan niya yung CCP, tapos iniisip niya, ano kaya yung feeling na magtrabaho diyan? Tapos ngayon na nagtatrabaho na siya, iba yung feeling. Ganun din sakin, kasi parang kinikilig ka pa rin na parang, totoo ba ito? Andito na ba talaga ako?

What’s the best advice that you’ve ever received?

The best advice that I received was from a former boss, yung boss ko sa Globe. Before I left, sabi niya, "I admire you for doing something that you really love. But just make sure that you have a backup. Or at least an additional source of income. Kasi hindi mo kailangang maghirap at hindi mo kailangang mamalimos para lang magawa mo yung bagay na gusto mo. So kung gusto mo talaga yan gawin," –and I still live with that statement—"na kung gusto mo talaga ang isang bagay at alam mong hindi ka kikita sa kanya, maghanap ka ng ibang way para matuloy mo siya."

What’s the best advice that you can give?

Cliché pero… If you know that you're good at something, regardless of the risk, go for it. Kasi you may not have the comforts when you follow through that dream, pero at least you know in your heart that you're doing something that you love and that you're in the right direction. Kasi I've seen a lot of people, even my former boss, he was a frustrated musician, and he's already old, he’s rich, but wala nang avenue for him to practice that. And so I saw from a very important lesson na if you really want something and if you're really passionate about something, start young. Start when you still have the energy. The future may not be as bright as what you hope it will be, but at least you're doing it. I mean, maano bang maghirap ka ng konti? At the end of the day, makukuha mo rin naman siya, if you're really passionate.

*Photos courtesy of JV's Facebook page and Erickson Dela Cruz.

Dramatis Personal (Actor in focus series), first of many: Aldo Glenn Vencilao.

I'm starting out this new series of entries in my blog, where I interview people from theatre to celebrate their craft. Calling it "Dramatis Personal" (courtesy of my friend, Dingdong Novenario), I begin the series with a handful of actors from the Tanghalang Pilipino Actors Company.

For my first entry for Dramatis Personal, I introduce to you Aldo Glenn Vencilao.

Aldo is a scholar (level 2) in the Tanghalang Pilipino Actors Company, and is on his third year with them. Last seen onstage as the witty and endearing Pepe in TP’s Mabining Mandirigma, I sat down with him to chill and talk over what it’s like as a resident actor of Tanghalang Pilipino.

When did you start acting?

First year high school, sumali ako sa theater org sa school namin, Paco Catholic School, Samahan ng Artistang Paconian. First production ko is Lion King the Musical. Ginawa lang namin yun na kami-kami lang. First character ko yung Rafiki, yung unggoy. Tapos ever since then, nakahiligan ko na yung theater talaga. Kasi before ako sumali sa theater, hindi ko kasi alam kung ano talaga ang special talent ko, wala akong masyadong talent. Hindi ko alam kung saan ako magaling. Mababa ako sa academics, hindi ako masyadong mahusay, so very mababa ang self-esteem ko.  I felt like, "Ano ba ang gusto ko sa buhay?" Nung pumasok ako sa theater, bigla kong na-discover na, "I'm actually good at this." Mga mentors ko, maraming nagsasabi na "Ang husay-husay mo, bakit hindi ka mag-professional theater actor? Ipagpatuloy mo yan, Aldo, kasi may nakikita kaming something special sa ginagawa mo." So parang wow, for the first time in my life, nakaramdam ako na merong something special sakin na pwede kong ibigay ko sarili ko. Pwede kong tahakin ito. From feeling na wala kang kwenta at average person, suddenly you found your passion.

After Lion King, any other previous theater experiences?

Una muna, nag Villa Teatro ako, na ngayon Silver Stage na. Ni-stage nila yung apat na classics. El Fili, Noli, Florante, Ibong Adarna. The same din, with Gantimpala, pero saglit lang ako dun. Mostly ganun before ako [nag] TP.

