“Why so pogi?” A question so straightforward, we — men of little self-esteem — think it’s rhetorical. Or sarcasm. Definitely, not curiosity. Wait, are you saying it’s a compliment? Is that validation…of our looks? Woah, srsly? Last time we checked, only our nanays said we’re the pinakagwapo sa mundo. Men have been so used to thinking that beauty and the acceptance thereof is hindi nakakalalaki. That being a ‘man’ means you can be attractive but shouldn’t acknowledge it. You can be cute but being #GGSS about it will be looked down upon. So if your question is “Why so pogi?” and you only get raised eyebrows in return, don’t be surprised. We’re just asking: can we really?
If you ask leading man Jason Abalos what he thinks, GG ang pinaglumaang concept of masculinity na ‘yan. Because as a man who’s confident about who he is and what he can offer, easy lang siya.
“Hindi naman tayo pare-parehas ng tastes sa anumang nakikita natin. May maganda sa ‘kin, sa ‘yo pwede na.”
Beauty for Jason Abalos isn’t one-sided. He thinks everyone’s beautiful. It’s a matter of perspective and preference. And, yes mamser, he doesn’t believe that beauty has gender. Saying we’re either gwapo or maganda — obviously, gender-specific adjectives — shouldn’t matter as long as there’s the idea that someone’s thinking we look good.
“Personally, di ako tumitingin sa kung ano ‘yung look meron ang tao eh. Oo, merong ngang mga pinanganak na…beautiful. Ako naman, it’s more beautiful if you accept your flaws,” he says.
Kapogian is Skin Deep
“Lahat tayo tatanda, lahat tayo mawawalan ng kagandahan.”
No matter how beautiful we are, there’s no denying we’d eventually shrivel up. But like good vino, people who’ve shown nothing but good intentions age pretty well. Notice how these people are usually the happy and GV ones? Sana all! Kaya chill lang dapat tayo always mga par.
“When you’re 30, lalabas na wrinkles mo, magsa-sag na mukha mo, mawawala na ‘yung ganda mo,” he exclaims. “Pagsamantala lang ang looks pero dapat talaga sa loob ‘yung kagandahan. Kung paano makitungo sa kapwa. Everything’s lighter kahit older,” he adds.
“Paminsan-minsan kailangan makaka-relax ka. So in any way na mapapamper ang sarili, gawin niyo.”
Jason admits the last time he splurged on self-care was December. He remembers getting a facial and a haircut between tapings because those were the only times he had. The thing about what society thinks when it comes to men being vulnerable is lame. Although, it’s rooted in the construct that we’re the providers. Kasi tayo ‘yung pumapasan ng mundo, we keep working to feed the family. Ika nga: No work, no play.
“We deserve na ma-pamper mga sarili once, twice a month. Kung may oras, go,” he insists. “Pero kailangan talaga malinis ang mukha bago matulog. Karamihan, kapag sobrang pagod pagdating sa bahay, hihiga na agad. So kailangan nalilinis kasi naiipon ang dumi at alikabok sa labas,” he adds.
A Pogi’s Way of Life
“Normally, kapag may mga shoots, kailangan ng makeup kasi may spots tayo sa mukha na need itago.”
Mahirap maging pogi. What more if your work needs you to maintain a certain look? As a man who’s been in showbiz long enough, Jason’s used to all the highs and lows. He’s worked with so many people that diversity doesn’t faze him anymore. It makes you think, what if everyone gets immersed in certain kinds of environments? Would they understand that being different is normal, too?
“Pwede naman mag-makeup ang lalaki. ‘Di naman ‘yan ngayon lang ginagawa, matagal na. Karamihan may sariling YouTube channel pa, may mga Instagram posts. Syempre may mga taong gusto pag nag-post, maganda ‘yung ipapakita sa followers nila. Walang problema ‘yun. Hayaan natin kung saan sila masaya at nageexcell,” he knowingly says.
Pogi and Proud
“Nung bata ako, talagang maliit lang ako. Naka-graduate ako ng high school siguro mga five flat ako. Tumangkad lang ako nung college na ako.”
When Jason was starting out, he knew what he was up against. But that didn’t stop him from proving himself. He didn’t have to change who he was to stand out. Not everyone’s the same and lodi Jason has proven that we can be pogi just by being true and honest.
“Yung paging probinsyano at mahiyain ko, eventually, nawala nung nag-showbiz ako. Syempre mga taga probinsya, pumunta ng Manila, may mga slang ng Manilenyo,” he opens up. “Hindi ako naka-adapt masyado. Pero minsan, ‘di mo naman kailangan mag-adapt. Minsan, matuto kang ‘eto talaga ako’, dalhin mo ako kahit saang lugar, ‘ganito pa rin ako’,” he exclaims.
“Sa social media, may mga nakikita tayo na ‘mas’ kesa sa atin. Hindi maiiwasang ‘di mag compare.”
It’s true that social media opened society’s eyes. To a point that it’s too much. If what you see gets to you, you’d break. Little do people know, men also feel insecure. The things we see online can be daunting especially if it’s palamangan ng achievements, gifts sa mga jowa, magka-jowa man lang, mga travel goals. Unexpected rise of standards have been normalized that those who are left out are stuck in a crisis.
“Kailangan mong tanggapin kung ano ka, kung anong meron ka, kung mga ‘di maganda sa ‘yo na nakikita ng iba, diyan nagsisimula yung dina-down mo na sarili mo. Parang wala nang gusto o tumanggap sa ‘yo. Kaya importante mahalin ang sarili,” he says.
We don’t need to be in showbiz or to be anyone else in particular to say we’re pogi. To be really pogi, we’d have to know what we’re capable of. It’s hard if the society we live in could judge us for feeling good. But it’s even harder to know that thinking about ourselves can be considered inappropriate. And to what standards? Double standards.
Kaya Jason Abalos, maraming salamat. For making us feel we’re pogi, too. It’s nice to know that being who we are can also take us places. Just like you, we dream to find the success you’re experiencing, the love you’re slowly rushing into (wink), and the angas you possess.
So if you ask us “Why so pogi” again, expect a more straightforward answer. Aside from the courteous thanks, we hope to reply “pogi kami kasi pinaghirapan namin ‘to”. Which is true if you look at it. To be poging tunay in a crowd of good-looking men, we still deserve the good things.
Why so pogi? Why not?
PRODUCER | Lord Harvey Monteroso
PHOTOGRAPHY | Raphael Yu
Film by Sean Michael Amador
STYLIST | Chino Brownlee Aguilar
MAKEUP ARTIST | Guillano Valenzuela
HAIRSTYLIST | Arthur Tolentino
Shot in Marqed Salon