When you think of Jodi Sta. Maria, hit teleseryes such as Sana Dalawa Ang Puso, Pangako Sa ‘Yo and Be Careful with My Heart are closely associated. Before all of these, however, she started making a name for herself through a television series that is considered today as one of the 90s’ most iconic. The fact that iWant is showing reruns is a true testament to its popularity.
Tabing Ilog was one of Jodi’s early works which helped establish her career in show business. According to her, their main cast was handpicked from another TV series—Flames. There, young stars would be paired and featured for a week to test the chemistry. Aside from her, John Lloyd Cruz, Desiree del Valle and Baron Geisler all appeared on Flames before joining Tabing Ilog. “I think doon din nila nabuo ‘yung istorya doon sa barkadahan noong apat na pares,” she stated.
LOOK: Major Throwback: The cast of Tabing Ilog in 22 photos
In their four years on air, she would never forget having to travel out of town every week. The whole show was shot on location. “Ang layo-layo mo sa kabihasnan, ganoon ‘yung feeling,” she remembered. More important than the work experience, however, was the genuine friendship that went beyond the set. The Sino Ang Maysala? Mea Culpa lead star was already friends with Desiree because they were from the same Star Magic batch. It was when production started that she got to know Paula Peralejo more and then eventually John Lloyd and Patrick Garcia.
“Alam mong magkakaibigan kami na hindi lang ‘to basta’t pang trabaho,” Jodi described their bond. Even after the cameras were turned off and the series ended, they would still get together. They used to have annual reunions, but they have not had one recently because of busy schedules. Still, she believes that nothing has changed for them. “May kanya-kanya na kaming buhay pero, ako, alam ko na talagang sila ‘yung mako-consider ko na mga kaibigan ko sa showbiz,” she ended.