The first time I watched Noel Comia, Jr. in Thop Nazareno’s landmark Cinemalaya film in competition entry Kiko Boksingero, when he bagged the best actor trophy, it was so well-accepted and received and did not stir the hornet’s nest.
Noel’s portrayal of the pre-pubescent boy who ached and desired to connect with his biological father, played splendidly as well by Yul Servo, was truthful, the longing for acceptance and love from a stranger-dad, you see in his eyes, was definitely forthright. And when the truth about his father’s irresponsibility was revealed to him, as an audience, one feels that the pain he experienced was too close to home, it made everyone tear up.
As Noel turns into a lanky, handsome 17-year-old teenager this May, he gives life to one of the lead characters in Niña Niño, opposite actress Maja Salvador in an inspirational prime time television offering.
“It feels exhilarating to have a lead role in a primetime TV program,” Noel declares. “It's another path that I've always dreamt of but never thought that I'd be able to experience this soon. To be honest, I feel kind of nervous as well–it’s so different from what I’ve been used to doing before.”
“I was hand-picked by Direk Thop because, according to him, he already knows my range,” Comia carries on.
“On the set, he's always there to guide us. Niño is a loving, helpful, and empathetic teenager. He comes from a middle-class family and is handed over to his grandmother by his mom. He cares for his family, especially for his grandmother, Lola Belen, and his sister, Niña. He is dependent on his sister. His personality continuously progresses along with the story.”
“The story presented in the drama itself is what attracted me to the role,” avers the teen actor “I consider myself a caring and loving person. And I depend on my family too, so I guess that's the main similarity between Niño and me. What makes the two us different, they had to have my hair permed.”
Working with Maja Salvador, Comia shares: “Ate Maja is a very giving actress. Not only in material or food sense (she doesn’t leave anyone hungry on the set, I’m telling you!) but mentally as well. Whenever I have a scene with her, I feel relaxed and confident because of how much she makes it feel so easy. She’s an amazing actress–that statement might even be an understatement. Working with her is an incredible experience full of singing, kulitan moments, food (a lot), and professionalism. That, together with Direk’s and the entire production’s attitude about everything, really makes a happy and enjoyable set.”
Noel’s wants the people to watch the inspirational drama because: “Niña Niño is a show that will bring more hope, joy, and entertainment to people, especially during this time of uncertainty. It is a dramedy–a feel-good series without any overly dramatized scenes. As of now, we don't have a specific 'kontra-bida' because of how each character has a deep root as to why they do certain things. To rephrase, they do things because of circumstance, and healing them means confronting that circumstance. We hope that our show would be able to inspire many and make them realize the importance of forgiveness, and healing, not only of the physical being but also of the heart and soul.”
What is next for Noel Comia Jr then? His swift reply: “One is GItarista where my role was the Young Marcelo directed by Direk Jason Orfalas. We filmed that back in 2019, and it has already been shown in different countries apart from the Philippines. It's set in a dystopian society and, if I remember correctly, I stand up against the government in that movie. I think it's one of the points that make my role there special. "Versus" was also filmed back in 2019 and it's directed by Direk Ralston Jover, starring Ms. Sunshine Dizon and Mr. Gabby Eigenmann. Versus is an LGBTQ court drama– a story of a transgender biological father and a mother fighting for the custody of their son–the character I play as. I also did"Tenement 66," directed by Direk Rae Red, is the first film I shot during the COVID-19 pandemic. We filmed in October last year, and we were locked-in for ten days. It is a thriller, starring Francis Magundayao, Francine Diaz, and me. I play as the cousin of a troubled teenager who had to go back to his old ways because of his brother's untimely accident. I was forced to be an accomplice to the crime which my cousin and our neighbor were committing.
“I am grateful that people recognize the hard work I put into things, and I'm also thankful for all the directors, co-actors, mentors, and to God, who has always been there to guide me throughout my journey,” concludes Noel Comia Jr. who has indeed come of age.
"Niña Niño" airs on TV 5, that began April 5, weeknights at 7:15 pm, part of the "TodaMax Primetime," after "Sing Galing" and before "FPJ's Ang Probinsiyano."