Mayor Joseph Santiago, played with much conviction and fervor by young Kapuso actor Rocco Nacino, continues to face down his opponent, the corrupt Governor Antonio Rubio (played by Pen Medina) on GMA News TV's second week airing of the mini-series Bayan Ko.
In his personal life, Rocco is kept busy with regular guestings and promotions in regional activations, as well as slowing down and spending Holy Week in a yet undecided location with his family.
He has also been busy reading online guides ("I have no author on my nightstand now, I don't read too many books," he says) and travel articles about Cambodia, which he is set to visit by the first week of April.
Why did he choose Cambodia? "Mahilig kasi ako sa mga temple, so gusto ko makita yung mga ruins, take lots of photographs and have time alone, for myself, muni-muni lang." He is listing down things to do and food places to try out in Cambodia and proudly shares that he won't be doing a guided tour, instead, "backpacker ako doon!" like any other regular Juan.
When he gets back from Cambodia, Rocco will launch right back into workmode, shooting a new indie film, Ibong Adarna by Direk Jun Urbano. When asked who will be his co-stars in the movie, Rocco reveals, "I don't really know everyone yet, pero sigurado si Gabby Concepcion."
Rocco narrates the true meaning that Ibong Adarna has for him. "This story has a place in my heart, di ko siya makakalimutan dahil isa siya sa unang nagpahirap sa akin sa Pilipinas!" To clarify, Rocco grew up in Singapore with his family and even speaks fluent Mandarin. But when his family decided to come back for good, "sobrang hirap na hirap ako sa Tagalog, sa Filipino subject. At ang unang pinabasa sa amin, Ibong Adarna, eto yung subject na sobrang kine-curse ko araw-araw kasi hirap na hirap ako dahil malalim yung Tagalog!"
Funny how life has a way of bringing back the things that caused us so much trouble before and transforming it into something else. Rocco has realized that "ngayon na we are gonna do a project about it, sabi ko, this project means a lot to me."
Another passion that keeps the highly versatile actor busy these days, despite not having a regular primetime show, are his drums. Rocco drummed with all his heart at the recent 6th anniversary party of PEP.ph.
Does he see himself pursuing this particular passion in a professional capacity in the future? "Show it off more, sige, why not, it's my passion, bata pa lang ako," he says with a big smile.
He relates how he started "around nine years old, I just picked up my cousin's drumsticks and started playing Michael Jackson, from there self-study na." He counts Dave Matthews' drummer, Travis Barker, Chad Smith, and Usher's drummer as his inspiration for being a drummer because he is more of a hip hop and R&B kind of guy.
Even with his many talents, how does Rocco feel about the continuous influx of new celebrity kids who enter showbiz as the son of this artista, daughter of this star, etc? "To be honest, they have a push already, an advantage already. That's good for them, but it's better if they experience the hardships of entering showbiz, starting from the bottom and learning the ropes the hard way. That's better pero sinuwerte sila, e, so that's good for them. I just hope na humble sila, na humble sila pagpasok nila ng showbiz."
This kind of thinking and humility that Rocco believes others should have, he admits is what keeps his feet on the ground too, and also "by reading negative comments! Not just PEP, but newspapers, Twitter, Instagram, you get all kinds of comments and I use them to keep myself grounded to let them know that I am not a big star of the Philippines, I'm not a big star of GMA, I'm just one person that's trying to make a name for myself."
He says that these kind of criticisms gives him the drive to "put more effort to make myself more seen out there." Also, it helps that as Rocco points out, "My parents are always there to remind me, not to have a big head and just enjoy life and not rush things."