Rhian Ramos was 18 when she was cast as Jodi, the female lead in the Philippine adaptation of Stairway to Heaven, which premiered in September 2009.
The actress was paired with Dingdong Dantes as Cholo, Jodi's love interest.
Stairway to Heaven was a top-rating South Korean drama series in 2003,
In the series, Jodi gets into a car accident on her way to see her childhood sweetheart Cholo, who has just returned from his studies in the States.
Their reunion does not happen because of the machination of Jodi's stepsister Eunice (played by Glaiza de Castro), who is madly in love with Cholo.
In the hospital where Jodi is brought unconscious after the accident, Eunice replaces the name tag of a dead fire victim with that of Jodi's.
Jodi, presumed dead, recovers but remembers almost nothing.
Enter Tristan (played by TJ Trinidad), Jodi's stepbrother who knows what his sister Eunice has done.
Tristan, also in love with Jodi, takes her to live with him, both under different names.
Years have passed when Cholo sees Jodi at the carousel where they used to hang out.
Jodi eventually gets her memory back, and there lies another set of complications in the story.
Stairway to Heaven showing again
GMA-7 has been airing the rerun of Stairway to Heaven on its afternoon block since May 18, 2020.
Rhian is excited because she has always considered this project as a turning point in her acting career,
She was only the second Kapuso star at that time to star in a Philippine adaptation of a Korean drama, after Regine Velasquez starred in Ako Si Kim Sam Soon (2008).
Rhian told PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in an interview last Friday, May 15, "Ito yung show that made me really fall in love with my job.
"Ito yung nag-transform from wanting to be a popular celebrity and I wanted to become a good actress.
"I fell in love with the story of this show. It’s one of the purest stories that you will get to know.
"Excited ako kasi isa siya sa favorite soaps na nagawa ko buong buhay ko.
"At saka favorite namin ito ng mom ko kaya masaya ako na mapapanood namin."
STAIRWAY FORESHADOWS CLOY
With the rerun of Stairway to Heaven, Rhian noted that younger K-drama fans may just discover the references to Stairway To Heaven in some episodes of Crash Landing On You.
She said, "For a while, hindi ko na siya iniisip masyado pero nung napanood ko yung Crash Landing On You, ang dami kasi nilang reference sa Stairway To Heaven, so naiisip ko na siya.
"Kasi parang may isa silang character dun sa Crash Landing na adik sa Koreanovela, nanonood lagi ng Stairway To Heaven.
"'Tapos iniisip ko, 'Ay ako yun, ako rin yun e!' So natuwa ako.
"At saka at least malalaman na ng mga young Filipino audience kung ano ba yung kuwento dun sa soap opera na binabanggit nila lagi.
"Kasi lahat tay dito alam yung Crash Landing, e, so makikita na nila kung ano yung kuwento nung nababanggit sa Crash Landing lagi."
Hoping, Rhian added, "Sana ma-enjoy nila kung paano siya minahal nung audience namin nung 2009, sana ganun din yung maramdaman ng audience natin this 2020."
Did she ever wish she had met Choi Ji Woo, the South Korean actress who originally played the role of Jodi?
Rhian affirmed, "I did kasi marami kaming feelings na parehas naming pinagdaanan.
"Yung mga nangyayari sa show parang nagyayari din sa iyo e, pag ikaw yung nagpo-portray ng role.
"Feeling ko makaka-relate kami on that level. May mga things na gusto ko itanong.
"Like, ‘Nung time na ito, sa script, anong naramdaman mo sa personal life mo nung time na iyan?’
"Alam mo yun? But I have very little knowledge about being a Korean idol. I don’t know if we both speak the same language.
"I’ve become curious because we felt the same things but yun lang, I never tried. Never ko siyang in-e-mail or anything."
Choi Ji Woo (left) with Kwon Sang Woo (right) top-billed the hit South Korean drama series "Stairway to Heaven" in 2003.
good times ON the SET
Rhian also recalled some of her fondest memories while working on Stairway to Heaven.
She said, "Naalala ko yung mga time sa set na pinagluluto kami ng mommy ko 'tapos pinapadala niya sa set.
"Kasi nung time na yun, nagte-taping kami sa Enchanted Kingdom.
"Ako yung panalo kasi taga-Alabang ako nun, e. Ako yung pinakamalapit sa location, silang lahat malayo.
"So pinapadalhan kami ng pagkain ng mommy ko. Minsan kumakain kami altogether."
Rhian also enjoyed the times when Enchanted Kingdom would exclusively treat the cast to the rides and attractions.
She recalled, "Ino-on nila yung rides para sa amin. Kami lang yung tao sa theme park pero kunyare sasabihin ko, 'Gusto ko mag-Anchor's Away!'
"Siyempre bagets pa ako nun, di ba? Gusto ko lagi. So ino-on nila para lang sa amin."
The Kapuso actress has relished the fact that Stairway to Heaven consistently received high viewer ratings during its run.
Savoring the memory of it, she said wistfully, "Naaalala ko yung feeling at that time, yung laging nanalo.
"'Tapos lagi naming nakikita na ang taas ng ratings namin nun, ang saya-saya lang namin.
"I think it's more of a compliment na binabalik siya ngayon kasi yung mga soaps na binalik nila, yung My Husband's Lover nina Carla [Abellana], Tom [Rodriguez], Dennis [Trillo], siyempre isa din yun sa pinakamataas na ratings na show.
"Tapos yung Ika-Anim na Utos binalik din nila, e, isa din yun sa mga pinaka-successful na shows so masaya ako na isa dun sa mga show ko, naisali dun sa category na yun."
But she also expressed to PEP.ph the one thing that makes her feel apprehensive about her old show being shown again.
Rhian said, "Ninerbiyos din ako kasi parang 2009 pa yun, ano kaya yung mga make-up at hair?
"Tapos yung mga suot ko na outfit! Ninenerbyos ako ng very light na makikita ko ulit yung mga damit at make-up nung time na yun."
The pilot episode of the series, which aired on September 14, 2009, earned a 33.5% rating. Meanwhile, the final episode which aired on December 11, scored a 30.7% rating. This data is according to AGB Nielsen Philippines' Mega Manila household television ratings.