Post-EDSA Philippines saw the advent of alternative filmmaking. It wasn't long before independent films made its way into theaters in waves, small as it may seem. The clamor for new cinema was felt in the last decade especially with the emergence of various film festivals that encourage the creation of non-mainstream films or movies with no backing of major studios.
Today's birthday boy, Filipino actor Coco Martin (Rodel Pacheco Nacianceno) took advantage of this surge and took part in the ongoing revolution in Philippine cinema. His daring performances and heavy acting in a number of alternative movies earned him the title "Prince of Philippine Independent Films."
Coco Martin's first indie film was "Masahista" in 2005 by no other than Brillante Mendoza. He played the role of Iliac, a young masseur from Pampanga who gives massages to gay men in Manila. The story later follows him as he assists in the prepartion of his father's burial in their hometown. The Young Critics Circle recognized his performance and awarded him the Best Actor title.
This was followed by a slew of other independent films and more awards and recognitions. He was nominated for his role in Adolfo Alix' “Tambolista” (2007), won Best Film Actor (ENPRESS Golden Screen Awards) and Best Supporting Actor (Gawad Urian Award) for “Jay” (2008), nominated Best Actor (Gawad Urian Award) for “Daybreak” (2008), and nominated Best Film Actor (Gawad Genio Awards) and Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Golden Screen Award) for “Kinatay” (2009) among others.
In between his indie film projects, he came back to ABS-CBN in 2008 and debuted in the afternoon drama series "Ligaw na Bulaklak." Set in the 1980s when horse race betting was common, Ligaw na Bulaklak was starred by Roxanne Guinoo who played Lea Alegro. She is the daughter of a gambling man named Dennis (Nonie Buencamino) and his wife Marilyn (Jodi sta. Maria). As it turns out, Chris (Coco Martin) is the real Ronel Alegro, Lea's half-brother and the long lost brother of Jennifer Alegro (Ara Mina).
What followed was "Tayong Dalawa" (2009) which gave him the Pop TV Character of the Year title (ASAP Pop Viewer's Choice Awards), Best Drama Actor title (PMPC Star Awards for TV), and the Presidential Jury Award for Excellence in Acting (Gawad Tanglaw Awards) for his portrayal of Ramon D. Lecumberri. Coco Martin's character was the estranged half-sibling of Lt. David "Dave" M. Garcia, Jr. (Jake Cuenca) and Lt. David "JR" D. Garcia, Jr. (Gerald Anderson).
"Minsan Lang Kita Iibigin" (2011) was probably the Teleserye King's big break in the TV industry. He played both the roles of Lt. Alexander del Tierro and Javier del Tierro. Separated at birth, the brothers grow up in completely different households. Alexander, like his well-respected military family, becomes a soldier while Javier's adoptive family is at the rebels' side. Aside from garnering a lot of titles and awards for his impressive dual performance, he was also dubbed as the "Prince of Philippine Television" at the Guillermo Mendoza Awards.
Now with a long list of movies and teleseryes that prove his acting skills, Coco Martin's newest project is the TV adaptation of the renowned Fernando Poe Jr. film "Ang Probinsiyano." In yet another dual portrayal, the Teleserye King proves that he is fit to for one of Da King's most significant movies. With a slow and steady rise from prince to king, what else can we expect from the award-winning actor? Brilliance, of course!