Movies & TV

Spider-Man's Jacob Batalon Thinks Filipino Celebrities are Really, Really Good-Looking

Filipino actor Jacob Batalon was recently in the motherland to talk about Spider-Man.

Hollywood actor Jacob Batalon was recently in the Philippines to promote the blockbuster Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) where he played the superhero's "man in the chair"/best friend Ned Leeds. Apart from being part of the monstrous franchise, Batalon is also the first actor of Filipino descent to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

Born and raised in Hawaii by Filipino parents, Jacob admitted that he cannot speak the native tongue but he does understand Tagalog and Ilocano. This is the second time he's in the country: "It's my second time but I was like four when I first came here. I definitely don't remember much and it definitely wasn't like this at all. I wish I was here longer."

At a visit to the GMA Network office, surrounded by press and local stars, on September 20, the 22-year-old actor felt overwhelmed by the reception: "I have to say everyone here is so lovely." He added: "I love you all so much...Filipinos are really a proud people and I'm very proud and love you all for being proud of me."

Photo by NOEL ORSAL.

To the local celebrities present, Batalon emphasized how important it is to remember that success isn't measured by Hollywood. "Hollywood is just really, you know, a buffed up thing that people think is success...If you are with people who are just as artistic and who believe in the same things as you that means you are successful already." He believes that the artist's work will speak for itself and get them to the right places.

Batalon himself was studying at the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts when he became part of the Spider-Man franchise. He auditioned blind for an "untitled Marvel project" and the entire process took four months. "It was a mix of emotions. I passed out in my bedroom. It was so crazy. It was a mix of emotions: relief, shock, and just happines. I was so relieved that I wasn't going to be homeless," he related when he received the much-awaited call. 

Photo by NOEL ORSAL.
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Jacob, who can play the piano and ukelele, studied music theory in Honolulu before pursuing a career in acting. He made the career pivot after his turn as Ned Leeds. "Everything just pushed me to make films. I still love making music, I still love writing music. But I really my life and my career is all based on film."

He then said with a laugh: "I guess really it's the fear of poverty. Yeah, just making sure that I'm not starving on the streets."

After questions from Kapuso talents Bianca Umali and Kim de Leon, Batalon interrupted the interviews with a poignant observation: "I noticed that famous people here are really good-looking. I am really enthralled right now."

"Can I just say that there's so many actors, models, and singers. This is amazing...What I'm saying is that Filipinos are so talented. Seriously," he added. "I feel like I'm not cool enough."

Photo by NOEL ORSAL.

Filipino Food

Batalon has already tried the infamous balut. "I tried that already." Filipinos in Hawaii apparently make the same delicacy. "It's so good. Some people can't take the fact that there's feathers in the egg sometimes. But I love that. And you drink the soup that's inside of that."

More than food, however, Batalon wants to visit the beaches, specifically "the place where you could go visit a hundred islands."

Future Projects

Jacob is now working on the romantic comedy Let It Snow. According to Hollywood publication Deadline, the story is set in a small town on Christmas Eve that is hit by a once-in-century snowstorm. As a result, several high school seniors discover unexpected opportunities as well as complications that test their friendships. 

He's also filming something next month in Vancouver, which he can't talked about yet. 

This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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