Avisala, bitches
Irish Christianne Dizon (The Philippine Star) - April 22, 2016 - 10:00am

Some 12 years ago, noted screenplay writer Suzette Doctolero was in Tagaytay with a bunch of people from GMA-7’s drama department. They were there for a story summit, one that produced three of the network’s most iconic shows ever: Mulawin, Darna (for TV), and Encantadia. Suzette, who grew up listening to her Lola’s nighttime stories about faraway kingdoms and princes and princesses and their love for family, was tasked to come up with a story concept about diwatas (fairies). “Like ko yun,” she says in an email interview. “Pero I wanted fairies different from the ones we’ve watched or have heard about.”

She dug into the past and got inspired by old movies, like Prinsesa Naranja (“Movie yata ‘yun ni FPJ at nandoon si Elizabeth Ramsey who said the funny dialogue, ‘Sa isang libong halik ako ay puputi.’”), as well as big theater productions of Filipino folktales, like Ibong Adarna. It was her first headwriting job, so Suzette decided to pull out all the stops and create an epic show — literally. “Saan ko nakuha ang kwento? Wala. Pinagana ko lang ang imahinasyon ko,” she discloses. Then, in jest, adds, “Oh sige na nga. Fantasy version lang ang Encantadia ng magkakapatid na nag-aaway sa mana.”

The show was so successful that words from its lexicon, enchanta (think J.R.R. Tolkien’s elvish or George R.R. Martin,’s Valyrian) have become part of the mortal Pinoys’ everyday conversations. (“These were the words that became popular: Ashti, which means Auntie, popular with the bekis, naging part ng lingo nila iyan; Pashnea, which means hayup; Sheda, which means stop or magtigil ka; and Assnamon Voyanazar which means Open Sesame,” shares Suzette.) In its heyday, Encantadia merchandise, like coin banks, notebooks, and board games also flew off the shelves. This is probably why, 10 years since the show first aired, GMA has decided to create a “requel“ (remake plus sequel) of the series.

The requel features things both fresh and familar. The lead characters are still the Sang’gres (royals) Pirena, Amihan, Alena, and Danaya, but they are now played by new faces — Glaiza de Castro, 28, as Pirena, Kylie Padilla, 23, as Amihan, Gabbi Garcia, 17, as Alena, and Sanya Lopez, 19, as Danaya. Despite some violent opinions online, the creator of the show is “quite happy with the selection.” Suzette says Glaiza is “perfect for the role,” while “Kylie’s knowledge of martial arts will give Amihan’s character an added appeal.” As for the new newbies? The girls have big shoes to fill, so hopefully, makapasa sila sa audience.” In this Supreme exclusive, the four new Sang’gres talk about catfights (or the lack thereof), doubters and non-believers, and why they deserve to be in their spots.

How do you think will this project change your lives as actors?

Glaiza: Ang daming kumo-contradict, maraming nag-judge kaagad or maraming nag criticize. “Can they do it?” “Di bagay.” “Sino ba yang mga yan?” “Hindi sila deserving.” Before I would really feel insecure kapag sinasabi nila yun sa akin or sa mga tao na kasama ko. Ngayon parang ini-imbibe ko na siya. Magandang training ito sa amin as people who work in this industry. Na maging warrior.

Kylie: Ako naman sobrang kinabahan ako kasi ang Encantadia is such a big… it puts you out there as an “A-Lister” or whatever. People will see you more, will be more critical and I’m a private person. I’m quiet di ba? Sinasabi nila. Ayoko namang masyadong maiba ako as a person. It’s hard for me to keep grounded on a level na gusto ko, dito lang ako, tapos biglang after Enca, ay lahat ng tao ang dami nang expectations. Especially since I’m in the shadow of my dad. Though I’m actually excited to prove that I’m nowhere near where my dad is. I can make my own name. But I’m still uncomfortable with the showbiz part and all of that. Yun lang talaga kinakabahan ako.

Gabbi: Me, this is my biggest break ever, so I kept thinking na shucks, Encantadia, we all have our own characters. Parang Captain America. For me, kailangan mag marka yung role na to. It will give me the biggest break, this could open doors, this could make me make my name here in showbiz. Eto na yung time ko as an artist. All of my roles before were puro love team. Pa-tweetums and puro pa-cuteness and kiligness. My character here is very kilig din, kasi romantic ako dito, but this is more mature and this is like a level up. May sariling buhay yung character ko and yung character ni Ruru (Madrid, her co-star).

What is the most hurtful thing you heard about getting casted?