What made you decide to try out and become part of Actors Company?

Yung course ko is Mass Communications, Major in Public Relations, which is yung mga pinagsisihan ko sa buhay na "Bakit hindi ako nag-theater? Bakit ito yung pinili ko?" Nag-go with the flow lang ako, na bahala na, yun na lang ang course na pinili ko. And in a way, dahil sa course na yun, it made me love theater more, kasi feeling ko hindi talaga para sakin yun, hindi ko siya gusto, hindi ko love, so mas na realize ko na ang gustong gusto ko talaga mag theater, mag perform, dahil dun. And so nung pa-graduate ko, nilapitan ko yung artistic director ng school namin. Sabi ko sa kanya, "Sir, gusto ko maging artist, gusto ko pagka-graduate ko, gusto ko ipatuloy ang pagka-artist ko. Ano po ba ang pwedeng niyong i-advise sa akin para mapagpatuloy ang pagiging artist ko?" Sabi niya, "Well, actually, Aldo, sa arts, especially sa theater, walang pera diyan. So, kung naga-assume ka na yayaman ka, ngayon pa lang, wag ka nang magkaroon ng expectations na yayaman ka sa larangang yan. Kumbaga most likely at first you’ll be a starving artist. Wala kang pera diyan. You’ll just do it for the love of it." Pero eventually yun nga daw, magsipag ka lang, makakaraos ka rin sa phase na ganun.

Hanggang ngayon nandun ako sa phase na ganun, na hinahanapan ko pa rin siya ng paraan kung paano ako magiging financially stable sa ginagawa ko. And sabi niya pa na pumunta sa Tanghalang Pilipino, sa CCP. Yun, so dun pa lang, unang na-imprint na sa isip ko, "Tanghalang Pilipino, magandang pumunta sa Tanghalang Pilipino." A year later, tapos na ako mag Gantimpala, tapos na ako mag Villa Teatro, bigla akong nakakita sa Facebook na post na merong auditions yung AC. Post siya ng friend ko.  Sabi niya, "Samahan mo ako mag audition sa Actors Company, sa Tanghalang Pilipino." So sabay kami sa auditions. Hindi siya nakapasok, pero ako nakapasok.

In your opinion, ano ang nasa iyo kung bakit natanggap ka sa AC?

Well, kasi, in terms of my type, parang wala pa sa kanila sa AC during that time na body type ko, height ko. Kung mapapansin mo yung mga AC, iba-iba kami ng itsura, diba? Let’s say yung mga dancers sa BP. Diba parang pare-pareho sila? Pero sa AC, may mataba, may maliit, merong payat... as in iba-iba. Iba-iba kaming tao. Dahil siguro unique ang aking body type and persona kaya ako nakapasok sa AC. Nakitaan nila ako na kaya kong sumayaw, kaya kong kumanta, kaya kong umarte. Tapos personality-wise, I think malaking factor din yung bibo ako nung auditions, parang they liked me, I guess, kaya gusto nila akong isama sa AC. Kasi kumabaga makakasama mo itong taong ito sa mga productions lagi-lagi eh. So kailangan you have to be someone na somehow na gusto mong makasama.

Tanghalang Pilipino is one of the very few companies in this country that provides special training for their resident actors. What kind of training do you get?

Acting classes, movement, merong kaming voice classes, meron kaming script analysis and theater for development classes, and may mga special projects naman, nagkakaroon kami ng mga classes, like may project kami sa UNICEF about spreading awareness about HIV and gender sensitivity.

Got a favorite class in particular?

Kailangan mo kasi lahat yan eh. Paborito ko yung script analysis with Sir Dennis Marasigan and voice classes with Sir Ed Simondac.

Anong genre ng voice yung voice class niyo?

Si Sir Ed, mas more on pop siya eh.  Pop yung tinuturo niya. Ibang iba yung ngayon namin, kasi yung ngayon, ang tinuturo samin is musical. Ibang-iba siya, iba yung technique ang ginagamit niya.

