Rumor has it that TV5 chairman Manny V. Pangilinan saw Daniel Matsunaga crying in a TV interview after the latter’s breakup with Heart Evangelista and took pity on him. That supposedly is how the Brazilian-Japanese hunk became a talent of TV5.
Daniel speaks candidly about the matter: “Naawa sa akin? Iyak? I think the iyak part happened a long time ago na. And hindi naman ‘yun iyak. I cried nga like you said, balde-balde pa, pero sa Brazil na ‘yun. So kung umiyak man ako o hindi, whether nakita ako or hindi, ang importante po, I am happy now dahil I was given this opportunity.”
When he went home to Brazil back in March, Daniel knew his relationship with Heart, which they had confirmed to the public back in September 2010, was over.
“I really needed that time to be with my family,” he recalls. “One month po ako doon. Talagang I relaxed lang. Went to church. And tried to live a calm life.”
He admits the breakup tormented him then.
“Marami rin po akong iniyak, eh. My parents loved Heart naman po. They had the chance to meet her. But why it came to a breakup, hindi namin talaga alam. If she said it was about cultural differences, let’s respect that. Ang importante po, now mahal ko siya as a person. Mabait siya and I learned a lot from her.”
He is aware of the talk that Heart’s parents did not approve of him.
“I did my best to be close to them, to all of them. The whole family. After that one month in Brazil, where nag-break na kami, when I came back, nag-usap pa rin kami. And mahaba po. So, maybe the reason also why ngayon I can say na we’re still friends and we communicate pa every now and then.”
Three months later, the rumor mill says Heart has a new boyfriend in Senator Chiz Escudero, and Daniel is said to be dating Glaiza de Castro.
“Me and Glaiza, nagkasama kami po sa ‘Grazilda’ kaya I greet her sa Twitter, ganoon. Pero hindi kami. About Heart and Senator Chiz, narinig ko naman po. Hindi ko alam kung totoo. Masaya ako sa buhay niya. Kung gusto na niya ibang love life, I’m supporting her naman.”
So has he given up on the chance of a reconciliation with Heart? “Single ako now. Am not closing my doors. But for now, I want to spend my days working lang,” he says.
And if work is the best cure for a broken heart, his transfer to TV5 is just what the doctor ordered.
Daniel is part of the new Sunday noontime game show “Game ‘N’ Go”, which premiered last June 17, and will be in the all-star cast of the upcoming fantasy series “Enchanted Garden.” He will also be featured in the horror anthology “Third Eye”.
“There’s two ways ng pag-move on ko,” he says. “One for my work. The other one for my personal life. Now I have decided to be single for a while. Kaya focus sa trabaho. Kaya I’m polishing my Tagalog. Tutor every day for two hours. There’s acting, hosting, singing, guitar playing workshops. Six hours at least so there’s time rin for other things. And 3-4 hours in the gym.”
He’s proud of the fact that his Tagalog is improving with every sentence.
“Dati kasi I had a teacher once a week. And tamad ako to learn. Twenty lessons lang nagawa ko. Now, mas okay kasi, even in written and sa pagsasalita, marunong na ako. I can understand now. Kaya, pwede na rin ako makagawa ng love notes. Sa tweets ko, hindi ako madalas magTagalog kasi may fans din ako all over the world. But I mix both.”
His resolve to learn the language is proof of how much he loves the Philippines, the state of his heart notwithstanding.
In fact, he wants to settle down here, just like his sister, the model Vanessa Matsunaga-Sunga, who married a Filipino.
“I just fell in love here. May pamilya ako rito. My sister is here and married to a Filipino. And I think, that’s one of my goals. God sent me here,” he intones.
Before moving to Manila three years ago, Daniel had been based in Hongkong for almost seven years.
“I’ve been in so many countries na rin. More than twenty. And a lot of opportunities have been presented to me. Sa Hong Kong, I was stable na. But God spoke to us. And I obeyed. That’s the reason now why I am planning to stay here. To bring my family here and my other siblings. And just for the record po, I don’t have plans yet to get married. Not anymore po.
“My future will depend on a lot of things pa. And it is not in my plan to marry and use that as a reason for me to acquire the citizenship. Now I’m just happy that I was granted a guaranteed deal in being a Kapatid for two years, and I can still work with all the networks. That is if they also want to hire me and give me a show. I carry a working permit renewable every three years. And it looks like everything is really happening very fast.”
Now that he’s a certified Kapatid, is there anybody he wants to be paired with?
“Sharon Cuneta! Maybe in an action-drama movie. But in ‘Enchanted Garden’ I will be part of the triangle with Alex Gonzaga and Martin Escudero.”
His heart may not be fully healed yet, but Daniel is positive that he is moving in the right direction.
“Kung walang heart, walang buhay. Kailangan ko ang puso ko. You gain and you share. Now, I am just starting to know a little bit of everything. And I think I am taking the right path.”