Photo: Noel Orsal


A light romantic drama program titled With A Smile will be airing soon onGMA-7.

With A Smile will air on June 17, 2013, as announced during the story conference held last May 14. 

The new show will be the first teleserye of Christian Bautista on the Kapuso Network. He will be joined by Andrea Torres and Mikael Daez.

Supporting cast members include Soliman Cruz, Gillette Sandico and Vince de Jesus as well as young stars Kimpoy Feliciano, Jack Roberto, Shelley Hipolito, RJ Padilla, Mikoy Morales, and Bryan Benedict.

The basic premise of the show centers on provincial lass Isay (Andrea Torres) as she tries to get back the ihaw-ihaw restaurant that her father, Tatay Tom (Soliman Cruz) had to pawn after the death of his wife, Nanay Verci (Jillet). The place is special because it was famous for being a date and proposal place, with plates containing people's love vows decorating its many walls. 

Now selling simple barbecue products in their local palengke, Isay finds out about a contest to win big money by grilling cook-off style. On her way to the contest, she gets into an accident caused by Aston (Christian Bautista). 

Aston plays the masungit, gwapo-but-doesn't-know-it-guy in this series. He and Isay start out fighting like cats and dogs but eventually, they develop feelings for each other.

In pursuit of her dreams to get her family out of poverty, Isay ends up living and working in Manila, doing odd jobs like washing cars, and being a secretary. While making ends meet, Isay gets to form new friendships, including a budding romance with Dean (Mikael Daez). 

Dean, proud but kindhearted, will get to experience true love for the first time because of Isay.

Acy Ramos (who conceptualized the story) says about the dilemma of the lead character: "Paano kaya pipili ang puso ni Isay sa dalawang lalake na pareho naman pala mabait at saksakan ng kagwapuhan?"

She describes the show in these words, "ang buhay daw ay parang pag-i-ihaw, sasalang ka sa apoy, mauusukan, mapapaso, pero ang ending, mapapatibay ka ng lahat ng pinagdaanan mo." 

"Sa ibang proceso, nasusubukan ang iyong pasensya, pagtitiyaga, at pagmamahal sa iyong pangarap. Eto ang ating susundan ang nakakainspire at nakakakilig na love story ni Isay at kung paano unti-unti aabutin ang pangarap with a smile."

Direk Louie Ignacio says about the lead stars of his show: "Sobrang natuwa kami nung nalaman namin kayo ang nakuha, magaling." 

He is so happy to be working on With A Smile, because of "yung values, good values, eto yung soap na eto at kaya sobrang na-excite rin ako, kasi punong-puno ng values etong soap na eto: walang patayan, walang tapunan ng acido, walang kidnapping.

"Ang gusto natin mapanood ng viewers yung family ties, kung paano yung relation ni Tatay Tom sa mga anak niya, tapos si Isay sa mga kapatid at kung paano si Aston kunwari na-aasar siya kay Isay pero may patagong pagtingin na pala siya at marunong din pala siya mag-care, yung gusto niya ma-appreciate din siya kung paano siya tutulong.

"Lahat ng rekado ng isang very light soap opera nakita ko dito, napa-uso natin yung mga punchlines natin, at tuwing matatapos ang show, dapat may natatanim sa puso nila, may natatandaan sila."

"Pangatawanan niyo ang roles niyo, gwapo, maganda, sexy, kung ano ba ibig sabihin nun, kasi totoo yun, tumitili sila [viewers] kapag nakakita ng muscles. Iilan lang kayo, iikot ang istorya sa inyo, kaya galingan natin."

AVP Gigi S. Lara points out what will set this apart from other teleseryes right now, "we're trying to do something different from what is usually done sa GMA and management is supporting us, kumbaga I'm so happy and proud of this team, I know everyone will do their best.

"To the actors, it's about how your characters grow, na ma-in love at ma-endear ang viewers sa inyo at makita nila kung paano yung character ninyo nagdevelop, it's a lot of nuance, so kahit simple lang yung lines, maraming pauso na linya, at maraming feelings."

She concludes, "I'm very glad to be working on a program that imparts values on family."


CHRISTIAN, MIKAEL, AND ANDREA TALK ABOUT THEIR NEW SHOW. The auditions took place during the summer and even as Christian has commitments left and right, he can't wait to start on With A Smile. "Kanina nga binulong ko sa kanya [Andrea Torres], ang sarap ng taping, ang sarap ng values na ituturo namin, the story, the characters."

