Heart of gold


PROFESSIONALLY speaking— Gabby Concepcion, 53, is the least single-minded in his league.

To begin with, in whatever period in the business of pleasing everybody, he is consistently thrice the charmer.

“What is nice about me is I experiment,” the actor said outside his hotel room in Ozamiz City one humid night in May. It’s like peeling off old skin in a code—in his case of presentation, black, white, gray, and fifty shades of each color in the middle.

For more than 30 years on television and cinema since the 80s, 2018 is his golden age. Against the rapid sprouting of matinee idols, this and that, Gabby is still king. Late last year, he won the Asian Star Prize at the Seoul International Awards for a role that completed a triad of scandalous marital affairs.

Just the right amount of wrong that lays the golden rule, too: Don’t ask, don’t tell.

More than the accolades, at this era of his career, what makes the difference now is he leaps beyond the borders of utility.

“Anything that is given to you is a gift.

I don’t like complaining,” Gabby continued.

The critic no longer counts. And he is right.

The glory belongs to Gabby who’s actually in the battlefield daily, who strives valiantly —who errs, who falls short again and again.

But he spends himself in a worthy case because he is quick to learn in the end,

unlike the young breed in his line of work, the triumph of high achievement.

So if he fails, at the very least, while daring greatly.

How do you feel after it was announced that you won the Asian Star Prize at the Seoul International Awards for your role as Jerome in “Ika-6 Na Utos”?

Syempre, unexpected ‘yun ‘eh … I am always excited because it’s always a surprise ‘eh. And what’s good about me is I don’t expect. It pushes me even more to improve my work. It’s rare na pumasok ang Philippines. I don’t know how they select it. Tinawagan lang nila ang GMA 7.

What makes your role in “Ika-6 Na Utos” worthy of attention?

The role is significant to the lives of ordinary people. It’s a story that happens to a lot people, merong katotohanan in the beginning. In the end, parang impossible naman gagawin ni Georgia dun. ‘Yung feeling na gusto’ng gawin ng isa ang nasa imagination lang natin. Nasa imagination ng tao yun—ang mga writers nga palabras, ay syempre, ginagawa nilang totoo sa TV o cinema. Yung dreams nila, nalalagay nila sa TV.

What’s the secret to lasting this long?

Tinanong ko ang mga bata, mga 12 to 14 years old: “Bakit nyo ako kilala?” Nanonood daw sila ng “Because of You.”

I don’t know. I don’t know the answer to that. Wala kasing secret.

Is there a certain acting methodology that you apply?

I don’t have one. I just read the script, look for a peg or anong hitsura ng tao na gumaganap ng ganito … I take it from there. Ako kasi, I experiment. What is nice about me is I experiment, hindi ako laging stuck sa isang type lang. In the 80s, that’s why boy-next-door ako. In the 90s, I played the antagonist—bad guys ’yun, the roles in the 90s. I won a lot of the awards because of that. Kahit ano ako, I shifted. I explore. Mga 2000s, bumalik nanaman ako sa “white.” May gray yan, pero nung huli, “black” na naman. I feel na every five years, merong evolution. There is change every five years. That includes actors. They have to change their style. Some images should change so it won’t be monotonous.

You’re one of the lucky ones who found the fountain of youth.

I don’t age? Naku, no. I do age. I can feel it. Water is really important. You hydrate your body. Food is important also. I don’t diet. I eat what I want to eat. Sometimes, di ko mapigilan katulad ng baboy, ‘yung balat. I eat a lot of vegetables.

You still charm the ladies. Share to us some tips. Wala. Just be nice to the people you work with, alam mo naman sa workplace, kailangan nagkakasundo lahat. Para siguro vibes mo yung
lahat ng tao—smile. Be happy. Be accommodating. Generally, how you want to be treated is how you treat other people.

Do you exercise?

I don’t go to the gym regularly. I go to the beach.

The projects are pouring in for you.

May ibibigay na teleserye nanaman ang GMA 7 sa akin but they’re still finishing the script. Well, there are two choices sabi nila, bahala na raw ako what I like. Rom-com (romantic comedy) tapos meron drama, depende sa time slot. We’re still figuring out if it will be in the evening or the same time slot sa “Ika-6” this year.

What’s your choice?

Okey din ‘yung rom-com but depende sa leading lady. Honestly, gusto ko yung rom-com; maraming followers ‘yun.

Do you have leading actresses in mind?

Meron, pero sila naman ang hindi pwede dahil sa schedule ng taping—Marian Rivera, Heart Evangelista. Sam Pinto is kind of shying away from showbiz now, madalas na kasi siya sa beach ngayon and she travels. ‘Yung iba, may ginagawa pa, kagaya ni Lovi (Poe).

What’s your dream role?

Yeah, meron na, nagawa ko na, diablo ‘yun ’eh. Dracula—mga dracula roles or fantasy.

Importante kasi ‘yung meat ng istorya.

The writers are doing something like zombies na bampira … I heard ginawa na din ‘yan sa Channel 2. Pero you know, everyone does a little of everything now. But draculas come from different stories.

Do you identify yourself more as an actor or as producer because you’ve produced a lot of movies, too?

Actor, syempre. It’s less stressful. You just do your role well and interact with the people on set, you’re done.

Is there a McDonald’s part two with Sharon Cuneta?

Wala na. ‘Yun na ‘yun. One contract lang ‘yun, one year.

If McDonald’s would offer you again, would you accept it?

Yeah, I like McDonald’s. Besides, my kids love McDonald’s.

How did you feel when Sharon unfollowed you on Instagram?

Wala. Normal lang, ganun siya, eh—unpredictable. So I already expected something like that from her.

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