The Philippine Star

Honestly now, Coco Martin!

- with Ricky Lo

In a tell-all Conversati­on, Coco (left, as himself) answers the questions most everybody wanted to ask but didn’t have the guts to, such as: What has the long-running, top-rated Kapamilya teleserye FPJ’s Ang Probinsyan­o (right, as Cardo Dalisay) taught him? Was he disappoint­ed with the gross of his 2017 MMFF entry Panday? Is he joining forces with Vic Sotto against Vice Ganda in the 2018 MMFF? Is he really going to star with Maine Mendoza in a movie? What’s his reaction to rumors that Alden Richards will be pitted against him? What’s the real score between him and rumored girlfriend Julia Montes?, and What’s the story behind his tent kiss with Probinsyan­o co-star Yassi Pressman?

No contest now: Coco Martin is the new Commercial King (with the likes of Marian Rivera, Maine Mendoza, Heart Evangelist­a, et al as his female counterpar­ts). He’s endorsing, among other products, Cebuana Lhuillier, MyPhone, TM, Coffee, Bench, Boardwalk, Argentina Corned Beef, Neozep and, the latest, King Cup Sardines which was launched last Thursday at Luxent Hotel where The STAR sat down with Coco for an exclusive

Conversati­on. (The brand comes in two variants: King Cup Sardines in tomato sauce and King Cup Sardines in tomato sauce with chili added.)

No objections now: Coco is the real Primetime King with FPJ’s Ang Probinsyan­o, his top-rated

Kapamilya teleserye remaining unchalleng­ed (shows pitted against it have been relentless­ly toppled), celebratin­g its third anniversar­y in September and running (by insistent viewers’ demand) perhaps until end of the year…and beyond? We gave Coco no choice but… “You will have to be honest,” Conversati­ons “warned” him, and Coco nodded, ‘Yes!” But before that, Coco entertaine­d three cancer-patient kids being cared for by the Make-a-Wish Foundation, who are his fans. “I have a soft spot for kids like them,” said Coco, “because I have a nephew who is a special child.”

Here’s how the one-on-one went: Congratula­tions for giving otherwise “idle” stars well-deserved exposure in Probinsyan­o.

Also for having been chosen by your Probinsyan­o co-star Susan Roces as the FPJ Memorial Award recipient (at the recent FAMAS).

“Actually, we started taping in May 2015 so we count that date as our third anniversar­y; the airing began in September 2015.” (Coco is now one of the teleserye’s four directors including Malu Sevilla, Toto Natividad and Enzo Williams.) What lessons have you learned so far from Probinsyan­o? “’Yung pagbibigay ng importansy­a sa mga ka-trabaho and definitely ang pagiging profession­al. I learn a lot from my veteran co-stars like Tita Susan and Tito Eddie (Garcia).”

You have confirmed that you and Vic Sotto are starring in a movie for the MMFF in December. Who are your co-stars?

(Last Friday, the script for the Coco-Vic movie titled Popoy en Jack, The Puliscredi­bles was among the four accepted as among the eight official 2018 MMFF entries together with Aurora, Viva Films, starring Anne Curtis, directed by Yam Laranas; Fantastica: The Princesses, The Prince and the Perya, Viva Films/Star Cinema, starring Vice Ganda, Maris Racal, Loisa Andalio and Maymay Entrata, directed by Barry Gonzalez; and Girl in the Orange Dress, Quantum/

MJM Films, starring Kim Chiu, Jessy Mendiola, Jericho Rosales, Sam Milby, Tom Rodriguez and Kit Thompson, directed by Dan Villegas. The four more entries will be selected from among the submitted finished films, with deadline on Sept. 21.)

“My movie with Boss Vic is an action-comedy, co-produced by his M-ZET, APT Film and my own CCM Production­s. Boss Vic and I will play cops. Binubuo pa namin ang cast. There are so many adjustment­s.” Your entry, Panday, in last year’s MMFF finished second to Vice Ganda’s Gandarrapi­ddo: The Revenger Squad. Disappoint­ed ka ba sa results? (Gandarrapi­ddo reportedly

grossed more than P571M and Panday, more than P200M) “Disappoint­ed? Hindi naman po!”

Did you and Vice really have a “cold war” (over last year’s MMFF when neither of you would give way to the other)? “Actually, kami ni Vice…we are best friends; matagal na kaming magkaibiga­n. Siempre, hindi mo ma-i-aalis na magkatampu­han. We didn’t have a chance to sort things out kasi we seldom saw other. He was always in the studio (for It’s Showtime) while I was always out taping for Probinsyan­o. ‘Yung tampuhan at hindi pagkaka-intindihan, normal between friends, di ba? When we saw each other dur-

sa action. Unang-una, ang liit ko; 5’7” lang ang height ko. Nagkataon lang na tinatangki­lik ang Probinsyan­o ng mga tao. I don’t look like an action star. Ganoon din siguro ang mangyayari sa ibang artista…with the right project.” Incidental­ly, where do you put your money?

“Sa investment. When I started in indies, you know naman na walang-wala ako. I know that there’s no forever in business. I know that things will come to an end. Time will come na

hindi na ako ganito ka-busy, so when that happens, I want to be prepared. Pinag-hahandaan ko talaga. So every time na may mga artista kaming

nabibigyan ng second chance in Probinsyan­o, I always remember that when I was starting nobody gave me money but only opportunit­ies. That’s the most important; ‘yung bibigyan ka ng opportunit­y. So when I see people winning in contests at bagay sa role, I give them a chance sa Probinsyan­o.” You are so busy. No time to pamper yourself, enjoy time away from work?

“I must admit na pangit siguro that I don’t have time for myself. Bumabawi na lang ako, I’d rather spend my free time with my family

kaysa lumabas-labas pa ako. I guess I don’t miss going out because it took time for me to prepare where I am now. Before, now you have work; the next time wala kang work. So now that I have work, why should I waste my time? Alam ko ang pakiramdam ng walang trabaho.” love And life? you don’t even have time for your “Wala pa nga, eh!” (Spoken with hesitance.) Siya pa rin? (Referring to rumored but unconfirme­d girlfriend Julia Montes.) “Hindi…wala pa nga, eh! Mahirap magwork, eh. Sa sarili ko nga wala akong time, ibibigay ko pa ba sa ibang tao?”

But you and she (JM) live near each other, right? So it’s easy for you to see each other. “Hmmm, medyo-medyo, hahaha!!!”

By the way, what’s between you and Yassi Pressman (as his wife in Probinsyan­o)? A photo of you kissing Yassi went viral on social media. “Wala ‘yon. There was no malice there. We were not alone in the tent when that happened. There were other people. I guess nabigyan lang ng ibang meaning because we play husband and wife in the teleserye.”

In Probinsyan­o, you tackle various issues like the drug problem, terrorism, etc. What if you are invited to enter politics? “Wala sa isip ko. As it is, I am able naman not only to entertain but to help many people.” (E-mail reactions at rickylophi­lstar@gmail. com. For more updates, photos and videos, visit or follow me on Instagram @therealric­kylo.)

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 ??  ?? ...and as King Cup Sardines endorser with the president of Permex Jimmy Yap, vice president of Sales and Marketing Jaydrick Yap and CFO of Permex Eugene Yap.
...and as King Cup Sardines endorser with the president of Permex Jimmy Yap, vice president of Sales and Marketing Jaydrick Yap and CFO of Permex Eugene Yap.
 ??  ?? Coco with cancer-stricken kids, his avid fans being cared for by the Make-a-Wish Foundation...
Coco with cancer-stricken kids, his avid fans being cared for by the Make-a-Wish Foundation...

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