Landing her first-ever starrer on a soap is veteran actress Sylvia Sanchez, who usually plays support or contravida roles in her 20-year-old career.
On ABS-CBN’s “The Greatest Love,” Sylvia is Gloria, a mother suffering from Alzheimer’s.
“Story ito ng isang ina na nagsakripisyo at kinalimutan ang sarili niya,” she said. “Story din ito ng mga anak niya, ng asawa niya. Si Gloria minahal lahat, nagsakripisyo. Later on, nang nagka-edad na siya, ’yung mga alaala niya unti-unting nawawala.”
She admitted the show challenges her abilities as actress. “Ang bigat. Dito, hindi pa nagrorolyo, ako parang, ‘Sandali lang ha..,’ kasi umiiyak na ako,” Sylvia said.
The creative manager, legendary writer Ricky Lee, echoed the series is ode to mothers. He also talked about “figurative dementia.”
“Marami kasi sa mga anak natin merong dementia (in that) nakakalimutan nila na mahal na mahal sila ng mga nanay nila,” he said. “(Nakakalimutan nila na) makagalitan man sila, dinidisiplina man sila, in the end, walang pagkaubos ang pagmamahal ng isang ina.”
He expressed hope that through the show, viewers will renew and strengthen bond with their mothers.
“Sana magsilbing reminder sa kanila na paguwi nila sa bahay andiyan ang nanay mo,” Ricky said. “Yakapin mo, tanungin mo kung may dinadamdam ba siya, may kailangan ba siya, may gusto ba siya.”
He added, “Lahat tayo binibigyan ng second chance so, ’wag nating sayangin. Kung may mga mali tayong ginawa, tuwirin natin bago mahuli ang lahat.”
In the story, a long-kept secret shatters Gloria’s once-happy family, prompting the four children to leave her one by one. Worse, she begins to lose pieces of her memory.
Will Gloria be able to bring her family back together? Will she ever find happiness with the people she loves? Will she completely lose her identity, as well as the secrets she has kept in her heart all these years? The show answers these questions.
Before showing Gloria’s journey to motherhood, the series retraces her great love story on its first week. It shows young Gloria (Ellen Adarna) falling in love with boatman Peter (Ejay Falcon) but being forced to marry musician Andres (Jun Jun Quintana).
She’s the one
Ricky revealed they went through a long list of actresses to find their Gloria. He believes they are very lucky to have Sylvia accept the role given how versatile the actress is.
“Pwede siyang maging matigas but at the same time vulnerable. Pwede siyang maging loud at one time and another time quiet, which is how Gloria is,” he explained.
The creative manager added Sylvia perfectly encapsulates Gloria’s complex nature.
“Ang daming contradictions na makikita sa kanyang pagkatao. Complex siya, hindi mo alam kung masama ba siya, mabait ba siya, mahina ba siya. Nakita namin kay Sylvia na makukuha niya iyon.”
Sylvia’s children, Arjo and Ria, have followed in her footsteps. Asked what she wants to hear from them later, Sylvia said, “Gusto ko lang marinig sa mga anak ko, kapag later on na matatanda na sila at may mga kanya-kanya na silang mga buhay, sabihin lang nila sa akin, ‘Ma, thank you.’”
She added: “Kasi lahat tinuro mo sa kanila, lahat inayos mo. Hindi man ako naging perfect na nanay, makita ko man lang sana sa kanila na naging okay akong nanay sa kanila kahit paano.”
As for the secret to her longevity in the ’biz, she simply said, “Siguro minahal ko ang trabaho ko. Nagpaka-professional ako, hindi ako nagpasaway. The more na tumatanda ako, the more na nag-aral ako.”
The actress added surviving in the industry is also about establishing good rapport. “Minahal ko ’yung mga tao sa paligid ko, mula sa boss namin hanggang sa utility. Respeto lang,” she said.
“The Greatest Love” also stars Andi Eigenmann, Dimples Romana, Matt Evans, Arron Villaflor and Rommel Padilla. Scenes were set against the picturesque landscapes of Quirino province.
The soap will start airing soon. (K. Valeza, mb)