Yagit, GMA-7's remake of the 1980s soap opera, is providing a new generation of viewers a glimpse of the hard life of living along the riles.
Directed by Gina Alajar, this teleserye has grown its own fanbase among the afternoon prime viewers of the Kapuso Network.
During a recent set visit, several members of the press got to chat with Direk Gina along with cast members Yasmien Kurdi, LJ Reyes and Kevin Santos.
Yasmien Kurdi, who plays Dolores (the mom of Elisa, Jocelyn and Tom-Tom), bagged her second teleserye for 2014 when she became a part of Yagit. The star of Rhodora X and Yagit has had a good year, even with her vocal cord operation mid-2014.
She describes as 2014 as the year of "blessings, ang daming blessings from the Lord."
Their show has crossed over into 2015 and it is her wish for everyone to have "good health, yun pinaka-importante talaga is yung maayos yung kalusugan niyo. Mahirap kapag nagkakasakit yung isang miyembro ng pamilya."
On working with the kids in Yagit, Yasmien says, "okay naman sila, si Direk Gina magaling magturo talaga! Wala, wala akong problema."
Direk Gina comments on working with the hardworking child stars of Yagit, "from the start ni-ready namin yun sarili namin, hindi lang ako, ni-ready namin...na huwag magpapa-epekto sa mga outside stresses and mga ganyan."
The day of the set visit, we lost our way several times looking for the location and when we finally found it, had to deal with the noise of the PNR trains passing by overhead every couple of moments.
Yasmien described a hobby often done by kids who live along the riles.
"Yung mga bata, minsan, ginagawa pa nila, bago sila tumalon na nakahubad ah, aantayin muna nila yung tren na malapit na malapit na para nandoon yung thrill!
"Kasi kapag may kids sa set, very light yung set, pag puro grown-ups, formal ganyan," she observes.
Direk Gina says she is happy with the adjustment of the kids to the TV world, "bago pa mag-start, alam naman nila kung ano yung role nila. Nagwo-workshop sila, hanggang ngayon continuous pa rin yung workshop nila with Ann Villegas.
"Aware sila kung ano yung dapat nilang gawin the following day sa taping kasi the day before nagwo-workshop sila, pina-polish, ni-rerehearse na nila kung ano ang gagawin nila the following day. So mga batang yun, kahit tulog yun, let's say pagod sila tapos natulog, kapag ginising mo sila, sasabihin mo kung anong eksena, ireremind mo lang sila, alam na nila."
She admits that there are still challenges, "kailangan pahabain [ang pasensiya], pahabain ng pahabain as much as possible, yung di ka magagalit."
Direk Gina, who is known to be firm and strict when she directs, says that "pinapadaan ko sa iba, pagsabihan niyo ha, sabihan niyo galit na ako."
She admits, "oo, natatakot, takot sila sa akin!"
"Sumisigaw ako pero hindi naman ako nagmumura ng tao, sumisigaw ako kapag matitigas ang ulo. Kami-kami din naman yun...yung grupo din namin yun matigas ang ulo," Direk Gina confesses, referring to her production crew.
Yasmien adds that she admires the hard-working kids of Yagit, having started her showbiz career at a young age as well.
"Mahirap talaga maging artista!"
Will she allow her two-year-old daughter Ayesha to join showbiz?
"Ayoko, e, ang hirap sa bata maging artista kasi yung puyat, ayoko talaga siyang magpuyat. Sacrifice siya, lalo kung bata ka."
She relates, "nung teenager nga ako, di ba, sacrifice talaga sa pag-aaral, kailangan ko mag-homeschooling, di ka na regular schooling."
What if Ayesha says she wants to join showbiz?
Yasmien pauses temporarily before answering, "si Ayesha, pwede naman mag-artista, kung halimbawa nakapagtapos na ng pag-aaral, may maipagmalaki na siya, yung masabi niya na college graduate na ako and eto yung diploma ko, na mayroong fallback."
That's for when Ayesha is older, but what if Ayesha decides to really join and become a child star? "Pag ganoon na gustong-gusto niya talaga, e, pag-uusapan na lang namin yun kung paano. Pero as much possible, tapusin niya muna yung pag-aaral niya. Pero kung gusto niya talaga, hanap tayo ng paraan, bahala na si Lord!"