‘Awra’ knew he was gay at age 3

By: - Reporter
/ 12:27 AM December 10, 2016
From left: Simon “Onyok” Pineda, Coco Martin and McNeal “Mak Mak” Briguela

From left: Simon “Onyok” Pineda, Coco Martin and McNeal “Mak Mak” Briguela

Teen actor McNeal “Mak Mak” Briguela, popularly known as Awra, already knew his sexual preference as early as 3 years old.

“He liked playing with Hello Kitty stuff. He also once told me not to throw or give away the skirts and shorts that his two sisters had outgrown. We have already seen early on the signs that he’s gay,” said Mak Mak’s mom Marivic, adding that this never became a problem for her and the boy’s dad, Oneal Brian.


“His papa has a brother who is also gay. This brother is now living abroad and has since gotten married,” she explained. In fact, Marivic said she suspected that her youngest son, Brione, 11, is also gay. “He hasn’t come out yet, but he is so much like Mak Mak. We even think he is more talented than his brother. He dances really well. The only difference is that Brione is shy.”

Marivic said all of Mak Mak’s siblings are shy, including his sisters Nicole, 15, and Mikay, 13. “Mak Mak is one-of-a-kind. I don’t know whom he got it from. When he wants to do something, he just goes and does it.”


Marivic said she doesn’t get to spend much time with Mak Mak these days. The Briguelas live in Las Piñas City while the 13-year-old actor now stays in a condominium unit near ABS-CBN that was “sponsored” by Dreamscape Entertainment, producer of “Ang Probinsyano.”

“They took pity on Mak Mak because he had to travel so far just to get to work. He now stays at the condo with one of his uncles, a cousin of his papa. When we miss each other, we just talk with him on the phone. He goes home during weekends, or when there’s no work,” Marivic shared with the Inquirer.

She said a lot has changed for Mak Mak since he entered show biz. “He can’t go malling on his own now. He used to do that here in Las Piñas because we live close to a commercial establishment,” she said.

Mak Mak is now enrolled in a special program at Almanza Uno High School, where he only attends class every Monday.

“He spends the whole day there. He reviews with a teacher all the lessons that he missed during the days he wasn’t in class. While on taping, he reads the modules given to him. He also gets into a group chat with his classmates, who help him by discussing their activities,” Mommy Marivic explained.

Mak Mak with mom Marivic

Mak Mak with mom Marivic

She added: “I told him to remember to study despite his busy schedule. I don’t want him to stop school. The school has given him the perfect program. It will be such a waste if he doesn’t continue.”

Marivic said that except for the 30 percent mandated by law, Mak Mak’s earnings go straight to his savings. “We use this to spend for the things that Mak Mak needs. We cannot get more than that, even if we need more for the other members of the family. That’s part of the agreement with ABS-CBN to make sure that he has something for his future.”


Despite the tight work schedule, Marivic said she was not worried that her son would get burned out. “I know that he enjoys what he is doing. He is closest to his Kuya Marvin (Yap, who plays his surrogate father in ‘Ang Probinsyano’) and to Onyok, who also lives in the same condominium building as him,” she said.

Vice Ganda, Mak Mak’s costar in the comedy flick “Super Parental Guardians,” recently took the teener on a shopping  spree. His “Ate Vice” likes Mak Mak a lot, and even calls the boy his “mini-me,” said Marivic.

As a brother, Marivic said Mak Mak “is very loving and doting.” She said he would always teach his sisters the latest in fashion. “He’d often say,  ‘Mikay, you should be kikay!’”

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TAGS: actor, Awra, Awra Briguela, Child actor, Entertainment, Showbiz
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