Sylvia muses on the joy and challenges of playing Barang as she reacts to her scenes in Huwag Kang Mangamba

Taking out naturalism from her extensive acting arsenal, Sylvia Sanchez delivered a believable and mesmerizing performance as Barang in the inspirational series Huwag Kang Mangamba. Marvel at her outstanding scenes as she reacts to them in this edition of Kapamilya React.

Before we look back at the most crushing, tearjerker ones, we begin with the amusing scene of Barang biting Deborah (Eula Valdes)’s arm when the latter sent her to a mental institution. It was amusing in a sense that Barang got her little act of revenge on the pseudo saint who made her life a living nightmare. While it may look simpler than many other scenes in the seriously dramatic teleserye, Sylvia revealed that it took them a lot of takes because they were careful not to hurt each other. But they enjoyed mounting that scene, as well as the other squabble moments, “Gustong-gusto ko ‘pag sinasabihan ko siya ng Debruha. Nalalaro ko ‘yun.”

We move on to a heart-wrenching encounter between Barang and the social worker who facilitated her daughter Lucia’s adoption. Recognizing the woman, Barang ran after her to ask for Lucia’s whereabouts. But the woman felt sorry that she couldn’t disclose any information due to laws of confidentiality, leaving Barang desperate, angry, miserable, and hurt.

Barang’s world was shattered all over again and it was hard not to feel every inch of her heartbreak. Sylvia reacted, “Ang sakit sa puso ng eksenang ‘yun!” And since there was so much happening under the surface, Sylvia found that scene strongly challenging.

“Nahirapan ako kasi sabay-sabay ‘yun eh. Iiyak siya, begging siya kung nasaan ‘yung anak niya, ‘yung mata niya umiikot, ‘yung dialogue kailangan pa rin klaro tapos may pinanggalingan pa ‘yun na takbo nang takbo so hiningal ako nang sobra,” she recalled.

Sylvia shined in her portrayal as the mentally challenged but loving Barang. For the veteran actress, it starts with embracing the character. She fully immersed in Barang’s circumstances because she needs to know her motivations in order to react to her co-actors – and this made Barang a tough role to portray. “Si Barang, kahit walang dialogue ‘yan, kahit nakatayo lang siya sa eksena, nagre-react siya sa lahat ng mga tao.”

It was very draining that she was left in tears one time, “After ng tatlong eksena, tumakbo ako sa second location. Pagdating ko sa van, humahagulhol ako kasi nade-drain na ako nang sobra kay Barang. Napapagod na ako nang sobra kay Barang.” Sylvia was referring to the scene where she had to dress as a “taong-grasa,” then, she witnessed Deborah and Agatha (Mercedes Cabral) throwing a dead man’s body in the river.

But, Sylvia clarified that she is grateful for playing Barang. “Sobrang gandang role ‘yun. Sobrang mahal ko pero talagang nakakapagod. Iniyakan ko siya literal. Sa thirty years ko sa industriya, first time kong umiyak dahil sa role ko. Pero sobra akong nag-enjoy. Nalaro ko nang husto si Barang.”

Then, the scene of Barang finally learning the truth about her relation to Mira (Andrea Brillantes) and Joy (Francine Diaz) after her relentless pursuit of answers. Sylvia said they gave it their all for the love of the viewers who’ve been waiting so long for that moment. “Sobrang bigat physically and emotionally ng eksenang ‘yun. Kailangan maayos lahat. Sobrang pawisan na ako dun. Pero masarap ‘yang eksenang ‘yan kasi ‘yan, kumbaga, ay isa sa kasagutan sa mga katanungan ni Barang.”

And the emotional commitment breathed life to probably one of the best dramatic performances ever shown in a teleserye. The love, longing, and hurt – every emotion was so palpable and powerful.

Sylvia’s scenes with Andrea and Francine are always a joy to watch, thanks to their genuine chemistry. The veteran actress said it’s impossible not to love the young stars. Andrea is her goddaughter and has also worked with her son Arjo Atayde in the Kapamilya show Eboy. Meanwhile, Francine is a sweet girl who loves to reach out to everyone on the set.

As someone with extensive experience in acting, Sylvia’s constant advice to The Gold Squad – Andrea, Francine, Seth Fedelin, and Kyle Echarri – is to focus on their craft, always do their best, and love their job so it’ll love them back.

As Huwag Kang Mangamba concludes, Sylvia wants to impart a message about Bro’s eternal love and presence. She hopes viewers were inspired to come back to God. “Ang tao talaga ang lumayo sa Diyos. Ang tao talaga ang nang-iwan, tayo, ako. Nangyayari din sa akin na ‘pag maganda at maayos na ang lahat, nakakalimot. Never tayong iniwan ng Diyos,” she related.

Sylvia’s divine talent was recognized at the 2021 Asian Academy Creative Awards where she was named the national winner for Best Supporting Actress. “Unang pumasok sa utak ko, ‘Wow! Lahat ng hirap ko kay Barang sulit,’” she said of the much-deserved accolade.

Don’t miss the last two nights of Huwag Kang Mangamba The Healing Finale on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, and A2Z.