One of the Philippine’s finest actors of his generation visited Dubai on Friday to join his compatriots in celebrating the 115th Philippine Independence Day (actual day was June 12).
Paulo Avelino, the award-winning actor and talented singer, was the guest star at the Kapamilya Kalayaan Karavan 2013, organised by the Filipino community and supported by the Filipino television network ABS-CBN.
The 25-year-old Avelino started his showbiz career through the reality talent show StarStruck on GMA network. Despite being eliminated, he was still offered a contract to play various supporting roles for the network’s projects.
Avelino’s acting abilities started to get noticed when he made a major decision to switch networks. In mid-2011 he transferred to rival TV network ABS-CBN where he was given a big break and gained prominence for his role as Nathan Montenegro in the phenomenal hit television drama series Walang Hanggan (Infinity/Eternal) in 2012. He also starred in the drama series Kahit Konting Pagtingin (Just One Glance).
“I grew up watching films. I remember being a kid I was always amazed and inspired by films. I think of acting more as my calling,” recalls Avelino during a one-on-one interview with tabloid!.
Although he is considered one of the bankable and award-winning actors of his time, Avelino says being an actor is never easy. “I didn’t know it was this hard. It was this complicated. But I just want to keep on doing what I love to do, which is acting.”
Aside from doing mainstream movies and television series, Avelino also acts in independent films. The indie film Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa (The Dance of Two Left Feet) won him an award from Gawad Urian Award for Best Actor. Gawad Urian is one of Philippine’s prestigious annual film awards.
“I’ve got two indie films coming up this July for Cinemalaya. The first one is Debosyon (Devotion) and the other film is Sana Dati.”
As he ventures into independent filmmaking, fans will temporarily miss Avelino’s charm in television screens. “No TV shows at the moment but I might do a film for Star Cinema and Regal Films for December’s Metro Manila Film Festival with Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla.
When asked where he finds the most fulfilment, Avelino says acting both in mainstream and indie films are equally fulfilling. “In mainstream you get to work almost every day for TV. It’s tiring but at the end of the day you feel fulfilled, you feel happy, you feel accomplished. The indie side gives the same feeling. It gives you the chance to do different roles that you don’t usually do in mainstream films. It’s a different fulfilment.”
If given a chance to direct an indie film, Avelino says he wants to do a film with an unsettling plot. “I want something dark, something different. We don’t do much of those now. If I could act in it, I would. I’d like Joem Bascon, Coco Martin and Julia Montes or some other new actors (to be in the film). It’s also nice to work with them – (in a film with) a different perspective.”
One of Avelino’s dream directors to work with is Mike de Leon. “I’ve seen some of his films, and it’s not the usual films you see.”
While films with adult story lines are making a comeback in Philippine movies, how sexy is Avelino willing to go?
“I will not limit myself to anything. As long as it is needed, as long as it is important to the scene and to the role, I wouldn’t really limit myself.”
Asked about his future plans, Avelino says he will try to stay in the industry as long as possible. “Hopefully I’d still be in the industry, acting. But I really want to act and do different roles and be as versatile as possible.”
Aside from being a television and film actor and model, Avelino has also ventured into music. Last year, he released his self-titled debut album. “It was okay. I already have an album out. Singing is a stress reliever for me. I play the guitar. I jam with friends. But you could still say I’m more on the acting side.” When asked to choose between singing and acting, he says “acting” and laughs.
Being one of Philippine showbiz’s heartthrobs, Avelino’s relationship with fellow StarStruck alumni LJ Reyes is always controversial. On July 24, 2010, LJ gave birth to their son, Ethan Akio Reyes.
Another controversy hit the couple because of speculations that Avelino and Reyes have ended their relationship. Asked if it’s true, the actor was vague in his answer. “For me…she said that she’s happy, so let’s just…siguro (maybe)…let’s just be happy for everything that happened now.” And is he happy with it? “Uh…Happy rin (also).”
Avelino says that he is the type of father that spoils his three-year-old son. “I spoil my son but at the same time there are limits also when you spoil your son. I try to be the best father I can be.”
Sunday is Father’s Day – how will he celebrate it? “I won’t be in the Philippines on Father’s Day so I might postpone it on a different day and celebrate it with my son. My son is turning three. I would ask him what he wants to do. If he wants to play or do whatever.”
And how has fatherhood made an impact on his life? “It brings me happiness and inspiration,” says the proud father.
Why it’s good to be a Filipino: by Paulo Avelino
Our culture. We are very happy. We are very hospitable to friends, family, and foreigners.
Our family. When you have a family in the Philippines, everyone helps each other.
Our sceneries. Our beaches, our nature.
We’re very hardworking. Anywhere you go you see Filipinos. You see them working very hard for their family. They sacrifice everything to give their children and loved ones a better life.