In a recent feature posted on the South China Morning Post (SCMP), a Hong Kong English newspaper, journalist Karim Raslan dubs Coco Martin the “Filipino everyman.” What exactly does that mean? The article explained: “In person, he’s shorter than you’d expect. Disarming; he’s also trim, handsome (but not too handsome) with an empathetic smile and warm eyes. When you meet him, he’s immediately familiar. He could be the mechanic from down the road, the kindly hospital orderly, or the overseas foreign worker. Nondescript. Ordinary, but trustworthy.”
Before dissing the piece or rolling your eyes, the feature asserts that ordinary is okay. In fact, it can be absolutely beautiful. Because of being an “everyman,” people can relate to Coco at such an intimate level. In the popular series Ang Probinsyano, he plays an “incorruptible police officer—quickly [becoming] the cynosure of all Filipinos, reinforcing his popularity and huge commercial appeal.” For viewers and because of how powerful Coco’s “everyman” appeal can be, things “have paid off: Ang Probinsyano has so far run for six seasons and some 900 episodes.”
Adding to the popularity of the show, the timings make it more relevant, says the feature article: “At a time when the national mood is so steeped in violence and profanity, the Cardo/Coco combine stands out all the more.”
“With Ang Probinsyano, people gain hope. They believe there are people who will fight and take the initiative to improve our country,” the SCMP piece says, explaining the cult following of the show that has so far enjoyed a four-year run. And, Coco? He plays his part to deliver that hope. Aside from playing Cardo, Coco comes in as a creative consultant, and sometimes, he even helps direct parts of the show. He’s an “everyman” who uses his craft, his ordinariness, to instill extraordinary hope. If allowing a viewing public to hope a little is one of the superpowers of an “everyman,” then we would do well to be our own form of “everywoman,” too.
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