As a singer, you can’t question the talent of Erik Santos. But the singer—better known as local music’s Prince of Pop—felt like a newbie all over again when he starred in an episode of the long-running drama anthology Maalaala Mo Kaya (MMK), shown only on The Filipino Channel (TFC).
In the episode directed by Mae Cruz and shot on location in Macau (where the story takes place), Erik plays an OFW working as a singer. When his contract ends—and because he has a family to support back home—Erik’s character is forced to take on a job as a housekeeper.
It was Erik’s first time to try acting after seven years in showbiz.
According to Erik, the MMK team had long been offering him scripts. “Matagal na, actually, but I didn’t accept the other offers before kasi feeling ko, hindi pa ako handa,” he says. “Acting is not my comfort zone.”
The only reason he said ‘yes’ this time around was because he was moved by the story. During the taping—which took three consecutive days, Erik hardly slept.
He only slept for about two hours at a time, investing the hours into really pouring himself into the character. He also had a difficult time doing the emotionally-intense scenes, most of which were shot on the last day. “Sobrang hirap talaga kasi iba’t ibang emotions ang kailangan i-deliver.”
Erik had to rely heavily on his director Mae Cruz. He is grateful that she guided him through the taping, breaking each scene down sequence by sequence, spelling it out to him so he would know exactly what to do. Being a newbie when it comes to acting, she gave him lots of advice. One of the things Direk Mae told him was not to lose that sense of being raw and natural. In this sense, being an acting newbie helped because Erik’s acting was not studied. He was going on pure instinct, and that went over well with his director.
“Direk Mae really encouraged me,” says a grateful Erik. “Kaya kahit mahirap, na-enjoy ko talaga yung ginawa ko.”
Now that he’s experienced what it’s like to act, Erik says he might want to try more. “Oo naman, given the right project.”
Erik, who’s also working on a new album that will be out early next year, welcomes these breaks being given to him. He likes challenging himself in ways other than singing.
On why he has remained loyal to his home network despite offers to pirate him, Erik (who has been with ABS-CBN since he won in the singing contest Star in a Million) has this to say: “It feels good to be a Kapamilya.”