'The Gift' sheds light on life in Divisoria
CEBU, Philippines — Painting a picture of modern Metro Manila, “The Gift,” GMA-7’s newest series, unfolds in the very heart of the buzzing Divisoria labyrinth, where the lives of the men and women who work there are just as colorful as their wares.
More than just Asia’s Multimedia Star, Alden Richards’ return to primetime television after a whole year, “The Gift” is in itself a heartwarming piece that represents people from all sorts of backgrounds, centered on the occurences within the life of Sep, a streetsmart and high-spirited vendor whose loss of eyesight will lead to the mysterious ability of perceiving the past and future.
During a Sept. 13 press conference at Golden Cowrie Lahug, “The Gift” cast members Mikoy Morales, Mikee Quintos, and Jo Berry shared their experiences in working on the show and why people should watch the drama where they portray characters that viewers can definitely identify with.
“Dito kasi mas pinapakita kung paano ang interaction ng isang grupo ng mga tao. Hindi lang kami sounding board ng mga thoughts at napagdadaanan ni Sep kundi, [pinapakita] kung paano mag-interact ang mga katulad namin na lumaki sa Divisoria, araw-araw kailangan kaming may mabenta kasi wala kaming makakain,” said Mikoy.
Mikoy, who plays the outgoing Bistek whose sales skills is uncontested in Divisoria, said that the colorful characters in “The Gift” paint a meaningful portrait from the point of view of vendors, to politicans, and even parents.
Speaking of parents, “Onanay” actress Jo Berry graces the small screen once more as Strawberry, who will stand as Sep’s adoptive mother whose size cannot contain her unconditional love and concern for the boy she raised as her own alongside her mother Elizabeth Oropesa as Lola Char.
Jo said her role is a blend of unadulterated love and mama fierceness.
“Pareho silang mother, pero ang masasabi ko na pagkakaiba is, si Onay na character is very nanay talaga. And si Strawberry may very strict mom side. Magkaiba silang mommy,” said Jo, explaining that despite not yet being a mother in real life, she draws from the affections she has for her loved ones.
Mikee is cast as the spunky Amor, who has secretly harbored feelings for her childhood friend, Sep. The 21-year-old “Encantadia” and “Onanay” actress said she had to get used to toning down her emotions for the tough Amor, because she was very much used to doing heavy dramas. The singer feels very grateful to get to know Manila and its people better through the immersion provided by the show.
“May adjustment na ginawa for Amor. May scenes with Alden na hindi kailangan yung iyak na iyak. Yung pagiging palaban at maabilidad hinanap ko talaga siya sa sarili ko,” she said. “Nag-immerse kami sa Divisoria and gusto ko sa gabi kasi ramdam mo yung after work, ano ang ginagawa nila. Sabay-sabay silang kumakain, and seeing that happen, doon ko na feel na slowly nahanap ko si Amor talaga.”
Asked of their expectations or at least if they ever think about how they will fare by the numbers versus the rival network’s “The General’s Daughter,” Mikee said she’d rather focus on her work, while Mikoy has high hopes for the show what with Alden in the lead.
“Sa experience ko sa mga shows ko before, hindi ko iniisip yun. When you think about that, there’s a certain level of pressure. As an actor mas hindi ka free. Kung nasa puso mo yung goal mo, mag focus ka sa trabaho mo,” added Mikee.
“Sumasagi but this is one of the first times na hindi ko inisip masyado,” said Mikoy. “Ang atmosphere namin sa set is ‘Sige, mag explore tayo,’ ‘Gawin natin to.’ May trust na maganda yung kalalabasan and merong something.”
Alden, on one hand, was more forthright about the business of ratings, but he stressed that is not their first responsibility as actors.
“Let’s be practical and frank, a show is only as good as the numbers it gets. I’ve been doing teleseryes for nine years now and of course it matters to a lot of people. To our bosses, the numbers matter,” he said.
“But for actors, and for the people in the creative process, it’s really the message that we want to send. It’s not the numbers that we are getting but how beautifully and how masterfully the show is created through the blood, sweat and tears of the people involved. Yes, may pressure sa numbers. Yun ang totoo. You cannot sugarcoat that,” said Alden.
“We believe in this material with all our lives. That’s what matters. If you believe in something that’s for the greater good, you do it. That’s why we are doing ‘The Gift’ kasi we believe in the message of the show,” said Alden.
Currently airing on GMA Telebabad, “The Gift,” directed by LA MAdridejos also stars Thia Thomalla, Jean Garcia, Christian Vasquez, Martin del Rosario, Ysabel Ortega, Betong Sumaya, Tetay, Rochelle Pangilinan, Luz Valdez, and Victor Amastacio, with the special participation of TJ Trinidad.