Coco Martin on the set of Batang Quiapo

If you were captivated by the stunning visuals and acting spectacle in the first episode of FPJ’s Batang Quiapo, knowing how it was made will make you appreciate it even more. Check out this exclusive interview as Karen Davila visits the set of the newest Kapamilya series and gathers interesting behind-the-scenes facts from lead actor Coco Martin. 

On that day, they were filming the car chase scene in Binondo wherein Coco’s character Ramon and his crew hijacked an armored truck. Coco’s vision for the serye is hinged on realism, and we can say he hit the goal because of what happened during their shoot: members of the SWAT team thought it was a real robbery incident and arrested some of the stuntmen. 

Another trivia: Coco owns the car Ramon used and he had it customized specifically for that scene. 

The big scene required three cameras, a drone, and just natural light. “Kasi po ngayon sa gaganda ng camera, madali na siyang i-setting tapos kino-color grade po namin,” he explained that filming teleseryes nowadays is akin to  making movies. 

Coco has a big role in the whole process. Not only does he act, but he also directs. And since they function without a script, he must be involved in the story flow as well. 

“Ang hirap iasa sa iba, eh, ‘di ba? ‘Pag meron ka kasing gusto, gusto mong mangyari 'yun, ikaw mismo ang gagawa lalo na kasi sa akin 'yung kwento. Isa rin ako sa nagsusulat, which is mahirap kasi ako rin ‘yung umaarte.”

That day, the captain of the ship woke up at 3am to make it to their 4am meeting and 5am call time. He can’t be late as everyone relies on his instructions. While waiting for daylight, they started working guerrilla-style. 

When asked if he’s pressured about FPJ’s Batang Quiapo, Coco smiled and said he feels excited than pressured “kasi meron akong gustong ipakita na hindi ko pa napakita sa Ang Probinsyano.” He guaranteed that Tanggol is something else than his previous character, Cardo Dalisay. “Inaral ko siya kung paano siya bibigyan ng ibang flavor kasi hindi pwedeng mapagsawaan o maiwanan.” Therefore, we’ll never see Tanggol wear a denim jacket. 

Coco is already living the dream as he jumped from being just an actor to a director and now a producer. But learning is a never-ending process. He plans to get a formal education in filmmaking with his good friend John Prats in New York, that is, if their schedule permits.   

“Noong araw, akala ko ang action madali lang. Hindi. Ang action pala ang pinakamahirap kasi may kaakibat ‘yan na buwis-buhay, eh.” Where there is action, there is injury.  And where there is Coco, there is a huge crowd shrieking in joy. “Parang barkada na namin ang mga ‘yan,” he enthused as onlookers tried to get his attention. The screams got louder when Coco mingled with the crowd and touched their hands. 

His charisma, talent, and the path he’s taking on are reminiscent of that of ‘Da King’ Fernando Poe, Jr., hence, he’s often dubbed as the new FPJ, which he humbly contests. “Hindi,” he bashfully smiled. When asked how he feels about it, he replied, “Nahihiya po kasi hindi talaga, eh. Malayo po, eh. Marami pa akong pagdadaanan at kakaining bigas talaga.”

He was then reminded of his roots as an indie actor, saying he didn’t expect to venture into mainstream showbiz, let alone achieve his status today. All he wanted was a regular job and longevity, similar to the path of his co-star Allan Paule, “’Yung magkaroon ng trabaho na laging nandiyan as a character actor. “

Instead of stardom, he aimed for just an ordinary job and life, inspired by his grandmother Lola Matilde’s success story that involves a ton of hard work. From there, he recalled his persistence to live a regular life as an OFW in Canada after making two internationally-acclaimed indie films, and all the odd jobs he did. He also looked back on participating in the traditional Traslacion and touching the image of the Black Nazarene for a Brillante Mendoza film in 2007, which he believes attracted the blessings to pour in as he hasn’t stopped working from 2007 to this day. That’s why he set their first taping day on the Feast of the Black Nazarene last January. 

Unlike FPJ, he doesn’t see himself entering politics, “Sabi ko nga, eto pa nga lang na nahihirapan na ako mag-handle ng mga tao.” He may be a superstar but he loves privacy. He and his family never talk about showbiz and his work at home. He’d rather talk about what needs to be fixed around the house, embracing his role as the man of the house. 

When asked about having a girlfriend, he replied, “Sakto lang.” Coco is very much guarded when talking about his private life, believing that people can’t destroy what they don’t know. 

His childhood isn’t a secret, though. People know he grew up with his paternal grandmother after his parents’ separation and that he became street-smart early on. Despite the situation, he never resented his parents and he focused more on fixing his family in any way he could. And he did, by giving them a comfortable life. 

He then capped off the interview with his mantra in life: “Kung ano ang tinanim mo sa buhay, sa kapwa mo, ‘yun din ang aanihin mo.”

Support Coco by watching FPJ’s Batang Quiapo, weeknights, on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, and A2Z.