Tara G! Cast recalls beautiful, strange experiences on Benguet set

Charmie Joy Pagulong - The Philippine Star
Tara G! Cast recalls beautiful, strange experiences on Benguet set
The cast members and creators of iWantTFC’s Tara G! recall experiencing the good, the breathtaking as well as the eerie on the Benguet set of their teen-oriented series during the grand mediacon in Quezon City. Present at the media event are (from left) Zach Castañeda, Anthony Jennings, Kaori Oinuma, direk Cathy Camarillo, Vivoree Esclito, CJ Salonga and creative manager Henry King Quitain. The lead cast is joined by veteran actors Arlene Muhlach and Jayson Gainza and shown in the show’s official poster.
Photos courtesy of iWantTFC

MANILA, Philippines — After Gimik, Tabing Ilog, Berks and Growing Up, here comes Tara G!, iWantTFC’s newest youth-oriented series that explores love, friendship and aspirations.

Directed by Cathy Camarillo, the show stars Anthony Jennings, Daniela Stranner, Kaori Oinuma, JC Alcantara, Vivoree Esclito, CJ Salonga and Zach Castañeda.

According to the media release, Tara G! tells the story of Team WISE or “Walang Iwanan Sa Ere,” a group of hopeful teenagers whose ultimate dream is to bring back the pride and glory of the simple town of La Guerta by cultivating coffee which they export and market as beans and coffee wine.

The characters in the series include Rocky (Anthony), the charming and ever-reliable leader of the pack; Legs (Kaori), the smart and caring darling; Dan (JC), a handsome smooth talker who has feelings for Legs; Jengjeng (Vivoree), a sweet and ‘kikay’ girl with big dreams; Will (Zach), the funny, go-to-guy and protective brother of Smith (CJ), who is the genius one in the barkada.

Tara G! is different from the previous barkada series as it focuses more on the “participation of their individuality in a certain community,” said direk Cathy during a media conference held recently in Quezon City. “(It shows) their love for their community, their struggles, and their journey on how to make their community bigger enough to be sustained… They also have their individual issues growing up and I think this is a coming-of-age, youth-oriented series.”

Aside from this, the series also showcases the beauty of Benguet, the filming location of the program, furthered direk Cathy.

“Yung papano sila nagmamalasakit dun sa community and how they nurture their journey as they mature dun sa dapat nilang choices na haharapin, their personal choices. Kaya nakita ko na hindi s’ya ganun na sobrang maliit lang na issue, naka-encapsulate s’ya sa isang bigger part of responsibility,” she added.

Creative manager Henry King Quitain said Tara G! was inspired by the filming location of Forevermore which was shot in Baguio City in Benguet province. He also incorporated his knowledge about coffee into the show as he is a coffee lover who hails from Batangas.

The cast members and creators of Tara G! also recommended some tourist spots that one can visit, as well as food and drinks to try in Benguet.

Direk Cathy suggested a tourist spot in Atok called the Northern Blossom where they filmed most of the scenes in the series. “You should go there and see the place. Napakagandang flower farm. You can see the cabbage roses. Napakaganda ng Pilipinas. Yun yung isang maipapagmalaki natin dito. That’s the reason why we are inspired na talagang all of the shots were done there. Aside from that, (there’s) a lot of places na hindi pa namin na-explore. They have this cave na Spanish trail na hindi rin namin na puntahan pa pero nadaanan (namin).”

Anthony, on the other hand, cited the coffee wine. He told The STAR, “It’s one of the best drinks na natikman ko dun because my character parang siya yung nagpro-produce ng coffee wine. It takes time talaga para magawa ang isang ganun. Kailangan nilang i-try. Kape pa rin yung lasa niya talaga pero may kunting hagod. ‘Tsaka mainit sa katawan.”

There’s also a church below a mountain which Henry finds “a fun place to be, it’s very beautiful.” He also recommended a small restaurant at the back of the municipal hall that serves siopao, halo-halo and unlimited coffee.

Vivoree shared that with the zigzag road, going there felt like a “rollercoaster ride” but the view was worth it.

JC added that Atok is the place to visit when you’re “broken.” “Atok is a paradise. There you’ll find that place where even if you’re alone, the surroundings will make you happy,” he said. “Makukuntento ka kung sino ka, kung ano ka ba. Parang ito yung kapag broken ka pupuntahan mo ‘to, dito mo isisigaw lahat. Kasi sa sobrang ganda ng view mo, mawawawala yung mga problema mo.” He also cited its coffee and fresh vegetables.

Zach, on the other hand, hopes that the series will “show to everyone that Atok is really a beautiful place.” He said, “We need to acknowledge the locals there because without them, we won’t be able to shoot there… The locals that live there, I just wish there’s more acknowledgement to the farmers out there.”

There are so many memorable moments during their filming but the one that was unforgettable for the team was the eerie encounter with the “spirits.”

Zach recalled somebody called his name after “someone scratched” Anthony’s back.

Anthony narrated that he didn’t feel anything but when he was changing clothes on set, it was discovered that he had marks on his back.

“Para kang magkakalagnat (You have that feeling like you’re going down with a fever). I don’t really believe in those things but I did get scared. ‘Pag nasa CR nga ako mabilis ako ng maghilamos eh,” he added.

“It came to a point where the locals there (had to perform) a ritual,” shared Zach.

Direk Cathy further recounted the incident, “Actually, we had to stop shooting for a while because we couldn’t see anything on the cameras, only fog. We didn’t know how to continue. And something happened to Anthony. We invited locals if they could possibly appease kung ano mang spirits ang nandun. In such places, kailangan tayong magpasintabi. You have to ask permission. It’s a sacred place.”

Anthony detailed, “Ang gagaling ng mga locals because they know what kind of rituals to do when it comes to those situations… After that (ritual), the fog was gone, the fog cleared up and the vibe became light.”

Tara, G! will stream on the iWantTFC app (iOs and Android) and website (iwanttfc.com) beginning Oct. 7. Viewers can also find out how Team WISE started in the wattpad prequel, Summer Camp, which was written by Tina Lata.


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