The star is thinking global for Filipino content, especially in the era of streaming platforms and the like. "You also want to show them our heart, our core as Filipinos. So you don't want to go Western. You want to show them your flavor. You want to show them what you're made of, then in the Filipino way."
Times are changing and Pascual is changing right with it. As an artist, this age could mean more possibilities. Performers aren't just boxed into theatrical releases anymore, as well. You can't just limit yourself to one platform. In his view, you have to find a way to not just survive but flourish. Sure, with the excess of content we have right now, it can be quite a challenge for the Filipino product to penetrate the market. But Pascual senses that content creators are slowly regaining the upper hand.
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"Even when I was in the States, I would audition. I would save up so I could do workshops and I would audition again. I could always feel in my heart that there was something else for me."
"You have a lot of streaming platforms, buying, bidding for your films, for your series. And I would say it's high time for us to pitch concepts that are out of this world. I mean, watching all these films from different countries makes you realize that, 'Dude, we can do better films,'" he notes. "We can come up with films that we can showcase and champion on the global scene and make them see and realize that Philippine cinema is thriving. If you have a bigger perspective and if you want to be able to just live out your vision, then think big."
It's time for calculated risks is one way of putting it. This is something Pascual has learned from the businesses he owns, like the care facility Big Hearts Adult Daycare & Assisted Living, Inc. in Parañaque or the boutique resort, Isla Amara, in El Nido, Palawan, which is a joint venture with Kathryn Bernardo. Throughout his career, he's learned how to handle his money. He's always been a frugal man.
"I've always been a practical person and I've always known from the get-go that this (show business) is not forever. You're not going to be in your prime forever. You're not going to get the same pay forever," he states. "So as you're climbing up the ladder, you should save something and make sure that you are able to diversify and use your money for something else that can help you grow as a businessman."
Even if he can't be as hands-on as he wants to be with them at times, he has found like-minded investors who share his vision. "I always know what I'm getting myself into. With the resort thing, I've always wanted that because I'm a beach lover. I love the beach, so it's always been a dream to own a hotel, to own a resort. That just fell in my lap." The daycare, on the other hand, was a project with his sister and brother-in-law that originated in the United States.
Moving back to U.S. has always been on the back of Pascual's mind since his early 20s. "I didn't know I was cut out for it (as an actor in the Philippines)," he says of his rough start in show business. "I didn't know I was going to last this long." He'd move to the U.S. for a while, taking odd jobs like working security at the Oscars. Imagine that. His mother told him to try out life in the States for five years, at the very least, seeing as though his career wasn't panning out the way he initially hoped it would. "I tried it out many times and never broke out."
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He further explained: "Even when I was in the States, I would audition. I would save up so I could do workshops and I would audition again. I could always feel in my heart that there was something else for me. So I quit my job in the States and moved back here." Pascual also told his mom that he would go back here and there to keep his citizenship.
And the rest is history. "It just dragged on from five to 10, 20, now 30 years. I guess I've always had so much respect for my craft (acting). And I see so much growth in this business. I've seen myself lose my temper. I've seen myself be victorious. I've seen myself feel defeated. But it's all part of it. It's all part of having to get back up and rise again and be better."
Believe it or not, Pascual was thinking about leaving the Philippines around the time of the film Starting Over Again's release in 2014. The movie was such a big hit that he just had to stay, as well.
"I would never consider myself as an icon. If you put that in your head, that's the end of you."
Almost three decades in, it's hard not to think about the cultural cache Pascual has. You can't teach years, much like you can't teach perseverance. On most days, we'll still find Pascual on the set, whether it's as a producer, actor, or consultant. He considers it home.
The man has made the most out of his chances, the same way he's made the most out of the initial swoon factor and becoming one clever performer. This is a Pascual who's seen the hills and valleys of the industry and has come out of it as one of Filipino show business's most revered stars, one that transcends eras and platforms and monickers and hunks and starlets.