Before being known as Astigs, this show debuted as a weekly anthology program dubbed as Star Magic Presents before adopting the title of Star Magic Presents: Abt Ur Luv. It was later on called Star Magic Presents: Abt Ur Luv (Ur Lyf 2). But despite the changes of title, the main purpose of the program has always been the same: to hone and train young acting upstarts.
Last April 18 to 20, the entire Astigs cast and crew stayed in Camarines Sur to tape the concluding episode of the program touted as a developmental show of the Kapamilya Network. This two-part concluding episode will be aired on ABS-CBN on May 3 and 10.
The cast of Astigs—Victor Basa, Angelo Patrimonio, AJ Perez, Chris Gutierrez, Dino Imperial, Zia Marquez, Lauren Young, Enchong Dee, Valeen Montenegro, Empress Schuck, Martin del Rosario, Alfonso Martinez, Megan Young, Isabelle Abiera and Jessy Mendiola—were all present during the three-day stay.
Other Star Magic talents tagged along—Mikee Lee, Joaqui Mendoza, Jason Abalos, Archie Alemania, John James Uy, Raphael Martinez, Rodjun Cruz, Fred Payawan, Charles Christiansen, Ahron Villena, Rudolf Yaptinchay, and Pinoy Big Brother luminaries Nene Tamayo and Beatriz Saw.
The Astigs concluding episode was shot in scenic Camarines Sur upon the invitation of CamSur governor L-Ray Villafuerte. Aside from the shooting itself, the cast and crew had a field day with wakeboarding at the CamSur Watersports Complex (CWC).
With the end of the show, viewers will say goodbye to the barkada of the A.S.T.I.G.s composed of Andoy (Dino Imperial), Sean (Chris Gutierrez), Tyler (AJ Perez), Ipe (Enchong Dee), and Galo (Angelo Patrimonio).
DIRECTOR'S NOTES. Don't let all the exuberant spirit of the cast fool you. Truth is, despite all the laughter and juvenile activities going on, doing a youth-oriented show like ABS-CBN's Astigs is all hard work, patience and headaches.
Sharing directorial duties are Jojo Saguin and Erik Salud who have the task of overseeing more than a dozen teen stars and making sure that everyone adheres to their vision for the program.
"As the story progresses biglang dumadagdag na sila ganito, ‘yong character development nung isang character pumasok. So, umiikot hanggang sa ngayon, ang dami na naman nila kaya mahirap ‘pag sa taping dati umaabot kami ng four a.m., five a.m.," narrated Direk Jojo Saguin.
Despite the "kakulitan" of the young stars, both directors praised them for their dedication and willingness to learn all throughout.
Direk Jojo pointed out, "Once naman we stressed after blocking, siyempre laro-laro ‘yan, e, tapos after na medyo nakikita nila na pikon na ko, titigil na ‘yan, magfu-focus na ‘yang mga ‘yan. Madali naman silang kausap."
That point was seconded by Direk Erik, who says, "Minsan nakikilaro ako sa kanila. May mga time na talaga na kulitan, may time talaga na seryoso."
CULTIVATING TALENTS. Astigs, as explained by Direk Jojo, incorporates a wide range of topics commonly faced by young people. Certainly there is that element of love, as well as friendship, peer pressure, adolescent issues, and family concerns.
As the show draws to a close, everyone expressed relief but most of all sadness. For the young stars, they would definitely miss each other's company. For the directors and the entire creative team, they are hoping that the passion shown by the youngsters would continue to shine.
"Malungkot, of course, kasi siyempre mga more than one and a half years din kami, ‘di ba? So, parang sayang nawala ‘yong developmental show, kasi ito yong parang training ground nila so ‘yon lang ‘yong parang pinanghihinayangan namin siguro," Direk Erik pointed out.
Guiding a bunch of aspiring actors is a tough job considering their tender age and immaturity. Having diverse backgrounds is another consideration.
"Mahirap kasi sa age nila talaga ‘yong iba kasi may pinaghuhugutan ‘di ba? ‘Yong iba kasi, walang ganoong experiences, personal experiences, I mean. So, kailangan talaga iakma mo ‘yong mga ibibigay mong characters sa kanila, kung ano sila," rationalized direk Erik.
But after months of continuous workshops and acting in front of the camera, both directors acknowledged the marked improvement shown by the kids. That alone is a great achievement.
"After a few months makikita mo sila. So nakakatuwa na nakatulong kami sa improvement nila. Since this is a weekly show, malaki na ang improvement since nung nag-start kami," Direk Erik proudly said.
Astigs airs Saturday mornings at 10 a.m. on ABS-CBN.
Click HERE to view behind-the-scenes photos of Astigs at the CamSur Watersports Complex.