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Angelica Panganiban Is Over It

Honest and candid, Angelica Panganiban opens up to Supreme about heartache and moving on, and looking forward to brighter things in her life instead.

MANILA, Philippines — People call her the “Hugot Queen,” especially when she does things like refer to February 14 as “The Day of The Dead.” But if you pay close attention, you’ll see less of the “hugot” and more of one underlying truth: Angelica Panganiban has, quite simply, run out of f***s to give.

Her most recent role in the Jun Lana-helmed comedy Ang Dalawang Mrs. Reyes had her as a doting wife whose husband falls in love with another man. The role was marked by an overarching sweetness — a nod to the Pollyanna stylings of Sex And The City’s Charlotte York with A-line skirts, florals, and an overall mastery of all things home economics; a tune quite different from what one would stereotypically expect from the razor sharp-tongued actress. But to box her in as one thing would be to fault the dynamic nature of any woman, particularly one so faceted. While she did say that the overall good nature of the character wasn’t immediately instinctive to her, she expressed a kinship with her, saying, “Si Cindy, kung paano siya magmahal, todo. Kahit hanggang sa magmukha siyang pusa, okay lang sa kanya. Masyado siyang all-out magmahal; hindi na niya iniisip yung sarili niya.” She adds, “Sa mga heartbreak, natatawa na lang ako. Meron ba akong logo na nagsasabing, ‘Tara, lokohin mo ko’? Para paulit-ulit nilang gawin? Hindi na ako naiiyak, natatawa na lang ako.”

When the word “ex” starts with a “J”

Angelica has been dropping solid hints about a former relationship all over the entertainment news media cycle, and today, she just about confirms it. When asked about the worst break-up she’s ever had to endure, she says, “Yung pinakamalala yung ‘di ka brineakan tapos ikaw parang, ha? Akala ko tayo? Tapos kung gusto mo mang kausapin, di mo mahagilap, di mo makausap. So magdedecide ka na, so move on na ako noh? Break up na siguro yun?” We make a bad signal joke to lighten the mood, and she laughs, saying, “Mukhang may signal naman siya kasi may mga videos na lumabas na nasa island sila, sumasayaw sila, mga bangag sila. So sabi ko sila na siguro, ‘di lang ako na-inform.”

She never names anyone specifically, but really doesn’t have to. And as the discussion progresses, the language becomes naturally more colorful. Angelica says that initially and understandably, she struggled, saying she’d flip the bird whenever she passed the famed ex’s billboards, and would go as far as to avoid anything even slightly romantic — films, proposal videos, what have you. “Yung iniisip mo na, ‘T*****a, hindi naman to gwapo ah.’ Yun ang tagal mong iniyakan, ang tagal mong pinagsilbihan, ang dami mong inadjust at kinalimutang mga tao o paniniwala sa buhay tapos talaga? Ikaw pa yung iiwan? Lapad ng noo mo, ‘day!” She laughs, gestures towards her arguably glowing fair face, and says, “T*****a naman o, kanang kana.”

Angelica says that these days, she considers herself having more than bounced back, even though she wouldn’t be opposed to gaining a bit of closure. “Wala na. Hinihintay ko na lang yung buong pagpapatawad. Hindi ko lang pwedeng madaliin, tsaka hindi mo pwedeng ibigay yung tawad sa taong hindi humihingi ng tawad. Pero kasi doon ka gagaan, kapag ni-release mo sa sarili mo yung bigat. Hindi yun para sa ibang tao, para sa sarili ko lang yun. Para matapos na. Gusto ko yung pag nakita ko yung billboard niya, hindi nako namamakyu. Gusto ko yung para na lang siyang dumaan.” She adds, “Dahan-dahan na akong nagigising ulit na gusto kong naka-smile, iniisip kung anong lulutuin ko para sa taong  mahal ko, padadalhan ko siya ng pagkain sa work, ganun. May mga ganun na ako ulit, kasi the past few months talagang p******a, never again. Di na ako bitter sa mga proposals, kaya ko na ulit manood ng romcom sa Netflix.”

Onwards And Upwards

Angelica acknowledges that sometimes her candor ruffles some feathers, but while her occupation may be to step into the shoes of other personalities, pretense isn’t in her nature. “Ako, mas gusto ko yung open ako. Pwede ako magkamali sa mga opinyon ko, sa sinasabi ko, pero doon ako matututo eh. Sa paningin ko, doon ako mag-g-grow.”

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She attributes her steady hold on reality to her family (lovingly referring to her mother as Okja, the title character from the Netflix original film) and to long-time friends with whom her roots run deep. “May mga kaibigan ako na malayo talaga sa industriya, ni utot nila di mo maaamoy dito sa ABS. Wala silang ka-showbiz-an at all, binubully nila ako. Dito kasi, ako yung bully. Ako yung mayabang, ako yung nang-aasar. Pero pag sila yung kasama ko, di ako pwede umarte na parang akong artista.” This is not to say that she isn’t without her own showbiz-oriented crew, when a peek into her Instagram stories will tell you how often she sees other actors like Glaiza de Castro, Bela Padilla, and comeback kid JM Rodriguez. She says she’s come to a point where, after 25 years in the industry, it’s easier to understand what sort of company one should keep. “Ang lawak lawak ng mundo; nasa sa iyo kung maganda yung pagpapalawak mo ng mundong iyon.”

 That said, she also has several projects on the rise. Her steady gig, comedy show Banana Sundae, is going on its tenth year. She also has an upcoming soap opera starring opposite Zanjoe Marudo, and she’s trying her hand at things behind the camera via a production outfit she launched with Sam Milby and John Prats called Bright Bulb Productions. They’ve already produced a concert for Moira Dela Torre and a video for Kyla, which she says has been enlightening. She describes a level of exhaustion from making sure the entire set runs as it should, that she found herself passing out the moment she found a second to sit down. She says it might be corny, but it makes her appreciate tenfold the sort of work other people put in when she’s the star on set.

She also is slated to take writing classes with the inimitable Ricky Lee in April, which should prove interesting for someone who has so much raw experience to draw from. The very thing that makes her such a compelling actress to watch could also be what makes her a writer to contend with. On her bright and busy 2018 plans, Ms. Panganiban says, “Mahirap nang makipagkompitensya, mahirap yung mag-iintay ka na lang para sa kung anong mabibigay sayo. Ikaw yung magtayo ng sarili mong ship para umandar, hindi yung makikiangkas ka na lang.” It seems everything is coming up Angelica, so much so that Carrie Fisher’s now-famous words come to mind: “Take your broken heart and make it into art.” A hugot queen no longer, but a truth-teller, and a force to contend with.

Photo by Regine David

Styling by Myrrh lao to

Produced by David Milan

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