Andrea Brillantes (left) and Francine Diaz: Kadenang Ginto is their acting playground
Meet Gen Z drama princesses
Jerry Donato (The Philippine Star) - June 13, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Andrea Brillantes and Francine Diaz are Kapamilya network’s drama princesses. They define the genre to fellow Gen Z. Proof to that is their afternoon series titled Kadenang Ginto, which has become their acting playground.

According to the information furnished by their network, Andrea and Francine’s intense scenes that include catfights have made the Kapamilya Gold program a most-talked-about TV series on social media.

Although the small-screen drama gives everyone that feeling of realism, Andrea, 16, and Francine, 15, are just inhabiting characters for the sake of art and entertainment. They are friends as the two said in a media call.

Off-camera, Andrea shared that she and Francine talk about random topics from end of the world (the end-time) to how the world came to be (the origins) and to work pressures (like meeting expectations). Andrea and Francine would lend an ear to each other and wish to keep their friendship that developed under the klieg lights. They both share interest in K-Pop (and its artists like BTS, XO, Blackpink and Girls Generation). Andrea and Francine remind one of the bida-kontrabida tandem of Judy Ann Santos and Gladys Reyes in Mara Clara.

That’s why the Kapamilya talents are amazed at the engagement of their followers with the personal lives of their characters Marga and Cassie. Andrea and Francine can’t help but feel thankful for that.

“Natatawa po at natutuwa kasi I was surprised (by their reaction),” said Francine. “(They say) that si Cassie tahimik siya, hindi siya yung pinu-push ang sarili niya sa taong hindi naman siya gusto. (She’s quiet and not the type who will insist herself to those who don’t like her.)” Their fans do take notice of Marga and Cassie’s every action and give them a single point if, let’s say, the latter upstages the former, or vice versa, particularly in a scene where the girls try to get the attention of Kristoff/Tope (played by Kyle Echarri).

“Tingin ko maraming natuwa dun kasi many could relate to (that scene),” said Andrea, “that we all have fallen in love with someone who doesn’t like us (or reciprocate our feelings). So feeling ko naka-hugot ang mga viewers dun.”

With their co-stars Seth Fedelin (leftmost) and Kyle Echarri

Aside from the emotionally-charged scenes of Andrea and Francine, and the tension created and recreated by the older Mondragons Romina and Daniela (played by Beauty Gonzalez and Dimples Romana), the family narrative is what holds the viewers’ attention, plus the joys and heartaches of a teenage life presented by it.

“At first, I thought hard about it,” said Andrea on accepting the kontrabida role. “I used to play characters who are being maltreated, ako po yung bait-baitan. (I would always be on the good side). Tapos na takot ako na baka ma-typecast ako as a kontrabida if I accepted this. Gusto ko talagang maging bida. When I read the script and I learned that (Marga) was not the typical kontrabida — kontrabida siya na may puso at may dahilan kung bakit siya nagkaganun (she has a soft spot and has her own reasons to explain her actions), I accepted it. Besides, I’m always up for (new) challenges. I like doing challenging roles.”

With that, Andrea has accepted the fact that some viewers can’t easily distinguish her from Marga, you know the actor from the character.

“I cannot blame them to think (that I’m mataray). That’s what they see on TV,” she shared. “I’m thankful to those who understand my role. Trabaho ko lang yung pagiging mataray ko. Pero sobrang layo ko talaga kay Marga.”

Francine, who did a string of the young-version characters of this and that star (like that of Erich Gonzales’ Pinang in Be My Lady) before starring in Kadenang Ginto, reiterated what viewers have seen so far in Cassie by saying, “She is fighting back.” The young actress was surprised by the demands of doing a hair-pulling scene. “It was my first time and I was nervous. Kaeksena ko siya, tapos sabunutan, hindi ko kayang siyang saktan,” she said. The challenge for the Kapamilya stars was to have a control of the situation, like they had to look angry but not to the point of hurting one another.

Andrea is now paired with Pinoy Big Brother Otso teen housemate Seth Fedelin, while Francine finds a loveteam mate in Kyle. The four are now called “The Gold Squad.”

Seen in the mold of Kathryn Bernardo and Julia Montes (in the 2010 version of Mara Clara) and Kim Chiu and Maja Salvador (of Ina, Kapatid, Anak), Andrea and Francine are in good hands and so is the tradition of Kapamilya drama.

Watch Kadenang Ginto after It’s Showtime on ABS-CBN and ABS-CBN HD (SkyCable Channel 167). For details, log on to and follow @abscbnpr on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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