Joseph Bitangcol strips his clothes and turns homosexual
Career Overview of the Kapampangan teen star from Sta. Rita
On June 15, 1991, lahar buried a great deal of Central Luzon, especially Pampanga where the volcanic titan Mt. Pinatubo lies beside it, along with the rest of the Zambales mountain range. Lots of properties were destroyed, causing Kapampangan families to flee for their lives and make a choice between returning to their ash-slammed homeland after the catastrophe and finding residence somewhere else.
Years ago, I participated as one of the production assistants of the TV show ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’. While Joross Gamboa was the lead actor of the episode, I was delighted to hear that a Kapampangan teen star was also in the cast: Joseph Bitangcol.
Joseph Mabalay Bitangcol is one of the top ten finalists of the ABS-CBN’s reality hit Star Circle Quest years ago. While many of the young Star Circle Questors freely admit that they entered the contest with the hope of eventually being able to help their families, compared to most, Bitangcol’s story stands out as one of the hardest struggles in the group.
Hailing from Sta. Rita, Pampanga, Joseph never really planned to enter show business, but the Mt. Pinatubo explosion changed his life forever. Fleeing from Pampanga and Pinatubo's wrath in a tricycle driven by their father, the Bitangcol family landed in Pasig with nothing but what they had in their tricycle.
While living his post-eruption life in the Metro, he joined in ABS-CBN's acting workshops, where he developed his performing skills and took further interest in acting. For a time, he became one of ABS-CBN's valued teen stars and was also linked with fellow Questor Sandara Park, who has abandoned the country and went to seek for stardom in her homeland Korea.
When I encountered Joseph face to face at the set of ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya,’ I waited for the right time to approach him and throw some questions. Both he and I were Kapampangan, and I was certain that that would be enough to establish some connection between the two of us. After shooting a certain scene which was sort of distant from the waiting area of actors, I was given the task by the Assistant Director of walking Joseph back to the waiting area.
While walking, I wasn't the one who started conversation. Probably to break the ice, he friendlily asked me what my business was in the production. After knowing that I was just there as an unpaid volunteer production assistant for the sake of practical learning, I segued into telling him my plans of devoting my filmmaking career to stuff with Kapampangan content. From then on, we began talking casually in our good old Amanung Sisuan, Kapampangan.
He speaks the language very well, in spite of not living anymore in Sta. Rita. He also was delighted to hear that I was making Kapampangan productions. By that, I hope he means he could be tapped one day to participate in our activities where his skill would be of definitely great use – being a fairly talented and good-looking actor (looks like an actor in one of those Chinovelas or J-Doramas), an above average hip hop dancer, and, most importantly, a fluent Kapampangan speaker.
Actually, he had this statement which made my eyebrows secretly raise. He told me that the Pinatubo eruption was like a blessing in disguise, for if it did not happen, he couldn't have been the star that he is now.
In my head, I was asking: “How could you consider something tragic – families blown away from their motherland, infrastructure and farms swallowed by lahar, and provincial economy restarted from scratch – a blessing?”
Yes, he became a star because of that, but should you think only of yourself? However, I understand his train of thought. If I became rich myself after the lahar, I would be considering the catastrophe an intervention of my personal fairy mother. But looking at the lives lost, I, too, would be thinking, “In return, I have to help them rise from the volcanic ashes.”
Joseph, judging from our short encounter in the set of a TV show, honestly seems to be a nice, humble guy. I'm sure if tapped by his kabalen to help out in a cause devoted to the re-fortification of his homeland, he would definitely say Wa, sige! (after making it through the manager, of course.)
It seems like a pattern for Kapampangan teen stars who are products of reality searches. Film enthusiasts will remember the sexy debut of Tyron Perez, a Kapampangan teen star from Tarlac, through Mel Chionglo’s “Twilight Dancers.” More projects were seen to come to Perez after the film where he flaunted his flesh and performed a torrid kissing scene with William Martinez. Sadly, he disappeared from showbiz after that.
Joseph Bitangcol this time takes the same route. In the rising popularity of gay-themed films, both in the mainstream and indie category, Bitangcol was cast along with Polo Ravales in the film “Walang Kawala.” Bitangcol and Ravales fall in love with each other, kiss, make love, and all, and become victim of a bisexual sex slave syndicate. The film is Bitangcol’s sexy debut (and he had to be a homo), and is getting decent reviews from audiences. Directed by Joel Lamangan, the film also features a part of the story where Bitangcol resorted to being a macho dancer, kinda like Tyron.
Will Bitangcol suffer the same fate as Tyron Perez?