What’s your typical day like? Describe.

Typical day sa AC... Usually may klase everyday from 1-5pm, or 6-10pm tapos kung meron namang ongoing productions, magka-klase kami sa umaga tapos sa hapon yung rehearsals. Tapos typical day, wala, yung the same as what you do in the morning. May klase lang and rehearsals.

How many classes a day ang meron kayo?

Isa lang per day.

You mentioned earlier that other than your classes and shows, there are other things that you do? May other projects ba kayo on the side...

Well, as of now dahil Actors Company kami, hindi kami pinapayagan na magkaroon ng other productions outside especially kapag may production ang TP. Kumabaga  andito ka sa TP, bakit ka aarte sa iba? Kailangan umarte sa TP, kailangan ka dito. Pero pwede ka naman rumaket kung meron kang commercials, mga 2 days or 1 day lang na raket, mga ganun. Basta hindi sagabal sa mga rehearsals. Actually meron kaming kasama ngayon sa Actors Company, si JV Ibesate. Nung pumasok siya dito, siya yung public relations officer sa Globe. As in nung pagpasok namin, nag-Globe siya from 7am-12nn tapos sa hapon nagkaklase. Pero eventually na-realize niya na masyadong hassle, so mas pinili niya ang TP kaysa sa Globe. So ni-quit niya yung pagiging public relations sa Globe para umarte. Sa ngayon hindi naman daw siya nagsisisi.

What do you think is the most common misconception people have about actors, especially dito sa Pilipinas?

I think common misconception is mababaw, tapos yung tipong pa-gwapo lang, papogi, ganun. And then naghahanap ng atensyon, na maging famous. Which is hindi naman, kasi marami na mga seryoso sa craft na ginagawa kasi yung gusto nila. Internal ang motivation, hindi dahil may gusto silang makuha externally.

What is your core gift, or X-factor, that you believe is a good asset that can be a great contribution to Tanghalang Pilipino?

Actually hindi ko tini-treat ang sarili ko as talented. Hindi ko tini-treat ang sarili ko as matalino. Mas marami pang tao na mas talented, at maraming tao na mas matalino pa. Ang maipagmamalaki ko lang talaga sa sarili ko is meron akong focus, tsaka meron akong perseverance and determination. Kung meron mang production na masasabi ko na naging mahusay ako, hindi dahil talented ako pero dahil pinaghirapan ko yung role ko, inaral ko, ni-rehearse ko nang ni-rehearse mag-isa, kahit walang director. Yun yung masasabi ko na asset ko. Not necessarily the talent, kasi mas maraming mahuhusay yung boses kaysa sakin, mas maraming mahusay umarte, mas maraming mahusay sumayaw. Maipagmamalaki ko lang talaga, focus and determination.

Among the productions you’ve had with TP, what's your favorite so far?

Dami eh. Sa ngayon ang pinaka favorite ko in terms of the process, Mabining Mandirigma. Dahil sa proseso niya. Na musical siya tapos masarap yung proseso. Na nire-rehearse muna yung songs, tapos yung sayaw, tapos very collaborative yung proseso. Dun ako nage-enjoy eh, sa proseso. Not necessarily sa pagpe-perform. Kumbaga ang pagpe-perform, bonus na lang yan. Pero kaya ako umaarte kasi gustung-gusto ko yung proseso. Kasi enjoy ako sa proseso. Yung hinahanap ko yung character ko. Yung nagre-rehearse ako. Nagre-research ako tungkol sa buhay, tungkol sa kung ano yung meron dito. Dun ako nage-enjoy, not necassrily sa pagpe-perform talaga.

What’s your favorite character that you’ve done?

Madami… Kung sino man yung character na wino-work ko ngayon. Yun yung paborito ko. Yung current na character I’m working on.

