JUANCHO TRIVIÑO TICKS OFF all the boxes of what your typical 25-year-old guy is like… and then some. He’s tall, dark, and handsome and just happens to be part of two of the longest-running shows on the Philippines’ top TV network.
When he says this, there’s no hint of yabang in his voice. If anything, he feels it’s a privilege to be a part of Unang Hirit and Bubble Gang. He almost couldn’t believe it’s true.
We trace back Juancho’s roots to Sta. Rosa, Laguna, where he grew up playing basketball with his friends and hanging out at the sari-sari store, drinking soft drinks after a game. He recalls how he had a simple and normal life growing up. “Wala, chill at our friend’s house, play video games. It was all like that,” he tells GMA News Online in an exclusive sit-down interview.
Growing up, Juancho did not dream of becoming an artista. In fact, he thought he’d be playing basketball professionally. It was an accidental directorial debut in school when he was 16 that triggered his interest in showbiz.
The class he was assigned to direct in a play placed second out of 16, which lit up a bulb inside his head. “I have a feeling isa ‘to sa mga ikaka-excel ko if I put my heart into it,” he remembers, figuring it was something he could pursue in the future. “Kasi I wanted to do it. And, more or less, may idea na ako sa sarili ko that I was passionate about performing, about the arts.”
He grew up watching shows on GMA like Mulawin and Encantadia, looking up to his heroes on TV like Dingdong Dantes and Richard Gutierrez. Little did he know that he would eventually end up working in the same network.
After going in and out of VTRs for commercials, his agent encouraged him to go to GMA for an audition. His parents accompanied him from Laguna, commuting all the way to GMA and walking in to try his luck. “I had no talent. Naalala ko, nahiya pa ako noon kasi wala pa akong extra clothes nu’n. I was wearing my audition clothes while commuting. It was a good, humbling experience for me pa rin.”
EVEN NOW, AS A TV PERSONALITY, Juancho is quick to look to his parents for guidance. When asked about who taught him life lessons that have stayed with him to this day, he answers almost immediately, “Yeah, my dad.”
Juancho has three sisters, so it was an important lesson to him to learn how to treat women right. His father taught him how to talk to women, how to adjust to them. He remembers how his dad told his sisters to look at how a man treats his mother to see how your future husband will treat you.
“I really felt that at that time,” he recalls, saying it was something that really stuck with him. “True enough naman kasi kung papaano ka magtrato sa babae will carry on. And everything starts sa house naman talaga.”
To this day, Juancho feels protective of not just the women in his life, but all those he loves. “I value them a lot,” he says.
This shows even in the way he views courtship and relationships. While social media plays a big part in how this generation deals with relationships, Juancho feels strongly about the traditional Filipino way.
For Juancho, the Western style of dating pales in comparison to the ligaw culture of Filipinos. “Hindi uso ‘yung the processes of courting someone unlike here in the Philippines na it’s more traditional. Na courting the parents, courting the family, doing these things to win someone’s heart,” he says.
The lessons his father taught him as a young boy when it comes to dealing with women continues to guide him. “Kailangan mo talaga pagdaanan ‘yung traditional Filipino way. I think it’s nice din kasi na kailangan mo respetuhin ‘yung pamilya niya. Kailangan mo respetuhin ‘yung boundaries that sets forth kapag you tell her that you’re already interested in her and ‘yung intentions mo rin para sa kanya.”
But what is Juancho’s ligaw style like? He says that it’s all about the effort. “Sa sincerity ko dinadaan ‘yung way. Very simple and sincere. ‘Yun ‘yung ligaw style ko.”
THAT OLD SCHOOL LIGAW EFFORT comes to mind when we bring up the big surprise he pulled on his Unang Hirit co-host Joyce Pring on national TV. He smiles as he talks about how he and his producers worked on the surprise.
He left for Hong Kong on the morning of New Year’s Eve. That meant he and Joyce would not be spending the New Year together. But having spent almost every single morning with her since Halloween, Juancho missed Joyce deeply even after only four days being apart. He confesses, “Parang may understanding na kami eh. Well ako, alam ko nang gusto ko na siya.”
