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Jolina Magdangal: An Icon In Her Own Right

Jolina Magdangal is undeniably an icon in the Philippine showbiz industry.

Starting at 9 years old, Jolina has been through different projects and reinventions, and has put in a lot of hard work in the industry—with all of her projects becoming iconic and remarkable to Pinoy pop culture fans and enthusiasts alike.

This dawned on Jolina when a fan recently made an art card showcasing all the works and projects she has done through the years.

She says about this, “Kinilig ako kaya pinost ko siya.

Nata-touch lang ako doon sa iba naman na parang mas naaalala pa, at saka talagang yung mga parang sobrang laki ng nagawa ko sa kanila para ganun yung [gawin] nila.

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Showbiz: Then And Now

Recently, Jolina has been fond of posting throwback pictures on her Instagram account, allowing fans to look back on all the iconic moments and projects she’s had in showbiz through the years.

Of this, Jolina says, “Meron akong kwento sa mga picture, ito yung nararamdaman ko, at everytime kong gagawin yun, para talaga akong nagre-rewind doon, parang kahapon lang nangyari.”

Jolina posts pictures from her landmark projects, including the one where she played a Valentina-like character—complete with fake snakes on her head—or behind-the-scenes footage from her movies with Marvin Agustin. She recalls moments from her “ASAP” days in the ‘90s and her bonding moments with her “Ang TV” co-stars through snaps from their dressing rooms.

The Kapamilya actress-TV host can’t help but appreciate how she and her batchmates, who started working in the ‘90s, really worked their way up to achieve the milestones they had.

She admits, “Merong [feeling na], buti pa noong panahon namin, talagang kapag sinabing sikat ka, sikat ka. Kasi work hard talaga.

Kasi ngayon, yung iba, ang galing magpa-viral. Yung ganun, di ba? Parang may mga ganon na iniisip.

Pero meron din naman na parang, ‘Naku, buti na lang, noong panahon natin, walang ganito.’ Kasi yung mga parang umu-over naman kasi ang bilis, parang ang bilis mong inano sarili mo ‘tapos meron ka lang maling tapak, maling step, gumuho na yung mundo mo.”

In fact, Jolina appreciates what she has experienced in the past so much that she makes it a point to share her wisdom with the young stars she works with today.

She continues, “Dahil sa journey na nangyari sa akin, ngayon, sobra ko siyang naa-appreciate, parang ang sarap makipag kwentuhan doon sa mga bago ngayon na parang kapag magtanong sila, ang sarap magkwento. ‘Tapos makikita mo, nakikinig sa ‘yo kasi alam mo na meron kang iaambag sa ikakaayos ng buhay nila kahit magkaiba ng panahon.

Kasi iisang industriya pa rin, e, di ba? Iisa lang din yung ginagawa natin. Iba-iba na lang yung nangyayari sa paligid, pero ang bottomline dito, pareho pa rin yung kung ano yung dream mo, at gagawin mo nang maayos.”

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Embracing Her Image

One thing that Jolina is proud of is how she has learned to embrace her own persona as a TV personality, something that has helped make her the icon that she is today.

Case in point, despite being in her 40s, she continues to wear her cute headbands, especially when she does her show on PIE Channel, “Sinong Manok Mo?”

This could be the secret behind why she still loves what she does today.

She explains, “Ayokong pumasok sa isang bagay na parang, ‘Oh, sige, ita-try ko sa umpisa,’ pero kapag hindi talaga komportable, bibitaw at bibitaw ako talaga. Yun yung kinalakihan ko.

Kaya siguro ganun pa rin yung nakikita nila ngayon na, ‘Parang hindi ka tumanda?’ Di ba, doon sa PIE Channel, naghe-headband headband ulit ako? Kasi ine-enjoy ko talaga siya. Iniisip ko, walang edad na pinipili ang headband, hallur! Di ba?

Kami ng anak ko, pareho kami; bakit? At saka oo, totoo, sa anak ko yon. Hiniram ko lang kasi gusto ko yun, e. Parang masaya ako talaga sa ganun, and nasa puso iyon kung paano mo rin dadalhin yung sarili mo.

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But Jolina knows her limitations. In fact, throughout her career, she has remained firm about what she can and won’t do in her projects.

One such thing is doing love scenes with her partners.

There was even one time she cried when she was about to insinuate making love with Marvin Agustin in the 2015 series “Flordeliza,” with the late Wenn Deramas as director.

At the time, she had just given birth to her first child, Pele.

She fondly recalls, “Nagkandaiyak pa ako doon! At saka kaya ko nagawa yun dahil kay Direk Wenn, na parang alam kong Direk Wenn ito. Kapag pahiga na, ika-cut na niya ‘to. Kasi parang talagang yung tiwala ko ay nandun.

Pero talagang iyak talaga! Alam mo yung pagkatapos nun, parang, ‘Ah, ang sama sama kong ina!’”

But even in the past, Jolina just chooses the projects that she really wants to do in her heart.

Sabi ko, ayoko dito sa work ay may ginawa ako na hindi ko gusto, kasi mababalikan ko yun ‘tapos iiyak ako ulit. Gusto ko, tuwing babalik ako doon sa moment na pinagdaanan ko, masaya akong kinukwento yun. At kapag napagkwentuhan pa ng mga kumakain diyan sa tabi-tabi or mga gatherings, gusto ko yung parang masaya.

“Although ang gusto talaga ng mga tao ay maritesan, pero, yung alam kong may maiiambag na pwedeng gayahin ng mga anak nila, na ikaka-proud ng mga anak ko.”

This philosophy remains true at present when she chooses which projects to do.

