When Ana Feleo’s Ades character was killed in the September 22 episode of Encantadia, the actress thought it was the end of the line for her in GMA-7's fantasy series.
“I was really, like, talagang cut na ’yon, ’tapos na,” Ana told PEP.ph in an interview during the screening of the film Kasal. This film was directed by Ana's mother, Laurice Guillen, and the digitally restored version was screened as part of QCinema 2016.
“But because of the reaction of the fans, of the followers of Encantadia sa Twitter, Facebook, and all over social media, they decided to bring my character back as the gabay diwa of Lira.”
Encantadia is both a remake and a sequel of the now classic series of the same title that ran in 2005 on the Kapuso Network. Encantadia also refers to the story’s setting, a make-believe world that’s divided into four kingdoms: Lireo, Hathoria, Sappiro, and Adamya.
Ades is a new character that appeared only in the new version. As punong dama or lady-in-waiting in Lireo, she served during the reign of Reyna Minea (played by Marian Rivera) and the succession to the throne of Reyna Minea’s second daughter Amihan (Kylie Padilla).
Reyna Amihan was then overthrown by the combined forces of her ambitious older sister Pirena (Glaiza de Castro) and Hathoria’s evil ruler, Haring Hagorn (John Arcilla).
Ades died in the aftermath of the bloody takeover of power. In the October 5 episode, though, she appeared again in the story as an ivtre, the Enchan language’s word for kaluluwa or spirit, to welcome Reyna Amihan’s daughter Lira (Mikee Quintos) into the afterlife in Devas. She reappeared in the October 19 episode to serve as gabay diwa, or spirit guide, of Lira and then of Reyna Amihan.
The loyal lady-in-waiting’s parting words to her queen in the October 21 episode were: “Hanggang dito na lang ang aking maitutulong, ngunit kung kinakailangan niyo ang aking tulong muli, mananatili akong iyong gabay diwa.”
Does this mean that Encantadia fans, who call themselves Encantadiks, would see more of Ades?
“Tignan natin kung ga’no kahaba,” Ana said in the interview.
She reconsidered her reply, and pointed out: “Medyo mahaba-haba pa. Tutulong si Ades para maibalik ang trono sa mga taga-Lireo.”
Looking back at her absence from the series, Ana revealed what she missed most at that time.
“Aside from the cast, it’s the production crew,” she said. “Sobra nilang bait, sobra nilang kalog, starting with Miss Winnie [Reyes], our executive producer na sobrang sweet, and kachika ko ’yon.”
“And sila Direk,” she added, referring to Encantadia director Mark Reyes. “Of course, sila Vaness [del Moral]. And I was just so happy to receive a phone call na, ‘Oy, may ginagawa ka na ba sa iba? Kasi kung wala pa, may plano pa kami kay Ades.’”
Vaness del Moral is the actress who plays Pirena’s lady-in-waiting Gurna, who has done many wicked schemes at the expense of people around them, including Ades.
Ades and Gurna had a physical confrontation in the September 14 episode, with the former doing wrestling moves to the latter.
In real life, Ana pointed out that she and Vaness actually get along well with each other.
“Ang saya namin ni Vaness,” she said, grinning. “Actually, tuwang-tuwa nga ang mga fans, mga followers na finally nai-wrestling siya. Tama naman kasi ang dami nang galit kay Gurna dahil sa mga pinaggagawa niya at saka laging hindi siya nahuhuli.”
Still grinning, she recalled how they shot their now famous fight scene that featured Ana doing a wrestling move (elbow drop) to Vaness. Ana even picked up Vaness and pinned her to the bed.
“’Yong ginawa namin ’yon ni Gurna, it was so much fun,” she remarked. “I think it was the most fun experience I’ve had in Encantadia. At saka ang bilis, one take lang ’yon. Isang tuhog lang ’yon.”
Ana expressed satisfaction that Encantadia, which premiered on July 18, 2016, has started getting high viewership ratings.
“Very slow but steady,” she agreed. “We’d rather na slow climb siya kesa up, up, up! ’Yong expectations lang namin, basta every day, pagalingin lang nang pagalingin, i-push pa nang i-push. Gawin pang mas exciting ’yong mga eksena, ’yong mga mangyayari.”
She noted that ratings picked up when Reyna Amihan’s kingdom fell.
“’Tapos biglang pinatay ako,” she explained. “Di nila in-expect. Ang daming nagalit. ’Tapos pumasok si Alden [Richards] bilang mulawin.”
Alden, a prized GMA-7 star, has guest starred in Encantadia as a member of the bird-like clan called Mulawin.
More stars have been in the series, either as guests or mainstays, such as Diana Zubiri who plays cursed beauty Lilasari. Diana gave life to Sang’gre Pirena in the original show.
Ana announced with a smile: “Hay, ang dami na namin sa cast!”
And added with a bigger smile: “Madami pang papasok.”
Among her many and gifted castmates, she considers Vaness del Moral, John Arcilla, and Glaiza de Castro—who all play kontrabida roles—as her favorites.
“In fairness, kung mahina din naman ang mga kontrabida, mahirap itaas ang mga eksena,” she explained. “So I must say, magagaling din ang mga kontrabida namin.”