I recently watched another Piolo Pascual movie with my favorite Tagalog movie date and kumare Bebet Corpuz who always cries in the movie house. She makes me feel secure about my being a cry-baby while watching movies because for every three drops of tears I shed, she cries a gallon. I’m not kidding, she cried even when we watched the John Travolta comedy Wild Hogs!
In the Papa P movie that we watched, he played the role of a musician together with Sarah Geronimo. While watching, Bebet and I couldn’t help but comment, “Guapo talaga si Papa P ano?” In fact, I sort of saw some similarities in his facial features with that of my TV series crush Harvey Specter (played by Gabriel Macht in Suits). Plus of course, he’s really a good actor. My favorite acting scene for this one is when he and Sarah had that confrontation along the highway where his body was shaking while he cried.
Then I recalled another Piolo movie where he also played the role of a musician, this time with Judy Anne Santos. This made me dig up some old photos and I realized that that was 10 years ago. Why do I remember? Because that was the time we invited him to our salu-salo at the Ateneo Grade School (AGS) when my son Anton was in Grade 3.
The Salu-salo story:
One afternoon Anton came home from school asking me, “Mama, who is Piolo Pascual? My classmate King, always says ‘Piolo Pascual is my tito!’” To that I replied, “Really? Hmmm… let me ask Weng (King’s mom) if she could invite Piolo to our salu-salo.” At that time I was the Class Parent Representative of Grade 3 Sikatuna arranging our upcoming salu-salo. (Salu-salo is an annual family celebration at the AGS in honor of the feast of the holy guardian angel.) Again, my son said, “Who is he nga?” So I told him who Piolo Pascual was.
Weng Manalo, a cousin who’s very close to PJ (that’s how she calls him), was game enough to bring him along. I also asked her to request Piolo to wear something orange, our class color.
Salu-salo day came and our classroom was a sea of orange. Since Iya Yotoko, an ANC talent then, was also a co-parent, I asked her to host the games. She did at the start of the program but had to excuse herself midway because she was feeling sick. And so I had to take over.
A few minutes later, Piolo Pascual arrived wearing, as requested, an orange polo and, to my surprise, long hair. I asked why, he answered, “Oh, these are hair extensions for the movie I’m shooting.” He looked very humble despite his Papa Piolo-ness and the commotion he was causing. And this was Ateneo Grade School at that time populated by grade school boys, parents and teachers. In other words, the kilig factor was already a bit tempered.
He was game enough to co-host with me in the second half of the program. In fact, we even had a Q&A where the boys asked him questions, some were surprisingly naughty. But he answered them like a good sport. That was the time I learned that he had a son who was as old as our Grade 3 boys. (Of course, this son is now the young actor carrying the name Iñigo Pascual).
Remember I earlier mentioned our class was a sea of orange? When word got around that Grade 3-Sikatuna had Piolo Pascual in their classroom, all hell broke loose (well, just a bit milder, AGS version). All of a sudden, our classroom was filled to the brim with people in all class colors. Everyone wanted a photo with Papa P! Class advisers from almost all the sections left their classrooms (with their own salu-salo going on, never mind if the headmaster was there dropping by) just to have a glimpse of and, if possible, have their photo taken with Papa P!
All throughout, Piolo was game. We gave him a plate of our salu-salo meal but each time he attempted to take a bite, someone would say, “Piolo, may I have a picture taken with you?” Later on I learned that after our event he said to his cousin Weng, “Ate, kain tayo, gutom na gutom na ko!” to which Weng answered, “E bakit kasi hindi ka kumain sa classroom?” But of course, how could he?
I thought I was cool and composed about the whole Papa Piolo thing, but when I saw my photos taken with him, Gee! What was I thinking? I was flashing my ear-to-ear grin like a teenager! Just like everybody else, looking super kilig to be in the presence of the Papa P!
The Papa Piolo Brand
September 2005 was the first and last time I saw Piolo Pascual in person. But each time I talk to someone who recently saw him in person, I always get the same reaction, “Ang guapo talaga ni Piolo!” A friend and top official at Sun Life Financial said, “Yes, he’s really very handsome and nice. And even if he’s been our endorser for years now and has attended a lot of our events, he still has that same effect. I don’t know, maybe because of his eyes?”
This makes me wonder about his brand. There’s really something about Piolo Pascual. It’s been over a decade now, but he still has the same effect somehow. Maybe we can learn a lot about how he keeps his brand. If you take a closer look maybe it’s a combination of his good looks, great acting, professionalism and many more. Come to think of it, he’s almost in his 40s (he turned 38 on January 12, 2015) but still going strong. He has put in his share of 10,000 hours, having started his acting career at age 21. He must have also put in considerable amount of time in keeping his body in shape running marathons, etc.
Moreover, the Papa P brand manages to withstand the rumors about his masculinity as he remains one of the most bankable leading men in Philippine cinema. And there’s one thing I notice, he doesn’t spend a lot of time defending himself on this issue. Maybe he is successfully applying the tenet of one of my favorite writers, Jeff Goins, “Reward the givers not the haters!” Instead, I hear him talk about his faith in God and somehow he exudes that confidence – i.e. whatever it is deep inside him, his God loves him. There’s also his humility. I don’t know him personally but maybe the humility is for real. As what they say, “Humility disarms!”
Rose Fres Fausto is the author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon. Her new book is the Filipino version of the latter entitled Ang Muling Pagsasalaysay ng Ang Pinakamayamang Tao sa Babilonya. Click this link to read samples of the books. Books of FQ Mom Rose Fres Fausto. She is also the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards.
Photo Attribution: Photos by Marvin Fausto and Ditoy Aguila taken during the September 2005 Salu-salo at the Ateneo Grade School.
This article is also published in PhilStar.com and RaisingPinoyBoys.com.