Dennis Trillo For Esquire PH May 2023

Dennis Trillo is in the cover of Esquire PH magazine for the month of May 2023. The Kapuso actor delved onto his college days, his foray into showbiz, his journey into becoming one of the entertainment industry’s formidable actors. Dennis also talked about his role as Crisostomo Ibarra in GMA Network’s “Maria Clara At Ibarra” which to this day, after the series run ended, is still being talked about thanks to it’s streaming run in Netflix Philippines. (Images from Esquire PH)

Before he became an actor, Dennis Trillo was just a regular college student dodging Math courses. He enrolled in an International Studies course just because his friends were there and it didn’t have a lot of Math subjects. “But I didn’t think that I would be a diplomat or someone who would pursue that course. That’s the career that I was looking for,” Trillo tells Esquire Philippines.

“I didn’t have a solid dream,” he says. “I was too happy-go-lucky when I was young. But I knew that something would happen in my life. I just didn’t know what it was. I’ve been feeling for a long time that I have a purpose. I just didn’t know it would be in show business.”


In fact, in his early years as an aspiring actor, nerves caught the better of Trillo. He couldn’t act well because of insecurities about his body, particularly his ears.

“My ears stand out. Every time I stood in my spot and faced the camera, people would look at me weirdly. I didn’t know why. They seemed to be bothered by my ears, so they had to put tape around my ears.”

That incident made Trillo very conscious. “I wasn’t acting because I was embarrassed about my ears. I lost my focus. In the end, I didn’t get the part. I had an insecurity that they were seeing something wrong with me.”

But after 23 years in the entertainment business, Trillo is an established actor and has played vast number of challenging roles and characters, including a transgender woman spy in the period film Aishte Imasu 1941, a hired assassin in On the Job: The Missing 8, and one-half of a pair of gay lovers in the hit TV series My Husband’s Lover.

“In Maria Clara at Ibarra, I learned a lot—I was studying and researching. Of course, I’ve read the story.” By “research,” Trillo meant watching old films about the novels. He mentioned the late film director Eddie Romero’s Noli Me Tangere, a 13-part series produced in the 1960s. There was also a TV adaptation of Noli in which Joel Torre and Chin-chin Gutierrez portrayed Ibarra and Maria Clara

It was not until Trillo saw the trailer of Maria Clara at Ibarra when he realized what the show will be about. At first, he was hesitant to take on the role because he didn’t know if it would be a fantasy or a historical series.

“When I saw the trailer, I realized what they wanted to happen in the show. And by God’s mercy, people watched it and got curious. This is not the usual show you would watch in primetime. People are not used to historical fantasy. Besides, it is also a love story and drama, everything is in here. And you’ll learn while watching it. This is one of GMA’s big shows. I have no reason not to accept it,” Trillo says. “It’s the role of a lifetime. Finally, this is the role I feared to take on.”

Beyond reading Rizal’s novels, Trillo says he searched for graphic novels of Noli and Fili to get an idea of Ibarra’s looks, behavior, and style. According to the actor, the most tedious part of portraying Ibarra was capturing the lingua franca of the 1800s.

“The dialogues are old. Making the words flow smoothly involves a lot of repetition—repeating the reading, repeating the words. You have to do it over and over again to capture it by heart. You can’t just ad-lib. You have to memorize it word for word,” he says.

“That’s the message of the time. Even if you ad-lib, make sure you still fit in with the setting of that time.”

“It’s an important thing to fight for what is right”
As Trillo delves deep into his character as Ibarra and Simoun, who are both fighting for their motherland with intense vigor and passion, he reflects on the things worth fighting for with almost the same degree of enthusiasm and indignation.

“It’s an important thing to fight for what is right,” he says. “Rizal saw a lot of flaws in the leaders, in the Friars. As they say, what’s wrong is what’s happening, and change is needed. And I think acceptance of change is also important. It’s important to accept that you need to change so that you can create a better system than is not corrupt.” (READ FULL ARTICLE HERE)

Dexie Jane

Mother of 2. She drinks coffee everyday and wine on the weekends. She devours massive amount of chocolate, pork, and sushi. She loves to dance in her living room and binge-watches KDRAMA, historical dramas, and excessive unhealthy dose of Crime/Murder mysteries/dramas/documentaries. She's also a proud Bibliophile and loves being a bargain fashionista & SHOEHOLIC!

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