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JM de Guzman: Still fighting

By MYLENE MENDOZA-DAYRIT, The Philippine STAR Published Nov 01, 2022 5:00 am

Last June 16, Juan Miguel Gob “JM” de Guzman started a vlog on his YouTube channel. His first video was a candid introduction of himself and why he is doing it. He wants his fans to discover other aspects about him that remain unreported.

Since JM started acting at the age of six, he had an early taste of both rejection and acceptance, failures and successes. JM recalled that some TV commercials could have as many as 100 applicants, which was then shortlisted to the final two. It’s really heartbreaking for a young boy if he reaches that stage only to be sent home.

He learned to accept defeat and cherish the successes. He did at least 20 TV commercials as a child and took on the role of family breadwinner. While he studied at Lourdes School Quezon City since prep, he was subjected to constant jokes since he was almost a no-show in school due to all the projects he was signed up for.Although he was already part of Ang TV 2 when he was just 13 years old, he applied but was not accepted as part of Star Circle Batch 9 due to the fact that he was very young. That batch included Shaina Magdayao, Rafael Rosell, Coco Martin and Heart Evangelista. A veteran of rejections in his career, he took it in good stride and just continued his auditions for projects.

In 2005 he joined UP for Theater Arts, majoring in performance studies. That’s where he fell in love with acting, inspired by those who were really passionate about performing. He auditioned for indie films and supporting roles even if the pay was small since he admitted he learned a lot from those projects.

In 2006 he joined the UP Wrestling Club and became its president. He was a decorated athlete and won a silver medal for Quezon City during the Philippine Olympic Festival NCR qualifying round.

I’m still fighting. I still do what I love to do, which is acting. And now I’m vlogging.

His biggest break came in 2011 for the lead role in the drama series remake of Mula Sa Puso (From the Heart). He played the role of Gabriel Maglayon (originally played by Rico Yan). Then followed the 2011 drama series Angelito: Batang Ama (Young Father).

JM said that was also a milestone in his life because he started to live on his own. He made some wrong decisions being alone and coping by himself.

He said that he eventually learned to enjoy “the simplest of things.” He added: “The ones you thought would make you feel great and okay are not necessarily those you can depend on.”

JM entered a rehab facility and stayed there for 17 months.

The big comeback

JM is grateful that both the fans and ABS-CBN gave him a chance for a comeback through Araw Gabi (Day Night) in 2018; Pamilya Ko (My Family) in 2020; and Init Sa Magdamag (When Love Burns) in 2021. JM won the Best Actor in a Leading Role at the 2021 Asian Academy Creative Awards for his role as Peter Alvarez in this particular series. He also won the Best Drama Actor trophy in the 34th Philippine Movie Press Club (PMPC) Star Awards for TV for his role as Chico Mabunga in Pamilya Ko.

JM acknowledged that he is lucky that Filipinos are forgiving. “I’m still fighting. I still do what I love to do, which is acting. And now I’m vlogging,” he said with a sly smirk.

Fitness goals

JM was specific about his fitness goal. He wants to lose 10 pounds since he is preparing for a major role in a 2023 drama series Linlang (Deception), which is his first project with Dreamscape, directed by Jojo Saguin and Manny Palo. Other cast members are Kim Chiu, Paulo Avelino, Maricel Soriano, Raymond Bagatsing, Jaime Fabregas, and many others.

Award winning actor JM de Guzman (right) is preparing for a Dreamscape 2023 drama series Linlang (Deception) together with Kim Chiu and Paolo Avelino. He wants to lose10 pounds and enlisted the help of SEA Games gold medalist and MMA world champion Mark “Mugen” Striegl.

JM admitted that he is nervous but very excited at the same time to portray his role. “The material is so good. The story is so complex. The preparation will not be easy. I have to prepare mentally, emotionally and physically for my role. I have to intensely study the script,” he said during the media launch.

So it’s not surprising that he devoted two YouTube videos to give his fans a sneak peek of his training with Mark Mugen Striegl, an MMA champion, athlete and model.

The first session concentrated on bodyweight exercises to find out his fitness level. Mark and JM did a lot of stretches starting with the wide-legged forward bend and half side-splits. Then JM was asked to skip rope. He was good at doing it the regular way, which means a double bounce. Coach Mark said that the double bounce is the most tiring and it will be good to learn to jumping rope by bouncing from one side to the other. JM did walking lunges and burpees, among many other fitness routines.

Loosely translated, JM’s blog titled, “Balik Alindog,” means “bring sexy back.” JM and his good friend, actress Arci Muñoz, lost their workout momentum during the lockdown. Coach Mark used simple exercises to bring back to their athleticism.

For the second workout day vlog with coach Mark, JM invited his friend Arci Muñoz. Just like JM, Arci said that she has been out of condition for a year or more due to the pandemic. She even joked when coach Mark asked about her physical shape. “Circle,” she blurted out, followed by a shy “I am not in shape.”

Coach Mark asked them to join him for some stretching and then they were asked to jog on the treadmill for seven minutes as part of the warm-up. This was followed by another round of stretching and several incline, chest and overhead press exercises.

A five-station circuit was executed at 20 seconds each, which included battle ropes, ball slams, assault bike, jumping jacks, and burpees. They were supposed to do three rounds, but everyone settled for two.

Coach Mark believes that JM can get back his athletic form as a competitive wrestler — including those hidden abs.