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Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Netflix Philippines Elevates 'Pulang Araw' with a Star-Studded Premiere at The Peninsula Manila


The stars of "Pulang Araw" paraded down the red carpet in anticipation of their upcoming historical series. The show features David Licauco, Alden Richards, Barbie Forteza, Sanya Lopez, among others. Excitement is high for the series, which dramatizes the pivotal year of the Japanese invasion. 


On Tuesday, July 9, 2024Netflix Philippines ramped up promotions for PULANG ARAW, the country’s biggest historical series of 2024, with a star-studded event at The Peninsula Manila Hotel attended by celebrities, press, content creators, and VIPs. Lead stars Barbie Forteza, Sanya Lopez, David Licauco, and Alden Richards seized the spotlight to celebrate the occasion, accompanied by the supporting cast who also graced the red carpet. 


Donned in their 1940s garb from the show, the main cast gave the guests a preview of what to expect in PULANG ARAW and their characters. Speaking to the audience, Alden, who plays Eduardo dela Cruz, shares that the project has been a long-awaited endeavor for him and the production team, “Nabanggit na po ito sa akin ng aking boss na si Ms. Annette (GMA Executive Atty. Annette Gozon-Valdes, President of GMA Films and GMA Worldwide) sampung taon na ang nakakalipas.” (“This was mentioned to me by my boss, Ms. Annette, ten years ago.”) He also emphasized how profound the impact of the story is in showcasing the experiences and reality during that sensitive period, which he feels many from this generation are unaware of, “I think this is the most relevant and most important story of 2024.” 

 

 

Photo credit: Netflix


Barbie, playing the character of bubbly Adelina dela Cruz, appreciates that they were able to spotlight vaudeville in Pulang Araw, taking it as the perfect metaphor for finding joy in the midst of difficulties. “Kahit sa buhay, kahit na anong kinakaharap mong problema at paghihirap, lahat ‘yun ay kakalimutan mo, kasi the show must go on,” (“Even in life, no matter what hardships you face, you’d forget them all, because the show must go on.”)


Sanya feels that the narrative was shaped by the experiences of Filipinos who went through that hardship during World War II, “Ito ay pagbabalik tanaw. (...) Itong kwento ay hindi para ibalik sa kanila ‘yung sakit, kundi ipalinaw sa bagong henerasyon kung sino ‘yung mga dapat bigyan natin ng respeto at kung bakit tayo dapat magpasalamat sa kalayaang merong tayo ngayon.” (“This is a look back. This story doesn’t aim to rekindle the pain, but to remind the new generations of those to whom we owe the gratitude for the freedom we enjoy today.”) This sentiment was shared by Alden, “‘yun ‘yung isa sa mga pinanghahawakan ko din. Magbalik tanaw sa kung sino ba ang tumulong sa’ting makamit ‘yun. (“It’s one of the things I treasure most in this series: looking back on the people who contributed to that freedom.”) While doing it (the show), it makes me more proud to be a Filipino.”


Because of how heavy the subject is, Alden shared that he struggled to detach himself from the more heavy scenes, especially since he views it as a way of honoring the people who fought and survived for the country’s freedom, “I consider this project as my most important project. It’s a legacy that we’ll be telling—the untold legacy of Filipinos during World War II.” The sentiment was echoed by Barbie, “Ngayon ko lang naranasan ‘yung ganto sa show; nadadala mo talaga siya pagkatapos, so kelangan mo talaga ng few minutes to really shake it off eh, kasi pabigat talaga ng pabigat ‘yung mga nangyayari.” (“This is the first time I’ve experienced something like this; you carry it with you even after filming wraps, so you need a few minutes to really shake it off because of how heavy the scenes are.”) What helped, according to her, is how detailed their scripts are and how they allowed her to stay in character, understand Adelina’s depth, and grasp that period better.

Photo credit: Netflix


For David, who plays a Japanese character named Hiroshi Tanaka, his character’s internal conflict is one of the most interesting things about him, “It’s a battle of the brain and battle of the heart. And pinaka-conflict niya is kung pipiliin niya ba ‘yung bayan niya o ‘yung minamahal niya, which is Adelina.” (“His biggest conflict is choosing between his country or his loved one, which is Adelina.”)


