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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Aug 20, 2023




AJ RAVAL and BF Aljur Abrenica first met on the set of a movie directed by Law Fajardo in 2020 in an island off Quezon, “Nerisa”. 

That’s where their relationship ignited and now, they’re paired together for the first time in another movie directed by Law Fajardo entitled “Sugapa”. 

Whose idea is it to make a project for them?

“Si Boss Vic ang nagsabi, bakit di sila igawa ng movie and I respected that, oo na ako agad,” says Law.

“Bumagay naman sila sa roles that I envisioned for them. This is a cautionary tale of dreams, passion and ambition.

"Mga promdi sila na galing sa La Union and they moved to a big city that is Angeles at doon na-test ang love nila for each other. They’re perfect for their roles as Ben and Ana. 

"They were able to interpret it according to my vision as a director. I’m very happy with their performances as they know how to navigate their emotions to flesh our their characters.” 

He says he can relate with the film’s promdi characters.

“Kasi galing din ako sa Bacolod and I went to Manila dreaming of being a filmmaker. 

"Nakuha ko naman yung dream ko, but may kapalit. Napalayo ako sa magulang ko, sa mother ko, iniwan ko siya, and I wasn’t there when she died.”

He became emotional at this point and silently shed tears during the zoom presscon.

“Sorry, I remembered my parents. It’s a bittersweet reality. Sabi nga, life is what happens to you when you are making other plans.

"Pagpunta ko rito sa Manila, nahirapan din ako, nagutom, so parang ganun yung nangyari sa characters sa movie na ito. 

"It shows that the city can really be cruel, dangerous and merciless. Hindi lahat ng gusto mo, e makukuha mo. We all have different fates.” 

He admits the story of promdis who failed in the city is not really new as it’s been shown in other films. 

“Yes, lumang kuwento ito, it has been told before, but I want to show to today’s generations that, even after many years, it’s still same the plight for people coming from the provinces who go the big city dreaming of a better life.”

We ask Aljur Abrenica how is it working with Direk Law? 

“I enjoyed my work with him kasi malinaw ang direction niya, even in the love scenes where I showed my butt for the first time.

" He explained it to me, we trusted each other, so I committed myself to the role and did it without any inhibitions.”

Was he able to relate with his role as Ben? 

“Yes, I can relate sa role ko kasi ganundin ang nangyari sa’kin. 

"Galing ako sa probinsiya, nagpunta sa Maynila to get a good job as an actor at para makatulong sa pamilya. 

"Sumugal ako at nagpapasalamat ako sa lahat ng nangyari sa’kin. 

"I joined Starstruch in 2006 and after 17 years, I’m glad that I’m still here. Hindi ako sumusuko, lumalaban pa rin.”

How is it working with his real life girlfriend, AJ Raval? 

“Bale first time time talaga namin ni AJ, kasi sa ‘Nerisa’, wala kami masyadong eksena together. 

"Dito, first time ko gumawa ng ganitong explicit love scenes at mahirap, kasi iba-ibang anggulo, but masaya naman ako sa naging resulta. 

"It helped that AJ and I now know each other better and we’re comfortable to do the delicate and intimate scenes together.

"We also appreciated ang director namin as he knows how to guide us, suwabe lang siya.

"First time lang nangyaring makatrabaho ko yung karelasyon ko at masaya kasi we’re open to each other. 

"Enjoy kami sa set, nagtatawanan kami kasi yung material ng movie, mabigat, heavy drama, so off cam, we unwind, nagbibiruan kami to refresh us.”

The trailer shows AJ slapping him hard because of jealousy and he says it really hurt. 

“Ilang takes yun. Bale naka-four takes kami. At totoong sampal yun ha. 

"Hindi lang isa kundi mag-asawang sampal but you’d see it goes well on screen.”

What can he say to the bashers who don’t approve of their relationship? 

“Yung bashers di na naman mawawala yan. So normal na yan. 

"Basta kapag may neg comments, hindi ko na lang binibigyan ng panahon. 

"Naka-focus na lang ako sa trabaho ko and useless namang sumagot pa.”