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Joel Lamangan on portraying Roda FPJBQ

Arguably, many recognize Joel Lamangan as a brilliant and prolific film and television director, who is celebrated for his notable works through the years that included iconic films “Darna” (1991), “The Flor Contemplacion Story” (1995), “The Sarah Balabagan Story” (1997), and “Mila” (2001), and the ABS-CBN teleserye “Vietnam Rose” (2005).

Thus, avid viewers of FPJ’s Batang Quiapo were initially surprised to see him as one of its ensemble cast, playing the role of the annoying, greedy, arrogant, and condescending Roda. While his character is deeply abhorred, Direk Joel is actually an admirable person in real life, as revealed in his appearance in a recent vlog by Ogie Diaz.

Portraying the role seems to be effortless for Direk Joel, as he exudes the same level of energy and speaks and moves the same way as Roda off-cam. Amusingly, he was in character as Ogie interviewed him while they roamed around the busy set of the well-loved primetime series. On their way to the Dimaguiba residence, they met Charo Santos and Cherry Pie Picache.

He may be more popular as a director, but being in front of the camera is something that’s not new to him anymore for he’s been acting since the time of Filipino film icons Ishmael Bernal and Lino Brocka.
And when quizzed by Ogie about how his journey as Roda began, he recounted that it all began on the teleserye’s premiere night in February of this year.

Kinuha ako ni Coco. Inimbita niya ako sa premiere night nito. Pumunta naman ako. Pagkakita niya sa’kin doon, sabi niya, ‘Direk, kukunin kita ha?’ [Ako naman,] ‘Sige, gusto ko.’ Doon nag-umpisa,” he reminisced.

He initially assumed that his stint was going to be just short and would end when the Batang Tondo gang attempted to murder Roda. And that was really okay for him since he had to work on his other project, too. But he was surprised when he received a call from a staff of FPJ’s Batang Quiapo to inform him that he needed to go back since Roda would remain alive.

Direk Joel related that he and Coco became close through his younger brother Ronwaldo Martin, who was the lead star in the 2017 indie flick “Bhoy Intsik” that he helmed. Ronwaldo is also part of FPJ’s Batang Quiapo at present, playing the role of Tanggol’s (Coco) younger brother Santino.

Even though he’s already a septuagenarian, not to mention that he had undergone three severe health emergencies as well, it amazes Ogie that Direk Joel still has a sharp memory, which is something that actors like him really need in portraying their roles. Direk Joel would like to believe that the reason why he’s able to survive those health scares and continue working is because God still wants him to pursue his passion. Besides, those also made him realize the importance of cherishing every moment and taking care of himself more.

When asked if he ever regretted accepting the role of Roda, Direk Joel told Ogie, “Ay, hindi, ‘day. Ako yata ‘yong kontrabida na lahat minamahal ako.” In fact, people have since been calling him Roda, including the children in his neighborhood. His character may be irritating most of the time, but some avid viewers of the show have told him that they actually love him for entertaining them.

He further divulged that everything he says and does as Roda is scripted, but there are instances that he adds some elements to it. And his being a director and a former theater thespian have indeed helped him in establishing his now infamous character.

With regard to how his colleagues in FPJ’s Batang Quiapo have been treating him, Direk Joel said that they deal with him as their co-actor since he’s just an artista here. Due to his health issues, he has also set a restriction when it comes to his working hours, reminding their directors that he can only work until midnight.

Despite his age and his health, Direk Joel is not keen on retiring anytime soon because he firmly believes that being in the entertainment industry has no specific retirement age. He told Ogie, “Hanggang kaya ng katawan ko, hanggang nakakatayo pa ako, hanggang nakakalakad pa ako, hanggang nakakapagsalita pa ako, hanggang malinaw pa ang pag-iisip ko at mga mata ko, hindi ako titigil.

The interview concluded with Direk Joel enumerating some pointers that aspiring artistas must keep in mind for them to succeed in this field. According to him, they must be resolute, especially in times of challenges and failures, and be dedicated in everything that they are going to do. Besides, they must be keen observers and be humble at all times.

Catch Direk Joel on FPJ’s Batang Quiapo, weeknights after TV Patrol, on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, and A2Z.