Gerald Anderson feels blessed to play a central character named Alex Marasigan, whose childhood and true origins are expected to create complications in his journey towards his dream of becoming a man in uniform.
For Gerald, A Soldier’s Heart is worth the three-year wait
Nathalie Tomada (The Philippine Star) - January 20, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — There’s more excitement than pressure for Gerald Anderson to have his new television series titled A Soldier’s Heart finally premiering tonight on ABS-CBN’s primetime after a three-year wait.

Directed by Richard Somes, the action-drama puts a spotlight on the country’s armed forces and explores such issues as terrorism and armed conflict, particularly in Mindanao, immediately in the pilot week to set the storytelling wheels in motion.

Being a Mindanaoan himself (his mom is from General Santos), the series certainly holds more meaning for him than anything he has done in the past.

“It has special meaning, sobra, sobra! Three years na ako part ng project, and ever since I never lost interest in it because we have a message that we want to send across to the people, that is, the sacrifices that our soldiers have made for us,” he said after the special advance screening for the series at Gateway on Thursday.

“And there’s Islam, the Muslim, hindi naman lahat naging terorista. Ang ganda ng sinabi ni Carlo (Aquino, co-star) sa eksena na parang kung masama kang tao, masama kang tao, hindi dahil sa religion mo.”

With co-stars (from left) Carlo Aquino, Nash Aguas, Jerome Ponce, Elmo Magalona, Yves Flores, Sue Ramirez and Vin Abrenica

Gerald described himself as “blessed” to be chosen to play a central character named Alex Marasigan, whose childhood and true origins are expected to create complications in his journey towards his dream of becoming a man in uniform.

This pilot week, audiences will see Gerald and other “trainees” being portrayed by Carlo Aquino, Yves Flores, Nash Aguas, Jerome Ponce, among others, undergo intense military training and Gerald swore it’s real, not just acting.

As preparation, they went through a three-day physically and mentally challenging three-day course used to jumpstart raw recruits’ transformation into enlisted personnel.

“To be honest, I really enjoy what I’m doing and I feel that we’re doing something for the country. Kahit pagod na, nakakapagod talaga. The training you see, it’s real. But super fulfilling,” he said. 

“It’s something that’s very close to my heart, na dumaan kami sa ganoong klaseng training. And pagsuot namin ng uniform na yun, kahit sa taping, iba yung pride, iba yung respect,” he added.

He said that the training and exposure to soldiers changed something in him. “Our perspective in life has changed, I’ve minimized my complaints in life. Nababawasan ko yung pagka-irita, I was able to build up patience parang nakakahiya naman ng magreklamo tayo dahil traffic sa EDSA, dahil yung mga sundalo natin hindi sila sure, hindi sila sigurado sa buhay nila kung makakabalik sila dahil sa bakbakan.”

Asked by the press about his thoughts if he thinks the country’s soldiers are being compensated enough, he said, “Well, tinaasan ni (Pres.) Duterte ngayon, that’s why medyo talaga mahal siya ng mga sundalo natin, iba rin yung malasakit ng President natin sa mga sundalo so they’re well-taken care of. But in their job, katumbas ’to sa sweldo na binibigay, siempre di talaga because lives are at stake here, but I think it’s better now.”

Meanwhile, he has plans to step up his military training and follow in the footsteps of his good friend and fellow actor Matteo Guidicelli who is part of the Reserve Force with the rank of second lieutenant.

“It was very difficult but it’s also one of the best experiences in life,” he said, referring to the training, and adding that it’s always been his passion to experience more “because my father served 30 years in the (US) navy, so parang nasa dugo namin.”

Gerald continued, “Sabi ng army sa amin, para maangat namin kayo kailangan legit, kailangang totoo, sabi ko, oo tama, wala namang celebrity treatment sa training.

“Sana maangat ko yung rank ko. There are other ways. I’m private, I want to be lieutenant, but it takes time.”

For now, he has an appeal to viewers: “Whenever we see a soldier, approach him or her and thank (him or) her for the service to the country.”

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