She says, “Hindi ako magre-regret na, ‘Hala ginawa ko ‘to or kung ginawa ko yon, alam kong kapag binalikan ko iyon, may natutunan ako doon.

Kung may gagawin akong bago, ganun pa rin, iisipin ko pa rin nang ilang beses bago ko talaga gawin kasi ayaw ko yung feeling na, ‘Hala, okay ba ‘to? Hindi ako yun. Huy, okay ba? Hala, hindi ata, e.’ Parang ganun.

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Work Ethic

When considering a project, Jolina also makes sure she delivers with the work ethic she displays.

In fact, during our FreebieMNL Spotlight shoot, she was an hour early at the studio despite the heavy rain and traffic.

She says of this, “Takot talaga akong ma-traffic!”

But really, Jolina was raised to show the right work ethic, especially when she entered showbiz, thanks to her dad, Jun Magdangal. And it would be truthful to say that people in the industry still trust her with projects and endorsements because of this work ethic.

“Thankful ako sa mga hanggang ngayon ay nagtitiwala, kasi minsan, lalo na nga din sa panahon ngayon, iba-iba na rin yung mga nangyayaring paano mo papasikatin yung sarili mo.

Dati, sabi ko, ‘Naku, may effect pa ba yung maaga kang dumadating?’ Ganun ako dati pero laging sinasabi ng daddy ko sa akin, ‘Hayaan mo na ikaw ang may masabi sa kanila kaysa sila ang may masabi sa ‘yo.’”

With being early, Jolina shares, “Yun yung hanggang ngayon, nasasanay na yung katawan ko, yung parang gusto kong sabihin, ‘Wala pang nandoon,’ ‘tapos parang papunta na yung katawan ko.”

This is not just because of her own work ethic, but also because Jolina knows there are other people on the set who have their own demands to meet, especially in terms of time.

Yung iba nga, yung mga bata nga ngayon, kapag nakikita ko na, ‘Uy, Day, late ka,’ yung ganon.

Parang, ‘Ay, paano niya kaya nakakaya na naghihikab pa siya, yung mga iba, nag-aayos na ng set?’ Yung gano’n, di ba? Tatayo ka pa lang pero yung iba, nando’n na nang madilim pa, nag-aayos na ng uupuan mo, ng papag-stay-an mo, nililinis na.

Yun lang ang aking mga iniisip na nagwo-work pa rin ang mga tao ngayon, nata-touch ako kapag yung mga naka-work ko ngayon ay naka-work ko noong bata ako.

Natutuwa ako sa gano’n kaya siguro parang longing din ako na, ‘Nasaan na kaya si tatay ganito, yung nagdi-DOP sa amin dati nung nagsa-Sunsilk ako?’ Yung mga gano’n. Meron pa akong gano’ng feeling.”

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Staying Power

But for Jolina, she believes that the real secret to her staying power—from being a child singer to a teen actress to being in a league of her own—is just enjoying what she does.

She explains with fervor, “Siguro talagang ine-enjoy ko lang talaga ito. Alam mo yung iba-ibang levels din ng enjoyment, hindi ko sinasabing yung kaya kong gawin dati na sumobrang puyat ay kaya ko pa rin kasi ine-enjoy ko, hindi na ganun.

Pero masaya talaga akong nagkukutkot ng accessories, masaya talaga akong nag-aayos ng damit, nagmi-mix-match ng ganito, masaya akong nagwe-welcome ng mga bagong magagawa.

Hindi ko ma-explain kung bakit nga hanggang ngayon, nandito ako.”

Aside from enjoying it, Jolina personally doesn’t want to stop improving.

In fact, she still feels butterflies in her stomach whenever she goes live—whether it’s hosting for “Magandang Buhay” or PIE Channel’s “Sinong Manok Mo?,” or singing in “ASAP Natin ‘To” or any mall show.

She continues, “Tapos meron pa rin akong yung parang, ‘Grabe, gusto ko pang gawin yung ganito, pero paano?’ May longing pa ako sa ibang mga bagay.

Tapos nandiyan pa rin yung kaba kapag kakanta or may gagawin, kahit sa hosting, yung sasalang na sa live. Parang ilang beses ko na bang ginawa, pero ayun!

At saka ayokong mawala yun; ayaw na ayaw kong mawala yun. Parang feeling ko, mase-stress ako, parang dumaan yung episode na parang wala lang? Ganon. Doon ako mase-stress.

Pero yung kaba, wine-welcome ko talaga iyon at gusto kong nararamdaman iyon. Siguro ganun, yun yung pinaka [rason na] baka kaya ako nandito.”

But most importantly, Jolina wants to bring a positive effect to her fans and to everyone watching her.

Gustung-gusto kong yung may naiaambag ako.

“So minsan, kahit hindi ko alam na may naiaambag ako, kapag may nagsabi na ng ganun, isa yun sa mga parang silent glue na, ‘Dito ka talaga nakapwesto, ito talaga, ito talaga ang poste mo.’ Ibang level na yung pwede mong magawa na, oo, nagawa mo na iyon pero alam ko na may gagawin akong iba na pwedeng same diyan pero ibang style naman. Ine-enjoy ko talaga siya kaya ganyan.”

Photography Jerick Sanchez assisted by Marcus Flores and Daniel Garrido
Art Direction Alexandra Lara and Dani Sison
Art Alexandra Lara
Interview and Cover Story Jimpy Anarcon
Transcription Rod Hagen
Styling Rain Dagala of Rain x Em
Makeup Jigs Mayuga
Hair Justine Ocampo
Special Thanks Xy-Za Reyes and Perry Lansigan of PPL Entertainment Inc. and Lauren Dyogi and Neneth Rustia of Star Magic

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