American actor Gabriel Macht
MANILA – American actor Gabriel Macht, more popularly known for his role as lawyer Harvey Specter in the hit American television series “Suits,” is the latest international celebrity to personally visit the Filipinos who were devastated by super typhoon Yolanda.
Macht, who arrived in the Philippines on Saturday, visited Ormoc, Leyte in partnership ""Project Wonderful," Globe Telecom's nation-building advocacy for the survivors of super typhoon.
Speaking to ABS-CBN News a day after his trip to the Visayas province, Macht said his experience in the country so far has been “overwhelmingly incredible.”
“When I found out what Project Wonderful was about, I was inspired to come and help them raise that awareness. I think it’s amazing that their main mission is nation-building and culture-building and brand-building. I like the idea that they are allowing small businesses access to entrepreneurship,” he said.
Seeing first-hand the damage caused by the super typhoon which hit the country last November, Macht said the smiles on the survivors’ faces showed just how strong the Filipinos are.
“It was amazing. We were there and we saw all the kids -- these beautiful smiling kids. They are so inspiring. To see the devastation that took place and these kids still have hope and eyes of wonder, it’s beautiful to see,” he said.
“The innocence and the beauty that come from a child’s smile just won me over. The kindness is incredible. I think that that strength will help the rebuilding itself,” he added.
These past months, singer Justin Bieber and football superstar David Beckham also flew to the Philippines and personally visited areas devastated by the typhoon.
American actor Gabriel Macht
Aside from being overwhelmed by the Filipino hospitality, Macht said he was also surprised to find out that “Suits” has a huge fan base in the country.
“I don’t know how big ‘Suits’ here is but I do know that there’s an incredible fan base. People are so excited about this show. It’s amazing. We are very humbled,” he said.
Saying he talked to his “Suits” co-star Patrick Adams about the Philippines before he flew in, Macht said this only made him more excited to meet the show’s fans here.
“He said people were crazy crazy fans of the show. It was overwhelming for him in a good way. That was inspiring to me. So I said ‘I got to get out there, I got to get out there.’ So when this opportunity came up, I said I have to take it,” he said.
Adams visited the Philippines in February 2013 to promote the show.
Macht also shared what the show’s fans should expect from the upcoming episodes of “Suits.”
“One of the characters has a life-threatening moment. We’ll see how the firm comes around and supports that character. Louis is on to Mike. He’s figured out that there’s something fishy here and we have to see if Harvey can come to the rescue. I don’t know if he can but friendship wins out,” he said.
But while there’s so much love for his character Harvey Specter, Macht insisted that they are not so similar in real life.
“I think people want me to be like my character because they like the character so much and I‘m grateful for that. I am very different from him. We have some similarities but for the most part, I am not a commitment-phobe,” he said.
Sharing that he is very much a family man, Macht said: “I am happily married for nine years with two children. Harvey doesn’t have a family and he has a ruptured relationship with his mother and his brother. We’ll see how that goes maybe in season four.”
Despite this, Macht said he admires his character for being extremely smart.
“He’s a lot smarter than I am. I would never ever try to represent myself in any way if I had to. But again, it is a joy to play this character. He is a fascinating character. Anyone who can use both sides of his brain in rapid speed is inspiring to me,” he said.
Meanwhile, Macht said it’s unfortunate that he could only be in the country for two days. Nonetheless, the “Suits” actor is grateful that actress-politician Lucy Torres-Gomez personally took him around Ormoc.
“When we went out there, Lucy Torres-Gomez welcomed us and took us around the town… When I arrived yesterday, just to see the generosity of the Filipino people, that has been incredible. I guess that expectation that I sort of had has fulfilled itself. People here are friendly and warm,” he said.
Aside from seeing some parts of Ormoc, Macht was delighted to share that he was able to try some Filipino delicacies.
“I’ve had some food, lechon, puto, sweets and the sticky rice, fried banana and it was delicious. It’s been a great trip so far. I’ve seen some of [Ormoc] from the plane. I hope to take a tour of the city later today,” he said.
Macht said he plans to return to the Philippines after he finishes shooting for the fourth season of “Suits” this November.
“I’m only here for a short period of time but I really hope to bring my wife and my kids back. I want to go back to Ormoc and I also want to see some beaches… When I get back [to the US], I’m going to tell them that I had an amazing trip to the Philippines,” he said.