"Judy Ann Santos is back on primetime!" declared Derek Ramsay during the press conference of ABS-CBN newest teleserye Habang May Buhay.
Judy Ann will return to primetime slot starting today, February 1, after almost three years since her last drama series (Ysabella in 2007). This is also her first project after being hailed as the Queen of Teleseryes and the face of ABS-CBN's celebration of the 60th Year of Pinoy Soap Opera.
According to ABS-CBN Entertainment Production head, Ms. Linggit Tan, they delayed the telecast of this TV series because the staff had to do thorough research.
"This is the first for us in ABS-CBN and for the industry," she explained. "Habang May Buhay is a milieu drama, ang setting niya talaga is ospital at nurse si Judy Ann, so medical drama. So, ang hirap noong research niya at kailangan na immersion ng mga artista. Kailangan talaga totoo 'yong ipapalabas, kailangan alam nila ang ginagawa nila. Medyo matagal talaga ang naging proseso kasi kailangan nating pagandahin. Medyo nahirapan talaga kami kasi this is the first.
"Apologetic talaga kami sa cast, sa mga artista, kasi na-delay talaga siya ng hindi naman talaga nila kasalanan. We really wanted to make it good nang hindi tayong lahat mapapahiya sa ipapalabas natin. We really made it good na magugustuhan ninyong lahat, kakaiba kasi siya at it's a major drama."
THE TALE OF NURSE JANE. Habang May Buhay is about the story of Jane Alcantara, a simple woman who dreams of becoming a nurse like her mother (played by Gina Alajar). But she will have a hard time fulfilling this dream after an accident happens to her mother, which is caused by her best friends Sam (Derek Ramsay) and Nathan (Joem Bascon). The impoverished girl suffers a lot and vows to succeed in life so she can exact revenge on those who wronged her in the past. Her Aunt Cora who also works as a nurse will guide her.
Later on, Jane becomes a nurse and enters the world of medicine, where she will meet people that will give color to her life. Among them are David (Derek), the arrogant heir of the hospital she works in; Raon (Joem), the man from the street who sought medical help from Jane; and Nonoy (Will Devaughn), her childhood friend and protector. She will also encounter Dr. Manuel Corpuz (John Arcilla), a general physician and husband of Ellen Corpuz (Tetchie Agbayani), and the woman who is secretly in love with David, Dra. Clarissa Briones (Gladys Reyes).
Joining the cast are Melanie Marquez, Jeffrey Santos, Marc Abaya, RJ Ledesma, Dominique Roque, Jaymee Joaquin, Kian Kazemi, and GeeAnn Abrahan. With special participation of Sid Lucero, Matet de Leon, Ina Feleo, Bangs Garcia, and Lloyd Samartino.
RETURN OF JUDY ANN-GLADYS TEAM UP. Despite the long delay, this soap opera is still worth watching for especially to those who enjoyed the action-packed confrontations of Judy Ann and Gladys Reyes in the longest Philippine TV series called Mara Clara (1992-1997).
Like their fans, Judy Ann also missed working with Gladys, whom she considers as one of the important persons who contributed to the success of her career.
"Bilang matagal na rin na hindi kami nagkasama ni Gladys sa isang teleserye, na-miss naming ang ganitong tandem. Kaya 'yong unang eksena naming dalawa, sabunutan, sampalan, at parang nagsapakan talaga kami," said Judy Ann.
She further described their first confrontation scene, "Intense masyado na parang hindi namin nakontrol 'yong lakas namin, 'yong gusto lang naming mapaganda ang eksena. At saka isa ko pang masasabi mula po noong bata kami hanggang ngayon, wala po kaming fight scene director pagdating sa ganyang sapakan. Bahala na si Lord, kumbaga."
For her part, Gladys noticed a lot of changes since their Mara Clara to Habang May Buhay when it comes to working as the antagonist to Judy Ann's character.
"Malaki po ang kaibahan kasi noong sa Mara Clara po kasi noon, siyempre, mas bata pa kami noon so ang mga sakitan namin ay parang pambata lang," said Gladys.
She also related, "Ngayon, dito po sa Habang May Buhay, ibang-iba po kasi noon, kapag sinampal mo si Juday, iiyak lang siya sa tabi. Siyempre, very Mara, kailangan maamo. Dito po, hindi, dapat mag-asawang sampal ang sagot niya sa akin. Gumaganti na, palaban na. Nag-level up na po ang aming pag-aaway. Kung noon po nagustuhan ng mga tao ang Mara Clara dahil nakita nila totohanan talaga, e. Dito lalo, talagang binigay talaga namin."