Donny Pangilinan on the downside of working with mom Maricel
“She knows who I am inside out,” said Donny Pangilinan when asked whether or not working on a big-screen project with his mom, Maricel Laxa, is an advantage.
The Pangilinans recently shot a barkada esports-themed movie titled “GG,” with Prime Cruz as director and with costars Ronaldo Valdez and Baron Geisler. It will be released within the year.
“Of course, there are a lot of advantages when it comes to working with her. We know each other so well, so ‘di kami pwedeng mag-attitude sa isa’t-isa. Our producers didn’t have to worry about that detail. I’ve never had a project costarring with my mom, or even a scene with her, in my life,” Donny told reporters recently. “I’ve always wanted to work with her. She is such a gifted individual, and the fact that I even got to share the spotlight with her is already a blessing.”
There was only one disadvantage he could think of. “Since she is my mom, we really needed to change a lot of things in terms of workplace dynamics,” he said.
“I don’t want to spoil anything about the story, but we didn’t want to show the audience anything they already knew, like how we are. We made sure that it’s very different in the story. The hard part was to take away what we are in real life—I’m very close to my mom—and focus on portraying two different characters. It was fun!”
Donny is also working on a romance teleserye with onscreen partner Belle Mariano.
At a recent media gathering that launched Donny as the brand ambassador of the financial services company Sun Life Philippines, he was also asked what roles he wanted to take on in the future. “I imagine doing an action project someday. It could be a superhero character or a vigilante. Acting is a never-ending journey. I will never say I’m already OK as an actor because I’ve done a lot of projects, a lot of characters. These two projects that I’m going to be a part of are very different from my previous ones. I’m excited for people to see them,” he said.
Donny went on a holiday in Cebu with his family recently. He said it was a nice way to spend quality time with all of his siblings because they’re hardly complete anymore. Asked how he is able to manage his work schedule, Donny said he does it with a lot of help. “I don’t do this by myself. There are many different individuals managing my schedule, like Star Magic and Mediaworks. Whenever you see me go in front of the camera, there are a lot of people who make this happen,” he began.
“I try to maximize my free time by doing personal stuff that I am unable to do because of work. Since I’m an introvert, there are also instances when I need to spend time with myself and recharge. This is so I don’t get too drained with work emotionally, physically and spiritually. Of course, it’s also ideal to spend your free time with the ones you love and those who will remind you of who you are,” he stressed.
Donny also makes time for his interests, like sports, which “has been a major thing since I was a child,” he said. “My parents made it a point that we have physical activity. For all of us, it’s triathlon. We would compete as a family. As we got older, we started pursuing the sports that we like. For me, it’s basketball.”
He continued: “It’s well within my lifestyle. Every day, I would think of activities I can do during the week in order to be more healthy, more active. It’s important to really plan it out. Do workouts even for just 10 minutes, those that you can do anywhere that will enable you to remain active.”
You have to take good care of your mental health, as well, Donny said, adding that it’s important for every individual to have what he called “a safe space.”
“My safe space would be those who love me, like my family and the people I know will push me toward my goal. It’s very important for everyone who is going through something to find someone you can trust, someone you’re not afraid to share stuff with, someone who will give you the proper advice—like your psychiatrist,” he pointed out. “Never forget that everyone goes through something for a reason. You still have a purpose no matter what you do.”
For Donny, it’s also important to start saving up for the future while you’re still young. “Those of you who have the privilege of saving, do it now. Keep aside whatever percentage you can. Maybe now, we still don’t see the benefits of saving up, but we will as time goes on, when we’re older,” the 25-year-old said.
“My family is always there to guide me in terms of saving up and investing in real estate. Yes, you will make mistakes. There will be a lot of times when you will have to learn the hard way, but my parents are the ones who make me go back to the correct mindset. It’s nice to get advice from people you look up to and also those who have been in the industry for a longer time,” Donny said.
Sun Life’s “Wheels of Life Pop-up Fair 2023,” which will feature various health activities including free consultations, health risk assessments, nutrition counseling and mental health check-in, will be at the Vermosa Sports Hub, Cavite on April 23 and at D’Mall, Boracay on April 29. INQ