How Lilom creatures in Love You Stranger are imagined and crafted

by James Patrick Anarcon
Aug 4, 2022
Love You Stranger
Love You Stranger creator Angeli Atienza on the Lilom creature: "In-invent siya for the show pero based on the general idea na superstitious side ng Philippine folklore and beliefs." In the story, the characters of Khalil Ramos and Gabbi Garcia are finding the mystery behind the creature that haunts the town of Sta. Castela.
PHOTO/S: Love You Stranger (GMA-7)
ILLUSTRATION: Igi Talao

Did you know that Lilom, the creature that GMA Public Affairs’ prime-time series Love You Stranger introduced, is a mere product of imagination?

This was revealed by Angeli Atienza, GMA Public Affairs AVP and headwriter of Love You Stranger.

She narrated, “Yung Lilom, hindi naman siya factual or historical entity, e. Kumbaga wala tayong ganon sa Philippine folklore.

"In-invent siya for the show, pero based on the general idea na superstitious side ng Philippine folklore and beliefs.

“Di ba, mahilig tayo sa ganun, e, na magpapasintabi ka para hindi tayo malasin.”

Angeli and the creative team, inspired by the richness of the Philippine folklore, have invented the Lilom and its characteristics.

Careful to avoid cultural misinterpretations, they created Lilom from scratch.

She continued, “Actually, ang dark ng Philippine folklore, mahilig tayo sa mga aswang, tikbalang, creatures talaga, e.

“Kumbaga, we took bits and pieces of that, hindi siya binase exactly sa isang totoong folklore.

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"Also to avoid misinterpretation din kasi di ba, may iba’t ibang pinanggagalingan yung folklore natin.

“So, para specific siya to the story that needs to be told, inisip namin yung anino, di ba?

"Yung general yung unknown yung anino, nagki-creep sa pader na anino na kukunin ka diyan sa ilog.

“Yun yung basic idea na, ‘Naku, kukunin yung bata sa ilog,’ or kapag gabi, madilim kukunin. So, anong figure kaya yung magre-represent ng ganun, kinatatakutan?

“So, it's a hooded shadow figure na tinawag na Lilom kas merong word sa atin na lilim, shade. Parang sa dilim, so huwag kang pumunta sa dilim.”

PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) had an exclusive interview with the creative team of Love You Stranger via Zoom last June 2022.

The series headlined by Gabbi Garcia and Khalil Ramos is down to its last two weeks.

CRAFTING THE LILOM

Angeli admitted that creating the Lilom was “challenging.”

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How was their process in crafting their own creature?

Angeli recalled, “Parang sa umpisa, kathang-isip siya so parang ano yung itsura niya?

“Kumbaga internally, even sa amin sa writing, kailangan namin siyang i-drawing, umabot kami sa level na ano ba talaga itsura niya?

“Yung Lilom kasi may iba-iba siyang interpretations, as you watch the series and alam ni Direk iyan.

"May iba-iba ka actually na look na makikita sa kanya kasi depende kung kaninong point of view or experience siya ng Lilom.”

For example, in the town of Sta. Castela, the Lilom is a deity-like figure that they worship.

“Pine-fiesta nila almost like a deity na kailangan, pini-please. Di ba, yung sa opening, sinasayawan nila yung dark-hooded figure?

"Kasi in a way, dina-drive away nila yung malas. So, merong figure na makikita ka doon sa show na nasa gitna siya ng fiesta, wooden siya, medyo monstrous.

“Pero yun yung sa festival, yun yung interpretation ng mga tao sa festival much like di ba, sa atin may Aswang festival, Kapre festival parang ganon, di ba?

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“Scary sila pero di naman talaga sila nakakatakot sa mga tao, dinadaan nga sa sayawan sa kasiyahan.

“Pero meron din kasing mas nakakatakot yung lilom na sumusunod sa iyo. So, bakit siya sumusunod sa iyo?

"Parang merong myth na kapag na-displease mo siya, susundan ka tapos in a way, kakapit siya sa ‘yo.

“So, kahit saan ka magpunta, kahit wala ka na sa Sta. Castela, yun naman yung Lilom in the mind of Lorraine, yung nanay ni LJ.”

Lorraine is played by Andrea del Rosario while LJ is played by Gabbi.

In the story, LJ takes care of her mother who is believed to be cursed by the Lilom.

Angeli continued, “Kapag nakikita mo naman si Lorraine, yung Lilom sa kanya is anino kaya takot siya sa dilim.

“Kasi kumbaga nakikita pa rin niya kahit wala siya sa Sta. Castela, tapos na yung night in question na kinuha siya ng entity, hindi pa rin siya makawala.”

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Even Ben, Khalil's character and the filmmaker of the Lilom movie in the story, has a different interpretation.

Angeli explained, “Tas pag gagawin na nilang pelikula, may factor pa na si Ben, e, fascinated siya doon sa festival.

"Kasi noong bata siya, he spends summers in Sta. Castela so medyo in a way, kinakatakutan na kinaiintirigahan din niya yung figure na ito.

“Iba rin yung pagdating doon sa film set, gagawa din sila ng representation noon na may wooden figure sila na prop sa set.

"We will realize na si Ben is also haunted by it. Kumbaga bakit niya ginagawa ito kasi may hinaharap siyang fear of it.

"So, habang ginagawa niya yung pelikula, makikita natin bakit sa kanya naman, sa point of view niya, parang nabubuhay yung prop na ginawa nila. Bakit siya natatakot?

“So, kumbaga yun yung naging challenge sa amin na depende sa kaninong kwento yung nakikikta natin in a way iba yung fear

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"Iba-ibang klase siyang fear of the creature para sa kanila. Pero, in general, it’s a dark wooden figure.

"Iyun yung pinaka-consistent sa lahat pero kung ano siya, depende siya sa nakaka-experience din.”

HOLLYWOOD-STYLE CAMERA WORK

Meanwhile, King Baco, the director of Love You Stranger, has made sure to add sophistication to the treatment of the Lilom scenes.

He explained, “Iba yung requirements ng genre na ito, yung shots mo, yung blocking mo ng artista so I have to watch mga pang-film school movies.

“May mga pegs na kailangan i-pinpoint para i-apply mo dito sa series na ito. So, yun yung naging assignment ko for this.

“Kailangan din kasi yung News and Public Affairs, may certain look din siya, parang ganun.

"So, kailangan i-maintain yun, the cinematic [feel], so kailangan hindi maging TV, kailangan pang-Netflix.

“So, kailangan i-level up that’s why ginawa ko, ayoko yung camera lang na naka-tripod na steady lang.

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“So, kung manonood ka nitong series, parang Hollywood na sumusunod yung camera. Kasi ganun, e, kapag suspenseful na eksena, sinusundan mo yung likod ng artista, yung camera, parang lumulutang yung camera.

“So, walang static, pati paa susundan mo ng camera so may mga ganung stabilizer na ilagay, so yun yung naging treatment.”

As Love You Stranger comes to a close, the viewers will finally find out the real story behind the Lilom.

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Love You Stranger creator Angeli Atienza on the Lilom creature: "In-invent siya for the show pero based on the general idea na superstitious side ng Philippine folklore and beliefs." In the story, the characters of Khalil Ramos and Gabbi Garcia are finding the mystery behind the creature that haunts the town of Sta. Castela.
PHOTO/S: Love You Stranger (GMA-7)
ILLUSTRATION: Igi Talao
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