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From ‘katawan’ to ‘kinatawan’

Alfred and Yasmin Vargas(Federico Cruz)

JUST A THOUGHT: “Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.” – Anne Frank

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PINAKAMAHUSAY NA KATAWAN, KINATAWAN: “Dati, ang title ko Pinakamahusay na katawan sa showbiz. Ngayon, pinakamahusay na kinatawan na,” laughs Rep. Alfred Vargas III (District 5, Quezon City) in mock reference to his once celebrated sexy image in films.

Vargas, who turned 37 on Oct. 24, says he’s flattered by his new appendage, thankful for the upgrade in his career.

However he’s also quick to acknowledge the big role his acting career has helped in shaping his foray into government service.

“I owe a lot to my being an actor. I’d like think that it has helped me immensely in my journey towards government service.’’

He said he’s not at all embarrassed when people refer to his once sexy roles in movies like “Bridal Shower.” He maintains that even ordinary people, and not just actors, should be conscious of their looks.

Being sexy or appealing isn’t something to be ashamed of. In fact, it is something that one must be proud of. It is proof that one takes care of his God-given body by keeping it trim and fit.

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FILM HIS ADVOCACY: Second-termer Rep. Vargas is one of the younger congressmen in the House of Representatives. He has impressed colleagues with an enviable track record. Perfect attendance in all sessions, helping pass into law at least 15 Republic Acts, including the Mandatory Philhealth coverage for All Senior Citizens.

The former actor may be more visible in Congress these days, but his heart remains in show business. Film, he says, is one of his continuing advocacies.

It is for this reason that Alfred has accepted an offer from writer-director Perry Escano to star in his debut film.

The project is titled “Ang Guro Kong Di Marunong Magbasa,” one of 10 official entries to the 2017 Cinemalaya Film Festival.

He said he took in the film because of its strong message, the importance of education especially among the youth in rural, far-flung communities.

Asked why he’s gambling on a first- time director, Alfred says he’s had good experience with other debuting directors who also premiered their works at Cinemalaya. “I’m a risk-taker.”

The veteran actor picks “Supremo,” “Bridal Shower,” and “Kolorum” among the films he is proudest of. “Separadados” was his last film.

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MEATY ROLE: “Ang Guro Kong di Marunong Magbasa” (My Teacher Who Doesn’t Know How to Read) is inspired by true events set in a farming barrio in south-western Mindanao.

Because of erupting armed encounters between rebels and the military, public school teachers from the city are usually afraid to teach in small, far-flung communities.

The situation prompts Vargas’ character, Aaquil, a farmer, to take on the role of educator in their community. His students, some orphaned by war, are unaware that Aaquil is actually illiterate.

Aaquil’s mission is hampered by temptation luring the children to join rebel forces.

Children are then trained to use guns like skilled warriors. They mercilessly shoot at their enemies, whom they accuse of causing their misery. (NESTOR CUARTERO)