Olongapo native Darryl Yap is a born storyteller, who happens to be restless. He can write a story in a snap. His mind is so fertile, it just seems to churn up ideas endlessly. Thus, he needed an outlet. So, he founded SaWakas, an Olongapo-based theater production where the stories he wrote, come alive also under his ministrations.
Then it became not enough to just show his works in Olongapo. So, he—along with his cinematographer/editor friend Vincent Asis created the VinCentiments Facebook page—as a promotional tool to sell his plays outside Olongapo.
When he dipped his hands at directing short films, he created several that would make rounds in local film festival and would even win awards for him.
But it was in 2018, after a seven-month artistic drought—brought about by broken heartedness—Darryl, revived and energized, began producing one short after another, uploading them directly to the VinCentiments page.
The shorts—littered with in-your-face truthfulness and street-smart languages—would amass views in hundreds of thousands. But it was Jowable, that would earn Darryl his first million views—and alongside, millions of eventual followers.
Starred in by his theater actress protégé Jobelyn Manuel, Jowable featured a drunk woman talking to God inside the church like she would her tropa, questioning why He hasn’t given her anyone to love her. Single ladies related to it, while the religious were bothered by it. But, keber.
At that point, the creative gem has been enthroned as a viral prince in the highly-competitive cyber world.
Darryl became restless again. He’s not going to be a one-hit-wonder. Where there was drought before, his mind became a fertile ground once again. He turned all his ideas—and angsts—into shorts. The KPL [Kung P’wede Lang] rant series, in particular, is still giving birth to new sequels to this day.
Darryl would simply break the Internet with every upload, inviting criticisms, discussions, debates, praises, bashings...In millennialspeak: he makes engagements happen.
But what is it about his materials that makes his fans engaged and his bashers enraged? What is it that makes his followers and bashers alike await his next upload? Why are his films addicting?
The answer is simple. He speaks the truth in the way that Truth itself wants to be told. No sugarcoating. No censors. No remorse. No apologies.
Moreover, he talks about YOU—at your core.
Viva Films happened
Despite his creativity, Darryl, who only knew how to lead, lacked professional direction. Thus, when the media giant Viva Films signed him up last year, his future was mapped out properly for him.
Viva started doing collabs with him. One of these collaborations was to turn his Jowable smash hit into a book, which, needless to say, became a bestseller. Of course, things did not end there. For come September 25, his #Jowable the movie version, will start screening in cinemas nationwide.
Prior to the #Jowable press conference last September 13, the soft-spoken but hard-hitting director sat down with pikapika.ph for a quick exclusive interview. Scroll down below to read—and view—what this creative genius told us about his #Jowable journey.
Ano’ng relevance ng mga panty [sa movie poster] sa istorya ng #Jowable?
With all honestly kasi... just to make k’wento, we were running late for the promo and the we have been requested by the [Viva] Records to actually come up with the album art that would represent #Jowable nalang muna ’cause we don’t have official poster yet.
So, I was actually looking for an icon or for an image that would actually represent #Jowable...E, I remember, the striking part of the production design was the sampayan ng panty sa loob ng bahay na parang fiesta. So, I just did the panties.
“Plus, maybe it’s a symbolism that the film is going all-out, the film will never hide anything and the film will expose even the dirtiest laundry, if there is.
Kampante ka ba na madadala mo ’yong viral crowd mo [sa Internet] sa sinehan?
Ah, while doing the movie, it always ano...it always crossed my mind if I can translate those million views to millions of pesos for the ticket. But right after viewing the film—and realizing the weight and the quality of the film katabi ng mga Viva bosses—I’m not pressured anymore because I know we have a good one. And people will automatically give the news to their friends, and to their relatives. So, I guess whether I translate or not, maybe I’ve proven that the public will always support what they relate to.
I guess that’s it. Pero I’m not yet at my normal state of being because I’m still...I still can’t believe and the... I guess it’s part... I think the nerves, ’yon sabi nga nila pag hindi ka kinakabahan parang it’s a bad thing. Ako, I’m nervous about it but I’m very, very excited.
Was Kim Molina your choice or Viva’s choice to play Elsa (the main character)?
Before pa po...the first choice was Alexandra De Rossi. But when I saw Alex na nag-shave ng head [for the film Through Night and Day], sabi ko, I think it’s not gonna work...because Viva’s plan was to shoot #Jowable last year pa. And the with the time sched that they gave me, it’s very impossible for me to shoot the film last year.
So, after Kim... because I really eyed for Maine Mendoza but my cinematographer and editor Vincent, from the moment that we saw Kim... no’ng nakita namin siya sa Miss Granny, e, talagang gusto na nila si Kim. Ang nangyari lang was Vincent Asis, my cinematographer and Boss Vincent [del Rosario]—the two Vincents—sabay sila nagsabi sa akin na, ‘Why don’t you launch Kim Molina?’
And I see no problem with that because Kim also from the theatre and ahh, perfect...perfect choice. You know, if kung hindi si Kim ’yon, maybe I’ve made a big mistake... kung hindi si Kim... because she really transforms from... if I’m going to compare her, it’s like...her sharpness is to that of an eagle and ’yong kanyang power na mag-shift into many characters...like she’s doing Kadenang Ginto, General’s Daughter, Rak of Aegis tapos biglang #Jowable—super chameleon. And I really admire her. Kung hindi po siya sa tingin ko mali ’yong pelikula. So that saves it. Tugma lahat and I guess, ’yon ’yon. I mean destiny and everything.
