Monday, July 23, 2007

Piolo in the flesh

Clothed, but still in the flesh. Just inches before me, smelling lovely, smiling often, looking at me straight in the eye while answering my questions. Creamy skin, chiseled jaws, hair in wispy strands before those famously sad eyes. Jeesus, the guy's gorgeous.

TV and print do not do justice to Piolo Pascual's beauty. I've met many models and celebrities who ooze allure on paper or on the tube, but who turn out to be disappointingly regular-looking in person. They know how to project before the camera. Off-cam, they're about as exciting as the literature on skin whiteners.

Mr. Pascual is different. He looks even more handsome without the aid of lighting, styling or makeup. In a plain setting (though there was nothing plain about the Hyatt Casino Hotel's presidential suite, where we did the interview and pictorial), with early-afternoon natural light bathing his features, it was easy to see why Mr. Pascual's soft, elusive beauty has inspired the most frenzied forms of attention and speculation in this gossipy town.

I was in the room with him because I got asked to do a cover feature on Mr. Pascual for the September 2007 issue of Metro Him magazine (glossies prepare their issues at least 2 months in advance).

Piolo's pictorial clothes and shoes ready for their close-up

Last March it was Sam Milby whom I was supposed to write up for the mag, but my scheduled trip to Kyoto, Japan sabotaged our meeting. Who knows, maybe Mr. Milby and I could have hit it off as friends if that had pushed through? Maybe he'd be calling me "pare" now, and I'd say to him, "Pare, cute mo a. I wanna be complete too!"

For his bosom friend I was practicing a different greeting. "Hi, I'm Gibbs. I always eat at Max's. Tee-hee."

Shame on me for thinking so glibly of the whole thing. Mr. Pascual turned out to be a fine interviewee--articulate, voluble, sensible, easy-going. He could be funny, but he came across as a thoughtful, introspective person whose words, while practiced, had more than a facile relation to the actual fishbowl life he's living.

I was determined not to conduct a fawning, fluffy chit-chat--no gushing for me, na-ah!--so I led off by pointing out that his massively hyped last movie (with Regine Velasquez) was a flop. He agreed and, quite refreshingly, offered no spin or justification for it. Later on, sighing, he fretted that his goody two-shoes image was actually constraining his acting options. Now that he's marking his 10th year in the business, he'd like to outgrow it and do something else. "Kahit horror!," he exclaimed.

Aww. No prosthetics on that face, please.

By the end of our hour-long face-off I had 13 pages of barely legible notes. Mr. Pascual talked like the devil, which had me scampering after him with my furious note-taking. (I'm no Luddite, I just prefer longhand to electronic recording, since playback and transcription only eat up more time).

All along I was thinking I'd learn nothing new about this relentlessly profiled celebrity--hence my studied nonchalance. But I did.

Did you know that his first screen appearance wasn't in Jose Javier Reyes' "Batang PX," as many of his fans know?

He was, in fact, first seen in Carlo Caparas' "The Vizconde Massacre," playing the part of Jusi Leino, the young man who was with Maureen Hultmann on the night they were gunned down by Claudio Teehankee, Jr. Mr. Pascual, just out of high school then, was in a reenactment scene that called for him to be shot in the mouth. "Direk Carlo asked me to jerk back with the gun in my mouth. I just didn't know how to do it; it took me several takes!"

For having in effect discovered Mr. Pascual, made a big star, if briefly, of Dawn Zulueta (in "The Maggie dela Riva Story"), and pioneered a new, zeitgeist-defining B-movie variant (the ripped-from-the-headlines-mainit-init-pa slasher film), shouldn't Carlo Caparas be acknowledged as the Roger Corman of Philippine cinema?


I wrote my story in a blur, all 1,200 words of it. Crisp and sober and grown-up. The real juice is in there, so do remember to buy Metro Him's September issue, will you?

The gushing I decided to dump in this blog. Now you're knee-deep in it.


slim whale said...

his only movie i got to watch was bata bata paano ka ginawa. i must say his acting has potential.

lateralus said...

he played a part in the kids show ATBP as Kuya Melchor.

snglguy said...

I wonder he knows about your blog, or this post. He'd probably be gushing as well, hehe...

aryo said...

do i sense love? ....

cant_u_read said...

did he talk about our affaire d'amour?

teehee! *dreaming

aajao said...

dang! piolo is my girlfriend's ultimate crush. have i known you were meeting up with him for whatever purpose, we could have gatecrashed in. lol.

migs, the manila gay guy said...

dang! piolo is my girlfriend's ultimate crush too!

and mine too! LOL!

world peace!

