Mano Po Legacy: A gathering of veteran and promising stars

Jerry Donato - The Philippine Star
Mano Po Legacy: A gathering of veteran and promising stars
Mano Po Legacy stars (from left) Nikki Co, Darwin Yu, Maricel Laxa, Boots Anson-Roa, Barbie Forteza, Rob Gomez, Sunshine Cruz, David Licauco, Dustin Yu and Casie Banks.

MANILA, Philippines — Aside from the familiar and engaging family affair theme of Mano Po, it’s the gathering of veteran actors and promising stars that also holds the attention of audiences. The latter get to have a front-row view of intergenerational acting. Somehow, it has become a tradition of sorts, and another reason why the Regal Entertainment movie franchise thrives and remains appealing to audiences.

With the airing of its small-screen adaptation, Mano Po Legacy: The Family Fortune, on GMA Telebabad, viewers experience all of that more intimately, in the comfort of their homes.

Bringing their years of experience in essaying roles to the family drama are Sunshine Cruz, Maricel Laxa and Barbie Forteza, with Boots Anson-Roa as the leader of the pack.

“This is a dream come true to me,” said Sunshine of her participation in the Kapuso Network’s 2022 teleserye offering in a recent virtual press conference. “Before I would just watch it. I was always wondering: Bakit hindi ako nabibigyan ng offer to be a part of the movie?”

When the offer landed in her lap, Sunshine met it with excitement. “So, when they asked me that I needed to cut my hair, kahit siyempre magmula nung nag-start ako nang pag-a-artista palagi long hair ako, di ba. So, walang kaabog-abog, I said, ‘Sige. Sure, kung kinakailangan na ganyan ang buhok, game na game ako.’ That’s how excited I am,” recalled she. “To be able to work with my Ninang Boots Anson-Roa, Ms. Maricel Laxa and itong mga naggagalingang kabataang artista, it is really a blessing and an honor for me.”

Acting in Mano Po Legacy on GMA felt like a homecoming to Maricel. “Kasi I started in GMA,” shared she. “And then, when I was seen by Mother Lily in GMA Supershow, that’s when she asked me and invited me to be a part of Regal Films. So, parang akong nabalik sa mga magagandang memories of my beginnings.” Mother Lily Monteverde is the matriarch behind Regal Films.

Maricel added that “having had the chance to work with her (Tita Boots) again, this time, made me realize, ‘Wow, I want to be that.’ She inspired me again. Sabi ko, ‘I never realize I’ll be back, but I’m here and I wanna be just like her.’”

“I was speechless,” shared Barbie when she learned about her latest assignment. “We all know kung gaano kalaki talaga and kung gaano siya naging parte ng movie industry ang Mano Po. To be a part of this, ngayon na nasa small screen na siya, I’m very proud and very honored.”

The female characters Consuelo Chan, Valerie Lim, Christine Chan and Steffie Dy, played by Boots, Maricel, Sunshine, and Barbie, respectively, are all empowered. They know their worth as a person.

Lucky to have the chance to share the screen and test their acting mettle with these fine, reliable actresses are David Licauco, Nikki Co, Rob Gomez and Dustin Yu. They all portray “The Heirs” Anton, Jameson, Joseph and Kenneth Chan in the TV series.

“Actually, in every teleserye, there’s always a pressure just like in my last teleserye, Heartful Café, which was also my first-ever lead in a teleserye,” said David. “But with the pressure, I try to improve (myself and my performance at work), kapag may pressure kasi, feeling ko duon ka gagaling.” He found his character Anton challenging because the latter is preoccupied by family problems. With proper preparations for the role, however, David would make the grade. “I think kaya naman,” said he. “I’d like to think na OK yung pinakita ko for this teleserye.”

Playing someone you’re not in real life is the task Nikki has taken on. “Yun palang challenge na sa akin,” shared he. “I had to really prepare, grabe yung extent nung kasamaan ni Jameson. And then working with the veteran actors, grabe naman po yung pagiging welcoming nila. So, we created chemistry together. Mabilis naman yung process… tinutulungan din po nila kami in the scenes that we make.”

This is something Rob can attest to by saying, “I’ve learned so much from them all. I ask them for information and tips. I’m learning and I’m still gonna ask for more information and insights in the industry.” Thankful for the opportunity and trust given to him by GMA, he added, “with everyone that I’m working with right now, I just don’t want to disappoint them.”

Although the greenhorns have mixed feelings while working on this iconic project, they have to be at their best.

“When I was told about my inclusion in the series, I got super excited and at the same time, nervous since I’m a newbie,” said Dustin. “When we were on set, sobrang nakagawa kami ng chemistry. Sa umpisa talaga very challenging… super helpful nila sa set. I was challenged but magaang naman ‘pag dating sa set. ‘Pag wala kami sa set, nag-bo-bonding kami para may chemistry.”

These stars, who represent different generations of talent, form the ensemble acting of Mano Po Legacy. Viewers have started to witness it since the TV series premiered yesterday. Mano Po Legacy will have its own distinct form as well as feel. Also in the cast are Almira Muhlach, David Chua, Darwin Yu and Casie Banks.

“Doing a serye is definitely different from doing a film,” said director Ian Loreños, “So, tin-ry namin i-squeeze lahat ng kaya naming i-push (we tried to squeeze in everything we could push) — in terms of quality, acting and story — to the small screen para ma-appreciate ng wider audience yung Mano Po.” With that, audiences are in for another compelling narrative weeknights.

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