Actor-director David Chua has a lot in common with his idol, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno.
To start with, both hail from Manila, where they both grew up from humble beginnings.
In pursuit of their big dreams, both eventually found their calling in showbiz.
Beyond their innate charm and good looks, they’re humble and down-to-earth, as evinced by testimonies from friends and colleagues.
But more importantly, both are driven to be more purposeful in changing their worlds for the better.
“Si Mayor Isko has definitely gotten a headstart,” David remarks, referring to the Manila mayor’s remarkable makeover of the city since the start of his tenure.
“In the short span of time since I’ve met him, I can’t help but identify with him,” adds the Fil-Chinese-German actor/director who used to be part of ABS-CBN’s Star Magic roster of talents, and had appeared in over 30 of the network’s top-rating teleseryes.
“Napaka-simpleng tao. Mahilig sa pares or goto, marunong makisama. And he has this innate charm that makes you feel special when he talks to you. Hindi siya namimili ng tao. Pare-pareho lang trato niya sa lahat,” he remarks.
“Of course, his charm is something else. He knows how to engage people, and he does it in his own unique way. Yung street slang niya, di ba? Masang-masa yung dating.”
David’s hero worship becomes even more understandable since being a true-blue Manila boy himself, he’s personally seen the remarkable change in the city since the incumbent mayor took office.
From his vantage point, right at the heart of the densely-populated Tondo district, David can now proudly claim how cleaner and safer his turf had become.
He proudly huffs, “Laking Tondo ako and proud of it! It’s like a microcosm of Manila on its own. So many stories to tell from such a diverse cultural landscape. Unfortunately, back in the day, Tondo got a bad rep because of the crime and decadence.”
“But now, you can now walk around in Tondo at night and not be afraid of getting mugged,” asserts the former city bumpkin who still recalls the trauma of getting mugged at knifepoint and having his house robbed.
David adds, “When you see the amazing transformation of the city’s skyline, you can see how Isko never cut corners when it comes to caring for his constituents. At the height of the pandemic, he put up the Manila Covid-19 Field Hospital at the Quirino Grandstand.”
“There’s also the air-conditioned public schools equipped with iPads and other state-of-the-art learning facilities. And of course, the clean-up and makeover campaign is still ongoing.”
With election fever slowly building up, David can’t help but wonder why Mayor Isko doesn’t seem to be getting as much support for his presidential bid from his showbiz colleagues.
That’s what inspired David to mount his own awareness crusade, largely word-of-mouth, to get more people to know the real Isko beyond what they see or read about in the news.
He further expounds, “I think ‘aspirational’ is the best way to describe the way he has affected me. And the best part of it is that, it makes you look at yourself and realize your potential.”
“Of course, yung rags to riches story niya is really inspiring, right? But it makes us realize that even we can do something positive for others if we really want to. You don’t even have to be in politics to do that.”
Lest people misconstrue his ulterior motives, David clarifies, “No, I don’t have any ambitions of running for public office, but that doesn’t stop me from following through on what Isko had already done.”
Given enough leeway and support, David yearns to see the eventual resurgence and transformation of the Escolta district, once regarded as Manila’s premier shopping district, into a cultural hub.
“What Mayor Isko has done for Manila, I’m confident that he can do just as better for the entire country,” David says with great respect and reverence, from one Manila boy to another.