With all the rave reviews and positive feedback Kapuso primetime series, Mano Po Legacy: The Family Fortune, has been raking in online, Filipino-Chinese actor David Chua could not help but be thrilled.

With the industry’s seasoned artists, Sunshine Cruz, Boots Anson-Roa, Maricel Laxa, and Barbie Forteza taking the spotlight (along with a lineup of fresh new faces), David relishes every bit of his supporting role as Philip Lo, the gay henchman and co-conspirator of Valerie Lim (Maricel Laxa), who’s deadset on getting her hands on Consuelo Chan’s (Boots Anson-Roa) family fortune.

Barely a month since Mano Po Legacy‘s much-awaited airing, David has already gotten his fair share of positive feedback for his out-of-the box portrayal.

He says, “I’m happy when, let’s say I’m in a mall and people call me by my character name. ‘Nakakagigil ka!!!’ ‘Grabe kayo ni Valerie!’ or ‘Ang galing mo, idol!’ The validation can be elating. But first and foremost is how I believe I’m doing justice to my role.”

For David, the harder challenge was putting his own stamp on a typically-caricatured role. After all, it’s not surprising how gays onscreen have not evolved much from their limp-wristed, flamboyant stereotypes.

He explains, “Gayness is never just one predictable interpretation now. In fact, I’m careful not to be stereotypical. In this case, it’s mostly my own take on Philip. The low voice is betrayed by his feminine hand gestures.”

“My take on Philip is he’s semi-closeted. He wears business suits but leans towards loud colors. There are other layers to the role which I don’t want to preempt, so you’ll have to watch how it evolves.”

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In a way, David feels flattered for having been anointed as an unwitting flagbearer of the LGBTQ community, and for good reason.

He narrates, “Some people say I’ve broken new ground, for taking the gay role to a higher, maybe deeper level. Now, I can’t take sole credit for all that, since all I’m doing is really fleshing out a role. The community is diverse, and there is not one person and expression that’s exactly the same for all. There’s always different sensitivities. In fact, some call it being ‘genderless.'”

Ever his self-effacing and modest self, David shrugs off the plaudits and remains his own worst critic.

He humbly admits, “There’s always room for improvement for any actor. Malayo pa ako kay Direk Ian Loreños who is award-winning, that’s why I always listen to him and watch how he directs.”

David also gives due credit to Maricel Laxa for bring out his best throughout most of their scenes.

“Bigayan kami—hatakan, tulakan (not literally, hahaha!)—acting-wise. She’s such an incredible actress and I’m very lucky to have her as my ‘sparring partner.’ I’m also amazed at how she can glam up like that for every new scene and still act well—like, hindi gano’n kataas yung hairdo n’ya! Haha!”

Not many televiewers probably realize that David had already earned his stripes as an actor when he was still under ABS-CBN, where he did over 30 TV shows including My Girl (2008), Imortal (2010), My Binondo Girl (2011), Dyesebel (2014), Love Thy Woman (2019), and Saturday Night Chills (2013), where he won Best Supporting Actor in the Cinema One Originals Digital Film Festival 2013.

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Aside from acting, David has also established himself as a credible director, honing his chops at the helm of Korina Sanchez’s long-running magazine TV show, Rated Korina, and calling the shots at countless commercial and advertising gigs under his very own Dark Carnival Productions during the bleak days of the showbiz slump caused by the pandemic last 2020.

From a director’s perspective, David is all praises for Mano Po Legacy‘s cinematic treatment.

“It’s quite impressive,” he admits. “I get that a lot from people who watch–that it looks like a movie. It’s like bringing the movies to people’s homes. And nasanay na rin ang fans ng Mano Po watching this iconic title as a movie. I can’t second guess Direk Ian though. That’s just how I appreciate how he decided on this style of cinematography.”

Despite all the serious drama onscreen, David relishes his very chill and light-hearted off-cam moments with the rest of the Mano Po cast.

“Magaan. Lahat masaya. Pag break, lahat nagkukulitan. Mahilig sila mag-Tiktok! Haha!!!”

Through it all, David remains grateful to the people who gave him the chance to be part of this landmark production.

He exclaims, “Growing up, I was always in awe of Mano Po‘s legacy as a blockbuster film series.I was always in awe of Mano Po‘s legacy as a blockbuster film series. And to be part of this new TV version is simply a wow! My gratitude to Ma’am Roselle Monteverde [Regal Entertainment CEO], Sir Joey Abacan [GMA-7 FVP for Program Management] and Arnold Vegafria [David’s manager] for this dream come true.”

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Random videos:

David is obviously having fun even offcam with these videos shared online by his co-star Kate Yalung.