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Cebuano actor snags Urian nod

A former security guard’s love of acting has gained the support of Cebuano officials after the Visayan film he starred in won inclusion in the prestigious 34th Gawad Urian Nights this Tuesday.

Gregg Tecson was nominated as best supporting actor for his role of “Tatay Carding” in the Cebuano independent film “Ang Damgo ni Eleuteria,” which was shown in Manila theaters last November.

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The 57-year-old Tecson is nominated alongside veteran actors like Julio Diaz, who starred in the film “Magkakapatid,” Joem Bascon for the indie film “Noy,” Tirso Cruz III for “Sigwa” and Cogie Domingo for “Muli.”

“I can hardly sleep due to my excitement. My only problem is my fare for Manila so I can attend the awards,” he told Cebu Daily News.

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The 34th Gawad Urian Awards Night will be held at the Marriot Hotel in Manila.

The Cebu City Council took care of that problem, as it passed a resolution last Wednesday allocating P15,000 to cover Tecson’s fare and expenses.

Tecson, a resident of barangay Talamban, Cebu City, said he will leave today or tomorrow for the awards night.

“Proud ko kay mapakita nato nga maka fight sad ta sa taga Manila. Naka realize ko nga madala na sad di ay ko sa Manila if naay (I am proud to show that we can compete with those in Manila. I realized that I can do this in Manila if given the) opportunity,” he said.

Low-paying

Tecson was also nominated for his role in the film as the fisherman father of the main protagonist Eleuteria in the 8th Golden Screen Awards held in Green Hills in San Juan last April 2.

Though he only got a certificate of recognition, Tecson was no less proud of his work in the movie and expressed gratitude to Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza for paying his round-trip ticket and Councilor Harry Radaza and radio commentator Charles Baylosis for providing pocket money.

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“Damgo…” directed by Remton Siega Zuasolas also won the Special Jury Prize at the conclusion of the 12th Jeonju International Film Festival in South Korea last May.

The road to cinematic success wasn’t easy for Tecson, who started as a crew member for Cebuano film directors in the ’70s.

A high school graduate of the University of the Visayas (UV), Tecson said he would tag along with a neighbor in M. J. Cuenco Avenue to work in movies and TV series done by director Marcos Navarro Sacol as well as shows by local singers like Dulce Amor.

He auditioned for a radio drama but was told that his voice won’t qualify him as a radio talent.

Undaunted, Tecson worked part-time as a security guard at night for P7,000 a month and sell ice drops and barbecue in his spare time.

His earnings managed to support his family and he counts himself fortunate that three of his kids finished in college under scholarship grants.

“There is no future for you if you only rely on your earnings from starring in movies. The local film industry is low-paying because of the lack of sponsors,” Tecson said.

BISDAK

He said Cebuano actors who came from affluent families managed to sustain their career.

He lamented that the Cebuano film industry wasn’t as prolific as its Manila counterpart owing to the lack of support from Cebuanos, whom he said would look down on Cebuano TV shows and film as “bisdak (bisayang dako or Visayan grown).”

“Pero ug ato lang gyud supportahan, nindot baya ang salida nga binisaya. Dali ra ta makasabot kay ato gyud ni (But we should support our TV shows and films because these are good, it’s ours and we can understand it),” he said.

Tecson got his break in 1994 with a supporting role in the Cebuano teleseries “Si Goat the Wonderful” starring the comedy team of Goliat and Esteban Escudero (PB Member Julian Daan).

He only received a P500 monthly allowance for his role but he persisted, allowing Sacol to see his potential as an actor and giving him roles in the Cebuano teleseries “Boyoyoy the Wonder Boy” where he played the role of Siano the frog in 1998.

Tecson also essayed the role of Otik in the series “Cynthia ang Pinili” that same year.

“Since I worked the night shift as a security guard, I had to shoot in the day and on Sundays and Saturdays,” he said.

Biggest break

“Boyoyoy the Wonder Boy” was aired in Channel 9 for a year while “Cynthia ang Pinili” was telecast on ABS-CBN from March 1998 to August 2000.

Tecson said he earned P1,000 a week in shooting which he added to his earnings.

In 2004, Tecson auditioned for the “Panaghoy sa Suba” movie of actor/director Cesar Montano.

He received a call from one of Montano’s employees who told him he qualified for a supporting role. But he never got a follow-up call, he said.

“I continued with my acting because I enjoy it, I love acting in front of the camera,” Tecson said.

He retired from his security guard work in 2007 and would normally appear in comedy and drama films or TV series.

“Ang Damgo ni Eleuteria” is Tecson’s biggest acting break, and he hopes for more acting opportunities in the film’s wake.

Improvise

Cast last October on Sacol’s recommendation, the film was shot in Olango Island located off mainland Mactan Island.

Tecson said they shot for five straight days for their hour-long film and did two more days of re-shoot.

He said he would improvise his lines to help him act more natural on film, though he admitted he found it difficult to shed tears during the film’s dramatic scenes.

Tecson said his children had supported his acting career by opening a Facebook account for him where he can be reached by interested directors.

Avril Bantayan, an indie film director from Davao who helmed movies like “Hilot” and “Mananabang,” expressed interest in tapping him, Tecson said.

“I’m glad there is the indie film industry since it could give me employment,” he said.

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