The long wait is over for singer-actress Nikki Gil. Finally, the ABS-CBN drama-suspense series Florinda will make its television debut on September 7.
Following the success of Patayin Sa Sindak Si Barbara and Maligno, Florinda is the third installment of the Susan Roces Cinema Collection. All mentioned titles were movie originals topbilled by Movie Queen Susan Roces during the '70s. ABS-CBN then bought the rights to these films for television adaptation to boost its Sineserye Presents roster.
Florinda is highly touted as Maricel Soriano's TV comeback vehicle after taking a long break. Maricel's last television project was the now defunct comedy sitcom John en Shirley (2006).
For the upcoming series, Nikki will portray the role of a reserved young woman named Mara.
BIGGEST BREAK. Florinda was actually sitting in the network's vault for one and a half years, making its September 7 premiere a long overdue affair.
Technically, the series should have been Nikki's baptism of fire as a serious actress. "This would have been my biggest," she told PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) last night, September 1, after the press conference proper held at ABS-CBN's 9501 restaurant in Quezon City.
The long delay enabled other similar serious projects like Pieta and Maalaala Mo Kaya to come Nikki's way and consequently overtake Florinda's significance in the singer-actress's resumé.
"Siguro pag napanood 'to [Florinda], makikita talaga nung mga tao na medyo baby face pa talaga ko dun. Medyo bagets pa talaga ko nun!" Nikki laughed.
Working with The Diamond Star and other seasoned actors was a challenge for the young actress. "Only because Tita Maria [Maricel] is part of it, I guess, kaya ko siya talaga na-consider na test. Dahil para makipagsabayan ka sa kanila sa mga tulad nila Roxanne [Guinoo], Zanjoe [Marudo], Tita Marya, Tita Pie [Cherry Pie], na talagang very, very experienced.
"Definitely, madami pa 'kong kanin na kakainin. Pero feeling ko naman, naibigay ko lahat ng meron ako when I did Florinda. Kasi parang ang mentality ko nun 'Teka lang, this is it! Kailangan makipagsabayan ako."
The 22-year-old singer-actress admitted feeling a bit anxious with the long delay. "Nainip only because excited na 'ko makita siya, excited na 'ko makita 'yong finished product. But making it, hindi naman, kasi masaya naman 'yong kuwentuhan sa set and maraming natututunan from the veteran actors, and 'yon talaga, iti-treasure talaga namin 'yon."
Doing Florinda likewise exposed Nikki—who is trained more as a singer and host—to the exhausting professional demands required of actors.
"Naaawa ako sa mga artista ng Philippine showbiz because puyatan po talaga. [They're working] more than 24 hours and they are expected to deliver. Pero 'pag nagte-teleserye po ako, parang nari-realize ko na wala akong karapatan magreklamo kahit gaano na ako kapagod, kahit gaano na ako kapuyat, wala akong karapatan magreklamo.
"Dahil sila Kim [Chiu], hindi lang teleserye ang ginagawa. Hindi lang isa, minsan dalawa, at may ASAP pa. At hindi lang 'yon, nagpu-promote pa ng movie at may mall show pa. Nung ginagawa namin 'yong Florinda, nagte-teleserye lang ako at nag-aaral at kumakanta. So every time na pumapasok ako ng set at nararamdaman ko 'yong pagod, nagsi-sink in na, nare-remind ako na wala akong karapatan magreklamo dahil there are artists who sacrifice more than I do."