Christopher de Leon talks about showbiz, politics, family, and ex-wife Nora Aunor

"Dati, God, family, and country. Ngayon, biglang nag-change—it’s God, country, and family," says Christopher de Leon about his priorities in life.


Nakapanayam ng PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) ang award-winning actor na si Christopher de Leon noong Biyernes, June 10.

It was a landline phone interview, which the actor had preferred, matapos ang kanyang weekend travel from Singapore with family members.

Within the three weeks or so that PEP was seeking the actor’s availability, dalawang travels ang pinagmulan ni Boyet (Christopher’s nickname).

Una’y nang manggaling siya ng New Zealand with wife Sandy Andolong para ipagdiwang ang birthday ng kanilang eldest daughter na si Mariel, who turned 18 years old on May 23.

And on Tuesday, June 7, when the actor travelled again to Singapore until midnight on Friday, June 10.

He gave PEP the alternative to interview him at his residence in Las Piñas City. But for lack of time, we had to beg off in favor of a more convenient phone interview/chat.

Christopher is a stickler for punctuality.

So when the interview was set at 3 p.m., the actor and now senior Board Member of Batangas province was on the other line, ready to answer our questions.

Sa June 21, gagawaran ng parangal si Christopher sa 27th Star Awards for Movies ng Philippine Movie Press Club (PMPC).

Siya ang recipient ng Ulirang Artista Lifetime Achievement Award para sa taong 2011.

Napili ng samahan si Boyet base sa mga natatangi niyang achievement sa larangan ng pagganap, pagdidirek, at pagiging isang huwarang alagad ng sining sa loob ng mahigit tatlo o mag-aapat na dekada na ngayon, mula noong early 1970s.

Sa simula, ayon kay Boyet, he had second thoughts about accepting the award.

"When you talk about it, it’s more of...parang ibibigay sa matanda!" natawa si Boyet pagkasabi nito.

At lalo na raw nang sabihin sa kanya ng mga kaibigan whose opinions he sought na, "Mabuti ka pa nga binibigyan ng ganyang award na buhay ka pa!"

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Kidding aside, nagpapasalamat si Boyet and is now looking forward to attending the ceremonies and accepting the award from the PMPC.

"I’m flattered," masayang wika niya, bakas ang totoong kasiyahan sa tinig.

BOYET AND SANDY’S CHILDREN. Sa simula pa lang ng interview ay masaya nang nagbanggit si Christopher ng tungkol sa kanilang mga anak ni Sandy.

Una, na-overhear kasi ng PEP sa kabilang linya ang iyak ng isang bata bago damputin ng aktor ang telepono. And Boyet admitted it was the child of his second son by Sandy, named Miguel, 26 years old.

Miguel has since lived in the States, kung saan ito nagtatrabaho sa isang airline company. Nandoon din ang asawa nito at ang bata ay nasa pangangalaga ng kanyang ’grandpa’ Boyet at ’grandma’ Sandy.

Ang unang supling naman nina Boyet at Sandy na si Rafael Sandino, 28, ay kasalukuyang nasa New Zealand, kung saan naroon din ang nag-debut nilang dalaga na si Mariel, na ga-graduate this year sa kursong Culinary Arts.

Rafael Sandino was born in 1983 and is now into computer graphics.

Ang ikatlong anak na lalake nina Boyet at Sandy na si Gabriel, 21, is into photography and a graduating student at the De La Salle College of St. Benilde in Manila.

Ang youngest na si Micaela, or Mica, is turning 15 years old on June 28.

Asked kung ilan talaga ang kanyang anak, the proud Daddy Boyet would answer: "I have six children."

"Di ba, I also have Ian, he’s living with me now. Then, I have Rafael Sandino, Miguel, Gabriel, Mariel and Mica..."

Ian—o Kristoffer Ian de Leon—is Boyet’s eldest son with former wife Nora Aunor.

"Of course, I also have... sina Lotlot..." pagtukoy rin ng actor-dad, na napamahal na rin sa mga adopted children ni Nora na kinabibilangan din nina Matet, Kiko, at Kenneth.

