Charmie Joy Pagulong – The Philippine Star

February 25, 2022 | 12:00am

After giving birth to her first child, Amari, in Sept. 2020, Coleen Garcia has returned to acting via Jon Red’s Adarna Gang on Vivamax, a film about revenge and power based on the epic folklore Ibong Adarna.

Coleen plays Adriana, the unica hija of Jose (Soliman Cruz) and Maria (Mickey Ferriols). Adriana is aware that her father is involved in a syndicate although they don’t talk about it. She’s looking forward to a provincial life that her father has promised, but this dream is shattered when Jose gets killed.

The cast members also include Ronnie Lazaro, Sharmaine Buencamino, Mark Anthony Fernandez, Diego Loyzaga and JC Santos.

The 29-year-old actress admitted feeling “intimidated” and had “challenging” times drawing emotions for the scenes because she hadn’t done acting in a while.

“I had a very long break. Ang alam ko na lang ngayon ang magluto at mag-change ng diapers,” confessed the first time mom in a virtual call. “There are times na parang nakalimutan ko kung paano ba ‘to, paano ba gawin ‘to especially if the scenes are emotional. Talagang nakalimutan ko paano maging malungkot at paano magalit.”

These things were a fresh experience to her again and she had to dig deep into herself to reach those emotions. “I think that was very challenging for me because parang wala akong warm-up. I really had to go into this, to just prepare from home and then when I get there to just give everything that I can. Being an actor kasi siyempre magkakaibang techniques, magkakaibang ways of getting the emotions out and for me I had to figure that out all over again.”

Aside from the adjustments, Coleen also felt pressured because she got to work with experienced actors. “I was surrounded by really good actors and not only that, lahat talaga sila active. Lahat sila may recent projects. So talagang na-intimidate ako nung una but it’s a good thing na hindi sila intimidating people. Very approachable pa rin at the end of the day. Very nice. We were just all laughing, the entire time we were filming. That was a huge help.”

She likewise cited direk Jon for the guidance and assurance on set.

“Sobrang tagal ko din na hindi gumawa ng pelikula, not just because of having the baby, but also because of the pandemic. Siyempre ang hirap din ng taping ngayon di ba,” said Coleen and added how excited she was to come back and be part of good movie stories.

Now that she is at it again, she is more willing to experiment and give what is needed for any role she will be taking on. “Yes, pipili pa rin ako (ng projects) because I don’t what to be a part of something na hindi ako all in. Siyempre dapat kung pipili ka ng project dapat todo bigay ka talaga and I have to give everything. Definitely you have to pick the projects that I believe in para mabigay ko talaga lahat,” she asserted.

Coleen could have done new projects sooner but due to COVID-19 restrictions, it took quite a bit of time for her to start filming again. But in Adarna Gang, she was able to bring Amari while taping the upcoming movie.

“Ito kasi nag-taping kami sa isang place na zero talaga yung cases tapos ito pa yung time na pwedeng lumabas ang mga bata so I was able to bring Amari. Never siyang nakaapak sa set pero kasama ko siya sa hotel. He stayed with us sa hotel. Nandun lang siya. He never left. I felt safe kasi hanggang ngayon breastfeeding pa rin kasi ako, so on demand. Everytime he needs me, I’m really there for him,” she shared.

The “efficient and organized” conditions during the taping were a big help to Coleen to still fulfill her mother duties to Amari while working. “Hindi kami nagpa-pack up ng sobrang late so I was able to come back to him and everything. It was just so perfect. If ganito naman talaga ang working conditions, I don’t mind working all the time. Of course, Amari is always going to be a priority for me. Siguro the reason why hindi ganun kabilis ang takbo ng paggawa ko ng films ngayon is really because of that. Talaga inuuna ko yung mga needs niya,” she said.

As a mom, Coleen thinks of herself so much less now compared to when she was single. “Whenever I pack for a trip, dati siguro isang maleta, akin, yung mga dadalhin ko for myself. Ngayon, one-fourth of that maleta akin na lang, talagang inuuna ko yung needs ng baby. I cook for him every day tapos ako nag-o-order na lang ako ng pagkain. It’s really different. The sleep has never been buo. Talagang every night I don’t have more than two hours straight (of sleep).”

“Kasi si Billy (Crawford) he’s always at work also. So I’m with him (Amari) very often. Maka-mommy talaga siya. Very clingy,” she added.

Motherhood taught her a lot of things, she confessed. “Andami mong na-realized na dati it was such a big deal for me pero ngayon, ang liit na na bagay because Amari is such a… I wouldn’t say a handful but he is the bigger picture now. Parang everything I do, everything I plan, it’s all for him. And he is taken into consideration every single time. If I could say it in the shortest possible way, it’s (motherhood) life-changing, absolute life-changing.”

(Adarna Gang is streaming worldwide on March 11 exclusively on Vivamax.)

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