Being part of a Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF 2018) entry is a highlight for any Pinoy actor. His or her work will be seen by more moviegoers because only Filipino films are shown nationwide during the annual festival that kicks off on Christmas Day. It becomes a stepping stone more so for budding actors as they are able to gain media mileage. This holds true for love teams Loisa Andalio and Ronnie Alonte (LoiNie), Maymay Entrata and Edward Barber (MayWard), and Donny Pangilinan and Kisses Delavin (DonKiss).
The young stars are part of the film Fantastica which is headlined by Vice Ganda, Richard Gutierrez, and Dingdong Dantes. The screen tandems note that their inclusion in this year’s MMFF has allowed them to work on their artistry and enhance their comedic skills. A bonus for them is that they were given the chance to strengthen their bond.
“Magaan eh. Diba kasi minsan ‘pag magkakasama kayo na love team parang ang bigat? Parang feeling mo may kompetisyon. Sa amin hindi kompetisyon, as in para kaming naglalaro lang talaga,” Loisa tells Inside Showbiz Weekly. Ronnie echoes his lady love, “Kwentuhan sila nila Kisses at Maymay na kwentuhang all girls. Kami naman nila Edward at Donny trip-trip kami diyan. Kumbaga parang magkakapatid lang talaga kami. As in ang gaan eh.”
Ronnie, Edward, and Donny are the younger brothers of Vice Ganda’s character while Loisa, Maymay, and Kisses play sibling princesses (together with comedian Chokoleit). “Dream come true talaga sa akin ito dahil nasusubaybayan ko lahat ng MMFF 2018 ni Ms. Vice. Every time na nag-mo-movie siya, ‘yun ‘yung pinakamalaking movie, blockbuster talaga, tapos nagbibigay talaga ng totoong saya sa lahat ng nanonood. Tapos ngayon parte kami sa movie ni Ms. Vice, ibig sabihin nun isa din kami sa magpapasaya sa mga tao,” adds Maymay.
Edward expresses his excitement, “Now, we’re gonna be seen by people from all groups, from youngest to the oldest, and families. So that’s a crazy feeling because I used to be the one walking, passing by in a cinema seeing those posters, seeing tickets and everything, and now we’ll be the ones [there].”
Moreover, Donny and Kisses point out how the atmosphere of camaraderie on set is translated to the big screen. Kisses says of Vice Ganda, “I like the fact na pinaparamdam niya sa amin na anak niya kami. That’s the best part.” Meanwhile, Donny guarantees, “It’s from the heart, this movie. Hindi lang para mapatawa ang audience but also they can learn something and get something from it.”
Loisa and Ronnie are no MMFF rookies, but Fantastica is their first film project as a love team. Ronnie was part of the 2016 MMFF entries Seklusyon and Vince & Kath & James while Loisa was in last year’s top grosser, Gandarrapido: The Revenger Squad, which starred Vice Ganda, Pia Wurtzbach, and Daniel Padilla. “Si Mama Vice kasi nanay-nanayan ko talaga siya. Sobrang inaalagaan niya ako sa set kasi diba ‘yung buhok ko po dun naka-wig ako. As in inaayos niya ‘yung buhok ko,” shares 19-year-old Loisa.
Ronnie, 22, has also worked with Vice Ganda on the variety show It’s Showtime. “Pero iba ‘to eh, iba ‘yung acting. Wala din eh, parang normal lang din kami na magkapatid. Kumabaga iba talaga ‘yung closeness namin ni Ganda sa Showtime. Kaya lang, sa movie parang wala na lang sa amin na pressure eh, as in parang hindi kami nagtratrabaho eh,” he states.
Both attest to Vice Ganda’s generosity as a co-star. Ronnie recounts, “Minsan kasi sa part ko, kapag nag-a-ad-lib siya, ayoko sumabay. Hindi naman kasi ako komedyante. Pero ang pinaka nagustuhan ko talaga sa kaniya, before mag-take, sasabihin niya sa akin, ‘Ito ‘yung sasabihin ko, ito ‘yung ibabato mo sa akin.’” Loisa adds, “May mga script na wala akong line tapos bibigyan ako ni Vice ng line. As in dapat lahat kami may linya. Kahit walang kasaysay na linya, nagagawan niya ng paraan. Ganun siya ka-fair sa aming tatlo.”