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Si Boyet din ang kinilalang ama ng mga ito, lalo nina Lotlot at Matet.

Among his children, bukod sa mga nag-artistang anak ni Nora, it is Gabriel who wants to follow in his dad’s footsteps.

"Gabriel loves to be an actor," Boyet revealed.

What advice does he give his son?

"Learn everything," the multi-awardee simply tells him.

"Kung marunong kang maging marunong in doing something, halimbawa, in riding a horse, you should also learn to be not used to doing it, if you’d be asked so.

"Meaning, you should learn to undo it also.

"Doing and undoing. Gano’n ang turo sa amin."

The late master filmmaker Lino Brocka, National Artist for Film who discovered Christopher via the award-winning film Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang (1974), said then, "To be an actor, you must have the basic intelligence...."

Apparently, higit pa sa pagkakaroon ng basic intelligence ang taglay noon ni Boyet.

Sa pagiging isa niyang sensitibong aktor, with Brocka’s proper guidance, agad nagkamit ng parangal sa FAMAS as Best Actor in 1975 ang ipinakilalang aktor sa pelikula, katambal ang batikang beteranang aktres na si Lolita Rodriguez.

And the rest is history.

Boyet started his showbiz career at the age of 17.

His son, Gabriel, kung sakali ay magsisimula at past his early twenties.

Bakit hindi agad ito nag-artista gayong may hilig at kabilang siya sa tinatawag na "showbiz royalty"?

"He has to finish his studies first. He’ll soon graduate in college [in October this year], that’s a requirement," paliwanag ni Boyet.

BOARD MEMBER. Bilang senior Board Member, o Miyembro ng Lupon ng Sangguniang Panlalawigan ng Batangas, kabilang ang actor-politician sa mga nagpapatupad ng mga batas at patakaran sa nasasakupang lalawigan.

"It’s more on the executive level," pagtukoy rin ni Boyet.

"We handle the different committees, pass ordinances for the province, thru the body, to become a resolution.

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"Right now, I’m with the Environmental Committee of the whole province.

"Whatever problems the [provincial] government has, ibabato sa akin, and we administer thru legislations."

Para maging epektibo sa kanyang sinumpaang tungkulin sa pamahalaan, kumuha muna ng crash course si Boyet ukol sa pamamahala sa UP Diliman bago siya tumakbo at nanalo sa nakaraang eleksiyon ng 2010.

Ito ang unang termino niya bilang Board Member.

Bagamat hindi taal na Batangueño, ang kanyang misis na si Sandy ay tubong-Mabini, Batangas.

Nang tumakbo sa pagiging Board Member ay nakapag-establish ng residency si Boyet sa Lobo, Batangas.

Dito rin siya nagkaroon ng mga property kaya kuwalipikado ang kanyang kandidatura.

Soon, maaari rin siyang tumakbo sa isang mas mataas na posisyon sa gobyerno. Pero hindi pa niya ito iniisip sa ngayon.

"Depende sa ihahain ni Lord," sambit ni Christopher.

BOYET’S PRIORITIES AND GOV. VILMA SANTOS-RECTO. PEP asked Boyet kung anu-ano sa ngayon ang kanyang priorities sa buhay, at mabilis ang kanyang naging sagot.

"Dati, God, family, and country. Ngayon, biglang nag-change—it’s God, country, and family," sabi niya, in that particular order.

Hindi sa naging last priority na ang kanyang pamilya, pero para kay Christopher, naging matibay na ang pundasyon ng pagsasama nila ni Sandy, at ang kanilang mga anak ay nagkaroon na ng magandang patutunguhan.

"Patapos na [sila], halos lahat. It’s my commitment to the people as a public servant that I must now face," aniya.

Sa aspetong ito ng kanyang buhay at bilang isang nanunungkulan sa pamahalaan, supportive din ang kanyang maybahay na si Sandy.

"We get along well in our marriage. Through the years, with constant communication, any problem is easily solved," pahayag ng aktor at pulitiko.

