Way before Piolo Pascual became the ultimate leading man he is today in movies and television, Regal Entertainment matriarch “Mother” Lily Monteverde knew he would make it big in show business.
“The first time I met Papa P [as the actor is fondly called], I knew that he was special. Not only do I find him to be a brilliant actor, he is a diligent one as well. His eyes speak of sincerity; his heart is filled with compassion for others. Right there and then, I thought this guy would go along a way in his career. I was right,” Monteverde fondly recalled when she hosted a press conference for Pascual’s latest movie, Northern Lights: A Journey to Love. The family drama, which opens today, is a three-way co-production among Regal, Star Cinema, and Pascual’s own outfit, Spring Films.
“I want you to know how generous a man Papa P is. On the last shooting day of Northern Lights, he shared his talent fee with the staff and crew. Nag-iyakan ang mga taga-production sa sorpresa niya sa kanila. They love him to death now!” Monteverde continued.
The showbiz pillar’s anecdotes and kind words brought the actor to tears, and in response, Pascual said that his little acts of generosity are a “simple way” to show how much he appreciates everyone with whom he has worked.
A look back
It was in 2002 when Pascual first worked with Monteverde’s Regal Films in the romantic movie, I Think I’m In Love, opposite sexy actress Joyce Jimenez.
Since then, Pascual unknowingly proved to Monteverde she was right in predicting he would be a success as he went on to collect Best Supporting Actor awards left and right for his portrayal as the young activist Jules Bartolome in the movie Dekada ’70.
Later, he went on to break box-office records in the dramas Till There Was You and Milan, which was one of the first Filipino movies on record to reach the P100-million mark at the box office.
Pascual’s career continued to soar when he branched out from movies to top-rating TV shows, sold-out concerts, and platinum records. Today he is considered one of Philippine show business’ most valuable and in demand talents, and while he also has his share of intrigues, is admired for his charitable and humble ways.
Almost 14 years since his first movie with Regal, Pascual is happy to reunite with Mother Lily, who now runs the production company with her daughter Roselle. He and the Monteverdes consider Northern Lights his much-awaited homecoming to the 55-year-old movie outfit.
“Yes, I am an exclusive artist of Star Magic but Mother Lily here knows how to make wonders happen in the business that’s why I was able to work with them again,” Pascual said with high regard for the Regal matriarch.
Also calling the movie his “passion project,” Northern Lights is a story about a father trying to reconnect with his estranged son.
“The reason why I was emotional [during Mother Lily’s remarks]is because the Monteverdes and I share the same passion—movie making. This movie is a joint effort among all of us, and we just want to come out with something that’s worthwhile for all of us,” the 40-year-old actor-producer said.
“This is not about business but about passion. It’s really nice to be able to do something without fearing how it would fare in the box-office. Manalo, matalo. For that, I want to thank Mother Lily and Roselle for this opportunity to express and do something na ang sarap lang gawin,” Pascual added.
Moreover, he considers Northern Lights close to his real-life experience with teenage son Iñigo, who is now carving his own name in showbiz as well. Pascual and his son by a former girlfriend spent time apart when Iñigo lived with his mom in the US. It was only when the boy—now 19 years old—finished high school and decided to pursue showbiz that they were able to spend more time together.
“Sometimes it’s not the choice of the parents to be away from their children. It’s also not the choice of the kids and this movie will dig into that conflict,” Pascual promised.
Another draw of Northern Lights is to spotlight the travails of fathers, with mothers mostly the subject of movies.
“What we wanted to show is the point of view of the father. We’ve all been exposed to the hardships and pains of mothers, but fathers also experience the same in trying to reconnect with their estranged children, and it’s also valid. I know I am not the only one who shares in this story,” Pascual finally noted.
The story of Piolo Pascual’s desolate character, searching for the right path in life, and his child—played by Raikko Matteo—longing for love from his father will opens nationwide today.
Yen Santos, Joel Torre, Sandy Andolong, Tirsco Cruz 3rd, Maricar Reyes, Glydel Mercado, Jerald Napoles, Anna Vicente, K Brosas and David Chua complete the cast. The movie is directed by Dondon Santos and written by Onay Sales.