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Daniel Matsunaga—From actor-model to fisherman

/ 12:50 AM July 14, 2020

“I turned into a fisherman during the lockdown,” revealed Daniel Matsunaga, who was vacationing at their family’s resort in Batangas when the government imposed the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in March.

Daniel and his family left for Batangas three days before the lockdown for a short vacation, “but we ended up staying there forever,” recalled the Brazilian-Japanese actor-model. “Forever” meant being trapped on the island for three whole months, he added.

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“To be honest, quarantine life for us there was great. I couldn’t complain. But what made our stay there memorable was that we were able to help the community,” Daniel told Inquirer Entertainment on Thursday. “You see, life had been hard for the fisher folks there because of the ECQ. There was a point when their local market had to be shut down, so they couldn’t sell their catch.”

Daniel’s family bought vegetables and chicken, and had them delivered to the community every week during the ECQ. “Other than what they got from the sea, they really had no food to eat. When they received the delivery, they were so happy,” Daniel recalled. “I really didn’t want to publicize this because some people might say I’m mayabang, but the chance to be of help to them has made me really happy. I actually learned a lot from the fishermen.”

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Even though helping the community had kept him busy, Daniel said he also felt worried and anxious as a result of the isolation. “There were areas on the island that we were not allowed to go to. Local officials also prohibited gatherings. One time, we were told off when we had wanted to play volleyball on the beach. Of course, when we were there, we missed our homes, as well as our close friends.”

It also didn’t help that Internet signal there was very poor. Daniel said he had a hard time communicating with business partners, as well as potential clients. “I had to do business meetings via Zoom, but couldn’t. At one point, I had to borrow my brother-in-law’s phone because he had a better signal.”

On Thursday, Daniel was finally back at work—a first since the lockdown. He renewed his contract as brand ambassador and business partner of iFuel gas station, along with iFranchise president and CEO Krizzia Loyang-Tanabe. “I’m here in one corner; super isolated,” he told Inquirer Entertainment during a Zoom meeting. “Beside me is a mask, face shield, a pair of goggles, and an alcohol bottle. It’s important to follow rules in order to stay safe.”

These days, everything has gone virtual, Daniel observed. This includes his photo shoots. On Wednesday, he had a session with a photographer who was in New York. “We did the pictorial at my home via FaceTime. My assistant, who lives with me, had to be the one to hold the camera for me. Between the two of us, we did the wardrobe change, fixed the lighting and camera angling on our own. It was so hard. I don’t know what the outcome of that will be. The photographer said I’ll know within a week or two,” Daniel recalled.

“As an effect of the pandemic, everybody had to adjust. I personally had to find new ways to earn and save up for my future. ‘Show biz is not forever,’ they always say. Look at what happened to our network, ABS-CBN. I support it 100 percent, but even the actors are jobless now. It’s really important to have a back-up plan so that your family’s future is safe.”

Speaking of family, Daniel admitted that he has been single since November 2019. “Ganoon talaga,” he said, laughing. “Everything in God’s time. He really has his ways.”

Daniel had dated Polish model Karolina Pisarek. They had maintained a long-distance relationship (LDR) for a year. However, Daniel claimed this wasn’t the cause of the breakup.

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“Yes, LDR is hard, especially for us because our time difference is seven hours. We really had to adjust when we’re both busy with work. I just think God has other plans for us. I just have to trust Him,” Daniel declared, but quickly added: “I’m already 31. I need a wife! But yes, I’m all about trusting his ways.”

The would-be new girlfriend, Daniel said, “has to be someone who will bring me closer to Him—that’s really important for our relationship to grow. She also has to be kind and intelligent. She likewise has to learn to be close to my family. It’s not so hard to love them. If you know what they are like, you’ll know that I’m blessed to have them.”

Asked whether or not it was tough to be single during ECQ, especially since his sister Vanessa was with her husband and family at that time, Daniel replied: “Not at all. I enjoyed my pamangkin so much. They make me so happy. My mom was there, too. We all slept in one room. Of course, I also miss my Papa and brother, who are both in Brazil,” he confessed. “It was good that my brother, who lives with me here in Manila, was able to catch a flight to Brazil days before the lockdown, or else, our Papa would have been alone. We had no idea that this would happen.”

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