The passionate and ‘badass’ actors of A Soldier’s Heart went to great lengths for their multi-faceted roles in the series. Representing the lives of military men, Gerald Anderson, Carlo Aquino, Nash Aguas, Elmo Magalona, Jerome Ponce, Yves Flores, and Vin Abrenica geared up by taking on rigorous, real-life army training, a year prior to the show’s premiere.
The intensive course under the 2nd Infantry Division Training School lasted for three days. As shown in the pilot week, the cast completed drills on the field including rifle handling, shooting and marching, interspersed with lectures. The primary goal was to transform their civilian attitude to military attitude.
Speed was crucial. They had to make snappy movements, otherwise, the lapses of one member lead to the suffering of all. “Kailangan laging quick ka not for yourself but for the group,” shared Elmo. Thus, as Yves pointed out, auditory response must be sharp. If not, the military punishment “tusok-ulo” (ranger’s bow) and “lublob” (wallowing in filthy canal) await them. These actors were punished and scolded for real.
The difficulties turned more intense in the Skills and Orientation Training at Camp Pablo Tecson. Fright (and excitement) could be seen in their eyes but giving up is never an option. As aired in the episodes, they devoured meals within ten counts, were fed with chilli, and did loaded runs. These men also completed rappel drills to develop mastery for climbing ropes, knots and other techniques, to simulate battles in the jungle and mountainous terrain.
It was a test of character and physical endurance, for Gerald but likewise a privilege, as Jerome puts it. While most of them were close to quitting, the company inspired them to finish the course. Nash and Carlo highlight the fun parts, especially the friendship built at the bootcamp.
These challenges fortified their camaraderie as co-actors. They learned the importance of team dynamics, of solid brotherhood. When combined, all these elements make A Soldier’s Heart one for the books for these men.
At the end of the course, more than the fuel to mount realism into their characters, it gave them a deeper understanding of a soldier’s commitment to service. The dream doesn’t come to life on itself. It takes physical strength, mental power and emotional stability. More importantly, it takes a strong and valiant heart.
“Hindi lang siya basta-basta na kung gusto mong maisip na mag-military ka o gusto mong protektahan ang bansa, disiplina talaga dapat manggagaling sa puso mo” expressed Vin.
He added, “Masarap siyang experience kasi dito pa lang mararamdaman mo na ‘yung parang pagiging makabayan. Lahat sila matulungin. Lahat mabait. Tsaka ang lalambot pala ng puso nila kahit alam mong panlabas nila brusko. Tao rin sila kagaya natin.”
The whole experience broadened their respect to the country’s unsung heroes. Gerald further lauded the troops’ discipline and related the training to life’s hurdles. “Kahit anong challenge ang ibigay sa’yo, harapin mo lang. Parang problema sa buhay, kailangan lang harapin at hindi pwedeng takasan.”
What was the greatest lesson you learned from A Soldier’s Heart? Let’s salute these men as the series ends on Friday, September 18 on Kapamilya Channel and Kapamilya Online Live.