You wrote on your Facebook status that this [#Jowable] is actually about depression...it’s your ode to depression. Baka isipin ng mga tao, you are caricaturizing depression...
I think I budget my shit since I went to social media. I don’t give shit anymore, e. Kasi I’ve learned that people will always have things to say and if they accuse me of making fun of depression, I think those people must see the movie first.
The movie has a comedy mask. It’s more than the trailer. The reason... It’s a smart way of putting like it this: you need an audience, so make it fun. But after all the fun you’re going to ask yourself, ‘Nakakatawa ba talaga ito?’ Or at the end of the movie...—the movie without the credits is like an hour and 43 minutes [long]. Very destiny, [cause it’s] 143—so, the whole of that one hour and 43 minutes, you’re going to realize that from being a person who’s laughing because of a character... in like a split second you’d realize, ‘Oh, shit ako ’to ah!’ Tapos, you’ll start to realize, it’s not funny anymore. But it’s feel-good movie. That, I can promise.
Could you expound on your tagline: May libog, may lesson?
May libog, may lesson is...actually, this is the tagline that I proposed because when Viva asked me, they were all thinking na #Jowable hashtag #Sanaall and #Jowable and #Sanaall, parehas kasing millennial term. E, I really want to give the people a brutal, honest tagline so I said to Viva I would embrace, may libog, may lesson.
This movie is full of kalibugan talaga. Well, when you search for someone I mean it’s ano, e, it’s hypocrisy...it’s hypocrisy to say that you’re just longing for belongingness, for love, for affection...you’re also searching for fire, for passion... And nowadays, if you don’t accept that people has kalibugan, things will start to go wrong. Doon nagsisimula e...doon nagsisimula ’yong kaso no’ng mga kung anu-anong krimen dahil dini-denay natin ’yong mga sarili natin ng katotohanan ng kalibugan.
This film like, 70%...most of the time, you’ll see Kim in her undies...naka- panty-panty lang siya even palabas ng church. So, this is different from the short film [on VinCentiments].
We were very courageous and brave because seeing a girl wearing panty bearing all-out in front of God and saying that: ‘Eto ’yong gusto ko, Lord, ito ’yong...’ asking for things that are not really normal to ask, you’ll feel e, walang kabastusan. But you’ll see that there’s libog inside of people na for the longest time tini-treat ng society na taboo, hindi p’wedeng pag-usapan. But in this film, I promise, I swear, it will be tackled scholarly. Hindi naman pa-balagbag lang. Ito naman, e, tinalakay namin nang maayos.
May lesson I guess, of course, from the very beginning of the movie, may lesson na siya agad. Aside from we have scenes from the school and all. They don’t know kasi the premise of the film just yet. People buy the trailer, which they find very, very interesting... possesses high shock value, they think that this is just a film concentrating on a person who wants to be in a relationship. They don’t realize what will hit them in the cinemas because this is more than just that.
What’s next with Darryl and VinCentiments after #Jowable?
Noon pong pinanood ng Viva ito... pinatawag ako agad. So, kabadong-kabado ako. Text ako nang text kila Sir Law [Tan of Viva Marketing], text ako nang text kila Ma’am Jas [Luis, executive secretary] and asking kung bakit ako pinapatawag? So, no’ng pagdating ko po doon for the very first time, in the conference table at Boss Vic’s office...all the del Rosarios were there, even all the kids like Boss Enzo [of Viva Records], Boss Verb [of Finance]...after, they congratulated me and said that the film was really nice. All of a sudden, I just want to stop there. But they said it doesn’t work like that, ‘You have to do a follow-up instantly.’
So, with VinCentiments, we have many shorts films to upload because it was, it was, a what do you call this, we delayed all the uploads for the #Jowable promotion. So it’s like a month without VinCentiments content. So the next month, susunod na d’yan yong KPL: the commuter’s rant, ’yong reklamo ng mga nagko-commute which is highly relatable din; the KPL: the medical society... reklamo ng mga nurse...So ang dami namin i-a-upload, ang daming future uploads plus the ending of Crush 7...
As for the next movie, Viva is looking into two scripts. I just can’t tell you what script yet but one is horror...s’yempre parang Darryl Yap style...the natural, normal horror and one is similar to the theme of #Jowable which is social-media related type. I just don’t know yet kung alin ’yong mauuna.
Natutulog ka pa ba?
’Yon nga po, e, ’yon ang kulang ako medyo nowadays. I don’t know. I don’t want to make reklamo kasi it may sound na parang tumatangi ako pero Viva has been very generous to me, like giving me deals that are beyond imagination. Sobrang overwhelmed nga po ako because from film to books to commercials and everything. I can’t ask for more aside from sleep I guess. Hahaha!
May lovelife ka na ulit?
Lovelife? Ini-schedule ko nga po ’yong tulog, e. So none as of the moment po. I don’t think about it just yet.
What makes Darryl Yap jowable— kahit wala kang time mag-jowa?
I guess I’ll just stick to the battle cry of the film that a... that we don’t need adjectives in order for us to be jowable. I guess people nowadays always ask for reasons, for validations na, ‘Hindi ako jowable, pa’no ba maging jowable?’ and stuff like that.
From the moment that you open your eyes, you are already lovable; you are capable of giving love and so you deserved to be loved as well. So, I guess what makes me jowable is that I know that all people around me are all jowable.
#Jowable is in cinemas starting Wednesday, September 25.