Maalaala Mo Kaya has this annual tradition of presenting a story related to the paranormal. This year, the special horror episode titled “The Awakening” is handed to RK Bagatsing under the helm of Director Froy Allan Leonardo. Find out the challenges and real-life ghostly experiences they had while filming the episode.
Based on the trailer, “The Awakening” is about Billy and how he dealt with his disturbing gift of paranormal visions since childhood. RK opted not to talk to the letter sender, scared that knowing more might cause him to attract bad spirits. Nonetheless, he managed to build his portrayal based on the script, research, and collaboration with Direk Froy and the whole team.
Direk Froy, on the other hand, chatted with the now Singapore-based Billy to dive deeper into his story. The most unforgettable part of the conversation was when Billy described the exact details of Direk Froy’s house even if he hasn’t seen it yet. Listening to Direk Froy’s anecdote, RK laughed and said that’s exactly what he’s been trying to avoid.
RK’s pre-pandemic “Tattoo” episode received positive reviews and trended online. Asked if this adds to the pressure, he admitted he would never be spared from having jitters since MMK has a reputation to keep as the longest-running drama anthology in the country. Besides, he takes every role as a challenge and a responsibility, especially this MMK episode, his first horror assignment.
“I want to acknowledge the tremendous effort of building the character and at the same time, ‘yung make-believe na mga nakikita ko kahit wala naman. So, napakahirap, pagod na pagod talaga ako,” he related in this edition of Kapamilya Chat.
But his teammates were very collaborative, helping him feel more relaxed on set and making work easier. “’Yung commitment mo and imagination mo, mapapadali because of the collaboration, eh. Lahat sa set nakatutok naman. So, mahirap pero fulfilling kaya it’s something that I’m really proud of and excited ako na mapanood.”
Direk Froy, now on his sophomore MMK episode, also felt pressured considering that the program only features a horror story once a year. And this one’s entirely different from his previous work, which was a love story headlined by Charlie Dizon and Kiko Estrada. But, likewise, he is grateful and honored to direct the episode and witness RK’s brilliance as an actor.
“Si RK, sobrang gaan katrabaho. He is exceptional. I must say wala siyang palalampasin na pagkakataon if he’s given the chance. Sobra kong ina-admire ‘yung work ethics, ‘yung passion niya sa craft niya. Alam mo ‘yung first take pa lang namin, iyakan agad,” he said, adding that RK told him to correct his performance in case he’s going overboard. He appreciates that RK trusts him as his director.
They’re also joined by Ryza Cenon, who was very generous as an actress, according to Direk Froy. He worked with Ryza in The General’s Daughter but is still surprised with her performance.
“Mas malaki ‘yung binigay niya kesa doon sa expectations ko… It’s really fun doing the intense scenes nila ni RK. She did her homework. No’ng nag-usap-usap kami ng lahat ng cast kung ano ‘yung insights at expectations namin about this episode, sobrang nagbigay din si Ryza ng input niya,” he revealed.
Asked if they had paranormal encounters while taping, Direk Froy mentioned he heard a mysterious voice while taping a scene. “Sabi ko, ‘Cut! Cut! Sandali may maingay. May narinig kayo?’ ‘Yung mga staff napatingin sa akin, parang, ‘Direk, ano ‘yun?’ Sabi ko, ‘Ako lang ba? Meron talaga.’” He wanted to replay the scene but his teammates opted to just ignore what he heard and re-take the scene.
This MMK episode wishes to break the stigma surrounding people with such mystical abilities. RK imparted that acceptance must also begin within the person by appreciating the positive qualities instead of dwelling on imperfections. “Looking at the mirror, we acknowledge different flaws. Nakikita natin ‘yung hindi natin gusto… But most of the time, naba-blind side ka ng mga good qualities mo, eh. Hindi mo alam meron ka rin palang positive things in your overall persona na lagi mong kinaliligtaan kasi naka-focus ka masyado sa negative side mo.”
He continued, ”The thing that makes you imperfect also makes you human. Wala namang perpektong tao, eh. Imperfect, when you spell it out means ‘I am perfect.’ Kung masyado tayong nagwo-worry na hindi tayo kayang mahalin ng ibang tao, hindi tayo pogi o maganda sa paningin ng iba, it starts with you. You have to love yourself first before others could love you.”
This journey to self-acceptance and embracing his gift is one thing that Billy had to go through. And as he did, he realized his unusual ability can be beneficial, too.
Watch MMK “The Awakening,” tonight, November 19, on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, and A2Z.