Award-winning actor Coco Martin became famous for his daring performances and heavy acting in a number of Philippine alternative movies. After being dubbed as the “Prince of Philippine Independent Films,” he eventually tried out acting for TV through ABS-CBN’s talent agency Star Magic. After a break from the station, he came back in 2008 and debuted in an afternoon drama series. Since then, televiewers have been seeing more and more of the prince’ acting prowess, which eventually earned him the new title “Teleserye King.”
On the celebration of his 36th birthday, let’s take a look on his teleserye journey–starting from a supporting role until he reached one of this year’s biggest teleserye, Ang Probinsyano.
The Teleserye King’s first appearance in an ABS-CBN series was as a town’s vice mayor, Chris. Set in the 1980s when horse race betting was common, Ligaw na Bulaklak was starred by Roxanne Guinoo who played Lea Alegro. She is the daughter of a gambling man named Dennis (Nonie Buencamino) and his wife Marilyn (Jodi sta. Maria). As it turns out, Chris is the real Ronel Alegro, Lea’s half-brother and the long lost brother of Jennifer Alegro (Ara Mina).
The afternoon series was based on the 1957 film “Mga Ligaw na Bulaklak” which starred Alma Moreno.
1. Nagsimula sa Puso (2009)
Now on the main cast, Coco Martin played the role of Carlo Pagdanganan, an engineering scholar whom Professor Celina Fernandez (Maja Salvador) eventually falls in love with.
2. Tonyong Bayawak (2009)
In 2010, Coco Martin starred in the third installment of the weekly fantasy mini-series “Agimat: Ang Mga Alamat ni Ramon Revilla” titled “Tonyong Bayawak.” The actor portrayed the role of Tonyo Dela Cruz, a responsible father and lizard hunter. Out to hunt one night, he sees a band of men assaulting a woman and tries to save the victim. He was stabbed in the encounter and was thrown into a river. A fairy appears and gives him an amulet which gives him the abilities and instincts of a monitor lizard.
3. Tayong Dalawa (2009)
Two brothers, same name, same aspiration, and same lady-of-interest—that was the plotline of Tayong Dalawa. With Jake Cuenca (Lt. David “Dave” M. Garcia, Jr.) and Gerald Anderson (Lt. David “JR” D. Garcia, Jr.) at the forefront of the teleserye, Coco Martin played the role of Ramon D. Lecumberri, the two brothers’ estranged half-sibling.
The actor received the Pop TV Character of the Year title (ASAP Pop Viewer’s Choice Awards), Best Drama Actor title (PMPC Star Awards for TV), and the Presidential Jury Award for Excellence in Acting (Gawad Tanglaw Awards) for his portrayal of Ramon.
4. Kung Tayo’y Magkakalayo (2010)
The Teleserye King portrayed the role of Ringgo Quijano Crisanto, out-of-wedlock son of Frank Crisanto (Albert Martinez), in this primetime drama series. He is rebellious and suffers with bipolar disorder.
5. 1DOL (2010)
The Filipino musical comedy-drama primetime series featured Sarah Geronimo as Belinda Suarez, Sam Milby as Vince Serrano, and Coco Martin as Lando Lagdameo. In an unexpected turn of events, singing idol aspirant Belinda was forced to leave her showbiz life behind. She moves to a remote province and falls in love with Lando.
6. Minsan Lang Kita Iibigin (2011)
The critically acclaimed family military drama series is probably Coco Martin’s big break in the TV industry. He played both the roles of Lt. Alexander del Tierro and Javier del Tierro. Separated at birth, the brothers grow up in completely different households. Alexander, like his well-respected military family, becomes a soldier while Javier’s adoptive family is at the rebels’ side.
The actor won the Pop Kapamilya TV Character (ASAP Pop Viewer’s Choice Awards), Best Drama Actor (20th KBP Golden Dove Awards), Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Drama Series (Golden Screen TV Awards), Best Actor in a Daily Local Soap Opera (8th USTv Student’s Choice Awards), Best Performance by an Actor in a Drama Series (Gawad Tanglaw Awards), and Best Actor in a Primetime Teleserye (Northwest Samar State University Students’ Choice Awards for Radio and Television) for his impressive dual performance in Minsan Lang Kita Iibigan. He was also dubbed by the Guillermo Mendoza Awards as the “Prince of Philippine Television.”
7. Walang Hanggan (2012)
Loosely based on the Gomez-Zulueta film “Hihintayin Kita Sa Langit” (1991), Walang Hanggan followed the a story of love and class division that spanned three generations. Coco Martin portrayed Daniel Guidotti-Montenegro.
8. Juan dela Cruz (2013)
Playing the title role, the Teleserye King portrayed the half-tagabantay and half-aswang who falls in love with Rosario (Erich Gonzales).
He won Best Performance by an Actor in a TV Series (12th Gawad Tanglaw Awards) for his outstanding performance.
9. Ikaw Lamang (2014)
Alongside Kim Chiu as Isabelle, Coco Martin as Samuel spanned the period drama’s numerous time settings: from the 1960s and 1970s and to the 1980s. In the second book, he was Gabriel and the year was 2005.
He won Best Drama Actor (28th PMPC Star Awards for TV) and Best Performance by an Actor (13th Gawad Tanglaw Awards).
10. Yamashita’s Treasures (2015)
Coco Martin starred alongside Julia Montes in an action-packed episode of Wansapanatym. The story follows the hunt for the often-mentioned Yamashita’s gold said to be hidden in caves, tunnels and underground complexes in the Philippines.
11. FPJ's Ang Probinsyano (2015)
In another dual role, Coco Martin stars in the action drama TV series based on the 1997 FPJ film of the same title. He is both Ador and Cardo, estranged twins who both followed the path of law enforcement.