Finding Joel

It’s not every day I get to see stars on earth. And if I did saw one, it’s just a quick glimpse and the shine quickly fades away.

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Actor Joel Torre

It was September of 2013 at the office and we were busily preparing for a pocket of photo shoots for our annual food issue, an editorial theme I’m always looking forward. In this theme, I get to discover some hidden gems of the local gastronomic landscape where locals flock to and I get to taste unadulterated dishes they served.

Everything was in the plan until our managing editor received a call and broke the news that veteran actor Joel Torre will be joining us in his restaurant, JT’s Manukan Grille, for a photo shoot.

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Above, JT’s Manukan Grille serves Ilonggo dishes such as chicken inasal, a type of grilled dish that is distinct in the province of Negros Occidental

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Actor Joel Torre in front of a grilling station

Only a few local actors I admired and one of them is Joel Torre, a veteran actor whose career started in the 70s. Torre had done more than 200 notable films — mostly period movies which he is most associated with — and TV soap operas under his sleeves. Everybody in the office was excited, including me. Everybody was looking for something they can “identify” with Torre. Or to put it bluntly, something Torre can put his autograph on.

And suddenly I remembered that it was in August of the same year, Esquire Philippines had released their August issue with three cover variants of the three main actors, including Torre as one of the covers, of the movie “On The Job.” And the search of the Joel Torre cover begins.

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It was the first week of September and all the August issue magazine titles in the newsstands are already gone or been delivered back to their respective distributors for disposal. I remember managing editor Monica De Leon tried calling Esquire Philippines for some copies of their August issue but to no avail. I, on the other hand, went to different bookstores in the nearby malls in Makati to search for it, but to no avail as well.

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The only bookstore I haven’t visited was the defunct Powerbooks in Greenbelt. And lo and behold, only a single copy of the elusive magazine was left and it was already at their stockroom. The sale staff was kind enough to look for it and hand it over to me for purchasing — as if it was meant to be found by me and only me.

On the day of our photo shoot, while Torre was being photographed, I was on the corner thinking about how I will approach him and ask for his autograph. I was holding the magazine with both hands like a teenage fan girl. And just a split second, with no clue at all, I found myself beside Torre. With a smile on my face that stretched all the way to my ears, he was signing the copy of my magazine.

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A signed Esquire Philippines’ August issue cover. Joel Torre as shot by Francisco Guerrero

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InFlight Traveller editorial team (left to right): Photographer Daniel Soriano, actor Joel Torre, me, and managing editor Monica De Leon. Photo courtesy of Daniel Soriano

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About battlefield_man

Jocas A. See. Visual journalist. Visual communication designer. And a casual tourist

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