Rita Avila has long been an exceptional veteran actress, gripping us with masterfully portrayed roles over the years, but her current antagonist role in Ang Sa Iyo Ay Akin really hits us to the core.
As Belen, she continues to wreak havoc on the lives of her daughter Ellice (Iza Calzado) and fierce rival Marissa (Jodi Sta. Maria) with her treacherous, slithering moves to get what she wants—a portrayal that left many viewers furious and emotional yet proved her continued onscreen brilliance.
In this episode of Kapamilya Confessions, Rita takes us through her journey playing Belen in Ang Sa Iyo Ay Akin, as she reveals unknown facts about her in answering netizen questions.
On a query if she has ever been good to Marissa, Rita said that as Belen, she could never show kindness to an adversary, but the same cannot be said behind the cameras. On tips she could give to aspiring actors entering the industry, Rita said that they should first accept the reality that the job and the acting craft are difficult, and that they should become determined, hardworking, and patient to succeed. She added that any actor who wants to make it in the business should also show humility and respect to fellow actors and must know how to get along with co-workers. “Dapat huwag lumaki ang ulo,” she emphasized.
On keeping fit and healthy, Rita said she follows a balanced diet with right amounts of food, a strict exercise routine. Rita then said in answering a question on working with fellow outstanding actors in Ang Sa Iyo Ay Akin that she always felt that sharing scenes with such good, talented, and supportive co-cast members is a “bonus,” pointing out that even if the work is taxing and draining, she would feel comfortable and refreshed during taping days.
Rita also expressed her gratitude and happiness in being a part of Ang Sa Iyo Akin in her next response to a query. She said she always treasures her smooth, trouble-free experience working on the set with her admirable and helpful co-actors, production staff and crew.
Rita would also declare that her most memorable experience on the show was actually stepping in the set for the first time. She admitted being an avid viewer of the show’s first season, and her joining the cast in the succeeding chapter was surreal. But her most unforgettable scenes were the time she first encountered Nanay Lucing (Maricel Soriano) and Ellice, and the moment she clashed with Lucing on a staircase. “Mahirap na maganda yun, talagang kabug-kabog yung dibdib naming dalawa ni Miss Maricel.” She also said she would miss all of her co-actors when the show wraps up.
On her most striking memory in the industry, Rita said that when she was a newcomer, having to see the big stars in the flesh was utterly fantastic. “’Yung makita ko at makatrabaho si Dolphy, Vilma Santos, Charito Solis, Susan Roces, Helen Gamboa, Nora Aunor.” Admitting she has always been a loyal Vilmanian, she recalled being overly starstruck when she first saw the Star for All Seasons in person.
Asked if portraying Belen was difficult, Rita said that taking on a role that is your complete opposite is certainly tough. She said she felt sad that Belen’s character has always been selfish and atrocious because of her past experiences that pushed her to the brink. Rita would then reveal how she dealt with the pandemic and the resulting lockdown, which indeed brought much stress and problems to her like everyone else. But the most important and gratifying thing during these trying times was that no one in her immediate family contracted the virus and continue to be healthy. She said she is very thankful that she continues having projects despite the pandemic.
Rita also said her inspiration in bringing out her best in every portrayal she makes is her family and loved ones. She added that she also wanted to touch and inspire people with her work. Rita also appreciated the observation of a netizen saying that she loved her character despite her evilness. “Napakalawak ng isip n’yo,” she said. Asked if she had problems forgiving anyone who wronged her, Rita said that those she finds difficult pardoning are those who just repeat their wrongdoings. But she emphasized that forgiveness would always come at the right time. “Kailangan lang ma-proseso mo ‘yung sarili mo na handa ka uli magtiwala or bigyan pa rin ng isang chance ang isang tao.”
Rita then shared the dish she likes to whip up and prepare for anyone, including those watching—spaghetti. On the advice she could give those who are experiencing anxiety and depression, Rita said anyone who struggles with mental health problems can actually help themselves if they want to. She said that it is “a choice and decision to make” and added that people should do things they love to do, such as hobbies, that may lead to something productive, instead of allowing themselves to become alone and idle. She further said that people always be grateful for all the things they have so that they could enjoy life as it is.
Asked how she harbors or develops emotions of anger or fury in her portrayals, Rita said in jest that she would think of the times she turned livid on her “spiritual daughter” Kate, her husband and Ang Sa Iyo Ay Akin director FM Reyes, and her friends so that she could slay the depiction. But seriously, Rita said an actor should be open and sensitive enough to carry a wide range of emotions at an instant.
If she was to go back in time, Rita was also asked what where those happy moments she wants to relive. She mentioned those times she and cousins would gather at their grandfather’s place where they had fun playing games, enjoyed the sumptuous food, brought home that one peso gift from her beloved lolo.
On how she feels with playing those intense, fierce confrontations on the drama, especially with Maricel, Rita said she always felt nervous when learns in the script that she needs to exert violence, such as slapping the Diamond Star. “Pero bilang artista, tanggap namin kung kailangan naming magsakitan o hindi.” But she shared they always laugh it off after those scenes were shot.
And finally, Rita was asked what she is most thankful for, and she responded that it is the presence of God during the lowest moments in her life, particularly the time when her parents separated when she was young. She is also thankful to God that people she had met through the years guided her through life in those difficult years, giving her work and opportunities that made her grow as a person and as an artist.
Catch more of Rita’s enlightening revelations in this episode of Kapamilya Confessions. Don’t miss the final few episodes of JRB Creative Production’s Ang Sa Iyo Ay Akin, created by Dindo C. Perez and Julie Anne R. Benitez and directed by FM Reyes and Avel Sunpongco, weeknights on the Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, TV5 and A2Z Channel 11.