The final mission begins in A Soldier’s Heart and as we anticipate the end of a war against own flesh and blood, and for justice and peace, three of the seven-man troop we admired on primetime will talk about the show’s gripping finale and what they’ve been up to since the taping came to a close.
Gerald Anderson, Carlo Aquino, and Jerome Ponce of A Soldier’s Heart focused on self-improvement since being stuck at home again after the lock-in tapings. The “new normal” setup at work helped them cope with the changes around them. They even appreciate the “positive” impact spawned from these changes such as limiting work schedules to a 12-hour period which means actors can also get enough rest.
One interesting story element that got viewers hooked to A Soldier’s Heart is the love angle between Privates Phil Panganiban (Jerome Ponce) and Benjie Arguilles (Yves Flores). The experimental team-up is such a hit, drawing teases from their co-actors. In this interview, Gerald and Carlo tried to outdo each other as the ultimate PhilJie shipper.
On a serious note, Jerome said that this angle was a delicate point to portray, given that they are wearing military uniforms and representing the army. The actors were careful in playing out the scenes and characters as they didn’t want to appear disrespectful. Although, as Gerald butted in, they truly encountered some troopers who could relate with Benjie’s soft side. But these men prove that sexuality is never a measure of one’s skills and worth. They even excel better. “At hindi ‘yun kabawasan ng pagkatao nila,” Carlo added.
Jerome revealed that they didn’t expect the “PhilJie” angle to grow into a major story element. He said it was just suggested and inserted in the script. The audiences’ positive reception inspired the production to elaborate on that aspect.
Jerome and Yves are good friends. When asked if their closeness is an advantage or a disadvantage in shooting their scenes, Jerome said that they’re pretty much serious when the cameras start rolling. Its’ a good thing that they’re both open to trying new things. He also hinted at an exciting finale scene between their characters, saying it was the most challenging “PhilJie” moment they ever did.
Carlo played as Abraham aka Abe, the Moro whose father was committed to defying other people’s wrong assumptions about their group, thus he decided to become a soldier when his father died. He wanted to build his own family but the circumstances put this dream on hold.
Sharing his most unforgettable experience while taping for the series, Carlo said he had to endure gout symptoms in the middle of a war scene. His co-stars started to poke fun at him at that point in the interview. Carlo recounted, “Bakbakan sa Nueva Ecija, takbuhan, putukan, barilan kami nina Sid pero inaatake ako ng gout. So, hirap na hirap akong tumakbo kasi naka-boots kami tapos hindi pantay-pantay ‘yung lupa, bato-bato. Bawat takbo, ang sakit sa tuhod tapos itong mga buddy ko, tinatawanan pa ako ng mga yan. ‘Yung pawis ko butil-butil.”
Gerald butted in, asking the viewers to review the “Test Mission” episode and notice Carlo’s close-up reaction shots during the war scene. “May eksena ako na babaril ako, sinigaw ko talaga,” Carlo described the pain. His co-stars had to help him walk after that take. Blame it on the ‘isaw’!
Looking back at the whole experience, Gerald expressed heartfelt gratitude to the viewers who stayed with them until the end despite the circumstances. He got sentimental while thanking the cast and production team for putting effort amid the crisis.
Mounting a teleserye is already a challenge on ordinary days. And to do an action-drama series at the time of a pandemic and the trial lock-in tapings doubled the obstacles. Gerald couldn’t help but feel proud of their team for pulling it off. “Nakakabilib ang puso ng Kapamilya artists and Kapamilya production,” he phrased.
More than the taping dilemmas and network crisis amid the pandemic, the actors also faced private matters while filming. But their passion and commitment to the viewers still ruled in their hearts. On a personal note, Gerald would admit that the series helped him overcome past issues. The newfound brotherhood became his outlet then.
Gerald added that he will never get tired of saying ‘thank you’ to the whole production team as they suffer more behind the scenes than the on-cam talents. They’ve been through a lot as a team, thus he can’t help but feel emotional especially the other day while he was watching videos from the series. He prays that the fans and audiences will continue to support them until the last episode on Friday, September 18.
Gerald hopes that the show served viewers with lessons on equality, respect, and love. And that just like his character Alex Marasigan, who has gone through a lot of obstacles, Filipinos will realize the value of respect despite the different views and conflicts in religion, politics, sexuality, and the likes.