We flew to the pilgrimage city in Bicolandia a day after the feast of Our Lady of Peñafrancia, and it turned out that even if the fiesta was officially over, the city was still bustling with revelers, mostly from nearby towns and provinces of the region and some from as far as Metro Manila.
The stars of the afternoon soap on GMA Network Sinugaling Mong Puso—Rhian Ramos, Rafael Rosell, and Kiko Estrada—also took the same flight as ours. They also went to Naga City because they would be featured in an early evening Kapuso Mall Show at the open parking of SM City Naga.
We caught them at Red Platter, a restaurant known for its Bicolano cuisine a couple of meters away from Avenue Hotel where they were billeted.
Ramos who plays Clara in the soap said that the role keeps her on the edge as the character is complicated. “No, it’s not the same as the character played by Vilma Santos in the movie (upon which the afternoon drama is based). I think the Clara in the soap is grittier and more contemporary.
Estrada who is essaying the role Aga Muhlach played in the movie is a stark contrast to the character Rosell is playing.
Jason (Estrada) is a nice young guy while Roman (Rosell) is as ambitious as he is driven to get whatever he wants including harming people getting in the way.
Rosell said he is enjoying his role as it doesn’t drain him physically and emotionally. “Nakakapagod umiyak sa soap,” he said. “At least here, I am not the one crying but am making others cry.”
The actor seems effective in his role as the villain in the lives of Clara and Jason.
I asked him, “Aren’t you worried you might be typecast in villain roles forever?” To which he retorted, “Okay lang. It’s more fun to be a villain anyway.”
Estrada said he is very grateful to GMA Network for entrusting him the role of Jason. “It’s like a transition role for me…from teener to more adult role. I am trying to cope…eh ang gagaling ng mga kasama ko…si Raf(ael) for one is such an effective performer you can be starstruck if you don’t have focus. And Rhian is such a good actress, I am always carried away.”
Bicolano fans trooped to the SM City Naga Open Parking for the Kapuso Mall Show and were able to see their idols up close, a lot of them even had selfies with them while they were performing.
Kiko made the Nagueños feel extra special when he sang Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home”. One fan could not even contain her excitement when Kiko held her hand.
Meanwhile, Nagueños and tourists alike fell under Rafael’s charm when he vowed to be theirs through Jason Mraz’s song, “I’m Yours”.
Rhian also gave her fans an amazing performance when she sang her version of The Chainsmokers’ hit, “Roses”.
Maey Bautista who opened up the program with exciting games and wonderful surprises that warmed up the crowd hosted the Kapuso Mall Show.
“Dios mabalos (Thank you) to all our Kapusong Nagueños who joined us in our Kapuso Mall Show during this year’s Peñafrancia Festival,” says Oliver Amoroso, officer-in-charge of GMA’s Regional TV Department. “We are happy to once again participate in one of the country’s major festivals which pay homage to Our Lady of Peñafrancia. GMA Regional TV remains committed in continuing to get in touch with our loyal regional viewers through various events and activities,” he adds.
The Peñafrancia Festival is one of the country’s biggest celebrations of Marian devotion. Every year, Bicolanos celebrate this festival to express their gratitude to Ina, the endearment devotees use for Our Lady of Peñafrancia.