Mikael Daez on hunger, heroes, and everyday learning
MANILA, Philippines – It's been two years since Mikael Daez stripped off his shirt beside Heart Evangelista, Solenn Heussaff, Lovi Poe, Marian Rivera and Rufa Mae Quinto in GMA Films and Regal's comedy remake Temptation Island. He was 23, a management graduate from Ateneo de Manila who thought his career would begin and end in the banking industry.
“I thought I would be a different person if I got into banking, but I'm very happy with how I grew in this industry,” he says.
He had just begun starring in commercials when GMA7 cast him for the big screen. It was in shooting Temptation, and working with veterans of the industry when he began to understand the world he accidentally became part of.
“Their stories helped me adjust better, seeing them work and be professional. It was eye-opening.”
Daez is rumored to be involved with Miss World Megan Young, a claim he answers with, “We're good friends." He has run the gamut of television comedy and period soap operas, starring in Amaya, a historical period drama with Marian Rivera in the lead. The show ran almost a year on primetime television and was later aired on Malaysian TV.
Of blood and princes
Daez is a regular guest in the weekly evening comedy show Bubble Gang, a “random and intermittent” guest on morning show Unang Hirit, and hosts the segment Midnight Snack for GMA's evening news show Saksi.
He admits this is his favorite gig, where he talks about the historical origins of featured food. It is a learning experience, he says, to learn that hero Lapu-lapu fed his warriors blood stew (dinuguan) the night before they fought the Spaniards.
"Lapu-lapu said in his speech, 'Imagine that dish was the blood of the Spaniards. Use that to motivate you in battle tomorrow.' The next day, they won. I was like, ‘Wow, that's so interesting!’”
He feels strongly about the potential of the segment. Food is universal, he says, and everyone can relate.
Daez is now preparing to shoot his second primetime series, this time a fantasy series loosely based on the popular Filipino folk tale Ibong Adarna. The show is set to air in November. Daez will star as one of the three princes, alongside leading lady Kylie Padilla.
Lending his voice
Daez may have been one of Cosmopolitan Magazine's centerfold bachelors, but he is also stepping sideways to use his celebrity in the interest of health and the environment.
Today, he is an ambassador for Oxfam in the Philippines, and for 45 minutes hosted an on-air Google+ Hangout with women farmers and a fisherpersons in celebration of International Day of Rural Women and World Food Day. He encourages them to talk about fishing in Cavite and farming in Nueva Ecija, and about the different challenges unfamiliar to people living in the city. He goes off script, and asks about their feelings towards corruption and the pork barrel scam.
“Somewhere down the line," he says, "the money I earn – it's just money. I want to give back. I feel I've been so fortunate, being able to do things that are very adventurous and different, and finding success in the things I've done.”
Daez is still looking for his cause, and he is busy offering his help to the advocacies he supports.
“I want to give back in terms of doing good. I don't know if that means in terms of education, maybe charity, maybe zero hunger."
A debt to the public
Mikael understands his celebrity is dependent on his fans, and takes the time to meet them.
“I say 'hi.' I don't bite," he says laughing. "I interact with them, especially those who support me. Where would I be if they weren't there? They're the ones who support the shows, they're the ones who drive the ratings. I feel obligated to them."
As the second child of eight and the first in his family to attempt the entertainment industry, the 25-year-old says he's still is taking everything in. He calls himself a newcomer, but he's happy to have settled in.
“I feel that I’ve adjusted already. Now it's about learning and trying to get better.” - Rappler.com