With the help of his producers, the plan was set in motion. He warned his co-conspirators that there was a big possibility his flight would be delayed. If he could make it to Quezon Circle on time, then they’d follow through with the plan. Otherwise, they should go on with the show as if he wasn’t going to arrive.
Of course, on the day of the surprise, Juancho’s flight is delayed by two hours. He still had to go home to Laguna to get his car, get his things ready, and somehow magically make it to his 6:10 a.m. calltime in Quezon Circle.
During this whole time, Joyce thinks he’s already at the taping of Asawa Ko, Karibal Ko, his convenient alibi for not being there with her for their segment. In reality, he was frantically searching YouTube for “boyfriend surprises girlfriend” videos. “Pero hindi kami, ha,” he’s quick to clarify.
He talks about how nervous he was, not really knowing what he was supposed to do once he got there.
We already know how this plays out. He approaches Joyce on a pedicab with flowers to boot. He hid out in his car and gave himself a pep talk to pull off the surprise.
“When I was in front of her parang natulala na rin ako, na-stun ako na, OK anong gagawin ko?”
All he could muster was a meek, “Hi, Joyce.”
Still, making Joyce smile was worth it.
“We were very happy that time,” he says.
JOYCE ON JUANCHO
JOYCE SHARES THAT HER GENUINE kilig reaction during Juancho’s surprise was because they were actually in the middle of a quarrel at the time.
In fact, she was actually planning to surprise him at his taping because she knew she was at fault over why they had a misunderstanding in the first place.
“He made such a good effort to make a surprise and fix things kahit na ako ‘yung may sablay nung mga panahong ‘yan,” she says in an interview streamed on GMA News’ social media channels.
Joyce considers meeting Juancho as a blessing.
“Alam mo feeling ko sobrang blessing ni Juancho sa ‘kin no’ng 2018, because it was a very rough personal year for me in 2018, [relationship]-wise. I had a lot of things going on with family, with friends, and other stuff,” she says.
“But when Juancho came along and we started working together in Unang Hirit, it really was a such silver lining. Plumot-twist, humabol pa siya.”
Responding to a fan question if she and Juancho will officially be a couple soon, Joyce has a tongue-in-cheek response.
“Tanungin natin si Juancho kung gaano niya kagagalingan ‘yong panliligaw niya, ‘di natin sure.”
JUANCHO ALREADY HAD A CRUSH on Joyce even before they officially met. In 2013, when he was just starting out in showbiz, Joyce was making waves on social media. So, he knew about her, he had already seen her work. “And I adored her already at that time,” he admits.
The memory of their first meeting remains vivid for Juancho. “I remember na may event kami sa Clark. Hindi ko alam na siya ‘yung host dun pero I wished it was her,” he shares. “Kasi I wanted to meet her.” They were on standby backstage when Joyce came out. “Natuwa ako andun siya, ang taas ng energy niya,” he remembers.
Since he was named Best Dressed at the event, he had his picture taken onstage with Joyce. But they weren’t next to each other in that photo, so after the event, he waited for his chance to ask for another shot with her. His very first words to her? “Hi, Joyce. Puwedeng magpa-picture?”
After the taking the photo, he was surprised when she said she wanted a shot on her phone, too. After that encounter, they started following each other on Twitter and Instagram. His friends all knew that he had a crush on her. He even remembers posting the photo with the caption, “Puwede na ako mamatay kasi na-meet ko na siya.”
He admits to sliding into her DMs quite often, sometimes not even getting a reply from her. “‘Yun ‘yung nakakahiya dun eh,” he laughs. “I would listen to her on the radio, I would make requests. I would tweet her, uy pa-request naman.” But when she was in a relationship, he stopped messaging her. “I would have my own relationships as well,” he tells us.
THEY WOULD FINALLY cross paths again when Joyce officially signed on to become a Kapuso. Since they were already following each other online, they were familiar with each other. But Juancho admits that he was always shy around her. “Twice ko siya nakita sa event ng GMA and hindi ko siya makausap kasi natotorpe ako sa kanya.”
