Why Shaira and Arra vie for the attention of Lolong

Jerry Donato - The Philippine Star
Why Shaira and Arra vie for the attention of Lolong
Arra and Shaira with lead star Ruru.
STAR / File

The personal journey of Lolong, played by Ruru Madrid, wont be complete and colorful without, among other dramatis personae, Elsie and Bella.

These women in Lolongs life are portrayed by Shaira Diaz and Arra San Agustin, who were enthusiastic about sharing the bits and pieces of their latest acting adventure with The STAR in a recent virtual one-on-one. Also present was lead actor Ruru.

Shaira and Arras work as leading ladies will be seen beginning tonight after 24 Oras on GMA Telebabad.

Im very excited to share it to everyone,” began Shaira the conversation and added “sobrang ma-ho-hook sila dito (the audience will get hooked on Lolong).”

Im so proud and happy to be part of it,” shared Arra. “Ang saya, ang sarap sa puso na makasama kami dito.” That joy also emanated from the fact that their participation was confirmed when the series had its second casting.

Palaban siya (She is brave),” said Shaira of how one can visualize Elsie, a childhood friend of Lolong and an environmentalist, in the forthcoming episodes. “Kahit anong gusto niyang sabihin, sasabihin niya, hindi siya natatakot kahit ikakapahamak pa niya yun (She speaks her mind and is not afraid of what are the repercussions of it).”

Arra, for her part, found similarities with Bella, a mysterious travel vlogger, after reading the script.

My character and I, I can say, are the same, personality-wise,” said she, “especially when I read her character description, hala Taurus ‘tong si Bella, Im sure its her Zodiac sign, parehong-pareho kami kung paano kami mag-isip, pareho kaming reserved, pareho kaming conventional, pareho kami (na) lahat nang pina-plano ko (ay) dapat yun ang masusunod. Kapag nagulo na yun, na-stress na ako, nag-pa-panic na ako (were similar in the way we think. Were both reserved and conventional. We have to stick to the plan. If things dont go as planned, we get stressed and begin to panic).”

Arra easily got into the character and enjoyed it. Her Bella will visit Tumahan, the place where Elsie and Lolong, who has the ability to communicate with a giant crocodile named Dakila, grew up.

Sobrang mahirap siya talaga i-mount, yung mga eksena parang napapatanong kami, ‘Kaya bang gawin ito?’ ‘Paano ba gagawin ito?’ (Mounting it was challenging and doing certain scenes made us ponder if we could do them),” said Shaira when she and Arra were inquired about the difficulty and the fulfillment of acting in Lolong, “but since our directors, the production team and the other creatives were very good at their work, we were able to execute the scenes.

When it came to enjoyment, sobrang saya (we really had fun),” added she, “iba yung bond, iba yung sense of family and friendship that were formed (during the entire taping). My favorite series then was Love You Two, now its Lolong.”

With Arra, she has forgotten all the difficulties that came her way to play the part because “I feel fulfilled, parang napalitan (totally) na yung hirap o yung hassle o yung stress.” Coming into the set physically and mentally prepared matters, Arra and co-stars can attest to it.

Lolong is an important assignment to them in understanding their craft more. Ruru may even consider it an interesting turning point and development in his career.

Since I was a kid, Ive been dreaming to become an action star,” said he. “I liked watching the films of FPJ (Fernando Poe Jr.), Robin Padilla, Cesar Montano, Bong Revilla, lahat ng mga action stars. Yun ang pinaka-gusto ko. I wanted to enter show business because of that. Finally, I was given a teleserye, an action series.”

He was grateful to the Kapuso network and the News and Public Affairs to have entrusted the project to him. “Ayoko po silang biguin at gusto kong ibalik sa kanila yung tiwala na yun (I dont want to disappoint them and I want to return the trust.).”

Lolong, hopefully, will be the start of more action-packed assignments for Ruru, who said, “Sana sa mga susunod kong projects, ganun pa rin yung mga gagawin ko dahil pakiramdam ko hindi ako nagtatrabaho, pakiramdam ko naglalaro lang ako, na ginagawa ko lang yung bagay na mahal ko. (I hope in my next projects, Ill be doing the same because it didnt feel like work, I felt like I was just playing and doing something I love), Im just very thankful.”

Like Ruru, his leading ladies Shaira and Arra appreciate that Lolong also tackles environmental concerns.

Ang sarap na magtrabaho kapag alam mong makabuluhan yung kwento, yung character (Its nice to work when you know that the story, your character is meaningful),” said Arra, who also thinks that Lolong is for the young and young at heart and contributes to the ongoing discussion on protection of the environment and animal rights. “Kailangan lang natin mag-co-exist with them nang maayos (We just need to co-exist with nature and animals properly). In terms of the political (theme), it will (also) be inspiring to all.”

Following the narrative of her character as well as those of others has made Shaira more aware about the connection and relationship between the environment and man.

Even us, actors, weve learned a lot from it (Lolong),” said she.

Many facts have been mentioned about the environment and especially crocodiles, the latter wont easily attack or harm people unless their habitat has been invaded. There are lessons (to be learned), every scene has a purpose why we do it. Gusto naming mamulat ang manonood nito na ito pala ang importansya ng kalikasan. Dapat nating pangalagaan at mahalin (We want viewers to be aware of the importance of nature and that we should take care of and love it.)”

Thats why Shaira and Arra are glad that the narrative of Lolong is about to unfold.


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