Loisa portrays a dainty princess while Ronnie takes on a bad boy persona in the film. For them, the biggest challenge they faced didn’t have anything to do with their roles. “Ang hirap talaga eh. Natatawa talaga ko,” remarks Ronnie. Loisa teases, “May mas nakakatawa pa talaga na dapat abangan. Kaya nga nagulat ako, sobrang dami nilang banatan. Richard, Dingdong. Diba parang ngayon lang natin makikita sila na mag-co-comedy? Sobrang bait nila.”
At present, another challenge that they have been working on is the teleserye The General’s Daughter which will be aired next year. “Iba ‘yung action eh. Action din ‘yung amin pero light. First time kong gumawa ng ganun at ‘yun ‘yung pangarap kong gawin. Kaya excited akong mapanood ng tao,” shares Ronnie. “Excited din ako. Bukod sa katrabaho ko si Ronnie, kasi andun sila Ate Angel [Locsin], Janice de Belen, Eula Valdez at Ate Ryza [Cenon], sobrang grabe ‘yung mga artista talaga, Albert Martinez. As in kami lang ‘yung bata dun,” says Loisa.
As for their personal relationship, it is quite a challenge to be a couple in the public eye. But Ronnie reassures: “Ito, very, very strong kaming dalawa. Masaya kami. Unang-una, hindi naman kasi namin pinapansin ‘yung mga tao na nakapaligid sa amin, ‘yung mga husga ng tao sa amin, kung anu-ano ‘yung mga below the belt na sinasabi sa amin. Strong kami talaga. Hindi kami papatibag sa mga nanghuhusga sa amin.”
It’s a different story, meanwhile, for MayWard as the pair takes part in its first MMFF project. However, comedy is nothing new to them as they have starred in the movies Loving in Tandem and Da One That Ghost Away. “Isang karangalan ang makatrabaho ang isang Ms. Vice dahil hindi mo lang siya makakasama, may matututunan ka sa kaniya. Kasi talagang nagbibigay siya ng advice sa amin like ‘Huwag kayo magbabago,’ ‘Pabayaan niyo na mga negative sa buhay niyo kasi ‘yan ‘yung magpapa-down sa ‘yo,’ ‘Lagi kang matapang,’ tapos ‘Stay grounded,’” recounts Maymay.
The 21-year-old continues, “Bigla nalang siyang mag-a-ad-lib tapos biglang kakausapin ka niya tapos ikaw mag-a-ad-lib ka din. Todo support siya sa aming lahat na love team. Talagang pakikisamahan ka niya.” Edward, 18, mentions his observations of The Unkabogable Star: “She would read the script, look at the set. She’s very hands-on, it’s not of those things na she’s overstepping. She’s very respectful as well. Tapos she knows her strengths and weaknesses.”
The Pinoy Big Brother alumni also divulge details about their film’s Kapamilya, Kapuso, Kapatid trailer which went viral. Maymay narrates, “Sobrang nagulat kami. Nung nag-punchline na si Ms. Vice, tapos nag-ad-lib siya. Biglang binato niya kay Sir Dingdong. Nag-ad-lib din siya tapos binato niya kay Ms. Jaclyn [Jose]. Tapos si Ate Vice, then si Sir Richard. Siyempre wala naman siya alam, nag-ad-lib siya. Ad-lib ‘yun lahat.” Edward recalls, “Sobrang nahirapan kami sa take na ‘yun. As in tawang-tawa kami, we almost messed it up. We had 15 minutes to recover for the next take.”
It’s nice to see how Maymay and Edward are already comfortable with acting alongside household names. “Now, medyo sanay kami in terms of how to handle the nerves, how to handle the pressure, how to get rid of it as well. Kasi now, we’ve learned a lot of things that people can’t teach you. People would give advice, but you wouldn’t really understand it until you’ve come through. So, we’ve grown up,” declares Edward.
They have also become even closer this year. “Kahit sino naman po siguro, kapag lagi mong kasama ‘yung tao mas magiging kumportable ka sa kanya,” admits Maymay. Edward even showed his support for Maymay in Dubai when she walked for Arab Fashion Week, the first Filipino to do so. “Sobrang nakaka-proud, sobrang nakakatuwa lalo na din sa mga suporta sa akin na nandiyan lagi,” remarks Maymay. “Hindi naman ako magiging kumportable sa pagrampa dun, tsaka talagang binigay ko ‘yung best ko, kung walang nag-su-support sa akin.”