Meanwhile, tila hindi pa rin maihiwalay sa isipan ng publiko ang magandang naging pag-uugnayan nila ng naging paboritong ka-loveteam ni Christopher—now Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto.

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Ani Boyet, sa Batangas, kung si Governor Vi ang "presidente," siya at mga kasamang Board Member naman daw ang "mga senador."

Pero hindi sila direktang magkasama ni Gov. Vi sa opisinang panlalawigan ng Batangas.

"Different ang building niya from our building," sabi ni Boyet.

"But if there’s committee hearing, umaakyat kami sa office ni Governor as a team.

"Governor Vilma is a lot different now.

"Napakagaling na ni Governor Vi sa pagiging public servant.

"Napakatatas na niya bilang politician.

"Kasi naman, yung kanyang nine years sa pagiging mayor and now it’s her second term as governor... It really made a lot of difference.

"She really knows what she’s talking about!" words of praises pa ni Kuya Boyet kay Ate Vi.

IAN KRISTOFFER AND NORA. In the late 1970s, naging leading man si Christopher ng dalawa sa pinakasikat, at hanggang ngayo’y itinuturing na greatest actresses ng pelikulang Pilipino—sina Nora Aunor at Vilma Santos.

O sina Vilma Santos at Nora Aunor (as far as their see-saw billing goes) sa isa sa mga immortal Tagalog cinema classics—Ishmael Bernal’s Ikaw Ay Akin (1978).

Sa kakaibang romance-drama na ito, iprinodyus ng Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions (Vi’s mother studio), nagkamit si Boyet ng una niyang Gawad Urian Best Actor award noong 1979.

Many years and decades after the release of that memorable film na nagtampok sa kakaibang love triangle—isang "for real" (Nora and Boyet) at isang "for reel" (Vilma and Boyet).

At kung kukumustahin ang naging tunguhin ng tambalan at kung "kanino nga ba napunta" ang leading man ng love triangle, batid na ng publiko ang kasagutan.

Meanwhile, ang naging bunga ng pagmamahalan ng real ex-couple na si Kristoffer Ian, now 35 years old, ay nasa poder ng kanyang ama.

Si Nora, na malaon nang naninirahan sa Amerika, ay may na-establish pa ring contacts with her son and her other children.

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Pero with Boyet ay wala.

"Ian communicates with her every so often, but at times gets disappointed also pag hindi niya ma-contact [ang mommy niya]," pagtatapat ni Boyet.

Aware si Boyet sa pananabik ng publiko, lalo na ang loyal fans ng superstar at aktres, pero hindi rin niya batid ang anumang plano mayroon si Nora sa ngayon.

"I heard ABS-CBN is getting her when she comes back, gagawa yata siya ng teleserye...but I’m not sure also," sabi ni Boyet.

Lately, iniintriga si Nora sa mga diumano’y pabagu-bagong desisyon at "magulong" pakikipag-deal with networks officials.

"She must have her reasons," sabi ni Boyet.

Kung totoo ang naging usap-usapan, lately he feels somewhat disappointed dahil nanghihinayang din siya sa "missed opportunity" na dapat ay nakabuti kay Nora.

"After that, mahirap nang i-sure kung hindi na uli mangyayari [ang nangyari]," ani Boyet.

At sa marahan niyang pagbibitiw ng mga salita, nagbigay ng unsolicited advice si Boyet kay Ate Guy:

"When you’re not getting any younger, and not well off, you should be firm with your convictions. Para yung trust ng tao, makuha mo uli."

Walang hiniling si Boyet na sana ay makarating kay Nora ang mga sinabi niya at nawa’y pakinggan siya, alang-alang sa anak nilang si Ian.

Sabi lang din niya, "About her situation, I am a friend.

"Si Ian, we talk about her situation."

Naroon pa rin daw ang concern niya, o nilang mag-ama, para kay Nora.

"For me, she remains a special friend," sabi pa ni Boyet.

How about kung siya mismo ang makipag-communicate o ang magbigay ng first-hand advice kay Ate Guy?

"Maybe she’d listen pag kausap mo, pero gagawin din niya yung gusto niya!" natatawang sambit ni Boyet.


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