Sanya believes her character Teresita is the “embodiment of courage and survival”. “Para sa akin ‘yun ‘yung katangian ng isang magiting na babae, na hindi lang noong panahon ng mga Hapon o ng digmaan, kundi sa panahon ngayon ng mga makabagong Teresita. Na patuloy lumalaban sa mga pagsubok, sa mga panga-abuso, sa pangmamaliit. Na lumalaban para sa kanilang karapatan,” (“For me, that’s the main characteristic of a brave woman, not only during that period, but even today, a time of modern-day Teresitas. They continue to fight the challenges, the abuse, and the oppression. They fight for their rights,”) She also shared her privileged experience of conversing with actual comfort women as part of the preparation for the role, which added a profound layer to her portrayal.


Fresh from the success of another historical series which cemented their love team, Barbie and David, more popularly known as BarDa, talked about their experiences working together again in Pulang Araw. For David, one particular scene made him realize how different Barbie is in this show, “‘yung iksena na nag-I love you ako kay Barbie, dun ako may nakitang kakaiba. Napakagaling ni Barbie Forteza bilang aktres.” (“The scene where I told Barbie I love her, I saw something different there. Barbie Forteza is a brilliant actress.”). On the other hand, Barbie not only commended him for his Japanese-speaking skills but also applauded David for the growth in his passion for acting, “Natutunan niyang mahalin ‘yung craft. (...) Ibang David Licauco po talaga ang mapapanood natin dito, and I’m just very proud of him.” (“He learned to love the craft. (...) We’ll get to see a different David Licauco here, and I’m just very proud of him.”)

Photo credit: Netflix


With vaudeville being a crucial element of the show, especially for the lead actresses, both Barbie and Sanya detailed their most unforgettable filming moments for these scenes, “Tap dance classes, bago pa man magsimula ang taping. Ang saya ng experience kasi sobrang lapit sa puso ko si Sanya.” (“Tap dance classes, even before we started filming. The experience was fun because Sanya is someone I hold close to my heart.”) Sanya was equally enthused with the experience, cherishing the moments she spent training with Barbie, “Kumakanta habang nagta-tap dance—umaarte habang nagta-tap dance(...) Masarap sa feeling na meron kaming bagong natutunan para sa palabas na ito.” (“Singing while tap dancing—acting while tap dancing. (...) It’s a great experience to learn something new for this show.”)


Alden traces Eduardo’s transformation into an indomitable man to his primary motivation—love. The love for his dreams, his family, the person he wants to pursue, and for friendship. “Lahat tayo ay may ganon eh; lahat tayo may gustong ipaglaban sa buhay at gagawin natin ang lahat para makamtan ‘yun.” (“All of us have something like that; all of us have something we want to fight for and we’ll do everything that we can to achieve it.”)

Photo credit: Netflix


To conclude the press conference, the supporting cast composed of Sef Cadeyona, Aidan Veneracion, Neil Ryan Sese, Jay Arcilla, Ashley Ortega, Mikoy Morales, Rochelle Pangilinan-Solinap, Angelu de Leon, and Epy Quizon headed to the stage to introduce their characters and hint at their relationships with the main cast, teasing viewers with their intriguing connections.

 

   

Photo credit: Netflix


The day ended with a screening of the pilot episode, followed by a teaser that revealed what viewers can expect in the upcoming episodes.

Photo credit: Netflix


Nearly 200 representatives from various media outlets across the country, content creators, GMA Network representatives, as well as VIPs directly involved in the show’s production took part in this celebration.


PULANG ARAW premieres first on Netflix starting Friday, July 26, 72 hours before free TV airing.



Pulang Araw chronicles the lives of Adelina (Forteza), Teresita (Lopez), Hiroshi (Licauco), and Eduardo (Richards) during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. Find out how the characters navigate an intricate web of loyalty, betrayals, sacrifices, and resilience amidst the backdrop of a war ravaging the country.


PULANG ARAW is directed by Dominic Zapata and written by Suzette Doctolero.

 

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