EXCLUSIVE: Angel Locsin Shares Everything 2020 Has Taught Her, So Far
It's alright to have moments of weakness and to long for changes, the actress, volunteer, and activist says
It's okay not to be okay.
It's not only one of the recent K-Dramas that Metro.Style cover girl Angel Locsin has binge-watched (she also watched Goblin and Mr. Sunshine, by the way) and finished in recent weeks, but an important lesson she's learned and wishes to share with everyone and anyone who needs to hear it these days.
Look around, the actress says. It's impossible to not be upset by what you see and hear about day in and day out. There's a pandemic that's not going away any time soon, mass job losses, political scandals left and right, social injustice, and economic instability. And if those things make you sad, allow yourself to feel sad. Say no to fake positivity!
"...Gusto ko ipaalam na okay lang hindi maging okay. Okay lang 'yan. Kung gusto mong matulog buong araw sa kama, okay lang 'yan. Minsan lang 'yan kasi ngayon ka lang naman bibigyan ng luxury na matulog ka buong araw," she says.
Figure out how to deal with the ongoing health crisis and its consequences on your own terms. If other people seem to have their lives figured out at this point, good for them. But when it comes to yourself? No pressure.
Treat this time as a deeply personal and transformative experience. You do you, and everything will fall into place. It's simple enough, but it's surprising how many people have forgotten the magic of being true to themselves.
It worked for Angel, after all, and she feels that it's necessary to remind people of the age-old lesson.
In an exclusive interview, the celeb-slash-social volunteer and activist shares newfound words of wisdom gained over seven months of lockdown, COVID-19 relief initiatives, and re-assessing priorities and life goals below:
On finding the strength to keep moving forward in spite of massive road blocks ahead
It's a cliché, she warns, but clichés are clichés for a reason! It's because they hold true, no matter what. And for Angel, the immaterial and intangible have proven more important to her these days—as they should have, even before the pandemic. She says when asked about where she draws strength, "Hindi ko alam paano sasagutin. Ang cliché pag sabihin kong family, friends, pero 'yun talaga 'yung totoo eh. 'Pag 'yung mga tao na kilala ka talaga at may malasakit sa'yo at sinusuportahan kung ano 'yung ginagawa mo, 'yun 'yung nakaka-inspire talaga. And I think 'pag na-appreciate kasi ng mga tao 'yung ginagawa mo, it motivates you."
Speaking of motivation, Angel is in need of so much of it today
If you've followed Angel's activities in the last few months, you'll know that she's taken a step back from being an "artista" to allow more room in her life for her newfound role as a social activist. Concerned about the welfare of ordinary citizens and wanting to use her reach for good, she's participated in and even spearheaded COVID-19 relief efforts and donation drives to help society's most vulnerable—despite receiving a ton of backlash in the process. She knows that it's the kind of work that never stops, even when the pandemic has long ended, yet it's the path she's chosen nonetheless.
On processing her experience of the pandemic in her own terms
Pandemic fatigue is real. It's the overall feeling of exhaustion and futility that come with being stressed out about COVID-related problems for an extended amount of time, and millions of people around the world are going through it—which can only mean that there are just as many ways to figure out how to cope with it. Angel's advice? Don't pressure yourself if other people you know have found the solution to their own pandemic fatigue, and you haven't! It's not a contest, and certainly not a race.
"Madaming mga na-depress ngayon and gusto ko lang sabihin na it’s okay. Depressing talaga ‘yung nangyayari ngayon eh, and siguro kailangan din ilabas... 'Wag pilitin ng ibang tao na maging okay ka, kasi hindi ka talaga masaya. Kasi 'pag nilabas mo 'yun, magugulat ka na lang the next day okay ka na. So, best to hang out with people that you trust, people that appreciate you, people that know you, bukod sa friends mo, 'yung family mo, para mabalik ka sa core mo," she advises.
On using this time wisely
On the other hand, if you're the type to seek out change and challenge to combat idleness and emotional stagnation, this time was made for you! Quarantine doesn't have to equate to losing the best of life. It can mean reinventing it, and likely a once in a lifetime chance to literally transform into a new version of yourself. Try out big things and little things alike. Change your hair, rearrange your room, find your way around the kitchen, learn how to be your own plumber, adjust your perspective on life. Even small changes and new lessons learned are transformations in and of themselves which should be embraced!
Angel's new things? Devoting more time to read books, cooking (i.e.: getting ready to be a Mrs.), and finding even more reasons to actually enjoy tidying up.
On realizing that distance is never a barrier
Because of Angel's charitable work and her ongoing projects as an actress, she can't freely see family members and friends as the risk of potentially exposing them to infection is just too high. Not seeing her loved ones for a long, long time, however, proved one very important thing to her: that if a person is important to you, you'll figure out how to show them some TLC despite the physical distance. It's a true test of relationships, but a great way to strengthen your most important bonds!
"Check ako nang check sa kanila. Nagpapadala ako ng mga masks, padala ng mga cleaning materials, alcohol. Feeling ko, mas naging close rin 'yung relationship namin. Close na kami, pero mas naging closer pa kami sa isa’t-isa," Angel shares about her immediate family members who live separately from her.
On fighting for justice even when hope is dim
It's not news to say that Angel has been a strong voice for ABS-CBN. She's been vocal about her views on the shutdown, even participating in protests against its closure, and she simply says that it's everyone's right to speak up about something they believe is right and just.
"...I love my country, I love the people. I think it's natural that we stand up for what is right. As long as you know you're doing the right thing and try not to mind the negative things na nababasa mo. 'Wag kang matakot na magsalita porke't merong taong hindi mag-a-agree sa'yo. Kung tingin mo naman nasa tama ka, you'll never know kung sinong natulungan mo. Marami diyan walang boses," Angel shares.
On believing that there is always a silver lining, no matter how thin
Remaining positive is not a privilege for the unaffected. Positivity, or hopefulness, exists for all. Angel, however, is more than aware of how her messages to stay hopeful might fall on deaf ears as they come from her, a person seemingly untouched by the worst effects of the pandemic. Angel is choosing to see things in the long-term. It's terrible now, there's no denying that, and suffering of every kind is at all-time high, but even so, there are things to be happy about.
"Isa siguro sa nakita ko na maganda is nagkaroon ng rest 'yung environment natin kahit papaano, lalo na nu'ng mga early parts ng pandemic... Makikita mo talaga 'yung sky, 'yung mga bundok na hindi ko nakikita dati, sobrang clear niya talaga," she says.
There's also the fact that there's been a deepening feeling of compassion towards others. In regular, pre-pandemic times, you might have taken people for granted, not been as conscious about the well-being of others, and not have had the same kind of thoughtfulness or gratefulness. That's okay. Times change, and so do people. What's important is that you change for the better; be a little (or a lot) less self-centered and become a person for others. Find ways to be of help and of service.
Be kind. That's all there is to it. And if we may say so ourselves, follow Angel's advice, and be an angel in times when angels are few and hard to find!
Angel Locsin is featured on our digital cover, as photographed by her fiancé, Neil Arce. Read about their wedding plans and what they have to say about each other as a partner in our exclusive cover story.
Photos from @therealangellocsin