As Fidel de los Reyes in GMA’s primetime show Maria Clara at Ibarra, David Licauco has caught people’s attention, trending on TikTok for weeks. Arrogant and classist, David’s portrayal of Fidel is different from who he is in real life— humble, frugal, and genuine. With his charming looks and competitive spirit, it is no surprise that he is an actor, model, and entrepreneur at the young age of 28.
Licauco finished high school at Grace Christian College where he was described to be siga by his fellow classmates: “Laging ganun [ako maglakad], siga-siga… hahaha! Yung astig-astig ka eh, gusto mo cool ka eh.” (I’ve always walked like I’m assertive… hahaha! Like you’re trying to look cool since you want to be cool.)
Aside from being known as the siga type back in high school, Licauco was also known for his basketball prowess. In a Tunay na Buhay episode with journalist and TV host Rhea Santos-De Guzman, Licauco’s old high school guidance counselor recounts how Licauco was the guy always playing basketball in the school gym. He was also a member of the school’s team where he was lowkey considered a legend in the sports world of Grace Christian College.
He finished college at the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde with a degree in Business Administration majoring in Computer Applications. This is not surprising for Licauco, as he comes from a family who dabbles in the field of business.
“I’m still enjoying [showbiz]. Bata pa naman yung parents ko, so di pa nila kailangan talaga ng tulong ko sa business. But I guess… sayang din kasi yung opportunity. I mean honestly, at some point, parang iniisip ko na: “What if mag business na lang ako? Baka mas mag-succeed ako doon—” and all that. But then, feel ko kasi kunwari sa isang career, parang give it 10 years— let’s say acting. Give it 10 years— tignan mo kung ano maging career mo in 10 years ganun— and then siguro next time shift to another career, let’s say business.” (I’m still enjoying [showbiz]. My parents are still young, so they don’t really need my help in their business. But I guess… the opportunity was wasted. I mean honestly, at some point, I was thinking” “What if I just did business? Maybe I would have succeeded more doing that—” and all that. But then, I feel like, in a career, one should give it 10 years— let’s say acting. Give it 10 years— try to see what your career would be in 10 years, something like that— and then next time try to shift to another career, let’s say business.)
In 2014, Licauco won first runner-up place in Mr. and Ms. Chinatown Philippines’ 2014 competition. He admits that joining this competition paved the way for him to enter show business in the country.
“Kasi nung sumali ako [ng Mr. and Ms. Chinatown Philippines], maraming nagka-interest sakin sa modeling eh na parang: “Oh, kunin kita sa shoot ng ganito, this magazine, join this ramp—” if hindi ako dumaan sa path na yun, I mean if I didn’t join Mr. and Ms. Chinatown, di ko mame-meet yung mga taong nag help sakin sa modeling to be where I am now.” (Because when I joined [Mr. and Ms. Chinatown Philippines], a lot of people started getting interested in me doing modeling work like: “Oh, I’ll get you as a model for a shoot for this product, this magazine, join this ramp—” If I didn’t join Mr. and Ms. Chinatown, I wouldn’t have met the people who would have helped me in my modeling career and reach where I am now.)
His acting career started to flourish at this point— Licauco was getting acting roles left and right and made his acting debut in The Amazing Praybeyt Benjamin. He also starred in Mulawin vs. Ravena as Malik, in Mano Po Legacy: The Family Fortune as Anton Chan, and in Heartful Cafe as Ace Nobleza.
When he’s not busy acting, Licauco manages his food businesses. His restaurant, Kuya Korea, serves different variations of Korean food such as fried chicken, rice bowls, noodles, and sandwiches. Licauco proves to be hands-on with his business ventures by modeling and using his charming looks to promote his restaurant on social media platforms!
Don’t forget to catch David Licauco as the arrogant Fidel on Maria Clara at Ibarra, streaming online only on GMA’s official website.