Angelica Panganiban went through the ladder of success without skipping a single step, thus, her nearly 18 years of experience in the entertainment industry have sharpened her skills in the acting department. For this reason, she has been tapped to play the bida-kontrabida lead character in Rubi, which is one of the biggest teleseryes of ABS-CBN in celebration of its 60 years of Pinoy Soap Opera. The Filipina Rubi met with the press last January 26 at the 14th Flr, ELJ Building, ABS-CBN compound.
ORIGINAL RUBI. Rubí is originally a Mexican telenovela aired on TeleVisa network in 2004 that topbilled model-turned-actress Bárbara Mori. The plot is based on a story by Yolanda Vargas Dulché. The said telenovela was first aired in 1968 portrayed by Fanny Cano, a well-known Mexican actress and producer.
Mori was born in February 2, 1978 with a Uruguayan-Japanese and Mexican heritage. She started as model at the age of fourteen when she was discovered by a fashion designer then eventually ventured into acting. Mori made her acting debut in the Mexican telenovela Al Norte del Corazon in 1997 and landed her first leading role in the series Azul Tequila in 1998 until she portrayed Rubí Pérez de Ferrer in the highly-rated Mexicanovela Rubi which reaped awards including Best Female Protagonist for Mori.
Rubí was a huge success in many countries. Apart from Latin America, the telenovela garnered high ratings in the United States, Malaysia, Israel, Eastern Europe and the Philippines, among many others.
PINAY RUBI. Rubi became a television hit in the Philippines when it was aired by ABS-CBN on its daytime slot in 2005. Despite its timeslot, the drama series still managed to reach primetime-series-like ratings. Recently, the Kapamilya Network has acquired the TV rights for its Philippine version. Angelica Panganiban will bring life to the Pinay Rubi starting February 15, 2010.
Viewers have known Angelica as member of the elite circle of homegrown talents of ABS-CBN since her showbiz career started at the age of 6 in Ang TV. She was also cast in ABS-CBN shows such as Berks, Vietnam Rose, Rounin, Ysabella, Maging Sino Ka Man: Ang Pagbabalik and Iisa Pa Lamang. Angelica feels very lucky to be given the biggest break on her television career because of Rubi. "Natutuwa ako kasi ang tagal ko ng artista. Simula last year, na-feel ko artista pala ako ng ABS-CBN kasi nabigyan ako ng importansya," she said with a smile.
She proved her versatility as an actress when she portrayed the socialite villain Scarlet dela Rhea-Castillejos in Iisa Pa Lamang in 2008 topbilled by Claudine Barretto, Gabby Concepcion and Diether Ocampo. Angelica is cast as Rubí Pérez de Ferrer, a woman driven by dark ambition that will be hindered by no one and nothing in getting what she wants—to escape from poverty and to live a wealthy life. "Yung ipagkatiwala sa ’yo ang isang soap na parang title role, bonggang-bongga na yun. Hinintay ko ang pagkakataon na ’to, ang maging bida sa isang soap. At ngayon, di lang bida, bida-kontrabida pa! Ano pang hahanapin mo?"
BIDA-KONTRABIDA. With the tagline "ang kontrabidang bida," Angelica explained that her character is a protagonist and antagonist at the same time. "Kumbaga sa soap opera ngayon lang ’yung umiikot sa kwento para sa isang bida-kotrabida." She admitted that more than the pressure with the role and the project, it’s the challenge that pushes her to do well in her new role. "Oo may pressure, pero higit pa sa pressure, yung challenge na magampanan ko yung role na mabuti ang mas nangingibabaw. Nakaka-challenge talaga kung paano mo titimplahin ’yung pagiging mataray mo and kung paano ka kakaawaan ng mga manonood. Si Rubi kasi kahit kontrabida may puso."
She also shared that portraying Scarlet dela Rhea-Castillejos in Iisa Pa Lamang has helped her interpreting her bida-kontrabida role. "Malaki ang naitulong ni Scarlet kasi dun maldita ako, e. Kumbaga dito sa Rubi madali na ang shifting ng character. Madali nang paglaruan si Rubi."
