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She is Sharon

40 years after she first captured hearts and touched lives, the megastar does a one-on-one interview that turned out to be like time travel to remember.

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Some guys have all the luck: Because we arrived last, we got the corresponding spot in a series of one-on-one interviews that day with Sharon Cuneta whose amazing body of work that integrates film, television, music, live performances, and endorsements spans four decades.

Sharon Cuneta (mb.com.ph)

Sharon Cuneta

Watching her speak so candidly but with command with the other reporters, we were reminded why she is Sharon, the megastar no less.

Then at last, people started leaving the room and within seconds, there was just Sharon Cuneta sitting on a chair, silence all around, and a wealth of stories about to be told.

Without missing a beat, we fired away:

How did the years and circumstances change how you love?

“Maturity. It encompasses so much but this time, I love using both my heart and head. Hindi na pwede ’yung isip lang, lalo na ’yung puso lang. You only live once so you don’t want to be brokenhearted for the rest of your life. You don’t want to fake it, to force something that’s not meant to be.

“I’m very okay. And I’m happy that my children are growing up as they are. I’m very proud of my children.”

They say the people that inflict the most pain on us also bear the biggest lessons we could ever learn. Agree?

“At pwede rin na sila ’yung pinaka-minahal mo.” (And it’s also possible they are the ones you love the most)

Name three persons that, though they served as lessons to you, make you smile when you look at it all now from a point of view of love?

“Kasi merong nagsimula sa love, pero natapos sa hindi maganda. But the rest of the relationships, okay naman.

“I’ll tell you the lessons: The first lesson is to be careful. Some say trust no one – there’s a lot of truth in that. Like, my mother had friends but she has no ‘best friend.’ Her best friends are her siblings.

“As for me, I’m the only girl in the family, and I have a bestfriend in one of my cousins. But I’ve also been blessed to have a best friend since grade two. So, hindi sila marami kasi mas gusto ko ’yung quality over quantity.

“I used to be too trusting. When you’re good, you always expect (the same) things to come back. And they do naman except that bad things still happen to good people.

“When I was young, I asked my mom, ‘How come some people say I’m not really sweet?’ ’Yung parang arte ko lang ’yan. She said, ‘Anak, don’t believe them. Maybe they don’t have anything sweet in their lives.’

“Unang intriga na dumating sa buhay ko, nagulat ako du’n, naiyak ako. I try to never show it (that I get affected), but then again, I’m very emotional especially in the sense that as loudly as I laugh, and as easily I am able to laugh, I’m also very easily hurt.
Artista nga akong pinanganak, sabi ni Lord, ‘Gagawin kong mababaw ang emosyon mo hija para makapag-arte ka.’”

“So we have wounds that seemingly never heal. I guess when you’re an actor, you have experiences that haunt you so you can cry on cue in scenes that need it. It’s crazy but showbiz has been so good to me. God planned my career this way.

“When you are in this position, you don’t want to be negative. But I learned that sometimes, you need to stand up for yourself. Hindi pwedeng doormat ka, so magpapalampas ka ng bashers. There are days that when I just let pass whatever they say about me. But there are days I fight back. ‘Ganyan ka na ba nu’ng pinanganak ka? Ang yayabang dahil tago.’”

But in the end, no matter how hurt you get, you always rise above the hate to embrace even those who crucify you…

“Naalala ko dati, napakasakit ng nangyari sa personal life ko tapos may concert ako. Lalabas ka tapos ang saya saya mo, tapos magpapalit ka ng costume, takbo ka ng dressing room, umiiyak ako. Minsan may kailangan ka din na binabara, but you choose your battles eh.

“Nu’ng nag-umpisa ako sa Twitter, hindi ako sanay. Kaya lahat nang inaaway ako, inaaway ko rin sila. Kasi feeling ko, ‘How dare you? Why are you doing this to me? What did I do to you? Who are your friends? Devils? Don’t you have happy friends?’ But now I know better. I mean, I mean my contemporaries and and I, we made our names even without the help of social media. Wala naman kasing ganyan dati.

“But don’t get me wrong. I see social media as a great opportunity to directly communicate with fans, those who really support me. You see in my post kung sino talaga ’yung pinapahalagahan ko.”

“I learned in life na dapat may paninindigan ka rin. You can’t allow others to keep making you bastos. If you can’t stand for something, you can fall for anything. Pero the bashers, konti lang sila, and they are the same people. Mas marami akong fans. I owe my life to them.”

