Tanya Garcia of Sana Ay Ikaw Na Nga: A better second choice
- Mario E. Bautista () - March 9, 2002 - 12:00am
GMA-7 executive Wilma Galvante knew they had a winner in their new soap opera, Sana Ay Ikaw Na Nga, shown Monday to Friday after the newscast, Saksi, at 6:30 p.m. But she never expected it would be their number one show in only a couple of months, launching its star, Tanya Garcia, to stardom.

Because of the show’s huge success, some quarters are now telling Tanya she’s not the original choice for the lead role.

"I was one of those invited to audition for the role," says Tanya. "After a week, there was a story conference and they told me I was chosen to play the lead. Whether or not I’m just the second choice, I don’t know about it. But even if it were true, that’s just fine by me. What’s important is I got the role, which started with me playing Cecilia. Now, I portray dual roles because I also play Olga after I had plastic surgery. Also, I was told by GMA that when they asked Dingdong Dantes who he wanted to be his partner, he chose me so I’m also thankful to him."

Tanya was originally with ABS-CBN Talent Center. "I was part of Star Circle Batch 5, introduced in Esperanza with Judy Ann Santos and later in Labs Ko Si Babe with Jolina Magdangal. But after this, they had no other projects for me. I was also under contract with Viva and they included me in the cast of their Sunday afternoon drama on GMA-7, Anna Karenina, where I play the role of Grace, so I said goodbye to ABS. GMA also included me for a while in Ikaw Lang ang Mamahalin opposite Cogie Domingo."

Tanya is Tanya Lyttle in real life. Born on August 5, 1981, her father is an American and she‘s the youngest in a brood of five (four girls, one boy). Her eldest sister, Patricia Lyttle, is into modeling. From grade one to second year high school, she was with St. John’s Academy in San Juan. She stopped when she was recruited by Star Circle. Later, she took the qualifying test for college and passed. She’s now taking up masscomm at Dominican College in San Juan.

"Just one more semester and I’ll be graduating. But then, I got busy with Sana Ay Ikaw Na Nga so I was not able to enroll this semester."

How does she interpret her two different roles in Sana Ay Ikaw Na Nga?

"Before we even started taping it, I was already informed that eventually, I’d be playing dual roles, the oppressed Cecilia and the villainous Olga who copied Cecilia’s face to steal Dingdong. I took an acting workshop, supervised by our director, Gil Tejada, because the roles are so different from one another. As Olga, I have to copy the mannerisms of Maricar de Mesa, who originally played Olga. We differ even in the way we talk. She delivers her lines very slowly while I talk very fast. So, I talked to Maricar and she gave me tips on how to portray her. Also, Direk Gil made me study Maricar’s previous scenes so I can imitate her. I’m lucky because my co-stars, like Angelu de Leon and Jaclyn Jose, are very supportive. They advise about my acting."

Tanya is flattered when people recognize her in public.

"They even ask me, ‘Who are you now, Cecilia or Olga?’ When I tell them I’m Olga, they say, ‘Ay, ’yung mataray.’ That means they really watch the show. And I’m glad because even GMA bosses are very pleased with my performance. They’ll extend the show for another season because of the positive reception." What’s the real score between her and Dingdong? There are those who say he’s broken up with Antoinette Taus and there are those who allege he’s now wooing Mutya ng Pilipinas Darlene Carbungco.

"We’re friends, but we’re not on. I first got to work with him in Anna Karenina and he didn’t even talk to me then because Antoinette was around. E, pag nandoon sila, may sariling mundo. When Antoinette left, we became closer. Even more so now that we see each other four to five times a week in our tapings. But we’re not that close for me to ask if he’d really broken up with Antoinette or if he is courting Darlene. That’s his personal life and I don’t want to pry, unless he volunteers the information. What’s funny is that it’s his production assistant and driver who are very defensive for him. They tell me not to believe the rumor about him and Darlene because it’s not true."

Tanya admits she has had boyfriends before. "Both of them are not from showbiz. The first was my schoolmate, but it’s only a case of puppy love. The other one lasted for five months and I was also not that serious. As of now, I prefer not to have a boyfriend because I’m very busy with my two drama shows."

Is Viva Films launching her in a movie with Dingdong Dantes? "I also heard about that. But personally, I’d rather not do it. I think it’s too early for us to go solo. It would be better if they make us second lead first. I just played Richard Gomez’s sister in Ikaw Lamang Hanggang Ngayon and that‘s my biggest movie role so far. I need to do other films before I play lead.

"Otherwise, I’d be really scared because it might just flop. Anyway, I’m not really in a hurry to achieve stardom on the big screen. I’m happy right now with Sana Ay Ikaw Na Nga."

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