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How Raymond Bagatsing prepares for a gay role

/ 12:10 AM November 30, 2019
JayManalo (left) and Raymond Bagatsing

Jay Manalo (left) and Raymond Bagatsing

One love fits all. That’s the premise of “Love is Love” (opens Dec. 4), an unusual story that shows how one kind of love can lead to another. Raymond Bagatsing’s brilliant portrayal of a gay man, La Greta, blew me away. It’s subtle yet so effective. It almost made me forget that he’s straight.

Raymond is paired with Jay Manalo in the movie. What a charming gay couple they play in the rom-com, with a surprise twist. It lives up to the LGBT’s creed that “love wins.”

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Here’s to living and loving “gay-ever-after.”

Here’s my chat with Raymond:

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How did you prepare for your gay role? I mostly focus and immerse myself in that feminine side. I believe human beings have both masculine and feminine sides—evidently from the two polarities that we are conditioned with growing up, our father and mother.

One is usually more dominant from my observation depending on influences.

I am very method, in that I have to be this character way before the film grinds. I explore this character at home and spend a lot of time with it to create a habit of consistency—in movement and in thought. My thoughts process has to align with this femininity. I then carry this out into the public, inconspicuously, observing the world at large from this dimension in order to react truthfully to it as it merges its persona with mine and somehow takes over for a period of time needed by the project.

How do you handle it when you have a scene with a ham actor? I do my best, not just as an actor, but as a human being, to connect truth with my dialogue in order to stimulate rapport or connection with whoever I am in a scene with. It usually works. It is exhilarating to share a connection of these truths with all my coactors.

What’s more important to you, awards or box-office success? Awards used to be very important for me, in order to prove to myself and to others my capacity as an actor. I somehow neglected the box-office part of the business for a long time. I focused on offbeat roles that can challenge me.

But I have come to realize, rather late in my career, that box office is a huge part of show business itself, if not the most important. Our producers must also do well at the box office, so that they have more funds to produce and more work for the actors. I suppose, this is the celebrity side of things.

Both would be a very welcoming fusion, to be respected as an actor and a box-office star at some point.

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What are your thoughts on fidelity and jealousy? I find jealousy debilitating. It’s like a tree without sunshine. Just darkness and gloom. Not a very inspiring characteristic to stimulate in a relationship. Relating is very important for me, rather than obsessing or owning.

Fidelity for me sounds degrading, yet there are varied reasons for it. Not all fidelity should be condemned. It’s always a good practice to ask oneself, could I have done something different to have altered this outcome?

If your partner does not relate with you for quite a while, other love energies can attract the other, you know. I just try my best not to judge these days and always ask first if there were things that may have pushed the other to react a certain way, instead of going to that “blame game” initial reaction that we are all usually guilty of. It’s always easier to blame than to check where one has gone wrong or could have done better.

Would you choose love without sex or sex without love? Love without sex. Love is way much more than just physical. True love is limitless. Sex has limitations—it’s just a small portion of our daily lives.

It’s a beautiful form of expression and connection, I do not doubt this. Yet, eventually, aging will diminish this urge. What is left for lovers? Love. Lovers. There’s a simple yet profound term. The root word is love. It is not termed “sexers.”

What can’t you resist in a woman? A sincere connection, chemistry, total attention. This is beyond choice for me. Just a tsunami that engulfs me and my whole being.

It’s difficult to quantify or even categorize a certain attraction. It differs with each one of us, our chemistry with one another.

To put it simply, inner beauty, Heart, outer beauty, physicality and wisdom.

If your life story would be made into a movie, what would the title be and who do you want to portray you? “On the Edge of Awakening.” The title is an oxymoron in that it signifies being on the brink of one’s understanding—it can convey suicide, or contemplating death before one can shift gears to that profound wisdom of existence. The journey of every living being. Quite intense, yes? I feel that life without intensity is to shortchange the opportunity of your very existence. We would have to undergo an extensive casting call to look for an actor weird and eccentric enough to play me.

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TAGS: Jay Manalo, Love is Love, Raymond Bagatsing
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