Aileen Apolo said...

I am so ENVIOUS!

Keitaro Hanazawa said...

Go, go, go, Piolo-Sam loveteam!

Ay, sorry, fan lang! :)

huami said...

Sobrang pulido ang mukha ni Piolo and he really seems sensible. =) I can imagine your giddy moments with Piolo.=)

Glenn said...

for me, one of piolo's more powerful scenes was from dekada 70, where he (a rebel) furtively met with ate vi (his mom) on a street corner and he was whispering his goodbye... umiyak ako.

hay naku, gibbs you're gushing so much water, nakaabot na sya dito sa bahay at tinitimba ko na sya palabas... hehehe *j/k"

Karla said...

Gibbs, uhrm, may hidden meaning ba ang "bosom friend"? Eeeek!

ian said...

wow gibbs,

being a journalist really has such great perks! swerte mo pare. uhm, ultimate crush ko rin si piolo...:)

Annamanila said...

You really gushed like a poso negro left open by the firemen but I don't blame you. Not at all.

Saw him in Dekada too. And yes, beautiful does not even begin to describe him. Mukha pang mabait at di mayabang ano? Ay, sige na ... before i open like a floodgate too.

Gypsy said...

Ay na-miss ko ito ah! HAAAAAAAAAYYYYYY!!!! *gush*

watson said...

Natawa ako sa jab mo on their TV commercials!

Ederic said...

Uy, paborito ko yung Dekada.

Nung pumunta si Piolo sa office, nagka-traffic daw sa elevator. :D

gibbs cadiz said...

hi SLIM WHALE, wait--was he there in bata, bata? hmmm, i don't recall. i only remember raymond bagatsing and ariel rivera. :(

ayan LATERALUS, you remember huh? fan ka din pala! :)

haha, SNGLGUY, i invited him to visit the blog. he said he would. i'm not sure if he has by now. :)

ARYO, on his part? slight. mwahaha! :)

hey RYE, he tried to but i didn't wanna hear it, selos lang ako. LOL! :)

hello AAJAO, ay naku, andaming giggly hotel staff na nag-akyatan para lang makita si piolo, hehe. :)

MIGS, wag na, meron ka na e, haha. :)

one of these days, AILEEN, am sure you'll meet him. get him as a google model kaya, lol. :)

gibbs cadiz said...

KEITARO, hehe, it's the great unknowable for now. :)

hi HUAMI, no giddy moments, at least not publicly, haha. i keeled over after the interview, lol. :)

GLENN, ang timba, i-ready na! :)

hello KARLA! tingin mo? you're an editor, you know how to parse words, hahaha. :)

hello IAN, oo nga pare, good perk, hehe. maswerte lang na piolo proved to be a good interviewee. nakow, i've met celebrities na hindi, and they're not even as big as this guy. :)

haha, ANNAMANILA, open the floodgates talaga? :) yep, he was kind and charming and all that. ay naku talaga. but am sure he won't remember me a month from now. :)

GYPSY! kaw din? paano na si takeshi kaneshiro? :)

hello WATSON, hehe, didn't get to say them though. :)

hello EDERIC! naman, sa office din nung bumisita siya with bea alonzo and aj dee to promote mr. dreamboy (another flop, btw), pati jaded reporters nagtilian. mwahaha :)

Anonymous said...

The Vicnde Massacre involved the kiling of the Vizcnde family by Hubert Webb and the gang...

The Maureen Hultman case was a totally different murder with Claudio Teehankee, Jr. as the single and convicted suspect.

gibbs cadiz said...

hi ANONYMOUS, sorry--my fault that i wasn't clear in what i wrote. the maureen hultmann and the vizconde cases are different, true. what piolo referred to was this: near the end of carlo caparas' vizconde massacre movie, he did a montage of other heinous local crimes that had happened during that period, and the montage included a reenactment of the maureen hultmann shooting. that's the vignette where piolo appeared. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi... i'm a piolo fan...

i'm just so curious... if piolo pascual is even more handsome in person..

ibig sabihin,sobrang sobrang gwapo niya in person?

kasi... sa pictures, sa tv, sobrang gwapo na niya eh. Eh di sa personal, almost perfect na talaga?

pls reply thanks!

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