By every indication, this conversation revisited included, Daniel Padilla mans up and sheds an image of fun and frills, clearly cozying up to the prospect of being this generation’s supreme.
As if witnessing a drawling transition of time, we could tell that the sky was about to smile at us. A wash of warm yellow slowly bathed the lush and verdant blanket of nature that dominated this expanse of breathtaking Iceland, seemingly pulling off the almost dreary overcast of cool that presided just a few minutes into our conversation when he first landed in Iceland with Kathryn Bernardo in 2016. Fogged breaths signifying the beginning and end of every sentence were reduced to flimsy precipitates as the sun finally came out in full force.
Despite bogged down by the chill that permeated the air, we could see a smile grow on his eyes (from behind his pair of Ray-bans, no less) as the glow of the sun touched his face—clearly, a memory taking form in his head.
“Nung pinanganak ko si Daniel, nakita ko na ‘yun. Naramdaman ‘yun,” reminisces Karla Estrada during her sit-down interview with Boy Abunda a few years back. “Doon sa room ko, tumama ‘yung sunlight sa mukha ni DJ at kahit kanino sinasabi kong, ‘Oh, meron akong superstar in the making.’”
Daniel Padilla isn’t too fond of the cold, we were told and obviously, have come to realize. While it certainly isn’t a temperature he is normally acclimated to, we can only assume that the first catch of light on his face as a newborn has something to do with it. It is a story that his mother never tires telling people, because at that very moment she was right, a star was born.
Related: IN THIS HEARTBREAKING BEN&BEN HIT, KATHRYN BERNARDO AND DANIEL PADILLA ARE AT THEIR MOST GROWN UP YET
Revisiting A Conversation In Time
If there is one thing that can be said about Daniel Padilla is that he is almost always grateful. His sentences are not only peppered with signs of respect but they are bookended with endless amount of thank you. “Ako ah, never ko naisip na parang, alam mo ‘yun, ‘Tara, punta tayong Iceland.’ ‘Di mo naman masasabi ‘yun eh,” he says, still in disbelief that he is halfway across the world in what could only be best described as heaven on Earth. “‘Yung Iceland parang, ‘yun ‘yung lugar na hindi ko na-imagine na pupuntahan ko and then biglang andito na ako. Sobrang ang ganda ng lugar na ‘to. Iba ‘yung binigay nung lugar sa akin.” He takes a moment to survey the sprawling scene, breathes deep before quickly breaking out of his reverie. “Kaya ako nga, ilang beses akong nagpapasalamat sa inyo diba? Nakarating ako dito, mag-shoot tayo sa Iceland.”
In his tenure in the tempestuous industry that is show business, he has not only learned the ropes of the work he now calls his craft, but he has also subsequently adapted and evolved along the way. “Siguro natuto akong magpasalamat sa kung anong meron ako. Kelangan mong magpasalamat kung anong nangyayari sa’yo, Kung ano man ‘yan, magpasalamat ka na nagagawa mo ‘to dahil sa trabahong ‘to, kahit ano mang kapalit nun,” he shares.
Gratitude goes a long way, especially in a world that is riddled with egos, tempers, and unusual working conditions. “Tayo lahat nagrereklamo,” he relates. “Totoo ‘yan, nagagalit tayo, nauubusan tayo ng pasensiya. Minsan may nagagawa mo lang dahil pagod ka. Pero ‘yung minahal ko ‘yung sa trabaho ko ‘yung…grabe, andami mong matututunan. ‘Yung nakikita mo ‘yung taong masaya sa gingagwa mo, alam mo ‘yun? Nagiging ikaw ka lang, kunyare ako lang, nagpapakatotoo yet may napapasaya pa rin ako.” At the end of the day, he is aware of what his work and its effects are far greater than his singular self. It domes over an adoring public that hinge on every little thing he and reel and real life partner Kathryn Bernardo does on an almost daily basis.
“I think ‘yung ginawa namin ni Kathryn is nakinig kami. You have to listen and understand,” he shares of what he thinks makes him and Kathryn a formidable and impenetrable pair. “Makinig ka sa mga boss mo, sa magulang mo and sa fans mo kung anong gusto nila. And kailangan ibigay mo ang 100% para sa kanila, hindi pwedeng parang bina-block mo ‘yun,” he continues. “Deserve nila ‘yun eh.”
His Story Told
In the span of his career, much has been spent with Kathryn Bernardo. A stroke of sheer luck, their unforeseen pairing years back has spawned into a partnership that is not only lucrative and effective but at the bottom line, solid as can be.