When asked the difference of portraying Scarlet in Iisa Pa Lamang and Rubi in Rubi, Angelica explained in jest, "Si Scarlet, sosyal. Si Rubi, social climber." She continues, "Si Scarlet, mukang pera. Si Rubi, spell maldita, R-u-b-i. Siya yun, si Rubi yun! Pero may dahilan, may rason kung bakit ganun ang character ni Rubi."
SECOND CHOICE TO PLAY RUBI. Members of the press pointed out that Angelica is the perfect actress to play Rubi because she effectively portrayed a role with the same nature in the teleserye Iisa Pa lamang as the villainess Scarlet. But the role of Rubi was not first offered to her. "Yes, hindi ako ang first choice. Alam ko maraming pinagpilian. Nung pumasok ang name ko, tumigil na sila," she said with a laugh mimicking Kris Aquino.
She candidly added, "Nung ginawa yung Rubi ng Mexico, ako ang peg ng Televisa. Opo, ako siya. Kakambal ko si Rubi!"
Angelica was the second choice after Kristine Hermosa declined the role since she deemed it "too daring."
MORE DARING. Angelica also explained that she had no hesitations in accepting the role of Rubi despite its daring image because the role calls for it. "Siyempre yung pagpapasexy dito sa Rubi, hindi lang naman siya basta-basta lang. Yung pagpapa-sexy, hinihingi hinihingi yun ng role ko so yun ang ibibigay ko. Sa pagpapasexy, hindi naman masyado kasi alam kong sexy na ako," she said with a huge grin.
She added, "Alam kong malaki ang hinaharap ko. Ayokong isampal sa mukha ng tao na, hey malaki siya. Baka ma-MTRCB tayo. Rubi meets Magpasikat, ayoko naman ng ganun," she added with a laugh.
Angelica watched some episodes of the original Mexicanovela to prepare to her role. "Pinanood ko yung original version ng Rubi. Ayoko maging siya. Gusto ko maging iba."
While watching the original series, she got worried by the possibility that Filipino viewers might react negatively to her role since the Mexican version is daring. There were adjustments made to meet the taste of Pinoy viewers. "At first nakakatakot, siyempre iba kasi ang values nating mga Filipino. Mas nag-focus kami sa Filipino values. Pinaikot ang kuwento sa pamilya pero halos lahat naman na-retain," she explained.
The young actress also said that she has been undergoing workshops for the said series. "Nag-acting workshop ako para sa Rubi. Pati nga paglalakad inaral ko para sa show na ito."
CAST MEMBERS. When asked if she is pressured with the role and project, Angelica admitted: "Oo may pressure pero ito yung masasabi kong project na confident ako. Sa casting pa lang panalo na ako. Andyan si Ms. Cherrie Gil, Ms. Cherry Pie [Picache] at Ms. Connie [Reyes]. Lahat ng "C" binigay na sa akin, bongga!"
Joining Angelica Panganiban in Rubi are Diether Ocampo as Hector, Jake Cuenca as Dr. Alejandro and Shaina Magdayao as Maribel. Other cast members include seasoned actors Gardo Versoza, Cherie Gil, Cherry Pie Picache, Michael de Mesa, Coney Reyes, Allan Paule, Bing Loyzaga, Juan Rodrigo, Susan Africa, Eva Darren, Rey "PJ" Abellana and Dante Rivero with young stars Megan Young, Xian Lim and Kaye Abad.
Thankful for the teleserye project, Angelica was overwhelmed by the trust given to her by the Kapamilya Network executives. "Siyempre nagpapasalamat ako sa ABS-CBN; kina Ma’am Charo [Santos-Concio], Ms. Cory Vidanes at sa lahat ng bumubuo ng Rubi dahil sa tiwalang ibinigay nila sa akin."
She added, "Kung sasabihin nating excited, sobra, sobrang excited and ngayon lang siguro ako kinabahan na alam mo yon, may ilalabas kang project parang sayo nakapangalan ang show, sobrang excited and proud and happy yung nararamdaman ko talaga."
Created by Televisa, Mexico and directed by Erick Salud and Don Cuaresma, Rubi will be shown on ABS-CBN Primetime Bida starting February 15, 2010.