IMG_7880Ritz Azul stepped out of the powder room with her usual bubbly demeanor. Given how exuberant she was at that moment, it was hard to believe that she came from taping (on-location, at that). She’d just finished freshening up for her appearance in PLDT Home’s internal launch, held last January 10 at PLDT’s main office in Makati.

She was escorted into one of the boardrooms, where event host Mr. Fu was going through his spiels. The two Kapatid stars exchanged quick besos and the committee immediately began preliminary briefing. At that point, it was explained that the event is held every year to showcase PLDT Home’s expanding line of products and services. Its magnitude would be later on reinforced by the attendan
ce of PLDT chairman Manny V. Pangilinan.

Definition of terms and jargon ensued. Turns out, the name “Technomarine”, mentioned prominently throughout the script, refers to an in-house training program designed to make employees more tech-savvy (Or as the script put it, arm them with the “weapons to win the multimedia revolution”). Fu couldn’t help but quip about its synonymy with the timepiece brand: “Akala ko pa naman may libre tayong watch. Echos!” Ritz chuckled in the sidelines.

* * * * *

Outside the building, DJ Nina spun a mix of chart-topping hits to entertain the thickening crowd. Back in the holding area, Ritz took a momentary break from memorizing spiels and talked about For Love or Money, her recently-concluded primetime drama stint. She fondly recalled reuniting with co-stars Derek Ramsay and Alice Dixson, who she had appeared with in previous TV5 projects. But given the daring and intense subject matter of FLOM, there were adverse changes in their work dynamic.

Just to highlight the comparison: Derek and Ritz also played romantic interests in the superhero serye Kidlat. Back then, she played damsel-in-distress Joey to Derek’s knight in electrifying armor Voltaire. Fast forward to FLOM, they played husband and wife. Surely, the intimacy had to increase tenfold. “Kay Derek [noong nasa], Kidlat kami, nakakaya namin iyong sobrang kulit. As in kulit na kulit na naglalaro. Masayang-masaya. Hindi ko naman sinasabing malungkot sa FLOM. Ang sinasabi ko lang, mas naging serious kami ng kaunti dito kasi serious talaga iyong mga eksena. Pinag-aaralan talaga namin kung paano”, Ritz expounded.

Her projects with Alice Dixson, however, offered even more interesting contrast. Way back in Glamorosa (2011), Ritz played helpless stepdaughter Giselle to Alice’s cruel and cunning Dra. Paulina. Fast forward to FLOM, the actresses played romantic rivals! Suffice to say, that evened the playing field. “Noong una, awkward kasi noong Glamorosa, ako iyong under na under niya. Kasi diba, nanay-nanayan ko siya [doon]. Dito naman, ako naman iyong laging nanunugod sa kanya, nananampal sa kanya. Challenging!”

* * * * *

Our chat was cut short when the head of the organizing committee stepped in for the briefing. Jasmine Curtis-Smith then rushed in (fresh from a previous engagement) a few minutes later. The Kapatid contingent was complete. The three red-clad stars were then led to the event grounds where they were greeted by a deluge of photo-op requests.

Kapatid stars in PLDT Home Launch 2014, Ritz Azul, Mr. Fu, and Jasmine Curtis-Smith together with MVP
Kapatid stars in PLDT Home Launch 2014, Ritz Azul, Mr. Fu, and Jasmine Curtis-Smith together with MVP

Here’s to another eventful year!

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