Amaya goes all-out in presenting an epic story dating back to the 1500s. Viewers will get to see the pre-colonial life of Filipinos living in the Visayan region through actual villages, infrastructure, clothing, transportation, and battle scenes.
GMA-7 has been coordinating with the history department of the University of the Philippines to make sure that every detail on this show is accurate.
In a previous interview with PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal), Marian said that her character will undergo several transformations as the show progresses. "Pabago-bago ang karakter ko dun. Naging prinsesa, tapos oripun, tapos warrior."
Viewers will get to learn about the different social classes during pre-colonial times. The "oripun" is considered the lowest social class, while the "binukot" refers to a princess who is considered the most beautiful woman in the land. To prepare for her role as a warrior, Marian studied arnis.
Amaya will depict the intertwined stories of three major tribes: Mangubat, Mugna, and Usog. GMA-7 constructed villages for the Mangubat and Bugna tribes at the Lagaslas Picnic Grounds in Pagsanjan, Laguna.
Gardo Versoza’s character heads the Mangubat tribe, the Mugna tribe is headed by Raymond Bagatsing’s character, while the Usog tribe is headed by Vince Aguilar. There is a Jumabon tribe as well but the cultural influences were taken in historical context while the major tribes featured are fictional.
Costume designer Gino Gonzalez puts his theater background to use by creating the elaborate fashion and accessories for GMA-7’s upcoming primetime series. Amaya is the first epicserye on Philippine television with a fictional story that’s backed up, however, by historical context.
Using fabrics from all over the Asian region, the Amaya production team sourced these from Malaysia, Singapore, India, Indonesia—echoing the trade arrangements that happened in those times as well. Gino revealed: "Most of the costumes, made of natural fibers, usually silk. Binili namin sa Little India in Singapore, ang iba ipinahabi namin talaga rito based sa existing pattern na na-research namin."
According to Gino, the "habis" took a while to create since they really take up time. Patterned after actual designs found in the Visayan and Southeast Asian regions, the team tried to stay away from very distinct tribal patterns to ensure nothing would be taken out of context. The "habis" end up looking regional because of the varied influences.
The team researched the historical context of the clothing for three months and to date, they are still working on the costumes for the past three weeks of shooting.
He then shared details about the costumes of the lead actresses of Amaya.
"Kay Marian lang, second week pa lang, nakakalimang costumes na siya. Ang jewelry niya, merong semiprecious stones. Sina Rochelle [Pangilinan] at Glaiza [de Castro] ang gumaganap na mga kapatid niya, kaya magaganda rin ang costumes and jewelry nila."
When asked if Marian, Rochelle and Glaiza will indeed be going topless for this show, he answered, "Ganoon naman talaga noong panahong iyon, pero hindi naman natin puwedeng ipakita sa TV. Kaya kailangang takpan ng damit o ng suot nilang alahas. Pero kapag may eksenang kailangang tumakbo sila, pinapayagan na naming may suot sila, na hindi naman mahahalata."
Gino shares that they applied boxer codex, the language of symbols used in the Philippines before the Spaniards arrived. It uses watercolor drawings to represent what people looked like then.
Accessories and jewelries are sourced from Malaysia (headdresses), the necklaces were done by a local group while other items were done by Bulacan craftsmen who make carosas.
The tattoo-like drawings on the warriors’ bodies also take time to create. These drawings represent basic tribal shapes that were provided by two historical consultants. Each of the five tribes represented in Amaya got their own combination of tribal shapes drawn on the bodies of the male warriors.
Because of the intricacy and attention to detail for all the costumes, Amaya’s costume budget has already reached the P3 million mark.