A few days after the last episode of “Forevermore,” I was in the supermarket when a young girl came forward and said she recognized me for having appeared in the hugely popular ABS-CBN teleserye: “You were Stephanie!”
I smiled and asked how she remembered, since my appearances in the show lasted for only a few days last December. She replied that she would always remember every part of the series because it had become part of her life.
After thanking her and going our separate ways, I thought how I, too, became a fan after spending time with the cast. While most viewers are still reminiscing about the story, allow me to share my experience with the cast members—not as the characters they played, but who they really are as regular people.
The hotel manager led the way to the fourth floor through a narrow hallway, and opened the door. “This will be your room,” he said. “If you have any questions, or need anything, please don’t hesitate to contact me.”
With a smile he handed over his business card and courteously exited the room. Unpacking my things, I kept visualizing how to portray my character, Stephanie Montecillo-Camembert, a villain in “Forevermore.”
This was a good thing since I have never played a bad character onscreen; I thought this was a nice opportunity and great training material.
But there was anxiety—even if I have already worked with the handsome Enrique Gil and veteran character actress Beverly Salviejo. I was quite excited to meet legendary actress Marissa Delgado, 1980s pop star Lilet, and Liza Soberano, one of “Forevermore’s” lead stars who, along with Enrique, is one of the reasons for the show’s popularity.
Running through my lines with Lilet, I noticed how time has not robbed her good looks and proper demeanor. We were led to the set for our sequence, and then Liza entered the room. I waited for the chance to introduce myself because we were to do the scene together.
Liza was just staring at me; Lilet noticed, gave her a slight nudge and said, “Miss Marina is introducing herself to you.”
Liza looked at Lilet, shook her head a bit, smiled, and replied, “Sorry, I was just feeling a bit starstruck.”
I replied, “Thanks, but the feeling is mutual… And I guess you haven’t seen a woman as tall as I am.”
Liza, Lilet and I laughed out loud. That was enough to break the ice.
Liza, only 17, was, indeed, a sight to behold. She exuded the warm, pleasant demeanor of a young woman, as well as its playfulness and wide-eyed optimism.
She sat beside me during a break and showed her photos in shoots she has done for fashion magazines while saying it was her absolute favorite thing to do.
Would you believe she does her takes without any makeup on? Even if her “Forevermore” character, Agnes, wasn’t supposed to wear makeup anyway, Liza looked sublime—on-and-off camera.
She asked to see a photo of my two sons and showed interest in the things that I do. She was called to do a take; watching her leave the room, I thought of how genuinely happy this lady was with her job.
The fight scene with Liza, where I had to beat her (and another talent, Emy) with my bag, was an unforgettable acting lesson.
Liza kept assuring me the whole time that whatever happened was fine with her; she just wanted the scene to look realistic.
As dusk fell, we moved to another location for the rest of the sequences. Entering the big waiting room, I saw Enrique talking with a co-actor. Noticing me, his face lit up; he greeted me like a long-lost friend.
“Tita!” he shouted. “How are you? How is your cat?”
I gave him a quick, tight hug and told him I was fine and happy to see him.
Flashing his pearly white teeth, he repeated, “So, how is your cat?”
I was pleasantly surprised. This busy young man actually recalled the story of my pet cat, Kitiket, who I adopted last year. This just showed that Enrique is a good listener, that he values what others value. It showed his good communication skills and high regard for others. These are what we wish every young man or woman had.
Enrique and Liza exemplify what it is to be truly remarkable persons. Modesty, good manners and sincerity can be seen in their behavior and words.
Even in an eccentric world such as show business, we can’t really judge people so quickly. The three days I spent with these actors were not to be underestimated. The cameras rolled almost continuously, without giving us the chance to have proper rest or sleep.
Scripts were finalized until the last minute and actors were forced to internalize their characters quickly. The whole thing was physically and mentally challenging, which goes to show that actors cannot be underestimated.
I have had the opportunity to work with a number of actors, and it is really behind the scenes that one gets to know more about them.
Liza, Enrique and the rest of the main cast of “Forevermore” were very professional, humble, and down-to-earth. There were no prima donnas, no spoiled brats and no causes of delay.
Even Marissa was a great trouper. Given her stature, she radiates elegance and speaks with much wisdom.
Everyone who loved the show will surely remember “Forevermore”—and I will, too.