The Great Leap
Makati City First District Councilor Jhong Hilario on rising to the
challenges of public service, training under the strict guidance of
Mayor Abby Binay, and following his father’s shining legacy.
BY EDWIN P. GALVEZ
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROMEO PERALTA, JR.
Give it your best flip, jump high up in the air, and successfully soar through it. This is what Virgilio “Jhong” Hilario, Jr. keeps in mind every time a new door of opportunity opens for him, whether in the field of entertainment or public service.
Well, not quite literally though.
But Hilario, a 43-year-old second-term councilor of Makati City’s First District, has indeed proven his mettle in the political arena, just as he has in the entertainment scene. He describes his young self as a batang kalye, one raised in the bustling streets of Barangay Bangkal. He did not pursue college but instead performed the death-defying acrobatic stunts of the dance group Streetboys even when he hardly knew how to sway to the beat.
In time, he perfected his moves and took on the challenges of a number of accidental but lifechanging
opportunities that came his way. Like dancing, he says, “Lahat talaga pwedeng matutunan kung gagawin mo ‘yung best mo. (You could learn how to do just about anything as long as you give your best.)” Hilario garnered acclaim for his stirring performances in film and television, even snagging a major acting honor; brought steady laughs to madlang pipol (the masses) on a daily noontime show; and bannered the globally competitive Filipino talent in a string of international films and with a popular musical theater
production in the United Kingdom.
Beyond entertaining the public as Philippine television’s “Sample King,” Hilario decided to serve the people of Makati. He topped the councilor’s race in his district in 2016, a feat he repeated in this year’s local elections.
“Never ako nag-dream na maging isang konsehal ng Makati o maging isang public servant— dinala ‘ko rito eh (I never dreamt of being a Makati councilor or public servant—fate brought me here),” he says.