During the story conference, With A Smile director Louie Ignacio announced that he wanted a strict Tuesday and Friday taping schedule to be followed, so that the actors have enough time in between to rest. 

Christian continues, "that's what it's all about as an entertainer, gusto mo may maibigay sa audience na right values."

The actor-singer reacts positively to comments that he has good chemistry with Andrea and Mikael. Christian recalls, "Ako na-feel ko yun the moment na nag-audition kaming tatlo agad-agad, talagang may connection immediately doon sa venue, kwentuhan backstage, parang ngayon, talagang walang awkward na kahit bago lang ako sa network, na-feel ko talaga yung kumbaga love from them."

Is he happy that this is his first TV project after transferring from ABS-CBN? "Ako, it's been a while since I acted pero eto, feel na feel ko yung role na binigay sa akin, yung mga ibang character di lang kami, of course the other cast, gusto na namin gawin and the bond you feel it immediately."

He describes his character by saying, "ako si Aston, medyo maalat ako sa pag-ibig, e, so ayan, ang focus ko yung career ko, trying to be independent." He then turned and brought his face close to Andrea before saying, "at unti-unti ako nagbabago dahil kay Isay."

Andrea gives him a friendly slap on the shoulder and laughs out loud at Christian's moves, explaining how she feels right after the story conference, "nakakabigay ng magandang jumpstart talaga sa start yung show, lahat positive, ang ganda ng flow ng istorya, ang ganda ng characters, gusto na namin mag-start."

She even nudges her two male leads in the ribs, "nasa right mood na rin tayo na gawin 'to," which elicits nods and laughs from the two guys. 

Andrea, who is also co-managed by Triple A, admits she is happy they all get along, "naalala ko pa nga bago pa kami magstart ng auditions, laro kami ng laro sa camera, kung ano-ano ginagawa namin na pretend na show. Naalala mo yun?" she asks Christian, who starts making funny faces at her. 

"Tapos siyempre kami ni Mikael, mayroon na talaga yung bond tapos isama-sama mo pa kaming tatlo, ay ang ingay, ang gulo-gulo, madaming ad lib, ganoon," recalls the actress of GMA-7's remake of Sana Ay Ikaw Na Nga, referring to the now defunct afternoon prime show wherein Andrea had her first lead role. 

She's ready to dive in to the role of Isay, a simple and positive probinsyana with big dreams to help her family, "ako first time ko gumawa ng very light kasi nung SAINN, talagang laging everyday may crying scene eto naman happy ako na at least something different, di tayo nakakahon and makikita natin ibang side naman ng tao, yung wacky side, magulo na side."

Andrea ends by giving us her Isay introduction, "ako naman si Isay, very positive, very happy go lucky lang talaga na tao, kung ano dumating sa buhay lagi ko iniisip malalagpasan ko yan, lagi ako nakangiti kahit anong pinagdadaanan."

Mikael Daez, Andrea's love team partner on SAINN, also shares what he got out of the story conference, "one of the most important things na napag-usapan namin sa storycon is, we're all on the same page, kasi ibibigay namin lahat and I think work ethic and chemistry, talagang madadala na yan as the project goes on."

He is very excited to be working on something new. "For me, from my experience, yan yung nag-papasaya sa proyekto, pag-nagsasaya at masaya lahat, lumalabas yan doon sa produkto namin at ma-enjoy din ng tao."

Mikael is confident their chemistry together will be their recipe for a successful teleserye, "aside from that, us getting along, yung work ethic talaga. Andrea I've worked with her and I know she's gonna give a 110% all the time and the first time I saw Christian yung impression ko na, was the same as that kay Andrea na ibibigay din niya lahat because he likes his job, he wants to do well, and for me that's the best thing."

He adds that viewers will definitely get something from With A Smile, "I think yung sinabi ni Direk kanina na values, maganda yung values na ipapakita namin dito, so may responsibility rin kami, ayaw naming maglagay ng mga...basta maganda ang values," comments the hunky Kapuso actor. 

Mikael describes his character by saying, "ako naman si Dean Vicencio parang Fulgencio [his last name in SAINN] medyo mayaman, medyo gwapo, medyo may crush kay Isay."


With A Smile is produced by the GMA-7 Entertainment Group under AVP Gigi S. Lara and program manager Charles Koo with original concept by Acy Ramos and directed by Louie Ignacio.