Knowing your calling may come in moments you won’t expect.
Joem Bascon would never have known he had it takes to become one of the country’s top caliber actors, were it not for, actually, a fan boy moment.
The teleserye Hiram was on location shooting at his family’s farm in Antipolo when Joem learned that Heart Evangelista was on the set.
“Gusto ko kasi makita si Heart,” Joem beamed in an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN.com. “So dumalaw ako sa farm namin para manood ng taping nila.”
As Joem watched, he caught the attention of the series director Jerry Lopez-Sineneng. The filmmaker approached Joem and his parents to discuss the possibility of having him enter showbiz.
“Noong una siyempre, reluctant ako. Hindi ko line yun at wala sa isip ko,” Joem said.
But Direk Jerry insisted, encouraging him to at least join an acting workshop so that he could have an idea of what the profession and the acting craft is all about. He then agreed.
Encouraged by the director’s prodding, Joem participated in an acting workshop administered by veteran actress Beverly Vergel.
“So nag-workshop ako for two years habang nag-aaral ako sa UST,” said Joem, who also worked part-time for Beverly as a training assistant to defray the cost of his joining the workshop.
While in the workshop, Joem said he gets tipped off regularly about auditions for ABS-CBN shows. Of course, he would join these auditions.
Joem got his first break when he passed the audition for the sitcom Let’s Go in 2006 and landed the role of Bob in the series that lasted for a year.
But his first teleserye role came when he joined the cast of Walang Kapalit in 2007 that started his impressive foray into drama.
Path to take
During that year, Joem recalled an experience that made him realize that acting was his “path to take.”
Landing a coveted role in Batanes opposite Iza Calzado and Taiwanese star Ken Chu of Meteor Garden fame, under the direction of acclaimed filmmaker Adolf Alix, Jr., Joem encountered problems while filming.
“Hirap na hirap akong umarte,” he said. “Hindi ko makuha yung mga scenes. Hirap na hirap ako. Lungkot na lungkot ako.”
After that experience, Joem said it made him more determined to hone his craft.
“After that sinabi ko sa sarili ko ipupursigi ko siya (acting), mas aaralin ko.Kasi nung una, kahit nung nag-woworkshop ako, wala siya sa utak ko na gagawin ko siya (na seryoso) . Eto talaga yung time ng film na yon, alam ko na eto ang path na kukunin ko,” Joem said.
Up the ante
After this realization, Joem would strive to up the ante in his performances as impressed producers regularly cast him in major teleseryes through the years, including Kahit Isang Saglit, My Girl, Noah, Walang Hanggan, Muling Buksan Ang Puso, The Legal Wife, and Pangako Sa ‘Yo, apart from his impeccable portrayals in mainstream and independent films.
Joem received his first acting award, Best Supporting Actor, from Gawad Tanglaw for the film Noy in 2010.
This year, Joem gets his biggest break in his 11 years in the business with his first lead role in the upcoming teleserye Pusong Ligaw.
“After all these years, bigla akong binigyan ng chance ng management to be part of the main cast. I’m just so happy na nandito ako,” he said. “Dati kasi puro character roles. So very memorable sa akin ito at buong puso ibibigay ko sarili ko.”
He plays the role of Caloy, a central figure in the drama’s plot, being the ex-lover of Tessa (Beauty Gonzales).
Joem relates with Caloy in his dedication to his work.
“Katulad ni Caloy, kung anong trabahong ibigay sa akin, gagawin ko yung best ko. Kahit maging server sa restaurant, gagawin ko pa rin best ko dahil mahal ko ang trabaho. Ganoon si Caloy. Kumbaga, kahit anong ibigay mong work sa kanyang work para mabuhay, mamahalin niya at gagawin ng buong puso niya,” Joem said.
Joem also emphasizes Caloy’s humility, never forgetting his origins. “Si Caloy din kasi di nakakalimot kung saan siya galing. Kahit successful na siya, babalik balikan pa rin ang pinanggalingan niya. Ako rin ganoon. Lahat ng kasama ko before until now, kaibigan ko pa rin. Walang magbabago kahit anong success ko sa buhay. Kung sino ako dati, ganoon pa rin ako ngayon,” he added.