The real Coco Martin in the eyes of co-stars and friends

Dauntless, loyal, ‘astig’ yet loving – that’s how we’ve come to know Cardo Dalisay. How much of Cardo’s persona is in the real Coco Martin? Let’s find out straight from the people closest to him!

In a special feature uploaded on Coco’s YouTube channel in celebration of FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano’s 6th anniversary, Team Promdi reveals the real Coco behind the cameras.  

The beginning of Team Promd

John Prats takes on the lead, talking about how he and Coco became friends. They first worked together via Kapamilya fantasy series Komiks Presents Tiny Tony where they played rivals, with John as the titular role. They reunited during an ASAP show in London and that’s where they got to talk about the possibility of working again in the then-three month old FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano.

Prior to FPJ’s Ang Probinsyanoo, Coco did films with Michael de Mesa and Rowell Santiago. The veterans almost forgot but Coco didn’t, a proof that he knows how to look back on his humble beginnings.

Sometime in 2007, he starred with Marc Solis in an afternoon series from another network. Marc recalled offering Coco a taping chair but the latter refused and thought only big stars are supposed to sit there. They became friends on the set, although losing touch after the series. When Coco was reviewing the possible cast members of FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano, he blurted out, “’Yan! Kaibigan ko ‘yan!” when he saw Marc’s name.

John Medina’s first encounter with Coco was in an out-of-town basketball ‘raket.’ Coco still had to borrow money from his grandmother to buy rubber shoes at the time. They went home without the talent fee but Coco remained positive. And the team made a pact that whoever gets the first big opportunity will have to lift his teammates up. “Isa ako sa magpapatunay du’n. Until now, bitbit ako ni Coco Martin,” said John.

Bassilyo joked that he was ‘kilig’ to see Coco for the first time on the set of “Ang Panday.” He said the actor is truly handsome in person. He and Smugglaz experienced culture shock since it’s their first time acting with a big production but Coco made them feel welcomed.

CJ Ramos will never forget Coco’s warmth and authenticity during their first meeting. He just came from a dark season and Coco was the first to help him recover. He felt Coco’s concern and eagerness to give him a second lease on showbiz.

Coco as a director

The whole team agrees that Coco is the brain of FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano. But not only he weaves the scenes, also he directs his co-stars to the right path. Julia Montes, now playing Mara in the series, could attest to Coco’s magic. She said the actor-director is very inspiring, motivating that he can soothe their doubts and weariness.

Even fellow directors Rowell, Michael, and John are amazed by Coco’s techniques. They mentioned Coco’s eye for details and collaborative efforts. He’s dedicated and focused without neglecting his relationship with the team. Coco’s work as a director has personal touch according to Marc. He also considers the public’s taste in mounting every scene, as John observed, Coco creates not to impress but to inspire.  

Joseph Marco added Coco brings out their artistic sides, at the same time teaches them new things. He’s everything rolled into one. As Jay Gonzaga put it, “Pakiramdam ko ang dami niyang utak kasi ang dami niyang iniisip pero nama-manage niya lahat. He’s our captain. Siya ang magle-lead kung saan kami pupunta at willing akong sumama. He’s brilliant. Nu’ng nagsabog ang Panginoon ng katalinuhan, diskarte sa buhay, andiyan si CM.”

Michael noted that respect is one of Coco’s dominant virtues as an actor-director and it translates to how he values other people’s time. He makes sure everything’s on schedule. His hunger and passion never waned, as if he’ll never get tired of working.

Coco as a friend

For five days a week, we watch the guys of FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano fight and do all things side by side. Behind the scenes, the kinship even gets more intense, thanks to Coco’s authenticity, big-heartedness, and selflessness

As a veteran actor and filmmaker, Michael knows it’s hard to find true friends in showbiz. He found one in Coco, who made an effort to reach out and build their rapport. Through their constant chats, he saw Coco’s honesty and realness.

It’s no secret that Coco is family-oriented, thus he easily turns friends and colleagues into family. And as family, they never leave each other. “Once nag-decide siya na kaibigan ko ito, buong-puso, kaibigan ka niya. Kahit anong mangyari, nasa likod mo siya,” expressed Marc, who recalled how Coco showed love when his father died during the pandemic. He said Coco allowed him to take a break from the show and was constantly checking up on him. “Anong kailangan mo, sabihin mo sa akin. Financial man ‘yan o moral support, basta sabihin mo sa akin,” he recalled Coco’s words.

Same goes for John and CJ when their fathers were hospitalized. For CJ, Coco as a friend is a good role model, a brother and even father figure. It’s easy to also care for him because they know he will do the same. As Smugglaz put it, “Masarap sa pakiramdam na alam mong nasa pakpak ka niya kasi alam mong hindi ka niya pababayaan. Ang sarap niyang mahalin kasi alam mong mahal ka niya. Ang sarap maging totoo sa kanya kasi alam mong totoo siya sa’yo.”

Joseph, the newest member of the group, easily gelled with Coco, thanks to the latter’s humility. Coco knows how to connect with everyone and share his blessings. “Hindi madamot,” said Sancho delas Alas. But when he gives, he doesn’t like it publicized, said Julia.

Coco as a role model

For Team Promdi, Coco possesses qualities that other artists including them would like to copy. He’s like their idol. Like little kids, they want to be like him and follow his example, said Jay.  

Sancho admires Coco’s sense of “pakikisama.” FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano is a big production and a mix of all kinds of personalities. Yet, Coco manages to unite them all. They are solid because of his example.

Coco teaches them how to seize opportunities and save for the rainy days. Above all, he is their standard in professionalism, passion, and creativity. John, one of the show’s directors, tries to squeeze out all his best to fit the quality of Coco’s output.

Although focused and strict when seated on the director’s chair, Coco also knows how to have fun. According to Julia, the Primetime King can also be childlike, “Sobrang bungisngis at makulit ang isang Coco Martin. Kapag tumawa na siya, ‘pag nakuha mo na yung kiliti niya sa isang topic, dire-diretso na ‘yan. Wala na siya lalong mata. ‘Yung tawa niya ay napaka-infectious.”

Near the end of the video, the cast of FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano expressed their heartfelt message and thanks to Coco. Lorna Tolentino, John Arcilla, Tirso Cruz III, and Maika Rivera also sent in their sweet messages. 

The team has indeed turned into a real family. They are witnesses to each other’s triumphs and pain. And no matter what the season is, Coco remains the same. He’s just like Cardo Dalisay in many ways.

Don’t miss an episode of FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano, weeknights, on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, and A2Z.