Cristine Reyes was in the middle of shooting a difficult scene when PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) and a few members of the press were invited to the taping of Dahil Sa Pag-ibig last Friday, March 9, at the Garden of Gethsemane in Antipolo, Rizal.
The Kapamilya network’s new primetime drama stars Cristine with Piolo Pascual, Jericho Rosales, Maricar Reyes, and Christopher de Leon. The story centers on love, revenge, deceit, and sacrifice, as the plot presents the main characters caught up in their own conflicts.
Cristine plays Jasmin Valderama, daughter of the characters played by Christopher de Leon and Sandy Andolong (Leo and Cindy Valderama).
While shooting the heavy scene the actress was hysterically crying in front of a grave. The location happens to be a cemetery.
In an interview after the scene, a smiling Cristine, whose eyes were still red and swollen from crying, was eager to talk about her new project.
"Mabigat. Mabigat yung eksena kanina," Cristine begins.
The 23-year-old actress says she has not experienced losing someone thus, the challenge of shooting the scene.
"Wala pa... kasi hindi pa ako namamatayan, e. Wala pang namamatay.
"Salamat naman sa Diyos dahil sa close sa akin, sa family, wala pa namang namamatay.
"So, anong pinaghuhugutan ko? Wala. [I] just get into character."
This, compared to her past teleserye projects, shows a different side to her acting—a gentler character whose predicament involves falling in love with her father’s adopted son, Alfred, played by Piolo.
"Yung first teleserye ko kasi is Kahit Isang Saglit, di ba? Medyo dun may kaya din. Pero the rest, na sumunod na mga soaps ko, puro mahihirap.
"Puro... dito naman, mas maayos naman ako. Nakakapag-ayos na and mayaman."
Cristine starred in Kahit Isang Saglit with Jericho Rosales and Carmen Soo in 2008. Also with her in the said soap was Christopher de Leon who played her father.
"And lahat drama, di ba? Dito naman, hindi po mataray... more on love talaga.
"Talagang nagtitiis sa pag-ibig... So, mas ano siya, magpo-focus sa love.
"Kasi before, sa Reputasyon [tungkol sa] family, politics. May love din.
"Pero dito naman, magpo-focus siya sa love ng character ko bilang Jasmin."
Cristine’s previous soap, romance-drama Reputasyon, concluded on January 20, 2012.
Can Cristine relate with her character when it comes to sacrificing anything for love?
"Well, feeling ko, ang masasakripisyo ko ay ang sarili kong kaligayahan para sa ikabubuti ng lahat," she quips.
WORKING WITH CAST MEMBERS. Among the lead cast members of Dahil sa Pag-ibig, Piolo is the only one whom Cristine has not worked with before.
Both Jericho and Christopher have crossed paths with the actress in Kahit Isang Saglit; likewise, Maricar Reyes has worked with Cristine in the Precious Hearts romance drama series, Bud Brothers.
At the mention of Piolo’s name, a smile appears on the Cristine’s face. How has it been so far working with the heartthrob?
"Masaya na very professional. And, I love working with him. As in."
Cristine mentions that while she and Piolo have bumped into each other in the Sunday variety show ASAP, she and the actor never had the chance to get to know each other since everyone during the live production is always too busy and in a hurry preparing for their song and dance numbers.
This project, however, is an opportunity for the actress to be up close and personal with Piolo.
Apart from being professional, what else does she like about working with the actor?
"Gusto ko siya kasi parang, ano, yung ang sweet niya ...
"Kunwari wala naman sa eksena, ’tapos kakausapin niya ako, ganun.
"Basta... minsan parang kikiligin ka sa kanya... May iba siyang ginagawa na hindi niya siguro alam na parang nakakakilig," the actress says with a twinkle in her eye.
While Cristine has been vocal about her happy relationship with real-life boyfriend Rayver Cruz, the actress cannot help but swoon over her teleserye co-actor and express her admiration.
"E, kasi, alam mo ako, gusto ko yung someone na parang Piolo... yung manly tapos ang dami mong matututunan sa kanya and very God-fearing.
"Parang feeling ko, kung nakatrabaho ko siya noon pa, siya na siguro, di ba?
"Kasi parang nasa kanya na lahat. Perfect siya na tao!"
She finds herself doubting if someone like Piolo is even real: "Parang... totoo ka ba? Totoo ka ba talagang tao?"
The actress admits that she tries her best to hide all these feelings.
"Hindi ko nasasabi sa kanya ito nang harapan. ’Pag andiyan siya, tahimik lang ako.
"’Pag andiyan siya, as in hindi ako makabasag-pinggan, kasi nahihiya ako sa kanya, e. Nahihiya ako.
"Minsan, nahihiya nga akong kausapin siya, e. Ewan ko... parang there’s something about him..."
How does she find the other lead actor, Jericho?
"Si Echo, naka-work ko na so medyo comfortable na ako sa kanya. Minsan nakakausap ko siya...
"Si Echo super 100 percent kulit! As in!
"Ano siya, para siyang battery. Hindi siya nauubusan. Para siyang fully charged palagi!
"Hyper yun si Echo... kahit hindi naman sa work, kahit nandito lang tayo."
In comparison, Piolo is more quiet, says Cristine.
"Si Piolo naman... Si Piolo yung hindi siya yung malikot katulad ni Echo.
"Si Piolo yung steady lang pero nakikipag-usap, nakikipagbiruan.
"Tapos yun nga, nakakakilig siya minsan. Naiinis ako," she says with a laugh.
When asked what Rayver and Piolo have in common, Cristine answers, "Pareho silang artista... pareho silang God-fearing."
MORE ON PIOLO. Asked about her bonding time with Piolo on the set, Cristine says, "Minsan nagkukuwento siya sa akin about some things.
"Minsan nagkukuwento siya, kunwari tinatanong niya ako, anong balak ko raw after ten years, ganyan.
"’Tapos siya rin nagkukuwento nung sa kanya. Gusto rin daw niya na mag-settle down, ganyan.
"Tapos habang kinukuwento niya sa akin..."
At this point during the interview, Cristine appears giddy.
"Pero siyempre, hindi ako nagre-react ng ganun sa harap niya, di ba? Kunwari, relaxed lang ako kunwari!
"Nakilala ko siya talaga dito," she says.
Is it safe to say she has a crush on her co-actor?
"No," Cristine says.
"I like him as a person."
The actress further mentions that she never saw Piolo in this light before, not even when he used to be a co-talent at ABS-CBN.
"As in nakilala ko lang siya ngayon.
"Dun ko na-discover na yun pala yung Piolo na nakikita nung ibang tao," she says.