BY Karen Valeza-Tungol
While couple Matteo Guidicelli and Sarah Geronimo are Viva artists, fans won’t see them work together just yet as they continue to focus on their individual careers.
“I’m launching my first single with Viva and hopefully, by July, we’ll release my own album and singles, originals,” Matteo said in an interview. “Sarah wants to do her thing and I want to do my thing din.”
Matteo transferred to Viva after being with Star Magic for eight years, while Sarah has been with Viva ever since she entered showbiz in the early 2000s.
One of his first projects under Viva is the release of “Sundo,” a cover version of hit originally by band Imago.
“I want to start doing things on my own, doing different things. Boss Vic (del Rosario of Viva) said he will handle me personally. So, I’m taking this new opportunity, new adventure, new career path,” he added.
The Kapamilya actor-singer will launch “Sundo” in a show on May 24, few days before he undergoes military training from May 27 to July 1. Matteo surprised many when he joined the Army Reserve Force last month. But he wanted to learn more about the military and how he can contribute more, so Matteo is joining the scout ranger training in Camp Pecson in Bulacan.
“It’s different from being a reservist where you’ll be taking basic military skills. I saw some soldiers training and I asked them. They said it was for scout rangers training. It’s a 45-day course for you to become a scout ranger. If you pass it, you can take the six-month ranger course. Of course, I cannot take the six months because of my work. So, I said maybe 45 days is possible.”
Matteo shared that he has always been interested in joining the military. So he grabbed the opportunity that came as as he wants to serve the country and pay his respects to soldiers.
“It wasn’t really my plan. Back in college, there were always rooms or booths to join the military. I was always tempted to go inside but I never had the courage to do so. Few months back, I started skydiving and the people I skydive with are from the military. I got close to them and I was, like, ‘How can I be like you?’ These guys are all heroes. People know about their efforts, but not really,” he said.
Matteo wants do his part as a Filipino, especially now when many are divided due to opposing opinions on politics.
“We have over a hundred soldiers who died for our country. As a civilian, how can I help? How can I show importance to soldiers? A new opportunity came, the reservist came, and this is my advocacy on reminding Filipinos to be proud of Filipinos. We look at the flag and we should be proud to be Filipino. Despite many things happening and people disagreeing, at the end of the day, we are proud to be Pinoy.”
How did Sarah take his decision?
“At first, they were scared. Not just Sarah, but also my parents. ‘Matteo, why are you doing this? You have a career. Do you wanna go to war?’” he recalled.
Matteo explained that being a reservist doesn’t necessarily mean he will go to war. He can also serve by helping in humanitarian and disaster and relief service.
“It’s preparing you for that day if ever your country needs you. Along those lines, you can also do so much as a reservist. This is our advocacy so I’ve been going to schools, trying to push for ROTC again. Why? The youth nowadays, the pariotism that people had before, is not there anymore. So, we’re trying to put that back, to promote love for country.”
Being out of his comfort zone, wherein cell phones are also not allowed, Matteo said he is up for the challenge. He has always been athletic but joining the army is his “biggest race” so far. From Private, Matteo will be commissioned as Second Lieutenant of the Philippine Reserve Command.
“I think the 45 days will be the biggest challenge of my life. I’ve been trying to prepare myself physically, but mentally, I don’t know. I don’t have military background, I don’t know what I’m gonna go through. This will be something new and challenging. So, I feel that I’ll learn about discipline and leadership. Hopefully, everything will go well,” he said.
In the interview, Matteo also shared his experience meeting President Rodrigo Duterte. He was excited to share with the Commander in Chief his projects with the Army.
While he was bashed online by some people for his photo with Duterte, Matteo said Filipinos still have to do what is right for the country, whether they like the president or not.
“Actually, it was just supposed to be a photo op and then he was about to leave, the chopper didn’t arrive so he invited me to sit down. We sat down for about 30 minutes. When I told him about my project, he was very interested. He wants to strengthen the youth. He wished me luck,” Matteo said.