NOW a senior citizen, Roderick Paulate first forayed into acting at a tender age of four, and his role was as the young Fernando Poe Jr. in the movie Matimbang ang Dugo sa Tubig. “If I remember it right, Mama had a friend, a director of FPJ movies back then, who came to the house. Usually, part of entertaining our visitors, the family would always make me perform a song number or do an acting monologue, and when he saw me, he told my Mama that he will cast me in a new movie and so it happened,” he recalled.
But it was in LEA Productions’ Kaibigan Ko’ng Santo Niño where Paulate first made noise as a child actor, starring opposite Gina Alajar who was being launched as a child actress then in this heartwrenching movie directed by Armando de Guzman. “Gina played my sister in this movie, and we were pitting talents with the likes of Gloria Romero, Luis Gonzales, Eddie Garcia, Roger Calvin and Bella Flores. I was initially rejected during auditions but I was called back and eventually got the part,“ he shared, adding that he still remembers the names of his and Gina’s characters: Bong and Oreng.
Paulate will soon be seen on the big screen after years of absence. He plays the brother of Maricel Soriano in a new drama movie, titled In his Mother’s Eyes, directed by Eric Reyes, produced by a new film outfit, 7K Entertainment.
When the official poster of the movie came out on social media a few weeks ago, many eyebrows were raised because Paulate’s image is nowhere in the layout, considering that he got top billing over the other actors. The poster only had the images of Soriano and LA Santos, who incidentally is the son of the producer-financier of the movie. Showbiz insiders are one in saying that Paulate, who has been in the business for 57 years, should have been accorded much more importance he so deserves.
Ever the gentle and highly educated person that he is, Paulate just shrugged this “discourtesy” off and flashed out a rather wry smile when asked, so as not to stir any unnecessary controversy.
“I accepted this project because it allowed me to work with one of my good friends, Maria [Soriano], and the character I play is interestingly deep, and has many layers that I can explore as an actor.”
When asked if he ever gets tired of playing gay characters, Paulate was quick to reply that these characters have made him what he has become as an actor, that has yielded him the longevity and stability he is now enjoying. “You know, I always weigh in on the essence of the character every time I am being offered one. Once the character is presented as a caricature, then I say no. I guess I have worked so long—and hard—to be able to demand that the characters I give life to should have integrity, respect and truth,” he intoned. He has another film in can, titled Mudrasta, which is also just awaiting a playdate.
Despite the challenges that life has been throwing at Paulate these past years, especially when he started embracing politics, he has remained steadfast and resilient. “Many are not aware that I like being alone, that I am not combative. If I can resolve things myself, I do. I am also prayerful and I just put all my trust in God because nowadays, it is not easy to give your trust to people.”
He added, “Oh yes, I also feel sad, and lonely, but my faith in God keeps me afloat and allows me to move forward, knowing that I am not really alone. I admit that life was never the same again when my Mama passed on in 2009, but she would want me to be strong and independent and happy, and that is the reason why I continue to work toward these goals. I am also fortunate to have true friends in the industry whose friendships have strengthened over the years.” Paulate mentioned these names: Amy Perez, Maila Gumila, Vilma Santos, Maricel Soriano, Rita Avila, Carmi Martin.
We noticed that even on topics that are not necessarily engaging, Paulate exudes a certain kind of calmness that is admirable, a kind of positivity that takes years to master, if not innately within him ever since. He doesn’t put others down just to pull himself up, nor does he talk nasty about others, especially those he knows very little about.
No doubt Roderick Paulate is an industry icon but more than that, he said he simply wants to be someone whose mission is to make a difference in the lives of people and be an instrument of joy for others.