Although Myka Flores is a familiar face in Philippine television, not many people really know her.
Myka has been with GMA-7's Bubble Gang—at 15 years the country's longest-running gag show—for more than 10 years, or two-thirds of the show's lifespan.
The 41-year-old comedienne is also a part of this year's hit reality show, Survivor Philippines Celebrity Edition, where she was booted out on Day 9.
PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) got to interview Myka during the pocket presscon for Survivor last September 28 at a restaurant in Quezon City.
In Bubble Gang, Myka is the dark-skinned girl who is the butt of jokes revolving around race and skin color. Myka says she's used to it—aside from the practical consideration that the jokes have given Myka a good-paying and steady job in showbusiness.
In fact, Myka—or Marissa Flores in real life—never expected to become an artista. The way she sees it, it just happened.
"Actually po talaga, kaya ako napasok sa Bubble Gang, kasi naging P.A. ako ng isang artista dati," Myka narrates, recalling that she was the personal assistant of ex-actress Susan Lozada ten years ago.
Continuing her story, Myka says, "Dati, nagtatrabaho talaga ako ng garments, at saka nag-Century Tuna ako. Century Tuna canning, sa ano po, picking po, kami yung naghihiwalay nung white meat sa black meat. Naka-steam na yung isda, tatanggalin mo yung dugo na namuo, ibubukod mo siya, itatapon mo."
After her stint in Century Tuna, Myka met Susan Lozada by chance.
"Nagkataon na yung artista na si Susan Lozada, na-ano namin yun, naging close namin. Tapos, yun, sabi niya, 'Ate, puwede ba kitang mahiram?'" she says.
"E, nagkataon nung time na yun, wala talaga akong trabaho. [At] kinakailangang kong maghanap ng mapapasukan dahil sa inuupahang-bahay. Wala akong mababayad. So, nag-go ako dun."
When her boss Susan guested in Bubble Gang, the show's director, Uro dela Cruz, "discovered" Marissa. So who gave her the screen name Myka?
"Writer po ang nagbigay, yung writer po ng Bubble Gang. Galing po sa lagi kong sinasabi na, 'May kailangan po kayo?'"
FAMILY MATTERS. Bubble Gang has given Myka a steady income. Single at 41, Myka is happy to have invested in several properties, including a house in Sta. Maria, Bulacan, where she lives.
Her family actually resides in Nueva Ecija, and she is proud to say that they are very considerate of her needs. They don't depend on her for their daily expenses.
"Actually, hindi ko po masasabi na ako yung breadwinner. Sa bahay, ako lang mag-isa, pero sa family, tulong-tulong kami," she explains.
Myka grew up without a father.
"Amerasian daw po siya, sabi ng nanay ko," she said. "Sabi ng nanay ko o mga tita ko, sundalo daw galing ng ano... tapos nadestino siya sa Clark. Dun sila nakilala ng nanay ko."
She says her father left them early. Her mother remarried, and she grew up with several half-siblings. So she grew up in a crowded house.
This is why Myka treasures her current solitude.
"Hindi po ako kumukuha ng sarili kong PA. Hindi po ako kumukuha ng kasama ko dahil kaya ko naman po, e. Dahil ang tagal ko naman na [iniintindi ang] sarili ko. Sa bahay, mag-isa lang ako."