GMA News and Public Affairs offers its third original series titled Katipunan, following Bayan Ko and Titser.
Katipunan presents the life of Andres Bonifacio, the formation of the Katipunan as well as the surrender of Emilio Aguinaldo to the Americans.
PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) and other members of the press interviewed Benjamin Alves during a set visit last Tuesday, October 29, in Magdalena, Laguna.
Apart from Andres Bonifacio (played by Sid Lucero), Katipunan also features the story of Sebastian, a shy sacristan played by Benjamin, and Pacquing, a brave Indio played by Dominic Roco.
“Kailangan ng fictional character lang para maging symbol ng mga Indio dati,” Benjamin explained.
He added, “Yung mga… hindi lang si Andres Bonifacio yung pinakakita dito po.”
“Si Pacquing po yung simbolo ng Indio na matapang. Ako naman, gusto lumaban pero natatakot pa rin na ano po… Ako yung sobrang bait, siya yung sobrang palaban talaga.”
The Kapuso actor admitted the show helped broaden his knowledge of Philippine history.
The 26-year-old actor shared, “Opo, bilang I grew up in Guam, ang alam ko po American history.
“They’re able to educate me. Hindi lang po sa script, pero yung mga… ano po e, sobra po nilang detalyado—gusto nila talaga accurate.
“Lagi po silang tumatawag sa historians para matama po yung presentation ng panahon na yun.
“So, nakakatuwa po because they’re like that, natututunan ko po yung mga [detalye].”
BIGGEST CHALLENGE. One of the biggest challenges the Kapuso hunk faced in this docu-drama series was to learn how to speak Tagalog in the way that locals spoke during the Spanish colonial era.
“I appreciate na binibigay sa amin yung script nang maaga, sobrang aga po. ‘Tsaka yung break down [of scenes] po, in advance naman po nabibigay.
“So, namememorize ko naman po bago dumating sa set para kung ano man kailanganin ng character ko sa emotions, mabibigay ko kasi hindi ko na kailangan isipin yung Tagalog. Hindi na kailangan sabihin.”
Benjamin revealed that the show's writers tweaked the dialogues in a way that can easily be understood by the audience.
“Kasi hindi po maiintindihan ng tao, e, kasi yung pagbigkas po dati pa-tula e. So pag nakita ng mga tao, ang iisipin nila tumutula kami.
“Yung pagbigkas po namin ng Tagalog dito, although malalim siya bilang... yung sa 'min po fictional naman po, hindi yung kung papano ibigkas yung panahon na iyon.
“Kasi parang sa lahat naman po, pati yung period films ng Americans, hindi… kumbaga accurate po yung period and the way they dress pero yung pagbigkas naman po nila for modern times na.
“SEBASTIAN” IN HIM. Benjamin says major changes will happen to his character in the upcoming episodes of Katipunan, when his character, Sebastian, joins the Katipuneros in the battle for freedom.
His favorite scene is when Sebastian learns how to read and write, and stand up for what he believes in.
The 24-year-old actor shared, “Nakikita ko na po yung growth ni Sebastian bilang isang takot na Indio, nagiging… marunong na siyang magbasa at marami na siyang nagiging ideas at ipinaglalaban niya na yung sarili.
“At yung pinagdadaanan niya po bilang Katipunero, nakakatuwa.”
And what to Benjamin are the ideas worth fighting for in his life?
Benjamin answered, “Siguro, bilang my family is not here, siguro I want my family to be proud, especially my parents.
“There are things na hindi masyado ikaka-proud ng parents ko, if I do.
“I’ll have to keep that in mind. There are riskier roles to take, and even though I’m much older, I still have to think about them.
“Yun yung I have to consider, how they would react.”
Benjamin added that like his character, Sebastian, he is also introverted and quiet.
“There’s a lot of Sebastian sa unang parte ng istorya na ‘to na parang ako—tahimik, mahiyain, malalim mag-isip at kailangan ko ng isang Pacquing para maging bibo ako.”
Who does he consider his “Pacquing” in real life?
He said, “Marami naman siyang reincarnation sa buhay ko—my friends from the village, Tito [Piolo Pascual] ko.
“I’m blessed to have a small circle of friends na pag may problema, napupuntahan ko.”
Directed by King Marc Baco, Katipunan airs on GMA every Saturday at 10:15 p.m.