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Karina & Aljon on Viral Scandal

Young stars Karina Bautista and Aljon Mendoza are overwhelmed with the warm reception of Viral Scandal that made its pilot on Kapamilya Channel last Monday, November 15.

Even Karina was amazed by the output since she wasn’t able to preview the first episode. She said everybody hoped for positive feedback and the comments they continue to receive are beyond expectations. Viewers are satisfied with the visuals, acting performance, and the show’s relevant plot.

In the series, Karina portrays Bea Sicat, the younger sister of Rica played by Charlie Dizon. As a result of middle child syndrome, Bea grows up bratty despite being surrounded by a loving family. In reality, she’s the opposite of Karina who lives independently at a very young age. Karina isn’t used to the sentimentality and closeness, so much so Dimples Romana, her on-screen mom, noticed that she’s holding back. She remembers Dimples telling her, “Karina, anak, your walls are too high. Hindi ka namin sasaktan dito.” Keeping that in mind, she slowly opened up and embraced her character.

Aljon is Pogs, a friend of the Sicat family who harbors special feelings for Bea and who can get combative when someone mocks the Sicats for Rica’s viral scandal. When briefed about his character, Aljon already felt a rush of excitement and visualized Pogs as “jologs pero mamahalin ng tao.” Admittedly, he couldn’t do it by himself, so he asked for pointers from his co-stars like Dimples and diligently listened to their directors.

Working with Charlie is a breeze. She’s fun, youthful, and her vibe radiates warmth. In Karina’s words, “walang showbiz side,” meaning Charlie is genuine and humble “na ‘pag ini-interview, para lang nakikipag-chikahan kasi ang normal niyang kausap.”  Karina and Charlie have intense sibling rivalry onscreen but off-cam are having the best time of their lives. They would exchange banter, chat like real sisters and, of course, collect TikTok videos. Aljon added that Charlie makes an effort to reach out.

On working with Joshua Garcia, Karina is reminded that life can be full of surprises, relating how they met inside the Pinoy Big Brother house when Joshua visited during her stint. She was so giddy then, clueless that they’ll become co-actors later on. Compared to his first time working with Joshua in an MMK episode, Aljon now feels more comfortable around him and everybody else. From the shy type who doesn’t even say a word. Aljon now isn’t scared to show his real ‘makulit’ side, which Joshua keeps up with.

Intimidated, Karina addressed Miko Raval as ‘Sir’ during their first Zoom meeting. But after a day or two of taping, Miko revealed his joker side. And even if he has zero paternal experience in real life, he effectively fleshed out his character as Karina and Charlie’s on-screen dad. There was one time he replied “love you, anak!” to Karina’s comment and the latter was deeply touched.

Aljon loves Miko for this reason: “Binibigay niya na sa akin si Karina.” He said Miko often jokes, “Sa’yo na ‘tong anak ko.” On a serious note, he appreciates Miko’s generosity and vibe.

Dimples, according to KarJon, is the life of the set. Her presence is the source of good vibes that’s why she’s missed when not around. Aljon noted Dimples’ strong intuition. She knows when somebody needs help even when not asking. That, according to Karina, is because of the actress’ penchant for astrological science. She said Dimples broke the ice by asking her zodiac sign, “Noong nalaman niyang Taurus ako, sabi niya, ‘Ay parehas kayo ni Ate Angel [Locsin] mo, best friend ko.” Even Karina and Charlie are influenced to explore astrology as well.

On Jake Cuenca, Aljon chose the word ‘astig.’ He said the actor transforms into a totally different person once the camera starts rolling since Jake plays an older character, a politician. He’s so believable that Karina was truly scared during their first scene, hence the retakes. She thought Jake would be annoyed but he was even encouraging. “After ng scene na ‘yun, inakbayan niya ako tapos sabi niya, ‘Okay lang ‘yan ganyan din ako nu’ng una.’ Ang comforting niya. Hindi lang halata pero palabiro din siya.” 

Here’s something people won’t expect to learn about Jake- he loves gummy candies! “Babawi ako sa workout,” he’d say after munching them down. True enough, he wakes up at 6am to run and do his fitness routine.

Viral Scandal, as a progressive teleserye, tackles relevant issues including the effects of social media. Artists like Karina and Aljon can relate to its downside, often the targets of public scrutiny and bashing. Still newbies in the ‘biz, Karina and Aljon are shocked at how intense it can get once you’re in the limelight.

“Nung una, masakit talaga. Dati, akala ko ang pagiging artista madali lang, ‘yung umaarte ka lang, magpe-perform ka. Pero hindi nakikita ‘yung behind the scenes, may pamba-bash pa. Affected ako nu’ng una,” Karina admitted. She’s not one to respond to haters, calling it just a waste of time and energy. 

“Closed-minded itong mga taong ‘to. Hindi naman ‘yun criticism na gusto nilang mag-exchange ng ideas. Hindi, eh, talagang pa-insulto na lang. So, sige kayo na lang bahala magtapon ng kung anu-ano pero ‘yung makita niyo akong masaya…,” she said, smiling. 

Unlike Karina, Aljon used to be very honest in explaining his side to the point of feeling guilty afterwards, “Talaga? Pinatulan ko ‘yan?” Now that he’s getting used to it, Aljon also learned to master the “art of dedma.” He stressed, “Ignore na lang. Pipiliin ko na lang ‘yung mga bagay na dapat maapektuhan ako lalo na sa mga taong importante lang sa akin, ‘yung mga totoong concern sa akin, hindi ‘yung hangad lang nila saktan ang damdamin mo.”

The love team went on to talk about their recent recording session for their characters’ theme song in Viral Scandal. They call it a dream come true, although unexpected. Aljon, who’s proud to reveal that he’s taking voice lessons, shared, “Sinabihan lang kami na ‘Ito, kayo ‘yung gusto namin kumanta nito.’ Sobrang tuwa namin kasi ‘yung lyrics, sinulat para sa characters namin. Talagang nabuhayan kami at relate kami sa bawat lyrics, parang may feelings talaga.”

KarJon didn’t think twice to showcase their singing talent. Besides, the song will also serve as motivation for their ‘kilig’ scenes and ‘slow-mo’ moments.

KarJon hopes Viral Scandal widens the perspective of viewers about the effects of social media and other relevant issues. Catch its episodes, weeknights, on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, and A2Z.

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