MARTIN del Rosario was not the first choice to play Barbs in the TV series “Born Beautiful,” a spin-off of the acclaimed 2016 dramedy film “Die Beautiful.”
It turned out he was the best choice after winning at the 24th Asian Television Awards on Jan. 11 at Resorts World Manila’s Newport Performing Arts Theater.
Del Rosario bagged the Best Leading Male Performance – Digital for the series produced by Cignal TV. He bested Teeradon Supapunpinyo and Krissanapoom Pibulsonggram, both of Thailand’s “Great Men Academy.”
The role was supposed to be Christian Bables’, who is the original Barbs in “Die Beautiful” top billed by Paolo Ballesteros, whose character died in the film leaving Barbs the lead star of the sequel.
But Bables begged off to play again the character that catapulted him to fame saying it was “management’s decision.” He said he believes everything happens for a reason, including his having to give up the coveted role.
He, likewise, expressed elation that the role went to del Rosario, who is also a Gawad Urian Best Supporting Actor winner like Bables. Del Rosario won for “Dagitab” and Bables for “Die Beautiful.” (Bables also won in the 2017 Metro Manila Film Festival, where Die Beautiful was an entry.)
In his acceptance speech, del Rosario said he is honored to represent his country, as he thanked his family, his handlers, and directors Percy Intalan and Jun Robles Lana (both of The IdeaFirst Company) for giving him the chance to play Barbs, who finds a job as a make-up artist in the funeral parlor responsible for the fabulous wake of her BFF Trisha Echevarria (Ballesteros) after the latter died in “Die Beautiful.”
In an interview with the Filipino journalists after the awards ceremony, del Rosario said he did not expect to win an Asian-wide recognition, let alone beat nominees who are superstars in Thailand and who have millions of followers.”
“Pero biglang nanalo ako kaya hayun nakakatuwa,” he said with a wide smile.
“Hindi ako nag expect pero why not, malay mo mabigyan tayo ng opportunities or projects to work in countries around Asia,” he added. “Itong ‘Born Beautiful’ ‘yung pinakamahirap na project na ginawa ko sa tanang buhay ko (laughs). Alam nila direk yan.”
“Siguro para sa akin talaga yung project,” he said, further explaining the role that was originally portrayed by Bables. “Ako naman hindi ko naman talaga alam yung nangyari. Christian and I already talked when we did the movie ‘The Panti Sisters.’ Ganun talaga may mga bagay na hindi maiiwasan. Tinanggap ko ang ‘Born Beautiful’ nang walang pag-aalinlangan dahil alam kong maganda yung ‘Die Beautiful’ and I trust Direk Jun and Direk Percy na nakatrabaho ko na sa ‘Ang Manananggal sa Unit 23B.’ And I think hindi magkaka-issue sa amin ni Christian kasi magkaibigang-magkaibigan kami and you can just see our rapport in ‘The Panti Sisters.’ We are just doing our best as actors.”
Del Rosario announced that he is doing the sequel to the 2019 smash comedy film “The Panti Sisters” co-starring Ballesteros and Bables. The film grossed over P200 million and gave del Rosario a Best Actor trophy at the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (PPP).
The 27-year-old actor, who is one of the stars of the GMA drama series “The Gift,” said he’s also grateful to the Kapuso network for giving him meaty projects that showcase his acting chops.
“I’m very happy sa tinatakbo ng career ko sa GMA and sana ma-boost pa dahil dito sa award na ito,” he also said.
Aside from del Rosario’s win, the Philippines also scored three other awards.
The fantasy movie “Mystified” won Best Single Drama or Telemovie, with its stars and producers Karylle and Diana Zubiri accepting the honor. They dedicated the victory with co-stars and co-producers Iza Calzado and Sunshine Dizon.
“Barangay 143” won Best Theme Song for “Alanganin,” performed by Kris Lawrence and Krizza Neri. The animated show is produced by Synergy 88 Entertainment and GMA Network.
Anchor Cathy Yang of ABS-CBN News Channel’s Market Edge With Cathy Yang received the Best News Presenter or Anchor trophy.
Filipino mogul Manny Pangilinan was also honored with the Award for Outstanding Contribution to Asian Television. He is the CEO and managing director of the First Pacific Company Limited, president and CEO of PLDT Incorporated, and chairman of Smart Communications, Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and Manila Electric Company.
Cathy Yang and Filipino actor Mark Neumann co-hosted the ceremony with Thai actress Ase Wang and Singaporean media personality Wallace Ang. Lee Keen Hhye, chairman of Asian Television Awards, personally welcomed and acknowledged all the delegates.
The three-day Asian TV Awards concluded with the Sundown concert, also at the Newport Performing Arts Theater. Among the performers were international singer Anggun of Indonesia, K-Pop girl group Cherry Bullet, Vietnamese singer Hoang Yen Chibi, and Filipino artists Martin Nievera, Jona, Morissette, Kris Lawrence, Gab Valenciano, Kiana Valenciano, and the 4th Impact.
Launched in 1996, the Asian Television Awards is considered as the region’s most celebrated and prestigious gathering of TV artists and professionals in the region that aims to recognize excellence in programming, production, and performances.
This is the first time the Asian Television Awards was held in the Philippines, with over 50 jurors from across the Asian region selecting the winners from 60 categories.