Looking at the silverlining in this time of pandemic, Dominic Ochoa would like to believe that the world just took a breather, a slow-down to give us time to take a pause and appreciate the little things. Thoughts like he is still alive and that he is still with his family always keeps him grounded and looking forward to the coming days. If there’s one powerful weapon that pushes him to keep on fighting, it would be none other than prayers. “In order for us to rise again, we just need to kneel down.” Dominic added that there are limitless ways to be productive, like how he managed to try his hands at a small business, tutor his son, and be the most effective ‘man of the house.’
His Ipaglaban Mo co-star Karl Gabriel shares the same sentiment, making use of the quarantine to explore and unlock new skills. Karl highlighted the importance of working together instead of practicing divisiveness in these trying times.
Dominic and Karl headline the next Ipaglaban Mo episode titled “Umento sa Sahod.” It follows the story of a devoted teacher, Professor Andres played by Dominic, who will have the grit to fight for the employees’ rights in terms of salary and benefits. Dominic believes this story will be relatable to many, especially in this crisis where workers are faced with economic calamity and financial starvation. In some ways, Dominic felt that his character was knitted to his own flesh, given that they’re both patriarchs who would do everything to provide for the family’s daily sustenance. His role reminded him of the principles instilled by his parents, saying, “Marami na ngayon, sorry to say, na kinakain ng sistema dahil lang sa salapi. Sa akin, very importanant ang prinsipyo sa buhay. Isa ‘yan sa in-instill sa akin ng aking magulang, once na masira ang prinsipyo at kredibilidad, mahirap na baguhin.”
Karl mounts realism to a diligent student whose knowledge isn’t just boxed inside the classroom, but is also aware of his social environment. As a newcomer, Karl feels extremely grateful for the trust he continually receives from the management, and that he never runs out of projects despite the pandemic. At that point of the interview, Dominic butted in to commend the newbie for his humility. The seasoned actor zoomed in to their first meeting where Karl went around the set to introduce himself to his seniors. Karl, in return, thanked his new found ‘kuya’ for giving him important tips and acting techniques all throughout their shoot.
The episode was filmed before the lockdown. Thankfully, the taping days went on smoothly and quickly because of everyone’s professionalism. Dominic mentioned their co-star Katya Santos, who he described as still the no-fuss, competent actress he used to work with in the comedy show Whattamen.
Dominic emphasized that professionalism indeed makes the work easier to accomplish. “If you want to go home early, memorize the script, be prepared. Mabilis ka magtrabaho, mabilis ka magbihis, you’ll go home early.” The Kapamilya actor believes this kind of attitude must be put into practice, especially now that even productions are expected to adapt to the new normal.
Besides these musings on preparedness and professionalism, Dominic and Karl also shared their takeaways from their Ipaglaban Mo episode. For Dominic, the value of having the courage to fight for one’s rights cannot be overly emphasized. He also kept on talking about faith, saying others nowadays might be led to worshipping earthly things like money but nothing would come close to the power of the Man above. Karl underscored the value of cooperation.
Joining the cast of Love Thy Woman
Besides the Ipaglaban Mo “Umento sa Sahod” episode, Dominic and Karl are gearing up for their roles in the hit Kapamilya series Love Thy Woman. The show must go on, they say. True enough, the entertainment industry had to continue production amidst the unusual new norm in the business. But instead of dwelling on the negativities, Dominic and Karl, and most artists, are satisfied with how the changes are going. Gone were the days when actors would wait inside their tents in idle before the cameras start rolling. With the new guidelines, preparedness is the major tool to survive the daily hustle on the set.
It also helps that Love Thy Woman is composed of a powerhouse cast, a few of the most brilliant actors in the industry. To belong in this stellar bunch both challenges and inspires Dominic and Karl. “Hindi pwedeng mapag-iwanan,” they both agree.
One of the major adjustments that Dominic learned to adapt to was giving his best efforts in studying the script beforehand. He shared that the new normal pushes the production team to minimize the waiting period on the set, given that curfew hours must be strictly followed.
Love thy Woman currently highlights the upcoming revelations about Jia (Kim Chiu)’s son. Dominic and Karl enticed viewers that there’s so much more to watch out for in the coming episodes.
Dominic’s Vintage Car Collection and Karl’s Motorbikes
Aside from being a passionate actor, Dominic is also a certified car nut. This isn’t a secret, anyway, as he is known to dominate the tracks, with impressive car racing accolades under his belt and a vintage auto collection that every male adrenaline junkie would envy.
Dominic took us to his garage and had us gawking at his exotic Volkswagen Beetle, a popular one in the car community and was originally owned by the late Danding Cojuangco. Next on his classy old-school collection is a 1979 Ford Escort, his dad’s favorite and a classic 1995 Range Rover, still adorned with its original paint and interior. Also on display is his winning race car in the 2018 Vios Cup where he emerged as the champion. His college car since 1993 is still seated in the garage, as he considers it his lucky charm. He also owns a 1960 MGA, which he uses in tours. Parked at the sides of the garage are his motocross buddies.
“’Yan lang ang mga hilig ko ngayon. Kapag wala tayong ginagawa, I drive it around. Sometimes kailangan natin ng kaunting panahon para mag-isa, so that’s what I do. I drive around kahit ako lang or sometimes I have breakfast with friends.” Dominic finds comfort and relaxation with driving around with friends on a Sunday morning.
This penchant for cars started with the influence of Dominic’s father, also a racer. The first car he and his Dad restored together was the 1979 Ford Escort. Asked which among his collection is his most favorite, Dominic said, “Lahat sila paborito ko kasi lahat ‘yan may istorya. The Range Rover ginamit ko panligaw sa asawa ko, ‘yung Escort unang binuo namin ng Daddy ko, ‘yung college car iyon ang swerte sa buhay ko at kasama ko sa hirap at ginhawa.”
Karl shares the same passion for riding, and he proves so by boasting his motorbike collection. He owns a sleek and modern café racer. The love for cars runs in the Gabriel family. Karl is restoring a Box-type Mitsubishi Lancer, and his brother owns a restored classic Toyota Corolla DX.
Just like Dominic, Karl also finds solace in riding, especially with buddies Paulo Angeles and some Hashtags members. “Iba kasi ‘yung feeling kapag nag-motor ka tapos nakita mo ‘yung view. Mas masarap ramdam mo ‘yung hangin.” Karl also tried his hands at drifting.
With equally loud passion for speed, it seems like Dominic and Karl will have more topics to talk about and, hopefully, more projects to share in the future.