Former Little Big Star finalist Buboy Villar said that it’s a dream come true to topbill Kid Kulafu, a film tracing the legendary People’s Champ Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao’s difficult childhood leading to his very first championship.
Named the Brightest Star of ABS-CBN’s Little Big Star Season 2 in 1999, Buboy shared that landing this big break was just what he needed at this point in his career.
Thanks to director Paul Soriano, Buboy got the lead role for Kid Kulafu which is slated to be shown in theaters on April 15.
When PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) asked how he feels about playing the teenage Pacman, Buboy replied: “Siyempre po nakakagulat at nakakatuwa.
“Kasi po ako si Buboy Villar ay dating isang child star nga. Halos malapit na nga po ko pumunta dun sa awkward stage.
“Akala ko nga po talaga na wala na ‘ko sa industriya so natakot ako.
“Noong dumating ‘tong Kid Kulafu at hinawakan ng Star Cinema, sobrang blessed ako, sobrang laking tulong ito para sa career at para sa family ko rin.”
Aside from his inclination for music, Buboy once proved his flair for acting in Children’s Show, the 2014 Cinemalaya entry that depicts the story of teenagers who get exploited by a syndicate for an underground wrestling fight.
Little did he know that he would headline Manny’s biopic that would further fuel the Filipinos’ excitement towards the internationally-recognized fight of the century—Manny’s face-off with Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 2.
For Kid Kulafu, Buboy went through rigorous boxing training to make him physically fit. The seventeen-year-old actor also did research about Manny’s previous fights and took lots of mentoring from Direk Paul, who has been close to Pacman for several years now.
But more than anything else, Buboy revealed that it helps that he shares some sort of common ground with Manny when it comes to their difficult childhood experiences.
“Akala po nating lahat, Pacquiao siya, naging boksingero siya, nagtinda siya ng pandesal…
“Pero sa istorya pong ito mas makikilala niyo si Pacquiao [nang] mas malalim pa.
“Halos parang magkaparehas kami ni Manny kasi si Manny medyo [hirap sa buhay] yung family nila nung bata pa siya. Gusto niya maiahon yung family sa hirap.
“Ako naman naging basurero nung bata ako. Hindi ko kinakahiya yun na naging basurero ako kasi yun ang nag-ahon sa akin.
“Yung family ko rin broken family kami, hiwalay ang mother at father ko.
“Nangarap din ako na maiahon ang family ko sa hirap at natupad po yun,” Buboy proudly stated.
When Buboy finally got the chance to meet Manny in the latter’s hometown in General Santos City, the former couldn’t help but be in awe at how the legendary boxing champ—known for his record-breaking ten world titles in eight weight divisions—has remained down-to-earth even to this day.
“Nagkita po kami, nag-shoot kami sa GenSan [General Santos City]. Nagpunta kami sa bahay niya na tinatawag na mansyon two nga.
“Ang dami pong bisita niya noon, yung 1017 Production, yung team po naming Kid Kulafu pumunta doon sa mansyon.
“So yun nga po, sinabi ni Pacquiao na “O, sino ba yung gumanap sa akin? Ikaw ba? Galingan mo pa ha!’
“Tuwang tuwa po ako na nakaharap ko yung ginanapan ko [sa movie], nakaharap ko yung idol ng bayan, Pambansang Kamao. So dream come true ko na po yun!” the Kid Kulafu star enthused.
During the year-long production of the film, Buboy shared that he was really inspired by the story of Manny’s passion for boxing, love for his family, and faith in God.
“Wala naman po siyang nabigay na advice pero yung nakuha ko pong advice para sa sarili ko ay maging matatatag pa, at kailangan manalig ka sa Panginoon.
“Huwag sumuko sa kahit ano mang problema na dumating sa’yo, harapin mo lang, ‘wag mo tatakasan.”
With only one week to go before the showing of Kid Kulafu, Buboy admitted that he feels nervous about the moviegoers’ expectations.
But so far, those who have seen the rushes of the movie claimed that Buboy did a great job with his depiction of the teenage Pacman.
“Opo, marami nga po nagsabi sa akin, nagpapasalamat po ako, maganda po ang comment nila sa film.
“At sana po sa pelikula na ito ay maging maganda rin ang comment [kapag napalabas na sa sinehan],” he concluded.