Which among your hits has proved to be self-fulfilling prophecy? Which one is your anthem?

“‘Bituing Walang Ningning.’ Hindi pa naman natatapos ang career ko pero nu’ng panahon na down na down ako, iniisip ko, ‘Okay lang, feeling ko trabaho ko lang ang showbiz eh, hindi ko ito buhay.”

(Clockwise): Scenes from 'Dear Heart', 'Bituing Walang Ningning', 'Unexpectedly Yours' and 'Madrasta' (Screengrab from YouTube) /mb.com.ph

(Clockwise): Scenes from ‘Dear Heart’, ‘Bituing Walang Ningning’, ‘Unexpectedly Yours’ and ‘Madrasta’ (Screengrab from YouTube)

“But then again, I am in love with my career, this is my passion. I am the type kasi who was born na gusto ko talaga nagpapasaya ng tao.”

“It’s been 4o years and still, I don’t know why God has blessed me with so much. I just did my work. I love my work and it did love me back. People love me, and I am grateful for that. I treasure the fact that they love me.

“As much as possible, even when I don’t feel well, when someone approaches to have a picture taken with me, I accommodate him or her. When I used to sign CDs at mall shows, I would sit there for three hours. I would sign CDs up to the last person. Kasi ’yung pinaka-kawawa, ’yung nasa dulo – tapos tatayo ka? Ako na ang nagsasara ng mall nu’ng araw.”

Of all the roles you’ve played, which one is closest to being the real you?

“April of ‘Dear Heart.’ Poor little rich girl. Kasi Danny Zialcita wrote that character based on me talaga. Spoiled kay Daddy, protected masyado ng parents. Eh paano kapag na-inlove? Talagang he wrote that I play myself, ’yung hindi aka a-acting.

“Hindi ko din malimot si Dorina Pineda sa ‘Bituin Walang Ningning.’ Kasi nasa tummy ko si KC tapos ’yung storya… Pagkatapos nu’n, sabi ko sa mommy ko, ‘Sana totoong tao sila, no? Ang ganda ganda ng storya.’

“’Yung isa pa, ‘Madrasta.’ For obvious reasons naman. ’Yung isa ‘Crying Ladies,’ akong ako kapag kinombine mo si April at Dorina na mapagbigay kasi ’yun ang importante, pag-ibig kaysa sa trabaho. Idagdag na natin si Emmy ng ‘Kung Ako Na Lang Sana.’

“Siyempre si Patty ng ‘Unexpectedly Yours.’ Kasi mayroong parts doon na si Patty parang ini-edge out na siya sa office niya kasi malapit na siya mag-retire or whatever. Tapos in reality, I’m not getting any younger and there are so many young people pero ang kaibahan namin, siya sa office.”

Who’s your favorite fan?

“Ayoko naman magtampo ’yung iba pero siyempre hindi mo makakalimutan ’yung unang-unang president ng fans club mo. President ng National Sharon Cuneta Fan Club, si Lourdes Manahan. She can’t walk anymore but hindi pwedeng wala siya diyan (sa concert).

“’Yung president ng Solid Sharon Cuneta, si Remy Ramirez. I can’t find her. Kung nasaan siya, please tell me. Pinapahanap ko pa sa iba, pero hindi talaga mahanap.”

“Hindi na nag-asawa. Si Lourdes hindi na daw makalakad, sabi ko kung kailangan tumawag ng ambulansya, magdala sa kanya, as long as she’ll be there sa concert.

“Hindi naman isa-isa ’yan na up to now, nandiyan. Solid sila, since the beginning. Ipaglalaban ka, ang babait.”

“Tapos ’yung mga bagong fans, meron din naman. Nakaka-touch din.”

What do you look forward to?

“I look forward to traveling with my husband na kaming dalawa lang. I want to grow old na travel lang ako ng travel. There is a kind of education you gain from traveling that you will never get inside the classroom.”

(“My 40 Years, Sharon” concert is on Sept. 28 at the Araneta Coliseum. The guest performers are Richard Gomez, Kuh Ledesma, Martin Nievera, Basil Valdez, and Gary Valenciano. The three musical directors of the concert are Ryan Cayabyab, Louie Ocampo and Mel Villena, while the stage directors are Rowell Santiago and Paolo Valenciano)

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