Providential is how Jiro Custodio considers his foray into show business.
The “It’s Showtime Bidaman: The Big Break” runner-up was actually discovered by the late Master Showman German Moreno earlier in 2011 during the iconic host’s mall tour of “Walang Tulugan” in Nueva Ecija.
“I was 14 then, and Jackie Rice was looking for someone in the audience na guwapo daw who she can sing with in her performance. My friends pointed to me and pushed me. That caught her attention, so I was called onstage,” the 22-year-old singer-actor told The Sunday Times Magazine in this exclusive pictorial-interview.
He had been a candidate in the “NE [Nueva Ecija] Pacific Idol” contest and the finalists were required to attend the show as representatives of the province’s young talented artists. His impromtu duet with Rice had Moreno say, “Manalo [man o] matalo, after this contest, puntahan mo ako sa Maynila, tutulungan kita maging artista.”
The young Gapan resident bagged the title and it was then he heeded the veteran host’s invitation, proudly showing his trophy with the inscription, “Grand Champion — NE Pacific Idol of 2011.” He then became part of the weekly show aired late Saturday evenings.
When the show folded up after 19 years of airing — a month after Moreno’s death on January 8, 2016 —the young man joined the vocal group, The Go Boys, but the rigorous rehearsal schedules took a toll on his health. As soon as his management contract expired he went back to his hometown and pursued his studies until college where he took Bachelor of Science in Information Technology.
But the lure of showbiz continued to haunt him, and he wanted his dreams realized. So he auditioned for every opportunity that would open the doors further and got a role in the indie film, “Tres” directed by Carlo Alvarez (2017) and “Rendezvous (Tagpuan)” starring Gina Pareño (2018). A third one is “Reflection,” an indie film that is part of an information campaign used by school systems.
Meanwhile, Custodio’s vocal prowess was honed when he became a regular singer for Casino Filipino, traveling and performing in gaming outlets throughout the country.
“It was really taxing since we were required to rehearse everyday, then during performance you breathe in the smoke, grabe ang puyatan. I really got sick because of that,” he said, adding that during that time he also pursued IT studies at AMA Computer University.
Call to be a bida
More known to be a singer but dying to pursue acting, he auditioned for the “Bidaman” contest of ABS-CBN’s “It’s Showtime” in April but was not able to show up for the callback due to a prior commitment. He auditioned again in June as a new contender and went on to become one of three finalists, along with Eris Aragoza and Jin Macapagal, who became the grand winner. And he is thankful that they are now regulars of the network’s longest-running noontime show, just like the Hashtags.
Still, Jiro’s beautiful tenor voice is his ticket to greater heights, that a group of individuals — Nagaharu Fuiwara, Sho Hamazaki, Mario Marcos and John Cortez — polled their resources to showcase his singing skills in a solo concert called “The Greatest Show” on November 22 at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
Directed by his manager, Jaysar Lorayna and Benedict Borja, the masterpiece presentation is inspired by the popular American drama film, “The Greatest Showman” — which in a way is Custodio’s tribute to his discoverer and mentor, the Master Showman of Philippine entertainment.
Already with two singles to his credit — “Sabihin Mo Na” and “Deep Inside” — available on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes and Deezer, Custodio hopes to become a contract artist of Star Music, the recording arm of ABS-CBN.
For his concert, he said he will be singing songs that mean to him as a person and growing up. He has a number of guests that include the Timeless Diva, Dulce; “The X Factor UK” alumnus Maria Laroco, “Britain’s Got Talent” contestant Madonna Decena, AC Bonifacio, Bugoy Cariño, Jervy delos Reyes, Archie Aguilar, Khimo Gumatay, Voice Camp Philippines, ‘Bidaman’ brother Eris Aragoza, Jay Dizon, Chloe Redondo, JC del Rosario, Twain Tuazon, Egielyn Fernandez, Dan Delgado, Jhunjie Dosdos, Mojack Perez, Marika Sasaki, Yuki Sakamoto, Benedict Dural and Christian Rebada.
Borja told The Sunday Times Magazine during the media conference that from the opening number up to the end of the two-and-a-half-hour show, it’s really a grand presentation of greatest hits, Custodio’s own personal picks and the greatest performances of some of the greatest artists in the Philippines at this time.
Dream-come-true with Dulce
Custodio, who opened for Dingdong Avanzado together with Laroco in a show at the SM Skydone several months ago, considers Dulce’s nod as his main guest as fulfillment to his life-long dream.
“Ever since I saw Ms. Dulce perform live on ‘Walang Tulugan,’ naging fan na niya ako and di na nawala sa isip ko na someday I’d be singing with her. So when this concert was conceptualized, ang una kong sinabi sa manager-director ko ay dapat di mawala si Ms. Dulce sa lineup of guests at dapat may number kami together,” the young singer told the media.
On her part, the Timeless Diva praised Custodio for his attitude before his talent.
“Sa lahat kasi na nasa ‘Walang Tulugan’ noon si Jiro lang talaga ang nagkukusang lumapit [sa mga beteranong tulad ko]. Napakahalaga ng attitude sa industriyang ito. Marami ang magagaling, biglang sikat, pero di nagtatagal. With Jiro’s talent and attitude, I see na magtatagal siya,” Dulce said.
She also added that she has always been supportive to all artists, but doesn’t see herself to be in a solo concert as grand as “The Greatest Show” anymore. It is enough that she lends her time, name and voice to the younger ones.
“Kung kaya lang ng oras at katawan ko, pagbibigyan ko lahat,” she said.
The young man could not hide his emotions as he expressed gratitude that the artist he has been looking up to since the start of his career agreed to be his very special guest in his first solo concert.
He also said that whether they can fill the Cuneta Astrodome or not (70 percent tickets sold as of press time), what is important is to give happiness to his fans and followers, but the most important thing is to contribute to the needs of children with cancer under the Silungan ng Pag-asa Foundation and streetchildren of Pasay City.
The benefit concert is produced by ERD Production and Twin-M Productions International Inc. co-presented by Progressive Tri-Media Southern Metro.
“I also hope that I can make my ‘It’s Showtime’ family proud. Those who can’t perform with me will be in the audience,” the newest star of the year concluded.
Fast facts on ‘Bidaman’ Jiro
Real Name: Herminio Custodio
Screen Name: Jiro Custodio
Date of Birth: March 9, 1997
Age: 22 years old
Place of Birth: Malolos, Bulacan
Provincial Address: Gapan, Nueva Ecija
City Address: Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila
Parents: Herminio Batongbacal and Nancy Custodio
Siblings: Older Twin Brothers Herminio 1st (Bing) and Herminio 2nd (Bong) and Younger Sister Ivy
Civil Status: Single
Weight: 70 kgs.
Shirt Size: Medium
Shoe Size: 10
Schools Attended: AMA Computer University, Fairview, Quezon City – Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, Third Year; Asia’s School of Arts and Science; Gapan City Technical Institute; Juan R. Liwag Memorial High School; Gapan South Central School