He had already gotten his start on Unang Hirit when Joyce signed with GMA, and producers wanted to have her guest on the show. Since she was also doing radio at that time, it took some time before they were able to book her guesting. When her schedule finally freed up, Juancho was not available. “Hindi pa rin kami nagtagpo. Ang nakasama niya sa Unang Hirit, si Phytos (Ramirez).”
Fast forward to the Halloween episode of Unang Hirit, where he dressed as Chucky and Joyce wore a Bride of Chucky costume. Their schedules finally lined up. They were on location in Bulacan and it was the first time they had to work with each other. “We talked the whole day. Du’n talaga nag-deepen ‘yung pagkakilala namin sa isa’t isa.” They ended up talking some more — all the way on the drive back from Bulacan, because they ended up taking the same service.
Their friendship began to deepen with each day spent together on the show. “We’d see each other, have coffee together. Dami naming pinag-uusapan.”
Then one time, when Joyce was set to look at a place and Juancho was in the area, he took it as a chance to accompany her. That was the very first time they had gone out outside of work. He laughs, “After nu’n, medyo nagustuhan yata namin ‘yung feeling na wala sa premise ng trabaho.”
Right now, they’re still in the stage of getting to know each other. “Seeing what it is like going out, having dinner, watching a movie,” he says. There are no plans of his next grand surprise, but he knows he needs the right timing. “Baka birthday ko para hindi siya humindi,” he says with a hearty laugh. He knows not to assume, but he does feel that she also likes him back.
Days after this interview, Juancho was able to pull off another surprise, leaving Joyce with another huge smile.
WITH #JUANCHOYCE FEVER happening on Unang Hirit, Juancho is riding high in his career. We ask him if there are any big changes from his life before showbiz and now that he’s already in the industry.
The big difference was financial, he admits. “I had to manage my own money. And it really took a while for me handling my finances.”
He has been handling his money ever since he started. He moved to Manila when he was starting out and since his parents also had work, he couldn’t really ask them to manage his finances. “Lahat ng income ko, pumapasok na sa akin. Siyempre hindi pa ako nakakahawak ng ganu’ng klaseng money, so I was spending it all over… I was enjoying my time, not being responsible. So medyo mahirap ‘yung adjustment na ‘yun na I had to learn the hard way.”
There are a few things he wishes he knew back when he was starting out. Aside from being responsible with his money, he says that rest is very important. Sure, looking good can be a great motivation for getting into a fitness regimen and maintaining a healthy diet, but it’s more than that. He felt the rigors of working in his body and he knew that if he wanted to perform and give his best, he had to take better care of himself. He had to watch what he eats, make sure he gets enough sleep, and be more responsible with the activities he engages in.
He’s in his fourth year as a business major in De La Salle-Canlubang. “Thesis time,” he notes. He attends classes in between work for Unang Hirit, Asawa Ko, Karibal Ko, and Bubble Gang. “Medyo it’s a tough time for me,” he says of his current situation.
His goal remains to graduate, something he’s committed to doing for his parents. “Siyempre pinundar nila ako since nursery, elementary days, high school. Sila ‘yung nagbayad ng pag-aaral ko. So bilang pasasalamat sa kanila, gusto ko mabigay ‘yung degree ko for them.”
IN FIVE YEARS, Juancho sees himself getting involved in more shows, perhaps with News and Public Affairs. He knows that TV work will always be a blessing, but he also wants to get into more movies in the future. By that time, he also imagines he’ll have several businesses already.
If he could talk to pre-showbiz Juancho, he would tell him, “Magtipid ka. Marami kang babayaran. You have to focus. And kailangan mo mag-ingat sa lahat ng gagawin mo.” But he says that he would not keep himself from making the mistakes that he had gone through when he was younger. “Kasi du’n na-define ‘yung character ko eh. That made me who I am right now.”
Part of him still can’t believe where he is now — part of the top TV network of the country, working for two of its longest-running shows.
We ask him what he thinks Young Juancho would tell him today. He pauses before answering. “Good job, Kuya. Good job, bro,” he says. “I think he would be proud.”