It is expected that Maymay and Edward will continue their close partnership as they have upcoming projects. “Marami pong mga pasabog na hindi pa puwedeng sabihin,” says Maymay. For the meantime, they ensure that they will continue to value their careers. Maymay states, “Mine-maintain lang po namin kung ano ‘yung blessings na mayroon kami sa mga buhay namin. Tine-treasure namin lahat ng ‘yun.” Edward adds, “We’re trying to keep our ideals and morals the same. Even if we fail or succeed or we’re not satisfied with our work, at least we’re getting experience from it.”
Joining Maymay and Edward in the roster of MMFF 2018 newbies are Donny and Kisses. Fantastica is the second big screen project of the DonKiss team-up following the teen flick Walwal. Apart from being thankful for being part of their first MMFF project, Donny and Kisses are also grateful to have witnessed the film’s creative process.
“Nakita ko si Tita Jaclyn at Mommy Vice na nag-co-collaborate sila sa isang eksena, na pinag-uusapan nila, nire-review nila ‘yung lines. Parang ang ganda nun kasi it’s a collaborative work, kasi it’s not just you in acting, kailangan na-co-complement mo din ‘yung ka-partner mo pala sa acting. They’re so cool. Tapos kapag nag-eksena na sila, wow, ang galing,” exclaims the 19-year-old Kisses.
Donny, 20, praises their director, Barry Gonzalez, who is also making his MMFF debut. “Direk Barry is super, super cool. We’ve gotten super close to him. He’s an amazing director.” Kisses adds to that, “Nahanga ako sa kanya kasi he’s very open to suggestions. He’s not the kind of director na kung ano ‘yung vision niya, ‘yun lang ‘yun. He’s very welcoming.”
The DonKiss tandem also appreciates the guidance they have received from elders on the set. “The cast and the director helped us a lot kasi we learned from them. Sila Kuya Richard, Ryan Bang. Sobrang nakakatawa si Kuya Ryan. Tsaka siyempre si Kuya Dingdong, Vice, and the comedians, how can you not learn from them? Grabe ‘yung banter nila off-cam. Not just during the scenes eh. That’s how they are in real life. They’re really funny,” states Donny.
He goes on to share his other learnings: “No matter how far you’ve gone in life, there are people who will come and you’re not gonna know them fully. Parang ginawa nila Kuya Dingdong, Kuya Richard sa amin diba? I just felt so inspired by that kasi sobrang down to earth lang nila. So I just wanna aspire to be like that when I get older. No matter what happens, nandoon ka pa sa humility na ‘yun. Kasi sobrang cool lang talaga sila, parang katropa lang namin sila when they’re talking to us, when they gave us advice.”
Kisses, for her part, shares what she has learned from her love team partner. “‘Yung na-appreciate ko sa kaniya is ‘yung chini-check niya ‘yung mga tao sa paligid niya. Halimbawa ako, chini-check niya kasi may gown ako. Tinutulungan niya ako ‘pag maglalakad kasi malaki ‘yung gowns namin. Na-appreciate ko lang ‘yun kasi he doesn’t have to do that pero he still does,” remarks Kisses, to which Donny replies, “Matic na ‘yun, ano ka ba?”
Donny also highlights his takeaway from working with Kisses: “No matter how tired you are, kahit sobrang pagod ka na, puyat, gagawin niya pa rin eh. Sobrang G pa rin niya, sobrang energetic. That’s something I’ve just tried to hang off kasi I am not a morning person talaga. ‘Pag hindi ako nakatulog, bad mood ako. Alam mo ‘yun? I won’t mind anyone pero si Kisses hindi siya ganun. Kahit ‘di pa ‘yan nakatulog, sobrang excited na niyan on set.”
The DonKiss pair is only a year old but it has already been blessed with two movies and a teleserye—the daytime romantic-comedy Playhouse bannered by Zanjoe Marudo and Angelica Panganiban. “I think ‘yung naging preparation po namin is ‘yung Playhouse kasi ‘yun ‘yung pinakamatagal kaming nag-taping. And then parang naging stepping stone namin ‘yung Playhouse para sa movie,” comments Kisses.
She continues, “Pagdating namin sa movie, we know how to act. Alam na namin kung paano paglaruan ‘yung eksena. So, thankful kami for Playhouse, sa training ground.” Although they are currently seen on weekday television as Zeke and Shiela, Donny and Kisses admit that they have no idea about what is up next for their screen partnership. “Pero ang masasabi lang namin, sobrang excited lang kami. I’m very excited,” concludes Donny.