Angelica Panganiban and Angels that Slap Really, Really Hard

Angelica Panganiban's catfight scene with Angel Aquino on their upcoming soap "Apoy Sa Dagat" is quite tame when compared with the former's slap scene with Angel Locsin in the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) entry "One More Try."

Two angels, several slaps. Pak, pak, pak.

"Siguro karma ko," Panganiban said in jest during the press conference for "Apoy Sa Dagat" when it was pointed out to her that in two consecutive projects, she figured in emotionally charged confrontation scenes.

As to whom between the two Angels slaps harder, Panganiban's quick retort was, "Si Angel [Locsin] po. Si Darna."

She rationalized, though, that she knew where Locsin's character in the movie was coming from, and that she fully understood the demand of the latter's role.

"Siguro kasi naman doon sa movie ay talaga namang mas matindi ang pinaghugutan niya [ng emosyon]," she explained.

"Eh, si Adriana [Angel Aquino] echosera siya. Naiinis lang siya sa akin so pa-sweet pa 'yung sampal niya. Mas gusto ko 'yung level noon."

After that highly charged scene, her co-star, Panganiban said, was polite enough to try and "appease" her that it was all for art's sake.

"Opo, besohan, showbiz-an. 'O, nasaktan ba kita?"'

Panganiban was then asked if the slapping scenes traumatized her. Recall that there were rumors that she and Locsin hurt each other with the slap that was "delivered" in "One More Try."

"Actually, alam n'yo sa mga ganoon [eksena] parang sila pa 'yung [worried]. 'Sorry, ha, baka nasaktan ka.' Siyempre ayaw mo naman na madehado sila at sasabihin mo na, 'Wag malakas, ha.' Hindi naman puwedeng gano'n," she pointed out.

"Bilang artista at nananampal ay alam ko rin 'yun kasi kailangan nilang gawin 'yon pero talaga namang doon ka huhugot. Kapag na-receive mo 'yung sampal na 'yon, mas nakakadagdag sa emotions mo."

"Minsan, 'pag hindi natuloy [ay] para mo nang gustong iuntog [ang kaeksena mo at tanungin,] 'Umiwas ka?"' she explained.

Panganiban believes that doing such scenes is simply part of her job as actor.

"Malaking tulong 'yon sa tingin ko and ayokong mag-worry sila. Trabaho 'yon and parte ng trabaho na talagang masasaktan ka. Sabi ko nga, nu'ng huling taping namin, kasi buong araw akala ko ay mamamatay na ako... nu'ng last scene ay may kissing scene kami ni Papa P [Piolo]. Sabi ko nga, 'Okay lang naman, direk, kung buong araw paiyakin niyo 'ko, maglulupasay ako - basta ito 'yung huli. Lahat po ng pagod ko ay may magandang kapalit."Yun ho ang motto ko sa buhay."

Dual role

Playing dual role on "Apoy Sa Dagat" is a challenge to Panganiban. Her character named Serena, a simple provincial lass, is meek and coy. Manila girl Rebecca, on the other hand, is sophisticated and quite strong-willed.

To avoid duplicity of other celebrities who have essayed dual roles, Panganiban was guided by her director, FM Reyes.

"Si direk naman kasi, nakaalalay kasi ako at si direk lang ang tumatawid ng gimik kapag ang iba niyang artista hindi na namin kasama. So siya 'yung nagpapaalala sa akin na, 'O, 'yung pitch ng boses mo taasan mo.' Tapos 'pag babalik na kami doon sa isang [character], 'O, dito babaan mo [ang boses mo]'. Ika-cut niya ako 'pag tumataas ang boses ko," she revealed.

Even before the taping started, she and Reyes already studied the nuances of her dual portrayals.

"Bago pa lang kami magsimula ay plinano na namin 'yun para ma-differentiate ng mga tao 'yung dalawang characters. Sa look niya, sa kilos niya, kung paano gumalaw, maglakad, tumakbo, umiyak, lahat 'yon iba."

While many actors would watch shows to learn a thing or two about essaying dual roles, Panganiban avoided that precisely because she wanted to do away with patterned acting.

"As much as possible ay iniwasan kong manood talaga dahil ayokong kumbaga gayahin lang ang ginawa ng iba na napanood na naman ng mga tao. Gusto ko ngayon lang sila makakakita ng ganito," she explained.

"Ewan ko kung maiko-compare nila ako sa iba pero ako malinis ang konsensiya ko na wala akong pinanggayahan kasi mas maganda na nag-e-evolve 'yung ganoong klaseng character. Kumbaga, sarili mong gawa 'yon, sa inyo ng director mo."

Aside from Panganiban and Aquino, "Apoy Sa Dagat" boasts of a star-studded cast that also includes Piolo Pascual and Diether Ocampo, among others. This story of love, deceit and despair will set primtetime on fire beginning Feb. 4.

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