This month’s MEGA Man cover star Bret Jackson shares why his hometown of Dumaguete and its locals are the main reasons why he wants to empower Filipino artists.
It was quite a homecoming, he adds. He met with a lot of his friends from 10 years ago. “They told me the same things like, ‘Bret, you know you’ve done all of these things but you haven’t changed.’ I mean, it never really kind of got to me, I guess. Someone wants to take a picture, okay cool. I feel like, if a lot of people know you, that’s cool, but I’d rather be known not just for being on TV before.”
Back in Dumaguete, he is hard at work building something big. “The thing is, I’ve done a lot of things, but what I really like doing most is seeing other people succeed, so I surround myself with a lot of kids that were like me when I was young.” He was influenced by someone in his youth, and he is paying it forward. He tells the story of how he met a local guy named Bernard, while he was out on his skateboard in Sibulan. “One day I was just going around town and I meet this guy. He’s about five or six years older than me, and he was breakdancing. He was full of life. We became really close friends and I looked up to him so much.”
Bernard, he describes, was an artist in the fullest sense of the word. “He was a musician. He was a poet. He was a writer. He was an artist. He was a painter. It was my goal to be that person. What was crazy was people would follow whatever he did but he never treated anyone differently. He never tried to be like he was the best. One of his things was that he was just a person no matter what he did.”
Even with the fame that he found in local showbiz, Bernard continued to be his guide. “He was the one who made me realize a lot of things. He was the one who kept telling me that I have to come home. He said, ‘You need to bring back what you know and what you do, and you need to help these artists here.’”
The pandemic gave him the time to do that, but it was too late. Bernard recently took his own life. Bret turns emotional. “I didn’t make it in time to be able to help my friend, but that’s why I’m more driven than ever right now to continue what I’m doing because there’s another Bernard out there. There’s another little me. All these kids that deserve it. These creatives, they go to school and they get told they’re stupid. They get told that, ‘Oh, you’re not good at math. You don’t fit into the system. You’re dumb.’ But, I’ve met them and they’re geniuses.
They have so much love to give, and so much… everything to give. I believe that so much that I’m willing to give my whole life to this, to this idea that we could create something for those types of kids. That’s what I’m doing right now.”
Back home in Dumaguete, Bret Jackson is giving opportunities to Filipino artists in provinces through 7640 and Paraisala. Read more about it in MEGA Man’s November 2021 issue now available in Readly, Magzter, Press Reader and Zinio
Photography JERICK SANCHEZ
Creative direction NICOLE ALMERO
Grooming CATS DEL ROSARIO
Styling RYUJI SHIOMITSU, BEA GUERRERO, AND MIGUEL QUILANG (TEAM RYUJI SHIOTMITSU)
Shoot Coordination MAE TALAID and MJ ALMERO