Cities apart, Karina Bautista and Aljon Mendoza embrace their individualities during this lockdown period while still keeping in touch with each other and their growing supporters. Karina is cooped up inside her studio-type condominium unit in Quezon City, together with some friends. But instead of just letting the boredom seep in, the young actress discovered something else to add up to her long list of talent and passion – diamond painting. The new craft hobby enables anyone to create an image akin to a painting using pieces of rhinestones, imagine a creative fusion of cross-stitch and jigsaw puzzle. Karina has already made seven pieces, thus far, mostly on a 40 by 40 inch canvass. She bashfully shows one of her masterpiece – a swirly tree. Known for being madiskarte at a young age, Karina plans to create more diamond paintings and sell them afterwards.
Her love team partner Aljon is in Pampanga City, spending most of his hours accomplishing his ‘tito duties.’ Aljon finds priceless fulfilment in babysitting, saying the giggly joy of an innocent child really is contagious. He disciplines the kids when needed but not to the point of inciting physical punishment. On his other free time, Aljon finally makes use the ukulele he received as a gift last year.
Aljon believes that we shouldn’t just focus on safety but also strive for happiness in these times. And one way to attain happiness is to look for activities that make us feel passionate and productive. Aljon adds that stretching the bones with simple household chores can already make a difference.
But while productivity must be a goal this lockdown period, Karina reminds us to listen to our own phasing. There’s no need to fake our productiveness just to keep up with others, it will only make us feel drained than fulfilled. Karina asserts that motivation must come out naturally and not just forced by social media pressure.
Ampalaya Chronicles Presents “Labyu Hehe”
Karina and Aljon continue to move up the love team ladder, after less than a year since stepping out of the Pinoy Big Brother house and joining showbiz. Their chemistry led them to playing supporting roles in a top-caliber series right away via Sandugo where they shared screens with veterans like Vina Morales and Gardo Verzosa. And in the middle of doing this afternoon serye, the newbies started working on their first lead roles in “Labyu Hehe,” the second episode of “Ampalaya Chronicles” series on iWant.
The pair gushes over their biggest project to date, overwhelmed and grateful for the trust they continually receive from fans and the management. Karina and Aljon are determined to prove themselves worthy of the ‘risk’ and assured that they went the extra mile as actors.
“Labyu Hehe” revolves around two best friends whose innocent friendship will progress into romantic feelings for each other, complicating, and embittering, their lives. “Normal na magkakagusto ka sa best friend mo, nasa sa’yo na kung lalabanan mo to keep the friendship,” expresses Aljon whose role required a natural flair for spoken word poetry.
Admittedly, the young actor had problems with public speaking from memorization to delivery. He, therefore, took his workshops seriously and watched a number of spoken word performances. Consistent tongue twister exercises also helped improve his speech.
Karina approached Elisse Joson – her Sandugo co-star and lead actress of the first “Ampalaya Chronicles” episode – to ask for useful tips. The success of Elisse and Khalil Ramos’ episode brought pressure to Karina. But more than the high expectations, she also struggled with the fatigue from juggling two big projects at the same time. She, nevertheless, did not complain, and opted to focus on the rush of excitement and just deliver her best. Karina even recalls drowning in overwhelming emotions after they finished filming. She cried while inside her van, her tears being a mix of relief, joy, and exhaustion.
In “Labyu Hehe,” Karina portrays the role of Peng who has a boyish personality. While she used to be one of the boys in high school, Karina still had to be careful in mounting realism to her character. She had to pepper Peng’s boyish acts with the right amount of female softness. Karina adds that Peng is a hardworking daughter, someone who likes to keep the household under her control after her mother’s demise. Asked if there’s a lesson she learned from her character, Karina muses, “Sometimes it’s okay to ask for help and to have someone around. You don’t have to face everything alone.” And about her craft, Karina realized that learning and exerting effort do not come to an end.
Aljon, on the other hand, plays as Sol, a guy trapped in his parents’ high expectations. Dealing with the pressure, Sol will often confide to his best friend until the emotional attachment develops into special feelings. Sol’s character will be relatable to many, but Aljon hopes that those dealing with parental expectations may also realize what he learned from Sol. “Pinagsasabihan ka nila dahil mahal na mahal ka nila,” shares Aljon. In terms of his acting experience in “Labyu Hehe,” Aljon admits that he was starstruck with Roxanne Guinoo who plays as his on-screen mom. He even felt kilig when Roxanne followed him on Instagram and, of course, he clicked the ‘follow back’ button right away.
Catch “Ampalaya Chronicles Presents: Labyu Hehe,” streaming on iWant starting June 3, and find out if love is worth risking the friendship!
KarJon takes on the ‘Where am I’ Challenge
Karina and Aljon make the most of the quarantine period by exploring their hidden talents and pouring their love on their families. But just like anyone else, they also miss the outdoors. KarJon wishes to go on a travel after all these, only if the protocols will permit.
Karina is supposed to spend this year’s summer time in the beautiful island of Siargao while Aljon wanted a beach vacation as well. Then again, these plans had to take a back seat because of the coronavirus pandemic.
To tickle their wanderlust a bit, howsoever, Kapamilya Chat dares Karina and Aljon to a travel-inspired game called “Where Am I” challenge. The mechanics is to guess the Philippine tourist spot flashed on the screen. The first to get three points wins.
Karina is on a roll as she dominates the activity on the first two rounds. Aljon keeps up by third round, keeping things exciting, until the game ends with a tie.
‘Bring Me’ with KarJon
If there’s one important characteristic we noticed from Karina and Aljon, it would be none other than their genuine connection, a crucial part of a love team’s anatomy. Their chemistry isn’t something forced, or else, they wouldn’t be able to easily squeeze themselves in the busy scene of showbiz. KarJon is a natural and they know how to give and take, as what we saw in this Kapamilya Chat ‘Bring Me’ game.
They are so comfortable with each other that when asked to bring items describing their love team partner, Karina takes a roll of toilet paper, candidly disclosing that Aljon had a habit of running to the comfort room while they were still inside the Kuya’s house. Aljon, meanwhile, opts for a hanger and reveals that Karina likes hitting him when laughing or feeling kilig.
On the second round, KarJon is asked to bring an item they received from one another and here’s where the kilig soars higher. Karina shows a letter penned by Aljon for her birthday. She says the card is kept hidden in a treasured box inside her closet. “Labimpitong taong-gulang na ang ‘Miss Independent’ ng Isabela,” says the first line in Aljon’s letter. And while Karina wishes to keep the whole content a secret, the glow in her eyes reveal that it was sweet and heartfelt.
Aljon flaunts one of the tiny seashells that Karina collected from a beach trip. The shell as a gift might just be random and doesn’t have a particular significance but, for Aljon, little things matter most. He considers it as a lucky charm and always keeps it secured inside his bag. In that way, he could always take Karina’s presence with him anywhere he goes.
The sweet pair invites everyone to catch “Ampalaya Chronicles Presents: Labyu Hehe,” streaming on iWant starting June 3, the first of many lead roles awaiting the new love team.