He is an outbreak of witticism in GMA 7’s hit show Manny Many Prizes.  He is also the man, along with Carmina Villaroel, who is employed in a different job every week in Day Off.  He is, in fact, an expert in his what he does.  Or is he?  Or maybe I just needed to know more about him.  Whatever.

You see, I was never a fan of Pekto until I got to sit with him one day inside the van before we headed off to Mandaluyong City for a PacquiaoONE PacquiaoWIN segment for GMA 7’s game show Manny Many Prizes.  I have always thought of him as a vulgar-bushed out ex junkie whose forthright depiction of a walking comedian orbits around psychosis and the denial of nourishment.  Behind the camera, he can hoot a very stinking joke and although funny, can still replicate a hyena who is about to call it a day from life and can definitely kill whoever is faint of heart. He is so loud he can cause a full head light to burst.  He is so loud that his human voice can, in fact, transform into that of a beast from outer space.  And it is just LOUUUUUUDDDDD !!!

Ang ingay niya! was all I can say the first time I met him, although deep down inside, I was, to some extent, amused, because not only did I feel a drop of urine in my underpants from suppressing my laughter after he snaps a joke but I also found a friend in him (although he is not my friend and perhaps, never will be) for some insane reason.  I guess if you are a part of my fan club (I have three members so far) you will know that I have always been akin to the darker realm of things, even in humour.  So, despite the poles-apart disparity, Pekto and I are actually of the same kind.  Plus, we can both sing rather well.

Pekto, or Michael Nacua in real life, came from years of production work before kicking off as a full-blown clown back in the 90s.  He knew the network business so well that admittedly, he said that he can actually run an entire network on his own, if given the chance.  I was talking to a man who knew who he was and has worked hard to be where he is right now.  He has been in the business for more than ten years now.

“I began as a props man back in the 90s.  It was all hard work,” he began, surprisingly restrained from his usual megaton oomph, “And then climbed my way up until I became an art director.  Una pa lang, as an art director,nakuha ko na ang gusto ko kasi passion ko talaga mag-drawing.  I guess it paved way for all the things that are happening now.  I must agree with what I have heard that if you are going to be in the limelight, you need to know what’s happening behind the camera because with that, a broader understanding of the business will come forth.  It will make you more considerate of the others who are late for call time and understand why tumours are normal diseases for showbiz people!” We both broke into laughter.

“What is the brainchild of your comedy?”  I asked.

“Simple.  You just have to be natural in all accounts.  Even back as a production man and even as far as a marine engineering student as a young man, I have always been called as a natural comedian.  I guess namana ko ito sa tatay ko sa Cebu.  My friends and colleagues would always tell me, perhaps out of pity, that I can actually persuade them to jump off ship with my wisecracks.  I should perhaps thank my genes for being a good looking man, “ I winced in torture hearing this, “but I guess I am also lucky that I can be funny even without trying.

I am most fortunate to have worked with the finest comedians in the business.  One of my mentors, the great Joey de Leon, has served on my plate not only the technical insight of the craft but also taught me the value of commitment to the craft.  With Joey, there should be no lates, no take twos and everyone are expected to be pros,” Pekto said in awe of the comedy icon.

“What did Joey de Leon teach you that still stick with you to this day?”

Ang natutunan ko kay tito Joey bilang artista at bilang tao, is to be professional.  Even if scripts are available, one must learn the importance of style and focus.  Timing is very crucial and the delivery of dialogues must be clear at dapat sakto sa timing.  In comedy there should be repetitions otherwise a certain joke will sound tired and obsolete.  I also learned from him that there are no take twos because punch lines should look and sound raw otherwise it becomes monotonous.  Everyone one knows that monotony is the antagonist and if you chose to side with the antagonist, eh di magpatawa ka na lang sa salamin.  At least, sarili mo lang ang audience mo!”

Pekto’s big break on television began with Tropang Trumpo, a classic gag show back in the 90s that propelled this little man’s career into full swing.  There were also the classic shows Be Buti Nga and Wow Mali! to his belt that made his natural comedic skills into a household occurrence.  It was, in fact, Janno Gibbs, who was responsible for his showbiz name:  Pekto.  It came from a Jackie Chan – Chris Tucker movie line that gave birth to a Janno-Pekto comedic partnership in Be Buti Nga.  From then on, Mike Nacua became recognized in television as Pekto.  He calls Janno Gibbs to be one of his greatest friends in showbizness.

“Would you underline drama in your showcase of talent?  Would you do more dramatic roles perhaps?”

“Drama is something that I do.  In fact, I have done many Magpakailanman episodes in GMA 7 but comedy is really my first love.  Personally, I would do more comedy than drama because I am naturally a person with a happy outlook in life.  The downside of doing drama is the fact na mabigat sa dibdib pagkatapos mong gawin.  Mahirap karirin ang drama.  One thing more, kapag nag da-drama kasi ako, nakakatawa pa din ang dating ko!” he messed about, with both of us laughing with his joke, “So yes, I would do drama but I always prefer to make people laugh.  I mean, it is the real me anyhow, where else could I go?” he quipped noting that in his life, his idols were comedy superstars Chiquito, Dolphy, Babalu and Panchito.

“Any advice for young comedians out there who tries to get it on in the industry?”

“Pursue your dreams.  Be positive all the time but always remember this:  be 100% natural, learn by heart the importance of your own voice and your own slapstick timing.  At utang ng loob linawin ang pagsasalita!  There is nothing more repulsive for a comedian than NOT being understood!”

And then my traditional question, “How would Pekto want to be remembered after he is long gone?”

He smiled, gave me a serious look and said, “I want to be remembered as a comedian who passed by the region of showbizness and made people happy even for a time.  I also want to be remembered a great support to everyone that I have worked with.  Basta, matandaan lang ako na, alam mo yun, na nandun lang.”

After the interview, I strangled him to his early death.

Of course I am joking.

The Writer with seasoned comedian Pekto

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