Life for Nadine Samonte is full of surprises.
Three months after making the life of Nora Aunor miserable in Sa Ngalan ng Ina, she’s back on television as "sobrang bait" in Valiente.
"Ako po dito si Maila Braganza," she said during the soap’s press conference held earlier, January 19, at the 8 Spices restaurant in Quezon City.
She was just four years old when the original version—which starred Michael de Mesa and Tirso Cruz III—started airing.
Her character then was played by singer-actress Mariz.
"Baby pa ako nun," she told the editors and columnists who gave her a background on Valiente—which initially aired on ABS-CBN (1992-1995), then GMA-7 (1995-1997).
To describe her role, Nadine said, "Isa akong ampon...ampon ng mga Braganza.
"Kapatid ko po si Oyo [Sotto] at saka si Niña [Jose].
"Simple lang si Maila, pero more on emotional siya, e."
FIRST TIME TO WORK WITH JOEL LAMANGAN. She didn’t do much to prepare for the project, save for being focused while she was on the set.
Smiling, the StarStruck alumna related, "Sa paghahanda, ang masasabi ko, si Direk...
"Si Direk kasi ang laging nandiyan, lagi akong sinasabihan, ’O, kelangang iiyak ka dito. Kelangang ganyan ka dito.’
"Sobrang takot ko. Iiyak na lang ako."
When she’s scared, crying is "madali naman...mabilis," but her motivation, she says, comes from familiarizing herself with the role.
"Kasi mahirap, e, na hindi ko alam ang character ko, ’tapos hindi ko alam kung paano ko ipu-portray," she threw in.
But Direk Joel keeps Nadine on her toes.
She lives in Batangas, but if the call time is 10 a.m., she arrives on the set at 7 a.m.
"Ganun kaaga. Ayokong ma-late talaga," she said.
"Natatakot ako sa kanya, e.
"Sa sobrang takot ko, ayokong masigawan ako, e.
"Pero working with him, uhm, different experience again...
"Parang natututo ako, e, parang...yung pagiging professional, kailangang mas professional pa talaga."
FIRST TIME TO WORK WITH JC DE VERA. Her initial scenes with JC have been "okay naman," but there were a lot of awkward moments.
Nadine recalled, "At first medyo bago pa, so kinausap kami ni Direk about it na, ’Wala akong nararamdaman sa inyo, ganyan-ganyan...’
"Ang ano ko po kasi dito, parang laging kalaban ng sister ko, e, si Niña.
"Gusto niya kasi si JC. E, nagkakagustuhan kami ni JC.
"Yung parang lagi siyang [Niña] umaapela, yung parang gumagawa siya ng reasons at mga way para magkahiwalay kami."
Their first kissing scene happened yesterday, January 18, in Matabungcay, Batangas, the shoot’s location.
How was it?
Her brief reply: "Okay naman. Isa lang...
"Parang sinusunod lang namin yung bawat character namin."
RECONCILIATION WITH EX-BF. The topic shifted to her lovelife.
It may be recalled that last year, she surprised the public with the announcement of her breakup with Emerson Chua, her boyfriend of six years.
She also surpised everyone with the admission that she had been "exclusively dating" Leandro Muñoz.
"Nagkabalikan kami," was her plainspoken revelation about Emerson.
Emerson is Filipino-Chinese businessman whose family owns Ping Ping Lechon.
Nadine went on, "Wala pang [kasalan]. Nagkahiwalay kami."
What led to their four-month—from August to December—split?
She answered, "Kasi ano naman, e, may mga reasons naman na...may mga reasons naman na puwedeng pag-usapan, so hindi naman ganun kalala."
The 23-year-old actress didn’t get to finish her explanation, but remarked, "Pinagpapawisan na ako."
But the reporters didn’t drop the issue that easily: "So ano nga ang nangyari?"
"Secret," she joked before turning more serious.
"Ay, hindi, walang third party.
"Ano naman, siguro sobrang naging...
"Ang tagal kasi namin, e.
"Six years kami walang breakup, walang cool-off, walang kahit ano, e.
"’Tapos biglang all of sudden, biglang...
"Siguro para kaming nag-snap out, ’Ay, ano muna, slow down muna tayo.’
"Parang ganun. Dun na nag-start."
Now that they’re back in each other’s arms, have they started talking about getting married?
"Gusto na niya, e," she admitted.
"Pero hindi pa puwede, e, sayang...sayang ang kontrata...
"Sayang yung opportunity na binibigay sa akin ng Channel 5, e. Okay naman."
What happened to Leandro?
Her reply: "Naging kami, pero in a short time lang.
"Unang alis niya, medyo [shaky]...
"Weeks lang ang binilang. Pero naging ano lang talaga."
Veteran entertainment editor Isah Red teased, "Ano bang nagustuhan mo? Gusto mo ba yung may tattoo?"
Candidly, she said, "Ayoko nga ng may tattoo, e. Iyan nga hindi ko maintindihan, e.
"Hindi ko alam..."
Smiling, she made an attempt to evade the question, "Parang honest na ’to e, sobrang honest na ’to. Ano ba ’yan, pinagpapawisan na ’ko."
Then, going back to the topic, "Ewan ko ba, parang dedma.
"Siguro kasi dahil nga sa sobrang tagal, walang...
"Sobrang tagal din namin ng boyfriend ko dati, parang walang...parang walang iba siguro.
"Pero wala na kami nung si Leandro pumasok."
Why didn’t it work out with Leandro?
"Mahirap kasi i-push yung isang bagay na unsure. Yung ganun," she said.
Then after her breakup with Leandro, Emerson began winning her back, "Siya yung gumawa ng way."
Despite some humps and bumps, things became better again between her and Emerson.
Nadine related, "Siyempre, in a way na parang hiwalay kami, e.
"Wala naman samaan ng loob or what, kasi alam niyang naging honest din ako sa kanya, nasabi ko lahat.
"In-open up ko lahat ng nangyari, kung bakit ganun, kung bakit ganyan...
"Wala namang samaan [ng loob]. Naiintindihan naman niya.
"At saka siguro kung hindi naman niya naiintindihan yun, hindi naman siya parang gumawa ng way na bumalik."
Is he already the one?
"Di ko alam. Di ko pa alam.
"Hindi mo masasabi yun, e," she quickly replied.
"STEADY" CAREER. Meanwhile, she’s been "happy" with TV5 so far.
"Happy, kasi hindi ko akalain na makakatrabaho ko si Ms. Nora Aunor, ganun yung role ko.
"Hindi ko akalain na magkakaroon ako ng The Sisters, dual yung role ko.
"Yun parang hindi ko akalaing...hindi ko akalain na pagkakatiwalaan nila ako na, ah...bigyan ako ng mga ganung klase ng roles," she elaborated.
But she can’t really say she’s in a better position.
"Kasi hindi ko rin masasabing parang better ito than GMA.
"Kasi sa GMA, dun ako nakilala, e.
"Dito, nag-i-start pa lang ulit ako."
When she left the Kapuso Network last year, "Nag-offer back ang GMA, halos same nun."
But Nadine chose to have a "guaranteed" three-year contract with the Kapatid station.
To elaborate, "Guaranteed pag may taping, may kita, e, ang tagal kong nabakante, e.
"Nabakante po ako for how many months, after po ng Sa Ngalan Ng Ina."
She’s bound to get the total amount "at the end of the contract," but she underscored, "pag walang trabaho, wala."
Nadine still has until June 2014 with TV5, and if given the chance, she wants to work with "Ms. Sharon Cuneta," and do more "action" ala Lara Croft in Tomb Raider.