Sanya: Mukha lang daw akong paa ni Danaya. On Twitter. Na hurt ako dun. Char lang. Pero actually yung bashing, hindi ako nasasaktan kasi mas ginagawa ko siyang constructive eh. Everyone kasi nagtatanong, “Sino ba siya?” Ako naman, accepted ko naman kung ano yung sinasabi nila kasi, sino ba naman ako? Actually nakatulong din yung kung may bashers man. Hindi natin maiiwasan na magalit or mainis or ma-apektuhan sa sinabi nila pero siguro gawin na lang natin yung best natin di ba? Eto na yun eh.

What was it like to finally put on your costumes?

Glaiza: During auditions, we had to do a scene with other actors na pinasuot kami ng costumes. Sabi ko ano ba to? Pinapasuot na kami ng costume!

Kylie: Baka ma-attach ka!

Glaiza: Baka ma-attach ako sa costume.

Gabbi: Baka umasa lang ako!

Glaiza: Oo baka ma-attach ako sa costume! Ito kasi yung costume na nakalagay dun sa lobby ng GMA for exhibition. Sinuot namin! Sh*t, ang saya! Sabi ko, okay na rin kung sakaling hindi man ako matanggap, at least nasuot ko yung costume ni Pirena, the iconic costume.

What did it feel like to get the role?

Glaiza: After ilang weeks (of auditions), nakatanggap ako ng text na “Glaiza, for third call back.” Ano ba to? Sobrang pinapa kaba naman ako nito. Ilang call backs ba gagawin namin dito? Yung third call back, dun ko na sila lahat nakita. Tapos nakakatawa yung scenario kasi lahat kami nasa iisang dressing room, tapos pinapalabas kami isa-isa. Pero hindi kami pwedeng lumabas ng sabay sabay. Tapos kapag may pinalabas na isa, hindi kami pwedneg lumabas. May naka guard sa door, na hindi mo pwedeng malaman. Parang beauty pageant. Tapos pinatawag kami. Tinanong sa amin ni Direk Mark (Reyes): Gaano mo ba kagusto tong role na to? So isa-isa. Siyempre bigayan na kami ng mga matitinding sagot. Dapat tumatak to sa kanila. Sabi ko, before pa ng auditions, talagang nag pe prepare na ako physically. Pinapanood ko yung training ni Takeru Sato for Rourouni Kenshin, yung evolution niya as an actor from this parang tuko, sobra kasing payat niya before, tapos bigla siyang nag Rourouni Kenshin, sabi ko, sh*t, grabe. Immersed na immersed siya sa role niya na yun. Sabi ko gusto kong pag aralan yan.

Anyway, after naming lahat sumagot, sinabihan kami, “We want to officially welcome you…”

All the girls: Waaaaaaaaaaaah!!!

Sanya: Umiyak na lang kami. Wala ka nang masabi. Grabe ang sarap ng feeling.

How will you differentiate yourselves from the original Sang’gres?

Glaiza: We can never outdo what they did. Kung ano man yung ginawa nila, markado na yun. We can only create a new version of ourselves, not just the characters. So I underwent a session. Sabi ko before I start this project, gusto kong ma-kondisyon yung mind ko na gusto kong maging prepared ako for this. Ginagawa namin to sa theater, imagine yourself na kung anong hitsura ni Pirena or whichever character that you’re playing, na nasa harap mo. Imagine mo siya kung paano mo gusto siyang gumalaw, yung posture niya, kung paano siya magsalita, and then slowly you walk towards her. Pumasok ka sa kanya.

Kylie: Ako personally, hindi ko pinapanood yung original. Kasi I have a tendency to copy unconsciously. And I don’t want to please just the old crowd, the old Encantadia fans. Yung ginagawa ko ngayon, kinikilala ko si Amihan how I want her personally. When I read the script, I experiment with the voices. Amihan grew up sa mundo ng mga tao bago siya naging Sang’gre, so I wanna make her as human as possible. And then make her into my Amihan.

Sanya: Hindi naman natin maiaalis (the comparison) kasi sila na yun eh. Natandaan na ng tao yun, minahal na ng tao. Andiyan na yun. Siguro kami ang gagawin na lang namin is kung minahal sila ng tao noon na ganun, hindi naman siguro masama rin na manggaya muna as a baguhan, lalo na para sa akin. 10 years na di ba? Siguro yung technology natin, iba na rin, so may mga iba’t-ibang atake na rin. Meron na rin sigurong mas magandang labas.

Gabbi: I’m not really gonna try to outdo but then, we’re not replacing them, we’re just making a new, fresh version for the young audiences, for the generation now.

* * *

Tweet the author @IrishDDizon.

 

Photo by JC CERILLA

Produced by DAVID MILAN

Makeup by ANTHEA BUENO
and DON DE JESUS of MAC Cosmetics

Hair by MONG AMADO

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