What’s  the most challenging character you’ve done?

Yung sa Pahimakas sa Isang Ahente. Yung boss ni Willy Loman, si Howard Wagner. Dahil unang-una, yung ka-eksena ko, si Tata Nanding. Eh si Tata Nanding is basically my boss, diba? Sa play, kinakawawa ko siya. Eh nahirapan ako. Halos natagalan din akong nahirapan sa rehearsals kasi di ko maalis sa isip ko na si Tatang itong kaharap ko. Parang idol ko ito eh. Idol ko ito tapos boss ko ito. Nahirapan akong makawala doon sa perception na yun. And si Howard Wagner, boss kasi siya eh. Kailangan kong matuto mas maging dominant, kailangan kong matutong mas maging assertive, kailangan kong matuto kung paano mag-handle ng business negotiations. Usually mga characters ko are very submissive. Medyo kinakawawa, medyo low yung status. Pero this time ako yung boss, ako yung high status. It's new for me to do that. Tsaka very realistic yung Pahimakas sa Isang Ahente. Yun ang pinaka-realistic na play na nasalihan ko.

With what you’ve accomplished with the company so far, saan mo nakikita ang sarili mo in the next 5 years?

Hindi ko alam. Sa ngayon, I can't speak for myself in the future kasi hindi ko alam kung anong gusto ko sa kinabukasan. Ang sa ngayon, I can only speak for myself in the moment, as in right now. Sa ngayon gusto ko pa mag AC. Sa ngayon gusto ko pa mag teatro. Of course gusto kong maghanap ng ibang paraan para mas maging sustainable ang pamumuhay ko sa teatro. Pero basically gusto ko pang umarte. Gusto ko pang mamuhay sa arts. Tapos gusto kong magturo, gusto ko mag-direct someday. Hindi ko alam. Ang masasabi ko pa sa ngayon, gusto ko pa. Pero I don’t know, in the future. Baka malay mo magkaroon ng incident na kailangan ko munang tumigil kasi kailangang kumita ng pera or bigla na lang ma-realize ko na meron palang much bigger sa akin na gusto kong gawin. Hindi ko alam. Mahirap pangunahan ang sarili. Kasi maraming na akong kilala na gustong-gusto nito pero may dumaan lang na something, nawala na diba? So I don't know, ayokong pangunahan ang sarili ko.

Let’s do something different. Think of one thing that would best represent you in each of the 5 senses.

Lavender. Kasi ako yung tipong chill na tao.  I think meron akong effect sa tao, na magiging chill ka lang. Kaya lavender, kasi relaxing siya.

Tubig. Touch ng tubig. Kasi dynamic fluid, tapos hindi mo masasabi na pwede mo siyang hawakan. Nagbabago siya.

Champorado. Kasi it’s very comforting.

(Starts humming) Yung ambience ng forest.
Any particular sound?
(Whistles like a bird) Huni ng ibon. It just sounds so relaxing, serene and natural.

Color blue. Dark blue. Kasi alam mong may kulay pero malamig lang siya. Hindi siya intense.

If you weren’t an actor, or if you didn’t pursue theater, what would you be doing?

If I didn't find theater, of if theater didn't find me, I would probably be a bum. Or work on some uninspiring job. I feel that theater has saved me from mediocrity, really.

With what you know you were somehow capable of, saang industriya ka kaya mapapadpad?

My father wanted me to proceed to law after ko grumaduate. Lawyer kasi siya eh, di na siya practicing ngayon, but he works for the government. Baka nag-lawyer ako.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Actually, ang unang pumasok sa isip ko is yung advice ni Miss Mailes Kanapi sa akin, na in terms of my choices sa character ko. Yung mga choices mo, hindi lang dapat nagpapasaya or nagpapatawa or nagpapa-ganun. Dapat mayroong malalim at mapapabuti sila bilang tao. Kahit masamang character pa man yan, they would realize something about themselves that would make them better as a person. Kumbaga yung CCP nga, merong truth, merong beauty, tapos merong goodness. Yung choices.

