Diwata recalls first shooting day for 'FPJ's Batang Quiapo' with Coco Martin: 'Muntik na nga niya ako mahalikan eh'

At a glance

  • He insisted that he never does drugs. "Kung nag drugs ako hindi ko mapapalago ang tindahan ko."

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Diwata, whose rags-to-riches story went viral, vividly remembers his nerve-wracking first shooting day for the beloved Kapamilya series' FPJ's Batang Quiapo', where he shared the screen with the renowned actor Coco Martin.

During an interview for Toni Talks with Toni Gonzaga on YouTube, Diwata (real name Deo Balbuena) candidly shared his experience of feeling extremely nervous on the first shooting day. This vulnerability adds a human touch to his journey.

"Nakakakaba kasi hindi ko naman alam yang mga taping na yan. Pero kasi opportunity yan. Minsan lang yan kaya huwag mo ng pakawalan. 

"Tinuturuan ako ni Coco. Muntik na nga niya ako mahalikan eh. Noong una kasi kinakabahan ako. Tapos yung script ko hindi ko mabitawan. Kasi si Ivana (Alawi) at Coco ang kasama ko so kinakabahan ako. 

"Sabi ko tense ako kasi kayo ang kaharap ko. Tapos sabi niya, 'Sige na nga hahalikan na nga lang kita.' Pero hindi ako pumayag. Kaya sinabi ko muntik na ako mahalikan ni Coco. Pero ang bait ni Coco," Diwata said, as Toni laughed.

From tulay queen to beauty queen

Diwata, 42, recalled sleeping under the bridge as a struggling businessman. In 2016, Diwata became involved in a physical altercation with his friends due to a misunderstanding, which later became viral. After moving past their differences, they were able to reconcile and become friends once more.

He insisted that he never does drugs. "Kung nag drugs ako hindi ko mapapalago ang tindahan ko."

Born and raised to farmer parents in Samar, Diwata said he is the youngest of four siblings. He reconciled with his father before his death after his father's initial disapproval of his sexual orientation when he was younger.

Diwata, whose name means fairy in Filipino, said he got his name from joining beauty pageants. When he was a teenager, he made the decision to travel to Manila. He and his cousins sold fruits in Pasig.

He later decided to work as a houseboy for five years. At the same time, he made ends meet by selling coffee, cigarettes, and snacks at a construction site. A friend who is a chief cook encouraged him to sell food seriously.

"Tapos maraming naghahanap ng beef pares (beef stewed in sweet soy sauce). Tinanong ko yung kaibigan ko kung marunong siya gumawa ng pares. Marunong naman daw.

"But my friend is old enough to help me. Tinandaan ko yung mga itinuro niya pagdating sa pagluluto. Then I called my food stall Diwata Pares Overload. For P100, you can also have unli rice and softdrinks," Diwata said.

And the rest is history. Check out this full interview on Diwata: