Jhong Hilario gives up Showtime for Mara Clara remake

"Sana suportahan din nila ang acting career ko dahil doon lumalabas ang isang talented na Jhong Hilario. Para hindi naman sila magsawa sa pa-tumbling-tumbling lang," says Jhong Hilario to the fans he gained during his stint as "hurado" on Showtime.


Dancer-actor Jhong Hilario says being part of the remake of Mara Clara is a great opportunity for him to remind his followers that he can also act.

The member of the all-male dancing group Streetboys will be playing the role of Gary David, the cruel father of Mara (Kathryn Bernardo). His role was originally portrayed by the late actor Eruel Tongco, whom Jhong idolizes, in one of the longest-running soap operas.

"Napanood ko siya before. Talagang sinabi ko, 'Idol ko 'to, talagang matatakot ka kapag naging tatay mo 'to.'

"So, 'yon ang ina-apply ko sa sarili ko. Dapat maging masama ka talagang tatay para magampanan mo ang isang Eruel Tongco. Maging masama kang asawa, maging masama kang tatay," Jhong told PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in an interview at the presscon of Mara Clara last night, October 20, at 9501 restaurant inside the ABS-CBN compound.

Jhong had already proven his worth as an actor in the following Marilou Diaz-Abaya films: Sa Pusod ng Dagat (1998), Jose Rizal (1998), Muro Ami (1999), and Bagong Buwan (2001). Plus, some other movies and television series.

However, the 34-year-old dancer-actor said he will try to offer something new to the viewers on Mara Clara.

"Bukod sa isang masamang tao na kaiinisan nila, siguro 'yong ibang flavor ng acting, ibang atake, iba sa mga nagampanan ko noon," he said.

THE CONSEQUENCE.Although Jhong is excited about his new project, he's also sad because he had to leave his daily stint on Showtime, where he became the longest staying "hurado" and was already named as "Sample King."

It can be remembered that Jhong bade goodbye to the show on September 17, but did not say his reason for leaving. He told PEP that it was really the request of Mara Clara executives for him to leave Showtime after he accepted their offer.

"Sinabihan ako na, 'Okay ka ba na mag-taping? Kaya lang igi-give up mo ang Showtime.'

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"Kasi nga, magsa-suffer sila kapag magsu-Showtime pa rin ako dahil, unang-una, maglu-launch na kami. 'Tapos may morning show, mauubusan ng day effect. Kawawa naman 'yong ibang artista na naghihintay. So, kailangan ko talagang i-give up."

At first, Jhong was hesitant to leave the show.

"Actually, noong una, sabi ko, 'Sandali, nagkakaroon na ako ng mga endorsement dito [sa Showtime], and mga sponsors.' Kaya lang na-realize ko rin na baka makalimutan naman ako ng mga tao sa acting career ko.

"I think itong Mara Clara ay napakalaking project ng ABS-CBN na talagang dapat pagtuunan ng pansin at talagang ipo-promote nila. At saka hindi naman nila ako kukunin sa ganitong role kung hindi nila ako bibigyan ng capability para mag-portray ng isang Gary David."

More than a month after not appearing on Showtime, Jhong said he really missed the daily talent search program.

"Kasi family na kami doon at 'yong bonding namin, sobrang tight na," he said.

"Nakaka-miss kasi 'yong pagtanggap sa 'yo ng tao, mainit na. Hinahanap ka na ng mga tao. Sa Twitter at sa Facebook, tinatanong nila, 'Kailan ka babalik ng Showtime?'

"'Yon ang nakaka-miss doon kasi gustung-gusto kong magpasaya ng tao. Mapilayan man ako sa Showtime, okay lang kasi ang gusto ko lang ay makapagpasaya ng tao."

But Jhong is not too worried about leaving Showtime for Mara Clara.

He explained, "Napili ko i-turn down ang Showtime kasi alam ko naman na maiintindihan ako ng mga tao. Kasi, alam naman nila na artista din ako, uma-acting din ako. So, sana suportahan din nila itong ginawa ko.

"Alam kong maraming nagtampo or nalungkot dahil nga umalis ako sa Showtime. Pero ang Showtime naman, nandiyan lang 'yan, puwede nating balikan 'yan. Pero itong role na ito ng Mara Clara, hindi mo na mababalikan.

"Sa lahat ng mga naaliw sa akin, ang Showtime nandiyan lang naman para magbigay ng kasiyahan. Any time, puwede naman akong bumalik.

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"Sana suportahan din nila ang acting career ko dahil doon lumalabas ang isang talented na Jhong Hilario. Para hindi naman sila magsawa sa pa-tumbling-tumbling lang."


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