Dubbed as the "Cutie Server of QC," Johan Santos placed fourth in the recently-concluded Big Night of ABS-CBN reality show Pinoy Big Brother Double Up. Born Johan Morielle Santos, this 23-year-old food attendant got a total of 303,751 text votes or 7.94% of the total text votes during the grand finale of the ABS-CBN reality show held last February 13 at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium. Johan won P200,000 and another P200,000 for his chosen charity, as well as other prizes.
When asked to introduce himself during the press conference at the PBB house last Monday, February 15, Johan stated, "I'm simple, mahiyain pero approachable naman. Wala sa personality ko ang mag-deny. Di ako suplado. Siguro dahil tahimik ako napagkakamalan akong suplado. I'm also a working student. Nagtatrabaho ako sa isang American restaurant before joining PBB."
STARSTRUCK ALUMNUS. Johan is no stranger to reality television shows. Before joining ABS-CBN's Pinoy Big Brother Double Up, Johan auditioned for GMA-7's StarStruck: The Nationwide Invasion on December 5, 2005 and landed as one of the Top 14 contestants. But he was the fourth artista aspirant booted out on the said talent search. The late young actor Marky Cielo was hailed as the Ultimate Male Survivor while Jackie Rice was named as the Ultimate Female Survivor.
Johan told PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) how he felt when he was booted out of GMA-7's talent search on January 1, 2006.
"Pang fourth week yun ng StarStruck, hindi ko ini-expect na matatanggal ako kasi pakiramdam ko naman nag-excel ako sa mga challenges during that time. Na-shock ko. Medyo naiiyak ako kasi nagtapos na ang pangarap ko na maging artista. Gusto ko talagang maging artista. Isa pa, January 1 yung elimination. Ang saklap, sa unang araw ng bagong taon natanggal ako!"
Even after being eliminated in StarStruck, Johan never lost hope. He believed that his exposure on the artista search would open opportunities to enter showbiz. "Di ako nawalan ng pag-asa dahil alam ko maganda ang naging exposure ko sa StarStruck. Sikat na sikat ang StarStruck ng mga panahon na yun kaya malaki ang chance ko."
The StarStruck Season 3 alumnus then appeared in various GMA-7 shows such as SiS, SOP, and Eat Bulaga to name a few. He also became a semi-regular host for QTV Channel 11's now-defunct show Fans Kita. Although he did not stay long in the Kapuso Network, Johan is thankful for his initial exposure.
"Kung ano man ang narating at mararating ko pa, kasama ang StarStruck sa mga pasasalamat ko. Dun talaga ako nagsimula sa kanila. Marami akong natutunan sa kanila sa pag-aartista."
SECOND CHANCE TO ATTAIN STARDOM. After his failed attempt at stardom on StarStruck, Johan pursued his studies while serving as a food attendant. He also used his talent to host restaurant gigs.
"After ng StarStruck, nag focus ako sa studies and at the same time tumutulong din ako sa family ko. Nag-working student ako," he said.
But he never forgot his dream of becoming an artista. When he heard about the auditions for Pinoy Big Brother Double Up, he quickly grabbed the opportunity.
When Johan auditioned in late 2007, he was one of the 57,824 Pinoys wanting to enter the closely-monitored house of Big Brother. From the PBB Double Up auditions, only 26 persons entered the PBB House with 14 housemates on Day 1 and another 10 housemates were introduced on Day 7 of the reality show. He couldn't believe that he once again joined a reality show.
"Nakipagsapalaran talaga ako. Ang daming nag-audition. Akala ko nga, e, hindi ako magiging housemate until may tumawag sa akin. Nung nalaman ko, hindi ako makapaniwala. Siyempre tuwang-tuwa ako. Parang 'eto na yung second chance ko na maging artista after StarStruck."
Johan belonged to the second batch of housemates who entered the PBB Double Up house on October 10, 2009 during the episode dubbed as The Spooktacular Reveal.
PINOY BIG BROTHER DOUBLE UP EXPERIENCE. He fondly recalled his 19-week stay inside the PBB house.
"Mahirap, nakaka-pressure pero masaya. Marami akong natutunan. Una sa lahat, pakikisama at siyempre magpakatotoo ka. Marami akong memorable experience tulad ng Big Brother Swap, yung Three Kings. Siyempre, isa ako sa tatlong hari na nagbigay ng task sa mga housemate, yung TakFan Mo dance, Pinoy Big Battle, si Big Utol, at marami pang iba."
Johan is also glad that he made new friends and possibly a new love as well. The young man is being linked to ex-housemate Cathy Remperas, a 23-year-old Boholana nurse.
"First day pa lang kami nagkasama, crush ko na siya. Naunahan na ako ng hiya...ng torpe. Pero nung nagkaroon na ako ng lakas ng loob, sinabi ko naman sa kanya yung true feelings ko for her," said Johan.
Aside from the hilarious love tandem of the Melason (portmanteau of Melissa Cantiveros, PBB Double Up Big Winner, and Jason Fernandez, PBB Double Up 3rd Big Placer), the love triangle of Johan, Cathy and Hermes Bautista caused a stir among viewers especially when Cathy chose Hermes over Johan.
"Malungkot sa part ko kasi mas gusto niya [Cathy] si Hermes. Desisyon niya yun pero andito ako for her. Kung saan siya masaya, suportahan ko siya," said Johan with a smile.
SHOWBIZ DREAMS. After staying inside Kuya's house for 133 days—considered to be the longest stay for housemates in the history of PBB—Johan expressed his gratitude to everyone who helped him achieve this feat.
"Masaya ako kasi umabot ako sa Big Five. Siyempre, nagpapasalamat ako sa lahat ng mga bumoto at sumuporta sa akin. Kung hindi sa kanila, hindi ako magtatagal sa loob ng Bahay ni Kuya."
He added, "Actually, umabot ka lang sa Big Five, panalo ka na, e. Hihintayin mo na lang kung anong place mo. Masaya ako dahil nanalo ako. Fourth Big Placer na ako may house and lot pa. Wala na akong hahanapin pa. Ang importante, may bahay. At least may sarili ng bahay para hindi palipat-lipat, pa-rent, rent."
When asked about his plans to pursue a career in showbiz, "Kung may opportunity, bakit hindi. Gusto ko talagang mag-artista. Pangarap ko talaga mag-artista."