At 25, actor Mark Neumann is ready to take the plunge.
“Of course, yeah. I am getting the papers ready na. I am 25,” he said when asked if he’s getting ready to marry his Filipina girlfriend from Cebu.
All he is waiting for are the papers which will come from Germany where he was born.
“We’re not engaged yet kasi the papers are taking too long. It’s not easy because there is a process if you talk about my German papers. It is so unlike here. There, it’s like localized doon so I have to talk to where I was born, right in the civil registry there. I just can’t go to the German embassy and ask for my papers. I have to contact them, ask for the papers, and I have to pass requirements to the German embassy and back to Germany and get them translated and back to the Philippines,” he explained.
Mark is happy over his participation in “Mga Batang Poz,” an advocacy series now on iWant.
“My character has a twist. It’s not all about the bold scenes. You really have to see the story, the life of the characters,” he said.
“No, it’s not a sexy series,” Mark cleared. “It just happened na it’s part of life, ‘yung story. One of the most cases where you get HIV, one of them is through sexual intercourse, that’s really a part of it. Since the way direk Chris (Martinez) depicted it, conveyed it, it’s not really focused on that. It’s just really part of the story,” he explained.
Admittedly, there are some intimate scenes on the series and “actually, we just went for it.”
“The blocking came from direk Chris because of the light of the cameras pero ‘yung pinakaano is kayo na ang bahala. If you want to kiss pa, you kiss pa.”
Initially, he did not know what “Mga Batang Poz” is all about.
“I didn’t know what it was like at first and when I came to know it, that’s where I really…it opened my eyes and I’m very proud of this project,” he mused.
For him, it was more than work to be part of an advocacy project.
“It’s not really about the project itself na may trabaho ka, no. It’s an honor to be part of an advocacy, to be educating and guiding people and to clear things up with the stigma attached to those who have HIV and living with HIV. I think we really need to raise this awareness, educating people or open their eyes. Old and young, single or not, we have to teach to become more aware and to be careful.”
“It is educational in a way kasi it’s part of the story, it’s part of life, part of society. All people do them regardless of what sex, the direction of what their sex is. The way you convey it is important as an advocacy,” he intoned.
In England where he grew up, Mark shared that sex education is part of the curriculum.
“Well, first of all, you are aware that something like that exists when you are a child. Kasi what happens sometimes, if a child doesn’t know anything, baka masangkot pa siya sa isang pangyayari or something,” he said, even citing an example.
“For example. If your parents say, ‘Don’t talk to strangers. Don’t go with them.’ And it did happen to me. I was with my friends. We came from school. There was an older male in the bus asking us, ‘Oh, guys, do you know Teletubbies? I know them. Do you want to come with me?’ I knew already na that’s wrong and I was very young like 7 or 8 years old. I told my friends, ‘Hey, don’t go with him. We cannot just trust him.’ So it does give a benefit. Of course, some parents don’t want them to know at a young age about what sex is.
“Pero there is also an advantage to it. We have to keep that in mind na if may alam sila, there’s also less curiosity kasi they already know, they’re guided.”
“It was never my dream na maging artista or an actor,” he said.
“I was 16 and all I want it so become either a flight attendant or a soldier. I was in Manila to visit my family and it so happened that my uncle works at TV 5. There was an artista search, ‘Artista Academy’ on TV 5. I was doing nothing then and I was to wait for two more years before I can be a flight attendant because that’s the requirement.
“My uncle said, ‘Why don’t you join ‘Artista Academy’ now that you’re not doing anything?’ When you’re young, two years is too long. So I joined the search and I was with TV5 for five years and now I am with ABS-CBN.”