Sandino Martin admits profound admiration for Nora Aunor, high regard for ‘Himala’
MANILA, Philippines – If there is one actor of this generation whose star appears to be rising steadily and pointing in the right direction, it would have to be Sandino Martin.
Sandino did not make it to film and television merely because of his good looks or industry contacts. He lands project after project simply because he is brimming with unmistakeable talent, something he has developed as a theater arts student and showcased in many film, television and theater projects.
His face seems to be appearing in every screen and on every stage. Sandino’s recent film credits include the Dan Villegas-helmed Changing Partners, the musical Ang Larawan, Esprit de Corps, and Oro. He delivered an endearing performance playing the Arturo in Ballet Philippines’ Awitin Mo at Isasayaw Ko, apart from other theater productions. Sandino has also had his fair share of teleserye appearances in the last year or so.
He finds fulfilment in all 3 mediums, and is ever grateful for every role he is offered.
“I’ve always believed that as an actor, you’re an actor, period,” Sandino said in an interview with Rappler.
“I want to do everything. Ganid ako when it comes to work. I’m already looking at the next 10 to 15 years of my life, and I intend to stay in the business for a very, very long time.”
To achieve his goal of having a long-spanning career, Sandino fully immerses himself in every role and every project, believing that experience is the best teacher.
He explains, “For me, every project is training ground, from Awitin Mo...all of my past films, everything is training ground for me. Every time I have work, I discover something new about myself, so I try to do it again next time, and try to improve more.”
Only in his mid-twenties, the actor has embarked on what could be yet another career milestone. Sandino will be making a theater comeback in the upcoming re-staging of Himala: Isang Musikal.
The musical is based on Himala, an iconic, world-renowned 1982 drama film directed by the late Ishmael Bernal and written by Ricky Lee. A Pinoy cult classic, it tells the story of Elsa, an enigmatic faith healer who causes quite a stir in the sleepy town of Cupang. Awit Awardee Aicelle Santos will take on the iconic role that steered Nora Aunor to international fame.
Sandino claims he grew up watching the film and has seen it multiple times.
“I love Nora Aunor so much,” he shares. “I’m a fan. I grew up watching her movies. To be specific, Himala is my favorite.”
“Pag pinapanood ko si Nora, inaaral ko kung ano yung ginagawa niya, how subtle she is, how controlled. How does she attack her scene? And the content she was making during that time is very ‘out there.’ So every time pinapanood ko yung Himala I’m like, ‘oh ang galing ng ginawa niya!’ I appreciate Nora even more.”
(When I watch Nora, I study what she does, how subtle she is, how controlled. How does she attack her scene? And the content she was making during that time is very 'out there.' So everytime I watch Himala, I'm like 'oh she did tht so well!' I appreciate Nora even more.)
Sandino is pleased to be part of its second stage adaptation. He will be playing Pilo, a Barrio Cupang resident and ex-lover of Chayong, one of Elsa’s loyal friends.
He talks a bit about his role, saying, “I’m part of the skeptic group. I don’t believe Elsa, I think Elsa is a hoax. I’ve known her since we were kids and I don’t believe there’s a miracle.”
Sandino believes that more than being a work of fiction, the story of Elsa and of Barrio Cupang is a reflection of realities and concerns that Filipinos have been struggling with for generations. It also depicts the savior mentality that Filipinos tend to have.
“Ang Pilipino, mabilis tayong maniwala (We Filipinos believe so easily). We always see that there’s a savior in every problem, but there’s none. I’m not trying to be political here.”
“There’s no savior for this country. There’s no politician who can save us from hell. There’s no politician who can make our lives easier. There’s none. It’s within us. And Himala shows this,” he said.
Sandino expounds further, this time touching on how such a mindset has plagued Filipinos for a very long time.
“It’s in our tradition, in our culture. It’s embedded in our culture that we tend to believe easily. And what causes that? The lack of education, and lack of discovering possibilities.”
“We can always relate to the Cupang people. Akala nila si Elsa lang. Wala! Kailangan natin magtrabaho para sa sarili natin (They think it's only Elsa. No! We have to work for ourselves).”
The Sandbox Collective and 9 Works Theatrical present Himala: Isang Musikal, with book and lyrics by Ricky Lee, music and lyrics by Vincent de Jesus, and direction and set design by Ed Lacson, Jr. The play will run at the Power MAC Center Spotlight in Circuit Makati from February 10 to March 4. – Rappler.com
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