Why Christmas 2020 will be different for Mark Bautista, pandemic aside
Throughout the lockdown, Mark Bautista has managed to paint and bake. He did yoga and just about every workout video he came across on YouTube. And more recently, he has taken an interest in making homemade scented candles.
“I had a lot of time. I try to keep myself productive … That’s one of my ways of coping with these challenging times,” Mark said in a recent virtual interview.
However, Mark eventually reached a point where he felt he had pretty much exhausted everything there was to do at home. Now, he’s starting to miss being onstage.
And while he’s now able to get his fix in the GMA 7 variety show “All-Out Sundays,” performing in front of a live audience is a completely different experience. “I miss singing in concerts, where you can really feel the audience,” he pointed out. The 37-year-old singer-actor is also looking forward to the day he and his fellow stage artists can finally resume doing musicals. The Manila staging of the Tony Award-winning show “The Band’s Visit” opened on March 13. It turned out to be their last—at least for now. “On that same night, the quarantine was announced. So it was our first and last show … Nabitin talaga. It’s so saddening and I really miss doing theater, where having a live audience is important,” pointed out Mark, who portrays Haled, the adventurous member of the Egyptian police orchestra who idolizes Chet Baker. “We rehearsed for a month, and then it all stopped,” he added. “I’m hoping we can continue next year.”
One of Mark’s realizations amid the COVID-19 pandemic is that it pays to have sufficient knowledge about and dabble in other fields outside one’s chosen profession.
“You have to know a lot of things … diversify what you can do. In times like these, given the challenges we have to face, you have to be ready,” he said. “If you need to start a business, at least you can do it … And it’s only now I’m realizing that I could sell my paintings.” With more and more celebrities shifting their focus to work on social media and other digital platforms, Mark admitted that he now feels compelled to boost his online presence. But it may take some time, he said, because it’s not something he’s used to.
“It’s hard because you have to create content all the time. I’m trying to update my YouTube account, but I still have to work on it. It will be hard to do everything on my own,” he said, adding that he’s aware of the fact that the internet, in conjunction with television, has now become an indispensable part of the industry.
“The landscape is changing and that’s where all things are headed,” Mark said. “But of course, we can’t set aside free television, which is more readily available all over the country.”While he does a good job at keeping the loneliness and anxiousness at bay, there are days, he said, where those feelings just creep up. “It can’t be avoided. Sometimes, you get sad and anxious, and you don’t know exactly why. Maybe it’s because of the uncertainty… not knowing what will happen in the future,” he said.
The passing of Mark’s father last January recently came to mind, and with it, the realization that this Christmas will be his first without him. “I told myself that this Christmas will be different, we’re not complete. Then the pandemic came and I thought, ‘It really will be different,’” he related
“Normally, we spend it in our province (Cagayan de Oro). But now we’re not sure what our plans will be,” he added.
Fortunately, his family is just one video call away. “One thing I do this quarantine that I wouldn’t have been able to do before is that I get to talk with my family in the province every day,” he said. “I just keep in my mind that other people are experiencing similar things, and that they can help you get through them.”
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