Francis Magundayao was introduced to the press as ABS-CBN’s newest Kapamilya talent.
The child actor just moved from GMA-7, after working on the weekday afternoon series Futbolilits (2011).
At a recent press lunch, PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) and other entertainment press were able to chat with Francis about his new life as a Kapamilya, working with Ella Cruz, and what it's like as a semi-normal teenager.
"Wala po akong ka-relasyon kay Shaina Magdayao or sa mga taga-Maguindanao," he quips, as he makes fun of his last name that sounds like a combination of the last name Magdayao, and Maguindanao, which is a province in Mindanao.
MORE EXPERIENCED. Francis is not the sole child actor who is being showcased by the Kapamilya network.
With the long list of available tween talents in Star Magic, what does he have to offer?
"‘Di ko masasabi, kasi marami naman mas matangkad sa akin na thirteen din," since his height, he says, is just 5'5".
Urged by the press to reveal—no holds barred—what sets him above the rest of his peers, he cheekily says, "I have more experience.
“I started when I was five and hanggang ngayon, nag-a-act pa rin ako."
He has proven to be quite a charmer, managing to convey tween kilig moments with co-star Ella Cruz on their first project together on Dahil sa Pag-Ibig (2012).
NEW PROJECT. Francis also says that he feels "really, really honored" and welcome on his newest soap Aryana.
"Parang, wow, thank you Lord!” he exclaims.
“[I’m] Really, really happy. I will try my best not to fail them."
What can he attribute his chemistry with Ella Cruz to?
"Siguro dahil kami yung nauna.
“Iba't iba naman ang chemistry namin tatlo, pero siguro para sa kanya mas favorable yung sa akin."
Of his first taping day for Aryana, he remembers feeling like "ay siguro ma-OP [out of place] ako dahil puro babae, kaba.
“Pero I was surprised kasi winelcome talaga nila ako, tapos naging magaan para sa akin. Naging madali na makisama agad."
It also helps that Paul Salas, one of the three leading boys of Ella Cruz on Aryana, is no stranger to Francis because "best friend ko siya since childhood.
“Si Dom Roque, I'm just starting to know."
NEW CHALLENGES. As he moved to a different network, Francis gets to work with different people, with different personalities and expertise.
Yet, he says that working with Ella has taught him a lot.
"I was really, really challenged kasi first time ko magka-loveteam.
“Noon hindi ko pa alam ano ang gagawin. Nagiging close na kami at hindi na conscious, na overcome na namin 'yon sa Dahil sa Pag-Ibig.”
“Nagkuwentuhan kami at parang barkada na kami," referring to himself, Paul, Dom, and Ella.
Is his friendship with Paul getting affected because of their love triangle with Ella?
"We are doing it professionally,” Francis says.
“Hindi kasama personal feelings namin, so tuwang-tuwa siya nung napunta ako dito. Ako naman tuwang-tuwa na magkasama na ulit kami."
What's running through his teenage mind as he now fully immerses himself in a project like Aryana?
"Ngayon mararanasan ko na yung pressure,” he answers.
“Kasi noon puro young at bata-bata lang, ngayon loveteam na. Mahirap sa akin magpakilig ng tao kasi di ko naman talaga ginagawa 'yon.
“Pero I like challenges, kasi it makes me a better person, a better actor.”
HIS DREAMS. If given the chance, Francis would like to work with "Coco Martin, John Lloyd Cruz, and Ate Angel Locsin."
He has worked with Angel on projects like Darna (2005) and Asian Treasures (2007) in GMA-7.
He even described the Kapamilya actress, who was also formerly a Kapuso talent, saying, "Ang saya niya makatrabaho.
"Welcoming siya lagi, lagi niya ako tinutulungan."
When the two met again, he says that his Ate Angel remarked on his growth spurt and weight loss, especially since he worked with her last as a chubby, growing boy.
"Natutuwa siya sa akin kasi lumaki ako,” he recalls.
“Iyong boses ko bumaba and gusto niya malaman paano ako nag-change bilang isang actor.
“Ate ko kasi siya sa Darna, gusto ko lang maranasan ulit na makatrabaho siya kasi professional talaga siya, veteran actress siya.
“Napaka-natural kasi ni Ate Angel."
But from dreaming of becoming a famous soccer player, and now seeing himself becoming an action star, he tells us that the journey is "Enjoyable, exciting.
“Kasi natry ko maging iba-ibang tao sa isang araw, nararanasan ko iyong mga hindi ko nagagawa sa tunay na buhay."
He further states that he wants to prove that Star Magic didn't make a mistake in getting him, and that he "Will give justice to every role I'm assigned to."
When asked about his dreams for his showbiz career, "Ma-receive yung Best Actor sa Oscars," he jokes.
HIS FAMILY. With his star rising, Francis is happy to be surrounded by people who keep him grounded.
These people, he says, reminds him of things like, "Hindi napapabayaan iyong school.
“Si Mama franchised a home study program for us, and I really appreciate it."
He even relates that in school, "Iyong mga classmates ko, ang pinaparamdam ko na hindi ako artista.
“Gusto ko kasi pag friends, gusto ko iyong hindi nila iniisip na artista ako, na normal lang ako."
Being the youngest of the three siblings, Francis also allots time to spend with them, such as watching movies on television together.
Also, he leaves handling money matters to his parents and not even asking for a car with the money he makes because, in his words, "Ayoko pa po."
Francis Magundayao can now be seen daily on Aryana on ABS-CBN before TV Patrol.