Soul-searching with David Licauco
It was his runner-up finish in the Mr. Chinatown pageant a few years ago that propelled David Licauco to the limelight and served as his ticket to showbiz. His forebears hail from Tabaco City (Albay) and, coincidentally, his grandmother Alice Abrahan (and brother Antonio who died of another stroke early this week) were my schoolmates at Tabaco Pei Ching High School. (Kapuso actress Joyce Ching also traces her roots to Tabaco; the first Tabaco resident who joined showbiz was Myra Crisol, discovered by Premiere Productions in the early ‘60s.).
David (who is 50 percent Chinese) is luckier than other newcomers because ALV cast him as bida in his big break, Because I Love You, which was produced by Arnold Vegafria’s own ALV Films, directed by Joel Lamangan with Shaira Diaz as leading lady. In his three years in the business, David has survived the so-called “initiation” stage (bashing, unfounded yarns about his private life, “fake news”, etc.). Showbiz aspirants can learn a thing or two from David’s experience.
How would you assess your three years in showbiz?
“I’m just extremely grateful for what I have accomplished. I should say that it has been an amazing journey. I had my ups and downs. There have been times when I have found my work challenging, especially during earlier stages of my career; this actually ended up being fun since I am always up for challenges. I also think that in this environment, you will always have to improve and hone your craft. Should I start singing? Should I start dancing lessons? Should I start doing Tiktok? Hahaha!!! I have actually done Tiktok which I posted on my social media accounts. At the end of the day, we all just wanna get better in whatever we were doing.”
Is it true that you almost quit and thought of just helping in the family business?
“Hmmm, not really. We all go through a certain phase in our lives when we search for purpose and happiness, or what we really wanna do in life. I just focus on whatever comes our way. I’ll do my very best and create my own happiness.”
You are luckier than most newcomers since bida ka kaagad in a movie. Don’t you think it was a case of too much too soon?
“Well, sometimes I get caught up with everything and I ask myself, ‘Do I deserve all this?’ I was just an ordinary basketball player na makulit growing up. It got to a point that I got a little overwhelmed and I became a little emotional about it. Was it a case of too much too soon? I don’t think so. To answer your next question, I’m just an actor so whatever job is offered to me, as long as it’s good for me, I’ll take it. I just have to be prepared all the time and thank God for every blessing that I get.”
Don’t you think that you were hinog sa pilit and you still have a lot to learn?
“Of course, I don’t have the illusion that I am already a star. I’m aware of the reality that I am not there yet. I’m doing my best to improve on my craft. Every morning when I wake up, I ask myself, ‘What can you do to achieve what you wanna achieve? Should you do this and that?’ I always have this mindset that there’s a lot to learn. Even the best basketball player, Kobe Bryant, had to practice every single day even if he was already the best. Get what I mean? I always keep that mindset. Never let your head get big and just work on yourself to get better in everything that you do. Of course, have fun.”
What do you like and don’t like about showbiz?
“What I like about showbiz? Making people happy just by being me and doing things that I love. It’s a blessing. Not everybody is given the opportunity so why not grab it? And what I don’t like about showbiz? That sometimes I tend to forget that I have a responsibility and also, maybe the long hours of waiting. Hahaha!!! But I have gotten used to it. It has actually taught me how to be patient.”
What really is your childhood dream?
“Honestly, in the family I was definitely the least expected to be in showbiz. Growing up in a conservative Chinese high school, I was really shy. I had to know the person well before I could talk to him. All I wanted was to play basketball and hang out with my friends. Which is far different from showbiz. In showbiz, you have to be friendly to everyone or else they might judge you as masungit or mayabang. So it was really hard for me at the start. Slowly, I got the hang of it.”
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