My Plan B has always been to become a business tycoon, never to switch networks,” said actor-TV host Enchong Dee when asked why he chose to remain an ABS-CBN talent for 15 long years.
He claimed there were offers for him to work on projects produced by other companies or networks even before the pandemic happened or the network shutdown, but he never considered any of them. “I would always say that I’ve already come to a point in my life when I only want to keep whatever relationships I’ve already established. Money, you can always earn it, although this has never been my goal for working in the industry. I feel like I don’t want to start a new relationship anymore,” Enchong explained.“
I feel that I’m still needed here,” said Enchong. “Yes, our numbers here are slowly decreasing. I would often hear people leaving. Their reasons for doing this are valid. This is just my opinion—I want to stay a Kapamilya.”
As to what made him decide to stay in show biz this long, Enchong said: “I had to make that decision on a daily basis. People in Star Magic know this—I have attempted to retire from acting several times. I would say, ‘five or ten years, I think that’s enough.’ Tita Monch (Novales), my handler for the last 15 years told me that an actor never retires. Yes, you can take your sweet time, but if you really love the craft you will eventually come back.”
Enchong said spending many years in the biz is “like a medal. It’s something you can show your peers and family. It’s proof that I’m still needed, that I can still offer something to people. I’m very humbled to still be working here. Whenever I pray, it’s always to thank the Lord that I have work even at the time of the pandemic, when a lot of people are becoming poor.”
The greatest lesson Enchong said he has learned through those years is this: “I just can’t remember from whom I heard this from—either Nanay Gina (Alajar) or Janice (de Belen) told me that while acting or performing can be learned, the personality of an actor is hard to change. This is why we should first make sure we’re good with people. We can always study the craft later. This industry is very small so there is a big chance that you will need the help of people you’ve disrespected in the past.”
He further explained: “I noticed that the actors who have come before us, the senior ones, become more generous in helping and sharing their experiences with us if we treat them well.”
Enchong will be featured in the longest-running drama anthology “Maalaala Mo Kaya,” (MMK) in today’s episode titled “Ink of Smile.” His episode will tell the story of Edwin Pranada, a cosmetic tattooist who gives free service to people suffering from alopecia.
“While doing this episode, I got reminded of how much I enjoy working with the whole team—how we would all get tired together. I like it that we’re all called Kapamilya. That’s what I would always look for on the set of whatever project I’m part of. I treat everyone a Kapamilya, from the cast and the director to the wardrobe, staff and utility,” said Enchong. Enchong is also a cast of the drama series “Huwag Kang Mangamba,” which is currently airing its final two weeks. He is likewise busy making content for his YouTube channel, which, he said, would focus more on educating Filipinos about financial literacy.
“We have learned an important lesson with the pandemic. We need to be financially independent so that whatever tragedy would befall us next, hindi tayo naghihikahos. We’ve heard a lot of sad stories of Filipinos who could no longer afford to make both ends meet. That’s something I want to focus on,” Enchong pointed out. “I’m actually enjoying it that I get to meet a lot of small-scale entrepreneurs. They are those who, even while we’re in a pandemic, still fought in order to save their businesses for the sake of their employees. I realized that they are what I needed to put a spotlight on.”
Enchong turned 33 yesterday. As a birthday wish, he said he hoped to “take the time off to learn new things. I want to learn more from business people, to try out their lifestyle. Being in show biz can be a privilege, sometimes. I need to ground myself once in a while,” he said. In MMK, Enchong’s character, Edwin, first tried to earn money by collecting garbage. He also resorted to tricking people and selling them drugs. He eventually became a renowned cosmetic tattoo artist.
Enchong, however, has no tattoo. “It’s a personal choice. I donate blood every three months. If you get a tattoo, you can’t donate blood for a year,” he explained. “But for me, it’s a form of art. It’s an expression of one’s self. I know some people would get tattoos for their self-confidence. We try to gain self-confidence in different ways. How you carry yourself is your choice. You don’t have to listen to other people’s opinion to be able to express yourself.”
If ever he could get a tattoo, though, it would be a Philippine flag drawn on his chest, near his left collar bone. “My ultimate dream back then was to compete in the Olympics,” said the former member of the national swimming team. “I used to imagine getting a tattoo of the five rings of the Olympics and the Philippine flag. Now, it will just be the flag. I just don’t understand why I love this country so much.”
“MMK” celebrates its 30th anniversary this month with stories of inspiration, hope, and love. Watch MMK on the Kapamilya Channel and A2Z, Kapamilya Online Live on ABS-CBN Entertainment’s YouTube channel and Facebook page, and iWantTFC.
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