Vice Ganda: Feeling Beautiful
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The following article is from the CONVERSATIONS With Ricky Lo column of the Philippine Star (May 09, 2010):
It’s showtime, folks!
These past few months, Mondays through Fridays on ABS-CBN, we’re being treated to another kind of contest in Showtime (hosted by Vhong Navarro and Anne Curtis) which pits not only contestants of various talents but also the judges against one another. So far, several judges have been booted out by televiewers through text-voting and one has remained permanently glued to his seat — Vice Ganda, that’s who!
He’s a show by himself, cutting to pieces unimpressive contestants with his own brand of wit and humor without being offensive. Style, my dear, style! Only somebody like Vice Ganda can get away with it. The good thing about Vice Ganda is that he makes fun not only of the contestants’ bloopers but also of himself, calling himself kabayo before anybody else does.
“Para patas,” Vice Ganda told Conversations. “I can even be more harsh on myself than on other people,” added the Political Science graduate from FEU where he said he found his “true self.” “Doon ako sa FEU nagladlad (outed himself).”
The paminta (swardspeak for a gay male person pretending to be macho)Jose Mari Viceral who was born in Tondo soon became the openly-gay Vice Ganda.
From comedy bars in Ermita to television and movies has been a hard climb for Vice Ganda who laughed along the way as he made people laughed along with him.
On Saturday, May 15, Vice Ganda will have his first major solo concert at the Big Dome, aptly titled May Nag-Txt, ‘Yung Totoo Vice Ganda sa Araneta, with Pooh, Ethel Booba, Jon Avila, Kim Atienza, Jhong Hilario, Jaya, Pops Fernandez and Kean Cipriano (of Callalily) as guests. The concert is produced by Showtime Events/Productions’ Joed Serrano and Robbie Tarroza in partnership with Mauve spearheaded by Cora Rodrigo and Mae Dolonius. The production group is headed by Monica Montalbo and Belle Francisco, with GB Sampedro as director and Marvin Querido as musical director.
Is it true that success has gone to your pretty head?
“Ha? I didn’t know that. It depends on how people look at it, kung paano nila tinatanggap ‘yung napapanood nila sa akin. If you ask me, of course I will say no to defend myself. Pero kahit naman ano ang sabihin mo, other people may have another opinion about you.”
How do you handle success?
“Normal lang.’Yung normal na ginagawa ko dati ganoon pa rin ang ginagawa ko.”
But now you can’t go to the mall without creating hysteria among the shoppers.
“Naku, hindi pa naman sila nagkakagulo. I think nadagdagan lang ‘yung mga nagpapa-piktyur sa akin.”
What have been the changes in your life since you started appearing on Showtime?
“A lot. Starting doon sa pinaka-simple, like going to the mall. I can still go the mall pero nakakahiya na mag-mall na hindi ka nakaayos dahil ang daming nakatingin sa’yo. Before, I could go to SM na wala lang, I just wore house clothes, pambahay, laput-lapot na outfit, at parang deadma lang ang mga tao. Not anymore.”
Sabi nila, feeling beautiful ka raw that’s why you chose the name Vice Ganda.
“Oo, feeling beautiful ako talaga!”
Who gave you the name Vice Ganda?
“The owner of Punchline, the comedy bar where I was performing. But it was at The Library where I started in 1999. It was Andrew de Real, the owner of Library, who got me into Punchline. Pinagsabay ko ang Library at Punchline. Dati, my name was only Vice, short for Viceral. In school, Vice na talaga ang tawag sa akin. But the owner of Punchline said it’s too short when placed on the marquee, apat lang na letra na parang wala daw masyadong dating.”
Where did the word Ganda come from?
“At that time kasi, uso ‘yung may mga dugtong, like Inday Garutay, and Rey Kilay, so ganoon.”
Have you stopped performing at Library and Punchline ngayong mahirap ka nang abutin?
“Every now and then, unlike before na talagang every night. My set would usually start at 12 midnight and finished at 2 a.m. I can’t do that anymore because I have to report to Showtime early, so kelangan ko matulog ng maaga para makagising ng maaga. Besides Showtime, I have other things to do. I’m shooting a movie. At may mga raket sa malayong lugar. I have to report to Showtime at 8:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. But I make it a point to go to Punchline and Library kasi kapag hindi ako nagpupunta roon, parang nakakabobo, parang bumababa ang level ng performance ko because it’s in comedy bars where I get new jokes. Otherwise, kakalawangin ako.”
On Showtime, di ba the judges are booted out by texters?
“Yes, but from the start mayroong unevictable judge. Ako ‘yon. Of the five judges, only four can be booted out. I am the mainstay.”
You are an asset to the show. You’re fun, honest! You’re fun because you can make fun even at yourself.
“I make fun of everything and everybody. I make fun of myself, I make fun of other people. Hindi naman puede nang-o-okray ka ng ibang tao pero hindi mo rin ookrayin ang sarili mo. Kelangan patas. Ino-okray mo ang lahat lalung-lalo na ang sarili mo.”
Wala ba namang napipikon?
“None, I hope.”
But recently, you offended daw the government employees like what Rosanna Roces did when she said that not everything that teachers teach in school are right (correct).
“I made a comment not about a contestant but about the audience. Every day before we judges make comments, sisigaw ang audience ng ‘Sample, sample!’ Eh, at that time, I wasn’t able to prepare a performance so what I did was give away T-shirts. I said, ‘O, ito, sample, sample!’ Eh siempre, I couldn’t give everybody T-shirts. But the audience kept shouting, ‘Sample short, sample shirt!’ So I said, jokingly, ‘Kayo talaga, nagbigay na nga ako ng ilan, gusto n’yo dagdagan ko pa. Masyado kayong abusado, parang gobyerno. I said gobyerno, not government employees. At wala along tinutukoy na gobyerno. Hindi ko sinabing gobyerno ng Pilipinas.”
