"Nakita natin siya sa May Bukas Pa...pero pag ikaw na ang ka-eksena niya, na-shock ako sa galing ng bata," says Piolo Pascual (main photo) about his Noah co-star Zaijian Jaranilla (inset). "Na-excite ako lalo kasi hindi mo siya kakikitaan ng kaunting character na Santino dito [his previous character in May Bukas Pa]. Ibang-iba siya at kitang-kita mo na pasok na pasok na siya sa character. Nag-e-enjoy lang siya. It's a delight seeing him." Photo: Noel Orsal

ABS-CBN goes green with its upcoming primetime soap titled Noah. Its tagline "Mahahanap mo na" refers to the lost island of Noah, which is the main setting of the story. Aside from tapping big-name stars and using visual effects and prosthetics, this one-of-a-kind fantaserye is said to be different from other drama soaps since it advocates for care of the environment.


The fantasy-themed soap opera aims to capture the beauty of Mother Nature and inspiring people to protect and conserve the environment. 


Directed by Malu Sevilla and Lino Cayetano, the adventures in Noah will start this Monday, July 12, on ABS-CBN's Primetime Bida.


Piolo Pascual leads the cast as Gabriel, a police officer and the loving father of Jacob, played by Zaijian "Santino" Jaranilla. The young boy is separated from his father because of an accident. Jacob reaches the island of Noah where he is renamed as Eli and raised by a tribe of monkey people called the Ungtas.


During the presscon of Noah held yesterday, July 6, at the Dolphy Theatre, Piolo says that he was impressed by the talent shown by child star Zaijian Jaranilla. "Ibang klase ang energy niya. Pag nasa jungle kami, siya ang tipo ng bata na nag-e-enjoy lang pero sa unang eksena namin together, I was blown away.


"Di ko akalain that at his young age...nakita natin siya sa May Bukas Pa...pero pag ikaw na ang ka-eksena niya, na-shock ako sa galing ng bata. Na-excite ako lalo kasi hindi mo siya kakikitaan ng kaunting character na Santino dito [his previous character in May Bukas Pa]. Ibang-iba siya at kitang-kita mo na pasok na pasok na siya sa character. Nag-e-enjoy lang siya. It's a delight seeing him."


THE HUMANS.
Members of the press were introduced to the all-star ensemble of Noah, which is divided into two groups: the humans and the Ungtas.


Jodi Sta. Maria plays Ruth, the devoted wife of Gabriel and mother to Jacob who will be forced to marry Judah (played by Joem Bascon) when she thought that she already lost her family. She describes her role by saying, "Isa siyang simpleng babae, gusto nya ng simpleng buhay pero lahat magbabago nang mawala ang kanyang anak."


Cherry Pie Picache is cast as Rebecca, the manipulative mother of Ruth who forced her daughter to marry a business tycoon for their family's benefit.


Melissa Ricks plays Naomi, the protective sister of Judah (Joem) who doesn't want her brother to end up with Jodi's character. "I like the roles that are being given to me, gusto ko 'yung medyo may pagka maldita ganyan, so ine-enjoy ko and challenging siya," says Melissa.


Piolo's partner in the police force, Officer Levi, is portrayed by Jolo Revilla. When asked how he prepared for his role, he joked, "Una pinag-aralan natin yung script, kelangan talaga yung role talagang pag aralan bawat galaw dahil syempre first time kong gaganap bilang unggoy. Siyempre pati na din yung itsura kailangan ayusin ko dahil parang magmukha naman akong kuya ni Piolo Pascual so talagang kailangang mag-diet."


Tessie Tomas will play Piolo's loving and protective mother Sarah while Kristine Hermosa makes a comeback to primetime television after being paired with Jericho Rosales in Dahil May Isang Ikaw. In Noah, Kristine plays a gorgeous and ethereal diwata named Eva.


THE UNGTAS.
Nonie Buencamino is cast as Pinunong Gideon, the leader of the Ungtas--ape-like creatures living in the island of Noah. His wife Adah is played by Ana Capri, who also stands as the queen of the tribe. The stars cast as Ungta tribe members go through hours of make-up, prosthetics and elaborate costumes to achieve their primeval look. Aside from Nonie and Ana Capri, the other celebrities who go through this process are Baron Geisler, who plays Caleb, the greedy brother of Gideon; Lotlot, the cute little Ungta who befriended Eli; and Lou Veloso, who portrays Propesor Zatoc, the veteran inventor.


Nonie described the process of putting on prosthetics for this fantaserye. "Matagal po ang prosthetic, ang process, siguro maikli na ang two hours. Mahirap kasi may mga adhesive, dinidikit tapos bino-blow dry yung mukha mo. Tapos mayroon kang wig na sinusuot, tapos mayroon kang body suit na suot na doble, dalawang tights at leotards. So you're practically almost covered and then you're sprayed with acrylic. Talagang challenging siya tsaka it requires concentration and coordination from the actors."


The veteran actor also conducted a workshop for the characters who are part of the Ungta tribe so they could convey emotions through their facial and body movements even though they are using prosthetics.


SYNOPSIS.
Piolo Pascual portrays the role of Gabriel, a passionate police officer who was separated from his son Jacob in an accident. The said tragedy also cost him his job.


He and his wife Ruth survived the accident but he went into a coma for five years. Upon his recovery, he finds out that his wife remarried since she already lost hope of being reunited with her son. In response, Gabriel trained hard and returned to being a police officer so he could lead the search for his son even though people around him doubted that Jacob was still alive.


Little did he know that his son Jacob was found by an ape-like creature named Gideon, the leader of the Ungta tribe in the mysterious island of Noah. Gideon and his wife Adah took care of Jacob and renamed him Eli.


Gabriel eventually came across the island of Noah and saw Eli but he was unable to convince the boy that he is his biological father. How will the Gabriel make his son remember their bond as father and son?


Since the teleserye is similar to the theme of the blockbuster movie Avatar, some people raised questions about its originality. But one of the scriptwriters of Noah pointed out that the fantaserye was conceived five years prior to the release of the Hollywood blockbuster late last year. "Nagkataon talaga...ibig sabihin ang bansa pala natin is not too far behind. Five years ago naisip na namin 'to [Noah]."


Noah is one of the offerings of ABS-CBN in time for its celebration of 60 Years of Soap Operas. It will start airing this Monday, July 12, 2010.