“I think sinwerte lang talaga ako na si Kathryn ang naka–love team ko. Talagang naging swak kami, hindi namin kailangan magpanggap alam mo ‘yun?” he says. “Hindi namin kailangang i-arte na gusto namin ang isa’t-isa, hindi namin kailangan mag-holding hands sa harap ng tao para lang sila kiligin. And sobrang gift sa akin ng Diyos na ‘yung mga KathNiels…Wala, nagmamahalan kami ni Kathryn, masaya sila. Ginagawa namin ni Kathryn ‘yung mga kailangan naming gawin, ginagawa naming 100% ‘yun and siguro ‘yun lang, pinaka-lesson is ‘yung pagmamahal—pagmamahal sa trabaho, sa tao, ‘yung genuine. Hindi ka pwedeng magpanggap.” What they have—the sucker punch of a gut feel, the undeniable chemistry, the partnership that leaves us constantly weak in the knees—is nothing but natural. It isn’t forced upon or feigned just to elicit a reaction from a devoted fandom.
Clearly, whatever they share is real. “Hindi siya ‘yung parang napilit,” Daniel says. “Si Kathryn ang pinaka mapagkakatiwalaan ko,” he opens up. “I’m very lucky to have Kathryn.”
Daniel Padilla On Growing Up
When talking about Daniel Padilla, one can’t help but tackle the concept of progression, something that is central to the philosophy of the young man. While he understandably keeps his private life to himself and those near and dear to him, this character development is parallel to that of his professional career. For viewers, it was in Barcelona: A Love Story Untold that saw the pair grow up and tackle themes that are more mature than their usual light-hearted and teenybopper fare. “Sobrang galing kasi lahat perfect timing,” he says of his projects with Kathryn, this film especially. “Lahat ‘yun talaga bago gawin nandiyan ‘yung guidance para sa aming dalawa. Doon talaga kami nagpapasalamat kasi hindi kami pinapabayaan. Ang galing kasi ang ganda ng kinalabasan.”
But more than it being the right time to take a step into the more mature direction, he comes back to an important nugget of wisdom his mother constantly tells him, one that also acts like a compass to his thriving career. Since then, Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo have shared the screen in Can’t Help Falling In Love and The Hows Of Us, as well as of in television series such as La Luna Sangre and The House Arrest Of Us. Thematically, they were at their most grown up onscreen in the music video of Sa Susunod Na Habang Buhay by Ben&Ben.
“Ang laging sinasabi ng ermat ko, ‘Anak, ‘wag mong lalagpasan ‘yung mga fans mo. Dapat kasabay mo sila tumanda.’ And ‘yun ‘yung ginagawa namin. Habang nagma-mature sila, nagma-mature kami. Talagang sabay kami, hindi naming naiiwanan or hindi kami napag-iiwanan.”
It is after all a journey shared.
All Hail Daniel Padilla, The Supreme
There is obviously more to Daniel Padilla than this almost chilling sense of cool and suave that overrides his persona. The star that he has become doesn’t at all consume him, which is leaps and bounds from his younger and scrawny self that was almost too shy to even try the industry out. “Sa totoo, sobrang mahiyain siya,” his mother recounts. “Sobrang batang mahiyain, pero nung nakita niyang na-appreciate siya, dun siya nagkaroon ng motivation.” Today, he is confident, self-aware and as the moment stands, at his best self. But as anyone treading along the cragged journey of life, there will always be more than just the singular path taken.
While a lot of his dreams have become tangible realities, he still anchors on so much more hopes. “Gusto kong maging producer ng record label, ng music, ng movies…gusto ko magkaroon ng car shop,” he shares. “Gusto ko ring ibalik ‘yung rock ‘n roll sa Pilipinas kasi medyo luma-lie low [ito]. I mean, malakas pa rin ‘yung underground natin pero gusto ko silang i-mainstream dahil ‘yung music ng rock ‘n roll is iba rin. Gusto ko ibalik ‘yung 80s.”
Music, movies and cars aside, Daniel Padilla reveals something that is both heartwarming and well, kilig-inducing. “Gusto ko magka pamilya,” he says, a wry smile shifting his face from almost stoic to mischievous. A roar of laughter erupts from the background, prompting one of us to ask, “How many kids do you want?”
“Kahit ilan. The more the merrier,” he says, bursting into laughter himself. “Hindi kasi sa akin, by thirty gusto ko alam mo ‘yun, steady na ‘yung buhay ko and may pamilya na ako.” This isn’t the least surprising, especially since the young man has been vocal about wanting to have his own family in several interviews.
At this stage of his life, he can afford a little more time for the fun and frill that the world can offer. But Daniel Padilla has other plans. With an eagle-eye precision into his crystal-clear future, he knows what he wants and will work his way toward that distant horizon. It is forthright but it is also very admirable. This is clearly every indication that Daniel Padilla has shed his teen-king self and assumed his prospect of being a supreme of his generation.
Images and interview courtesy MEGA Man November 2016