“You don’t need to wear a costume to be a super hero.”
That’s the latest Instagram post of producer Neil Arce, rumored boyfriend of actress Angel Locsin, in captioning a photo of Angel’s identification card as a Mindanao volunteer for the Talk Group Emergency Preparedness Response.
Arce’s post was obviously a reference to Darna, the iconic superhero that Angel portrayed in a GMA fantaserye and was supposed to reprise in a film version to be produced by Star Cinema and directed by Erik Matti.
A recurring back injury, however, has forced Angel to give up the project that would still continue with Liza Soberano taking over the lead role.
But while Angel will no longer play Darna, she is certainly not giving up on doing heroic deeds in real life.
Angel, who describes herself on her own Instagram page as “Volunteer, Activist, Film & Television Actress,” visited refugees from the aerial bombings in Marawi at an evacuation center in Ma’had Alnor Al-Islaime, Block 8, Purok 5A, Ceanuri Subdivision in Tomas Cabili, Iligan City on Thursday.
This was reported in a Facebook post by Kathy Yamzon, secretary general of Bayan NCR.
This is not the first time that Angel made her presence felt in a Mindanao crisis.
Two years ago, the actress was very vocal in protesting the brutal shooting of two Lumad leaders and their civilian companion by paramilitary forces in Lianga, Surigao del Sur.
In her social media posts back then, Angel used the hash tag, “#StopLumadKillings” to articulate her grief and outrage. At around the same time, Angel’s sister, Ella Colmenares-Sabino, posted a 2009 visit to the Lumad community of the same place.
Angel’s concern over the Marawi crisis may stem from something a little more personal.
In 2009, the same year she and her sister visited the Lumad village in Surigao del Sur, it was reported by ABS-CBN News that Angel “is part of a Muslim royal family in Marawi City in the province of Lanao del Sur.”
Angel herself was quoted as saying that all she remembers is that her mother was adopted by a Muslim princess in Marawi City where her grandfather was also reportedly one of the 15 sultans there.
“Ngayon, nagkikita-kita pa din kami ng mga pinsan-pinsanan ko. Yong pinaka-lolo ko po ay nasa Marawi,” she also said back then.
On television, Angel’s affinity towards Mindanao is also reflected in her choice of roles.
She recently headlined a two-part episode of “Maalaala Mo Kaya” where she portrayed a Muslim woman who kidnapped a child and took her to her hometown in Lanao. Prior to this, she also played the girlfriend of one of the 44 ill-fated commandos of the elite Special Action Force who died in the infamous Mamasapano clash.
In showing her approval over the selection of Liza Soberano as the new big screen Darna, Angel turned over to the latter three Darna comic books that had been given to her when she was asked to prepare for the role.
“And for ten years, I kept these. Now that we have a new Darna, I asked Tita Malou [Santos, managing director of Star Cinema] to give these to Liza as my gift hoping they can help her just as they helped me. And just like the stone of Darna, I’m hoping that she’ll pass this on to her next successor someday. I wish Liza the best of luck! I know she’ll do great,” Angel posted on Instagram.
As for her involvement with Arce, who was with her during her birthday celebration last April, neither of them has confirmed anything official just yet. Arce’s former girlfriend, actress Bela Padilla, however, believes the two will eventually be a couple.
“If they aren’t, they will be. I feel they will be…They have a very good foundation and I see both of them… they’re compatible,” Bela said in an interview with talk show host Boy Abunda last April.