After spending eight years as a love team, Bea Alonzo and John Lloyd Cruz mark another milestone in their careers by portraying the Philippine version of a popular TV series about a woman who might be ugly physically but has a beautiful personality.
How does Bea feel about giving ASAP ‘08 so she could concentrate on I Love Betty La Fea? "It's not about sacrificing ASAP, it's actually prioritizing a show. Definitely, mag-ge-guest pa rin ako sa show para ma-promote ang Betty at mahal na mahal ko ang mga tao dun. Malay mo, mabalik rin ako dun kasi siyempre sumasayaw rin at kumakanta pa rin ako," says the female actress who will portray the role of a deglamorized secretary complete with thick-rimmed glasses, braces, and thick bushy hair.
According to business unit head Deo Endrinal, ABS-CBN spent P40 million alone just to build the Eco Moda Manila office on the 11th floor of the ELJ Building in Quezon City.
Bea expressed her gratitude for being tapped to play the lead character in this teleserye. "Thankful ako na binigyan nila ako ng ganitong proyekto. Not everybody is given a chance na magkaroon ng ganitong klaseng show at mag-spend ang kumpanya ng ganun kalaking halaga."
Since Bea is known for tearjerking soap operas such as Maging Sino Ka Man, is she already comfortable doing comedy?
"I am! Noong una, kinakabahan ako kasi iniisip ko, hindi ako komedyante, paano ‘to magwo-work? Pero habang pinag-aaralan ko yung different Bettys from different countries, dun ko na-realize na hindi siya nagpapatawa. Situational siya, e, so kailangan mong maniwala kung ano yung ginagawa mo. Minsan, kahit umiiyak siya, nakakatawa pa rin siya."
Doesn't she feel awkward shooting scenes such as hitting a street lamp and banging her face against a glass door?
"Nag-e-enjoy ako kasi first time ko nalalaro ang character ko. First time kong magkaroon ng character na hindi safe, kahit madapa ka, okay lang."
She watched two versions: the original Colombian version Yo Soy Betty La Fea and the American version Ugly Betty.
What similarities does she share with Betty? "Yung pagmamahal niya sa pamilya, dun talaga ko tinatamaan."
How can she relate to a character who, according to society's standards, is ugly? "Ang Betty La Fea is not about being pangit," explains Bea. "Ang bago nating pangit ngayon, is someone na punong-puno ng insecurities. At ako, bilang tao marami rin akong insecurities. "Halimbawa, yung mga sinasabi nilang mataba, ngayon, na-overcome ko na yung insecurities na yun dahil sa pag-aaral ko kay Betty. Na-realize ko hindi mo kailangang maging perfect para maging perfect sa mata ng ibang tao."
Alonzo is cast as Beatrice
"Betty" Pengson, the physically challenged but very smart and kind-hearted
secretary in the advertising agency Eco Moda Manila. She will work for Armando
Solis (John Lloyd Cruz), the
womanizing, serious, and rich President of Eco Moda Manila.
They will be joined by veteran and respected TV personalities such as Rolando Valdez as Hermes Pengson, Betty's loving and supportive dad and a former OFW. His wife and Betty's adoring mother is Julia Pengson, played by the Philippines' Concert Comedy Queen Ai-Ai delas Alas. Singer-teen actor Sam Concepcion plays the role of Andrew, Betty's younger brother who wants to break into showbiz.
The Betty-ful star won't be seen without her best friend
Nicolas Mora portrayed by funny man Vhong
Navarro. Nicolas is Betty's male version and look-alike! But the difference
between him and Betty is that he has a liking for beautiful women and believes
that wealth is the solution to his dreams.
Eco Moda Manila is the advertising agency where Betty dreams
of working. This is where she will meet the office's beautiful but wicked
secretaries and big bosses.
Number one on the list is the gorgeous and ambitious
ex-model Daniella Valencia played by former beauty queen and TV host-actress Ruffa Gutierrez. This role is definitely
made for Ruffa because she is a natural as she everything to get the career
that she wants. But underneath her hard and serious disposition is a certain
Marcela Valencia, played by Megan Young, is Daniella's younger sister and the woman who is very
much in love with Armando.
The other secretaries of Eco Moda Manila are Patricia
Suarez, Betty's rival secretary played by Wendy
Valdez. Unlike Betty, Patricia landed the job as secretary only because she
is beautiful. Daniella's secretary is Maria Rose Sanchez, played by Meryll Soriano.Rose is the kind-hearted girl who is dedicated to
her family and is clueless about her cheating husband. She will eventually be
Betty's best female friend. There is also Kylie Torres, Mario's secretary played by singer Sheryn Regis.
But that's not the end of the I Love Betty la Fea cast. Other than big boss Armando, there are also the other bosses (and feeling bosess) of Eco Moda Manila. There's the playboy Mario Collantes, Armando's arrogant friend, played by Joem Bascon. Hugo Bossini, the creative director of Eco Moda Manila, will be portrayed by Thou Reyes. Joining them are Ronnie Liang as Enrique Robles, the agency's Human Resources Manager, and Jojo Alejar as Mac Ularte, the finance officer who is obsessed with Daniella.
Under the direction of Erick Salud and Don Cuaresma, I Love Betty La Fea will air its pilot episode tonight, September 8, right after ABS-CBN's teleserye Dyosa.