A year since Pancho Magno was included in the cast of the Marian Rivera-Sid Lucero starrer, Amaya, he admits that he still stumbles in delivering his lines. “Masyado raw ako mabilis. Kulang yung tone, walang emotions. Yun yung hinahanap nila sa akin.”
In person, he's not as stiff as he appears in the soaps Amaya and Broken Vow. He takes pride in the latter project with Gabby Eigenmann. At present, Pancho has a role in the afternoon soap Kasalanan Bang Ibigin Ka?.
The 25-year-old licensed nurse, who completed his Red Cross and IVT training, laughs in disbelief about his third acting stint. When he did not get lucky after a year and a half of seeking a nursing job, he finally conceded to the “offers” that had been knocking on his door long before.
What made him hesitate to grab any showbiz opportunity was a deal he made with his mother, Redgie Magno, that he would set first priority on his studies. Plus the fact that she is a GMA executive (AVP for drama ). He was never bent on taking advantage of that connection. But now he takes a chance because the offer is a job, too, that's timely and practical to seize at this point in his life.
At the press conference of Kasalanan Bang Ibigin Ka? Pancho was introduced among a roster of cast members that includes the father-son tandem of filmmaker-actor Michael De Mesa and Geoffrey Eigenmann. He plays the other half of a love team with Jennica Garcia, daughter of actress Jean Garcia. Interestingly, he also portrays a nurse, described in the teaser as “ang boyfriend ni Bianca na walang direksyon.” It was meant to be dramatic, but it threw everyone in fits of laughter.
Later teased about it in a one-on-one chat, Pancho laughed it off, “Oo nga, e!”
To the obligatory question, “So, what was your reaction when you were handed this project?,” he amused his interviewer by mocking the showbiz retort “Siyempre na-shock” and “Siyempre [I feel] blessed.”
When the hilarity died down, he said, “Siyempre, siyempre happy. Nakakatuwa. May project uli. Nakaka-ipon…”
He finds it rewarding, too, that his exposure, while it has not been long, has made his face familiar to some people. “Kahit hindi nila ako kilala sa pangalan, alam nila.”
His friends have been genuinely supportive. “Dati inaasar nila ako, ‘Hindi ka marunong!’ Ngayon, ‘Wow, wow! Gumagaling ka na! Ang haba na ng mga sinasabi mo!’"
They even imitate his acting teasingly. “Yung mga lines ko, pati yung… gestures ko ginagaya nila!”
While he cannot escape those remarks, he is happy to know that at least someone watches him and finds amusement in what he does.
LEARNING TO ACT. On a non-taping day, Pancho is deeply immersed in his acting workshops. He knows he has to improve much and indeed he has. He recalls that when he first shot a scene in Amaya, “One line— ‘Magandang Umaga’— hindi ko masabi! As in yung first syllable [pa lang], hindi ko masabi!
“Pero nung tumatagal, ayun, nasasanay na ako.” Still, Pancho confesses, the first-time acting jitters have not worn off.
“Hindi talaga mawawala, e. Lagi akong kinakabahan. Pero sobrang magaling sila, tinutulungan ako.”
As soon as he finds himself comfortable being around his co-actors, he gains composure. He has shot scenes with the likes of veteran actress Gina Alajar, actors Ryan and Gabby Eigenmann, Sid Lucero. All of them, says Pancho, have been considerate and helpful.
“Ang okay kasi ‘pag nagkakamali ako, yun yung gusto ko, e, yung tinuturuan ako….
“Lagi akong nagtatanong, kung kailan ko sasabihin, kung pa’no yung emotions, yung mga ganun. ‘Direk, paano ko sasabihin ito? Galit?’ Kasi yung mga maliliit na reactions, sobrang big deal, di ba? Tinuturuan nila akong lahat.”
If anything, he does not forget his lines, which he diligently studies like his lecture notes back in his nursing classes.
Unlike the character he currently plays, Pancho knows where he is headed. His niche is right here and he is not about to leave it without getting better at it.
“Gusto ko dahan-dahan lang talaga. Ayoko magmadali.”
The best actors did not do it overnight. “Lahat naman sila nagwo-workshop, nagte-take ng acting classes.”
Everything can be learned. “Parang nursing lang din,” smiles Pancho.
READY TO PLAY LEAD? Not quite. While he has been working hard, Pancho assesses that he is not ripe for a lead role. He has seen his co-actors Gabby, Sid, even Jackie Rice do it.
“Makikita ko minsan sobrang dami nilang eksena, siyempre nakakapagod talaga.
“Pero gusto ko. Sino ba namang hindi?
“Sana lang na, kung sakali, maging sobrang ready na ako. Kasi ayaw ko na gawin nila akong bida tapos hindi pa pala ako ready. Ako lang magmumukhang tanga, e.”
When will he be ready?
“Honestly? Hindi ko masasabi.” Next year, late this year, it does not matter. For now, Pancho is determined to keep learning and seizing every prospect or break that comes his way.
Recently, Pancho got a call from Bench, the clothing line for whom he did a topless, brief-boxers-pants pictorial. The Bench Uncut billboard of Pancho flaunting his lean, robust bod was mounted early this month.
He considers ramp modeling, should an offer come, as well as hosting!
“Kaso medyo malalim yung ko!,” he says, half-chuckling, in his gruff and booming voice.
“Yung dream ko nga, e. Sa Pinoy MD. Yung mga nurses, doctors na nagho-hosting,” he adds.
KEEPING FIT. Discipline plays a huge role in a life of a celebrity, this Pancho knows well and tries to improve his lifestyle.
A huge sacrifice he had to make prior to entering the showbiz circuit was to lose weight. He follows a strict diet of wheat bread, garlic tuna, salad, and even on cheat days, he is refrains from binging— “Tikim-tikim lang.”
When he is not acting, Pancho works out at the gym or burns calories at home on a stationary bike.
And does Pancho Magno drink? He tries to hide a smile, saying tongue-in-cheek, “A, yun lang. Hindi kasi ako umiinom masyado…”
He laughs, takes it back, “Yun lang siguro yun yung pinakapangtanggal ko ng stress. Hindi naman inom na solid. Dati beer ako, ngayon more on wine or hard drinks. Natatanggal ko ‘pag may work ako kinabukasan.”
STATUS: SINGLE. Pancho recently broke up with a non-showbiz girlfriend.
“Speaking of relationships, ngayon wala. Mga five months ago na 'ata,” he says.
“Kasi sobrang busy kami pareho tapos ‘pag may time ako, laging siya yung walang time… ‘pag siya yung may time, ako yung wala.
“Sobrang hirap. Saka kasi first time ko [sa showbiz]. Hindi ko pa talaga kayang dalhin.”
If there's one thing showbiz has taught him, it's to take commitments seriously. Banking on sacrifice, hard work and compromise, Pancho Magno is here to stay.