You make fun of yourself as a racehorse.Wala bang humihingi sa’yo ng tip sa karera?
“Dati mayroon. They thought that I was really a karerista when actually hindi pa ako nakakapanood ng karera at hindi pa ako nakakataya.”
How was your childhood?
“Normal. I grew up in Jose Abad Santos, in Manuguit, Tondo. I played kiddie games. What was not normal was when I was growing up, wala na akong magulang. My father died young; I was 12, magti-13. On my 13th birthday, nakaburol ang Tatay ko. So my mother was forced to go to the States. Up to now, she’s still there. So when I was growing up, n’ung nagma-mature ako, I didn’t have any parental guidance.”
What about siblings?
“I have, but they have their own lives. They were enjoying the peak of their teenage days at dini-dedma nila ako. Ang hirap nang mag-struggle kang mag-isa; you have a lot of issues about yourself that you have to solve by yourself.”
Such as what issues?
“Issues about your sexuality. Malaking issue sa pamilya namin ang sexuality kasi ang dalawang kapatid ko bakla rin. We are five children, dalawang babae at tatlong bakla. Ang panganay bakla, ang sumunod bakla rin. Early on, nakita kong hindi maganda ang pagtanggap ng pamilya ko doon sa dalawang kapatid kong bakla; hindi masyadong accepted ng Tatay ko. My father was Batangueño. Brusko, may pagka-maton. Because he’s gay, my eldest brother was sent to America. The other one, he wasn’t close to my father. Parang may wall between them. Hindi sila nagtitinginan. You can say that my father didn’t like him.”
“Afraid that my father would treat me the same way, nagtago ako. I suppressed myself. Until he died, my father didn’t know that I was gay. When he died, I still hid my true self kasi I didn’t want to disappoint my mother. And when my mother went to America, doon na ako nagwala-wala…sa school. When I was 16 and went to college, ang dami kong nakikitang bakla sa FEU where I took up Political Science. Ang saya-saya! Sobrang daming bakla talaga sa FEU; ang uniforms pambabae. Their hair was long at naka-lipstick sila, bunot ang mga kilay. They were fun! I really envied them. Kaya, join na lang ako!”
Did you join beauty contests?
“No, I did not. But I would go with my friends who joined.”
Why didn’t you yourself join?
“Kasi hindi naman ako winner type. I would just prepare my friends’ question-and-answer.”
You are so witty. Who are your idols?
“At FEU, I was a member of the debating team. I was exposed to public speaking. At mahilig ako manood ng beauty contests. I would mimic the contestants kapag sumasagot sa Q&A portion.”
Who is your favorite beauty queen?
“Siempre si Gloria Diaz.”
How did you get into The Library?
“By accident. I’d never been to a comedy bar. One time, my friend celebrated his birthday and treated us at Raymond’s Bar on Mabini St., Ermita. Aba, may-okrayan doon! The performers there pala were also performing at The Library. My friends asked me to sing. I sang You Are My Song, ‘yung kay Regine (Velasquez). Hay, inokray-okray ako ng mga bakla! Lumaban ako. Inokray ko rin sila. The bar owner was amused; naaliw sa akin. One of the performers, si Hans, was so impressed that he introduced me to Andrew (de Real), owner of The Library.”
Before Showtime, what were you doing?
“I did a movie, In My Life, ‘yung kay Ate Vi (Vilma Santos). I was also in Apat Dapat with Rufa Mae (Quinto). Naka-apat na rin akong pelikula. I was also appearing on TV pero parang walang masyadong dating. I was also in Dyosa (with Anne Curtis) and Maging Sino Ka Man. All forgettable. I even did shows on GMA. Until Showtime came along…”
Have you undergone cosmetic surgery?
“No. Every part of my body is original. Walang ginalaw.”
Is it true that you were offended when Rustom (Padilla, now known as Bebe Gandanghari) outed himself and started cross-dressing?
“I was offended because fan ako ni Rustom. I was disappointed because I prefer ‘yung dating Rustom. Pero wala akong karapatan para saklawan kung ano ang gusto niyang gawin sa buhay.”
Have you ever thought of having a sex change?
“Never. Kay Rustom bagay because he really looks like a woman . But with me, hindi bagay. Sayang lang. Ganitong mukha, may boobs? Ang sagwa, di ba?”
How’s your love life?
“Hindi masyadong bongga. I have a steady pero hindi ganoon ka-career, unlike when I wasn’t so busy na talagang career na career. Iba na ang priorities ko. Talagang I’m so busy, wala na akong time mag-harot.”
Have you had any experience with a girl?
“Sexual experience none. Pero nagkaroon ako ng dyowa na babae. I tried it to find out if it worked. I also appreciate women and develop a crush on them. If I feel that a woman also has a crush on me, hayun, nagiging mag-dyowa kami. But when it comes to having sex with her, ayoko na, hindi ko talaga kaya.”
Among the actors, sino ang pina-fantasize mo?
“Marami. Derek Ramsay. Jon Avila. Aljur Abrenica. Derek and Jon know but not Aljur because he’s not my ka-chika.”
Who else do you look up to as your idol?
“Si Joey de Leon. I’m his super-fan. Once, I talked to him on the phone. Kausap niya si Ogie (Diaz, his manager). I told Ogie, ‘Ipakilala mo naman ako, pakausap lang.’ I talked to Joey. Ang saya-saya ko!”
Describe Vice Ganda in one word.