Katrina Halili made a mark as a kontrabida when she portrayed the role of Angelika Santibañez in GMA-7’s adaptation of MariMar.
Angelika is the nemesis of the show’s lead, Marimar, portrayed by Marian Rivera.
Played by Chantal Andere in the original Mexican telenovela, Angelika is the stepmother of Sergio Santibañez (Eduardo Capetillo), who is the love interest of Marimar (Thalia). Angelika hates Marimar so much, and looks down on her poor status in life.
In the GMA-7 adaptation, the writers changed Angelika’s character as the ex-girlfriend-turned-stepmother of Sergio (Dingdong Dantes), and was later revealed to be Marimar’s long-lost sister.
Katrina gained a lot of haters as well as fans because of her effective portrayal.
But totoo ba, Katrina initially turned down the role of Angelika?
Katrina first revealed this trivia in an interview with PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in February 2018.
In her PEP Exclusives guest appearance in September 2020, Katrina tells the full story about rejecting and, eventually, accepting it.
Katrina says that as a young girl, she was an avid fan of Thalia’s MariMar.
A few months before GMA-7 announced its plans of doing a local adaptation in 2007, Katrina bought a copy of the show to watch it again.
She relates, “Favorite ko talaga yung MariMar before. Hindi ko alam na gagawin siya ng GMA.
“Mga siguro, three months before ni-release siya ng GMA, hinanap ko siya sa West Avenue.
"Meron doong nagbebenta ng mga CDs ng mga lumang movies or whatever, pumunta ako doon.
“’Tapos, sabi ko, pahingi ako ng copy ng MariMar. So pinanunuod ko siya, 'tapos siyempre idol ko talaga si Marimar...
”Ang tagal na noon di ba... 'tapos three months bago irelease ng GMA, hinanap ko siya."
Because of her love for the Marimar character, Katrina vowed back then: “Kapag ibinigay itong Angelika na ito sa akin, hindi ko talaga ito tatanggapin!”
Katrina explains in the PEP Exclusives interview, “Kasi, affected talaga ako dahil maka-Marimar talaga ako, idol ko talaga si Marimar.
“Galit ako bakit may Angelika na ganyan!”
When GMA-7 confirmed its plans of doing a MariMar local adaptation, Angel Locsin was considered to play the role of Marimar, but she turned it down.
But according to GMA-7, Angel was just being considered but there was never a formal offer.
The coveted role went to Marian Rivera.
Dingdong Dantes was tapped to play the leading man Sergio Santibanez.
KATRINA HALILI AS ANGELIKA SANTIBAÑEZ
As for Marimar’s nemesis Angelika Santibañez, the writers of the MariMar adaptation decided to change its character sketch.
They made Angelika younger—almost same age as Sergio and Marimar.
Also, instead of just being Sergio’s stepmother, Angelika was also Sergio’s ex-girlfriend.
The executives of GMA-7 picked Katrina to play the character.
How did Katrina react?
Laughing, she tells PEP.ph, “Hindi ko tinanggap!
“Tumatanggap naman ako ng kontrabida, pero sabi ko, ‘Angelika? Mukhang hindi po talaga.'
"Punta po ako Palawan! Iyon iyong rason ko. Two weeks iyon, two weeks nilang inano sa akin na tanggapin ko na!
“Hindi ako maldita, sobrang fan lang ako ng MariMar, iyon iyong reason doon...
“Sabi ko, hindi ko talaga tatanggapin si Angelika.”
Looking back now, Katrina realizes, “Nakakatawa, di ba? Kung iisipin ko ngayon, sa dami ng kontrabida kong ginawa, para akong sira! Affected ako!
“‘Ay ayoko, hindi ko tatanggapin!’ Ganoon ko kamahal si Marimar na ayokong gampanan [si Angelika].”
When, finally, Katrina was convinced to take on the role, she found ways to enjoy playing it.
She would, for instance, mimic the Mexican actresses in the show, particularly the original Angelika, Chantal Andere.
Katrina narrates, “Siyempre, dahil fan ako ng MariMar, iyong mga arte nila, mga Mexican moves, iyong magalaw-galaw sila ng shoulders.
"Kapag nagsalita, ang arte, gagayahin ko iyong Mexican na arte-arte!
“’Tapos gagawin kong mukha siyang Barbie, kaya sa MariMar, madalas naka-headband ako."
She found other thrills as well while doing the teleserye, like, “’Tapos iyong costume, ipinapatahi ko. Gusto ko, partner-partner, mukha siyang caricature!
“Alam mo iyon, mukhang Mexican ‘tapos ang arte-arte.Super effort talaga ako doon dahil nga fan ako noon.
""Nagawan ko ng picture kung anong gusto kong gawin na character doon.”
Katrina also shares with PEP.ph what was going through her mind while doing her kontrabida role, “Kailangan maganda siya kahit maldita siya.
"Sabihin pa rin ng tao, ‘Ang maldita nito, pero maganda siya, ha!’
“Ganon, may ganoong reaksiyon, hindi puwedeng bwisit na bwisit lang.
"Hanggang sa, di ba, ang ending naman, pinakain ako sa buwaya! Hahaha!”
MariMar ran for seven successful months in GMA Telebabad.
In the original ending of MariMar, Angelika was burned alive inside her car after an accident.
In GMA-7’s 2007 version, Angelika met her end when she fell from a helicopter to a river full of crocodiles.
In her last shot, Angelika was shown being devoured by crocodiles.
Katrina recalls, “Ang harsh, pinaka-harsh na kamatayan ko iyon bilang kontrabida!
“Nahulog na sa helicopter, ipinakain pa sa buwaya.”
Conceding Angelika deserved the gory ending, Katrina recounts how she tortured Marimar, “Napaka-bad naman kasi talaga, di ba? Pinakain ko ng dog food iyong lola.
"Ipinasunog ko iyong lolo’t lola ni Marimar ‘tapos parang naka-bra top lang ako at pants habang sinusunog ko iyong lola!
“Ang gusto ng mga viewers, kailangan matinding ano talaga ito, magdusa siya nang matindi.”
After MariMar, Katrina bagged her first bida role on TV via Magdusa Ka in 2008.
She would again portray the kontrabida role for another Thalia remake, which was Rosalinda in 2009. The title role was portrayed by Carla Abellana.
This was followed by a string of kontrabida roles in GMA-7 teleseryes.
In 2015, GMA-7 did another adaptation of MariMar with Megan Young in the title role.
This time, they followed the original storyline of Angelika, portrayed by Jaclyn Jose, as the gold-digging stepmother of Sergio and not as third wheel to him and Marimar.
At present, Katrina plays a kind-hearted character in the afternoon teleserye Prima Donnas.