Daniel Matsunaga is happy to have had a pleasurable stay in the Philippines, which has lasted for about three-and-a-half years now.
Starting out as a football player, and later dabbling into modeling and showbiz, he feels lucky to have a blessed career here.
He feels even luckier today as he bags a new endorsement deal for PLDT Home’s heyU— a mobile application that allows users to connect with family and friends around the world.
In an interview with PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) after the product’s press launch in Makati, Daniel said, “It’s a great way for me to connect to my family, my friends.
“It's very, ano, easy to connect to them and especially for me, with friends around the world. Also, my mom always calls me."
Most of Daniel’s relatives still reside in their hometown in Brazil, except for his sister Vanessa who also maintains a modeling career here in Manila.
JUGGLING THREE CAREERS. Daniel is pretty much a busy bee.
He currently occupies the midfielder position of team Stallion Sta. Lucia in the United Football League first division, which keeps him busy almost every day.
He says, "Football has always been my dream. Since I was a kid, I wanted to be a football player but I had a great opportunity to go modeling when I was 16."
He admits that practicing and playing take up most of his time these days. Daniel assures his fans, however, that he won’t give up showbiz even for a full-time professional football career.
"I don't want that. It took me so long to do what I did. [I spent] how many years doing so many workshops, so hardworking, and I plan to have showbiz as a priority, to pursue showbiz talaga. Football is just my sideline."
So, what exactly is next for Daniel’s showbiz career?
“Sobrang busy ako sa schedule ko ngayon. I have a lot of endorsements and I have a lot of work for them, so siguro for the next three months I will be very busy for them."
Daniel, who is now a TV5 talent, says there is a TV project for him in the pipeline.
“Right now, it's a surprise pa, but I'm very active doing a lot of out-of-town guestings."
In 2014, the World Cup will be held in Brazil, and so will the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Given the chance, how would Daniel react if TV5 gives him a chance to cover it for the Philippines, like Derek Ramsay did in last year’s London Olympics?
"I will be very thankful if I get the chance to represent the Philippines there, speaking the language here and maybe hosting there, representing TV5.
“I will be amazed and thankful to do that for them."
On his modeling career, Daniel feels he won’t be stopping any time soon despite the arrival of younger male models.
Is he threatened by them? "[For me] you have to work hard on yourself… to improve yourself, so that you can be more competent, so you don't feel threatened about it."
Daniel chooses to embrace the positive and he's thankful, especially for the fact that foreign-blooded models like him and his sister are able to work here.
“It's a great opportunity given to us and we are very proud to be here,” he says.
BACK TO BRAZIL. Daniel plans to go back to Brazil and visit his family there soon.
“Every time they come here, it's just my parents and my brother, di ba? So, I need to visit the rest of my family and I will be there siguro for three weeks, ganoon.
Does he plan to stay there long? “Just to visit. Probably July, not sure yet. Kasi I still need to look for tickets, pero my plan is to go to Brazil and just relax a little bit."
While that plan is still months away, Daniel is looking forward to unwind sooner in his favorite Philippine island destination— Boracay.
"I'm going to Boracay very soon, probably Labor day, to relax a little bit. Mga siguro 4-5 days. I really need this time to relax and enjoy with my friends a little bit."
ON KRIS BERNAL. Speaking of Daniel’s Boracay-bound friends, will that group include Kris Bernal?
There have been reports claiming that the hunk was spotted hanging out with the baby-faced Kapuso actress.
When asked to clarify, Daniel lets out a big laugh.
“Huh?! Ano’ng nangyari? Hindi ko alam iyan!
"Ano ba iyan? Baka iba iyon. Di ako iyon, seryoso ako. You ask Kris Bernal. You ask her.
"Oo, friends kami. I did work with her in The Last Prince sa GMA, doon ako nag-umpisa sa career ko.
“What happened with Kris Bernal [was] a long, long time ago.”
But are they in good terms with one another?
"We're friends. [She’s] friendly and mabait siya. I haven't spoken to Kris Bernal in a long, long time!
“I don't lie. If something is happening, I will tell you guys, no problem. Pero really nothing is happening between me and Kris Bernal," the TV5 star continues.
He reiterated that he hasn’t communicated with his former teleserye co-star in a while.
"I haven't spoken to her for a long time. Naku, last time I spoke with her was parang Party P [Party Pilipinas], it's been a while already.”
With this fervent denial of an involvement with Kris, PEP asks: Are you still single?
“I have a lot of friends. I am single naman, more than one year already single.
“I am always hanging out with friends, so if people like me or they are just judging, so me and Kris Bernal, we are just friends," Daniel states, good-naturedly, still smiling.
Daniel was also quick to point out that the status of his heart is "single, happy, ready to mingle, what else..."
MESSAGE FOR PINOY VOTERS. With the upcoming May 13 elections, Daniel has this special message for the young voters:
"I hope they really study before they do that, they have to be careful who they choose, not just on TV, like that.
“They need to know what is good for you, your country, the future of your country, it's better to study who are they voting for."