For seven years, FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano brought more than just a modern retelling of the action-packed classic by The King of Action Movies, Fernando Poe Jr. Even with Coco Martin as the show’s lead actor, he continuously and generously shared the spotlight with other veterans in the entertainment industry.
Most actors are grateful to Coco and the team behind Ang Probinsyano because the show gave them another chance to show their passion for acting and gain prominence among audiences from today’s generation. Among them is Senator Lito Lapid.
During a quick catch-up with the press last January 23, Monday, he shared how Ang Probinsyano paved the way for millennials to know him as Romulo “Leon” Dumaguit, or simply Pinuno. He quipped that most Filipinos knew him before as Leon Guerrero early in his career as an action star.
In the seven-year stint, the esteemed senator saw how Coco’s mind worked and how he appealed to the general masses, making him a well-loved actor among the Filipinos.
“‘Yung isip ni Coco ang bilis. ‘Yung script niya nasaulo niya. ‘Yung timpla ng masa kayang-kaya niya ilabas sa TV,” Lapid said.
Lapid also recalled how Coco can adapt his dialogue to match the scene’s mood yet add a more relatable flair. Although it’s something the senator isn’t used to, he enjoyed working with Coco. So much so that he asked the actor to enter politics, but Coco declined because he already had his platform in showbiz. But that isn’t the end of their on-screen projects.
This year, Lapid will return to the small screen with Coco for the modern rendition of another FPJ classic, Batang Quiapo.
Batang Quiapo draws inspiration from the 1986 action-comedy film of the same title. It follows the story of Baldo (formerly played by the late Fernando Poe Jr.), a former pickpocket who becomes reformed after spending time behind bars. He then meets a young female thief who wants to be his apprentice. But instead of fulfilling her wishes, Baldo will try to put her on the right path.
In the series, Lapid will play the head of the thieves, like his role as Pinuno in Ang Probinsyano. Joining them are FPJ’s daughter, Lovi Poe, veteran actress Charo Santos-Concio, and the senator’s son, Mark Lapid, with Christopher de Leon, Tommy Abuel, Cherry Pie Picache, Pen Medina, Susan Africa, and John Estrada.
Yet there’s more to Batang Quiapo to Senator Lapid than just being another opportunity to seize the imagination and support viewers. For him, it’s an ideal use of the entertainment platform to highlight local culture.
Lapid proposed the Quiapo Heritage Zone Act, which would help restore and preserve the Quiapo district. The upcoming action-comedy teleserye is another way to showcase the heritage of Quiapo and its relevance to Filipino identity. Once enacted into law, the heritage zone will receive funding from the Department of Tourism, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Department of Public Works and Highways, and other cultural agencies.
Batang Quiapo, produced by Dreamscape Entertainment and Coco’s CCM Film Productions, will air early this 2023.