What’s the best advice that you can give?

As an actor, fall in love with the process, not with the results. Kumbaga gawin mo ito hindi dahil sa mga pwede mong makuha. Pero dahil gusto mo yung ginagawa mo.

In general, life is uncertain... but it’s OK. Just go with it.

*Photos courtesy of Tanghalang Pilipino and Aldo's Facebook page.

Friday, August 7, 2015

The simplicity of having fun, and how gadgets kill conversation.

I saw this video by Nature Valley about a week ago, where 3 generations were asked what they do for fun. The older men and women went blueberry picking, fishing, and playing in the snow. Another man and woman recounted how they went outside to play baseball and built forts with their friends. It all sounded like so much fun.

When the younger generation was asked the same question, it felt pretty disappointing. They played video games, fiddled with their smart phones, texted their friends, watched videos for hours on end. They always feel better when they're on their phones tablets or with their video games.

It saddens me how they may be missing out on other things, like the real world, real interaction with their friends, getting out there with some physical activity. They're pretty much contented sitting around in the house with all these gadgets.

It just seems so sad.

One of my favorite things to do as a kid was go out on bike rides. I would impatiently wait for the time I would be allowed to go out on afternoons after school, when the air was cooler. Sure, I was only allowed to go up and down my street within the boundaries of the speed bumps, but I didn't care. My bike may have training wheels, but I didn't mind as well. My brother sometimes joined me with his bigger bike, and had the liberty of going around the block to the other streets. Eventually my brother took out the training wheels from my bike, and I managed to learn to ride it without them.

When my cousins moved into the same village a few years later, afternoons were still spent on bikes, riding back and forth between our houses, and then hanging out in the park at the end of their street. My cousin Ate Shang and I would play on the swings until it grew dark and I had to be called to come back home.

Does anyone still enjoy doing that now as much as I do? I still have a bike that I take for a ride during cooler afternoons, just going around the village, chasing the sunset and meeting up with friends who live nearby. We would hang out at our favorite coffee and tea shops and talked for hours on end.

Sometimes I forget how people can be so attached to technology, especially now. Everything comes easy now, more so in communication. So yes, it has made communication so easy and convenient. You can easily contact someone via a text message, chat message, or email. But most people can just be seen looking down on their phones instead of carrying on an actual conversation with the people who are right in front of them.

I miss the times when I would write long handwritten letters to my friends I had just seen the day before and even will be seeing the next day anyway. I also take pleasure in reading and writing letters, exchanging them with friends that I haven't seen in a long time.

Then there were those long conversations over the landline which last for hours into the night, and sometimes well into the morning. It also included the thrill and anticipation as to who will be on the other line when you answer the phone, or the sheer nervousness when you call a friend and their parents answer the phone.

Is the sincere art of conversation dying as well?

It's always a treat when I get to sit down with a friend over coffee just talking about anything under the sun. But then sometimes, with most people, at the first lull in the conversation, cellphones would be taken out, checking for text messages, chat messages, or even just notifications from various social media platforms. It would be what I call patay-chika. I sometimes say it as a joke when I find my friends doing so, but sometimes I say it seriously but with a light tone so as not to put them off. It's pretty awkward when I would carry on a conversation while someone whips out their phone, and then they would drastically change the subject just because of something they see there. This mostly applies to my sanguine friends. Uhm... so what were we talking about again?

What is it with these gadgets that we can't seem to function without them? That we feel so crippled without an internet connection? We get so obsessed with digital conversations that we sometimes ignore actual human personal connection.

Let's meet up for coffee or something sometime. The only patay-chika things that I'll be bringing are the current book that I'm reading and my journal, but count on me to engage in conversation with you for as long as you want, minus the gadgets.

Let's talk, my friend.