Kiko Matos became a household name in the Philippines in 2016 after his controversial mixed martial arts bout against fellow actor Baron Geisler under Universal Reality Combat Championship (URCC). But years before this, Matos has forged a career as an actor.
After the URCC fight, Matos continued his MMA training. This does not mean, however, that he is quitting acting for good to give way to his MMA aspirations.
What is considered as Matos’s show business debut was when he joined the talent competition titled “TV Idol.” It was a segment of the variety show “MTB: Ang Saya Saya,” which aired on ABS-CBN from 2004 to 2005.
On July 6, I visited Matos at BAMF MMA Center in Parañaque, Metro Manila, for an interview. I reminded him of some of the milestones in his career as an actor and asked him to share some memories from those milestones.
From “TV Idol,” Matos’s unforgettable memories include meeting “MTB: Ang Saya Saya” hosts Ai-ai de las Alas and Edu Manzano. As a teenage boy making a showbiz debut, he was amazed by the experience meeting celebrities like Vhong Navarro at the time.
Including Matos, the “TV Idol” finalists were AJ Dee, JE Sison, Marc Cortez and Ahron Villena. It was Dee who emerged as the winner.
After “TV Idol,” Matos appeared in several TV shows. Among the actresses he has worked with were Shaina Magdayao and Pia Wurtzbach, who was crowned Miss Universe in 2015.
However, Matos’s career as a TV actor did not immediately take off. In fact, he worked in real estate at one point before he was launched as a film actor in 2013.
At the time, Matos wanted to do nothing but act. While browsing Facebook, he stumbled upon a casting call for the Cinemalaya film “Babagwa” by Jason Paul Laxamana and found the character Bam Bonifacio a perfect match for him.
“Babagwa” became Matos’s first film, which was immediately followed by his first leading role in a film. In 2014, he starred in “Mumbai Love” opposite Solenn Heussaff.
“Mumbai Love” was partly filmed in India. Matos could not forget the time when he and Heussaff were on a break from filming in Mumbai and no one recognized them so they freely walked along the road and chatted.
Matos starred in several films after “Mumbai Love.” But it was in 2016 when he made headlines along with Geisler when they participated in “Beastmode,” a documentary that has yet to be released.
Watch the first part of my interview with Matos here: