From the ED­I­TOR


Empoy is on our cover this month, and we can’t be more thrilled. We trooped to his home in Bal­i­uag, Bu­la­can, a mod­est one with not enough open space to let the breeze in, but one with enough shy-but-help­ful sib­lings to smoothen the wait in the heat. The new big star is run­ning late. He has stayed overnight in the big city to shoot for a mu­sic chan­nel as celebrity VJ for Septem­ber, just weeks af­ter his in­die star­rer, Kita Kita, made its mark as the high­est-gross­ing lo­cal in­die film of all time. When the man fi­nally makes his en­trance, he at­tempts to walk past 15 peo­ple—us, ac­tu­ally—all block­ing his way. He keeps his head down, his shoul­ders tight and, hands clasped be­fore him, asks per­mis­sion to en­ter his own home. “San­dali lang po, san­dali lang po,” he says, inch­ing his way to his room up­stairs. In the next three hours, we have him. In the end we want more, but the now in-de­mand fel­low is al­ready needed in Cavite, so we all pack up. But we leave Bal­i­uag feel­ing good any­way. And why not? We have his mother’s sto­ries (of a six-year-old bravely tak­ing the tri­cy­cle alone to go off and sell the peanuts she had cooked in a vat; of a teenager get­ting the six young ones washed and ready for bed ev­ery night) and his own sto­ries (of work­ing all night as a band roadie and keep­ing awake all day in a strict class­room)—and we cry on the in­side and laugh on the out­side through­out. Then, in all that rush to Cavite, he ac­tu­ally stops and asks for a group pic­ture, and as we smile for the cam­era, we for­get that here is the hottest co­me­dian of the mo­ment in what is pos­si­bly the hottest day of the month. We just know that here is a good man.

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