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Coco Martin’s virtue and work ethic

AS the famous saying goes, “Patience is not the ability to wait but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.” Coco Martin is one shining example of a celebrity who’s armed with tons of this virtue.

Before making it as an established mainstream actor, Coco is not wont to hide his humble beginnings in showbiz. He began his now-illustrious career as an “extra” or bit player in many a run-off-the-mill movie.

At the media conference of his latest teleserye, the actor shared the struggles of being one who’d land a job that would last him for about six months only to be sidelined for a longer period of time.

Coco Martin with ‘Batang Quiapo’ leading lady, Lovi Poe. INSTAGRAM PHOTO/COCOMARTIN_PHCoco Martin with ‘Batang Quiapo’ leading lady, Lovi Poe. INSTAGRAM PHOTO/COCOMARTIN_PH 

Then came a bigger break: goodbye bit player roles, hello lead parts.

However, it wasn’t such a starring role that paid him well. For a lead role all throughout the movie, Coco was compensated a pittance.

He wasn’t ashamed to admit that: “Yes I was playing the lead but my talent fee would only be P2,000.”

Albeit he didn’t mention which particular movie it was, the entertainment press attendees surmised it was in an indie film for which he received a measly wage.

Despite being paid way below the standard industry rate, Coco accepted one indie film after another, thus making him the biggest, most in demand non-mainstream actor.

I remember Coco’s guesting on a weekend showbiz-oriented talk show. This was way before he joined ABS-CBN. Coco was to promote an indie film in which he starred.

Then a virtual nobody, the production was hesitant to grant the request from Coco’s side to squeeze him anywhere the show. Nevertheless, a major host was assigned to interview him although that particular segment was given limited air time.

Months passed. Before the talk show staff knew it, Coco became a big star!

As he’d always share before the press, “I told myself I would work hard, and I did.”

Arguably, the biggest break that had fallen upon Coco was not via movies but on TV.

It was through the seven-year-old “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano” where his stars shone most radiantly, not only because he played the title role but because Coco was everything he was rolled into one.

Coco has admirably used his thespic gift as a stepping stone to learn the ropes of storytelling and directing like no other actor in his generation does.

Coco is also to be lauded beyond his creative contribution making AP the longest running primetime action-drama series.

“He was the only one able to give work to artists who had no existing projects in showbiz,” a former cast member quipped.

Oh, those seven years had seen the rebirth of actors who we thought had killed their showbiz career themselves.

Just imagine, the period spanning AP had afforded acting breaks — although brief — even to non-star leg-splitting Mystica!

Coco getting these stars to work had seemed like his moral responsibility to his colleagues.

Character actor Pen Medina — who Coco helped during his hospital confinement/spine surgery — gets another meaty part in “Batang Quiapo,” another FPJ classic film.

A hold-over from AP, Pen was sought out by Coco who asked if he could already start taping. Pen could only mutter words of gratitude for Coco.

Same is true in the case of Cherry Pie Picache who plays Coco’s mom in BQ.

If only for being able to provide jobs for his peers, it’s Cherry Pie’s wish that showbiz will yield more Coco Martins in the coming years.

As for Coco, he underscores three requisites he expects of any colleague who dreams of working with him, “They should have commitment, dedication and professionalism.”

Such virtues — aside from enduring patience — sum up Coco’s work ethic.

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