He was on top of everything, even with making sure that we all kept our sanity in check,” said actress Heaven Peralejo when asked what it was like to work with Xian Lim as director of her latest romantic comedy series, “Pasabuy.”
“Every night, after work, Direk Xian would do something to make sure that we would end our day well and with smiles on our faces,” Heaven said during a recent media conference organized by WeTV, where “Pasabuy” has been streaming since Sept. 24.Heaven’s co-star Nana Silayro agreed, adding: “This is true. Direk has pasabog (surprise) every night. After a long and tiring day, he would gather everyone around for a raffle. I remember the first time I learned of this ritual. I was about to go to sleep when I heard him announce loudly, ‘our first winner…’ I ran out of my room, in my pajamas, because I had wanted to win. I never won anything, but that made our lock-in shooting so much fun.”
According to Gino Roque, Heaven’s leading man in the series, Xian is a very generous artist when it comes to sharing work experiences with newer talents like him. “The thing about Xian is that he really takes his time in terms of acting. He really helped me improve as an actor,” said Gino, who was also part of Batch 4 of the reality talent search “Pinoy Big Brother.” “Since Xian has been in the industry for so long, he would give me advice and tips. As a director, that wasn’t part of his job so I really appreciated that in him. He’s really good.”
The six-part episode is also written by Xian, based on an original concept by WeTV. Gino is coproducing under Forza Productions. “It all just formed quickly and perfectly. When they came up to me to ask me if I’d take part in it, it was kind of a no-brainer. It was an awesome concept. People of different ages can relate to love. Imagine how more relatable this story is since it is set during a pandemic,” Gino beamed.
In “Pasabuy,” Gino and Heaven play two strangers who head out to a beach resort to escape their real lives and do a bit of soul searching. Anna (Heaven) is a young executive deciding on her next move. John (Gino) is an aspiring musician working on new songs. Then the lockdown happens, and they find themselves stranded there.
The series puts a “lockdown twist” to the story when the pair “meets” at a community chat room while placing their orders for necessities by means of “pasabuy” to get through the lockdown.
When asked what characteristics she shares with her character in the series, Heaven said: “We’re both hopeless romantics. I understand her as she tries to deal with the fact that she’s in love with her boss. This isn’t the ideal setup for her, and she knows this. But since she’s a hopeless romantic, she thinks there might still be a chance for them. This is until Anna meets John. There’s also a part in the story when Anna tries to teach self-love to the people around her. This is special to me because, like them, I also learned so much about self-love through her.”
Heaven was likewise asked what the most expensive item she purchased through “pasabuy” was. To this, the self-confessed kuripot (thrifty) replied: “It has got to be coffee. I drink five cups of coffee a day, and not just in small cups but the venti size in Starbucks. I realized now that this isn’t much. It’s just that I appreciate time and effort more than material things. I’d probably buy the more expensive things when I’m done saving up for my ‘needs’ and I still have money for my ‘wants.’ That’s what my mom taught me.”If there’s anything that the series of pandemic lockdowns has taught her, Heaven said it was that she’s on the right track when it comes to her spendings. “I seldom buy stuff for myself, even if I have money. I would rather think about what is needed in the house, or my future, than shop for stuff. It’s really important to save for the rainy days. If I could save up for my would-be kids and grandkids, I would, too.”
As to working alongside Gino, Heaven said it had been a smooth ride. “He’s easy to work with. We often try to absorb each other’s energy. If one is feeling tired, the other one would step up and try to uplift his or her partner. That’s how we worked on this series,” she said. “Gino, as a producer, took care of me well. He made me stay in a beautiful room even though I didn’t really ask for it. As a co-actor, he was the perfect gentleman.”
Gino recalled that, since he and Heaven only met the day before the shoot, he had initially asked to do a script reading with the actress. “I was surprised because Heaven said there was no need for it. On my part, I only had wanted to know her better, to build rapport. I was surprised because when the day came for us to finally work together, everything went perfectly. We really hit it off from the get-go,” said Gino.
“Chemistry is something that comes out naturally. You don’t study it or force it to come out. I understood why he did it. He’s the producer so he wanted everything to be perfect, and that we haven’t met before. We turned out to be a good mix, and this will definitely show on the screen.”
“Pasabuy” streams for free every Friday, at 7 p.m. on WeTV. INQ
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