The public has been accustomed to wrap their head around women narratives, regardless of genre and platform. There’s Ang Babae sa Septic Tank (The Woman in the Septic Tank) or Ang Babaeng Humayo (The Woman Who Left).

Come March 26 at 6 p.m. on its YouTube channel, Puregold presents its contribution to such story tradition via the digital series, Ang Babae sa Likod ng Face Mask, a follow-up to its Palibhasa Lalake sitcom-inspired offering titled GVBOYS.

In charge of the mise en scene was Victor Villanueva, director of comedy films Patay na si Hesus and Boy Bastos.

“When this was presented to me, nakaka-relate ako (I could relate to it) and I think a lot of people (will be) able to relate to it kasi may mystery tayo when we conceal,” said he about the narrative premise of Ang Babae sa Likod ng Face Mask in a recent virtual press conference.

“Parang may guessing game ka na, alam mo yon, maganda ba (ang taong) ito, mabait ba ito (there seems to be a guessing of game for people we meet whether we appear pretty or nice to them). It adds that layer of mystery.”

The filmmaker described the digital series genre as “a very light-hearted romantic comedy” whose theme is “not just about concealing yourself, and it’s also about loving yourself. You know behind the face mask is a genuine person, ready to give love and to receive love.”

The 13-episode self-love journey is seen through the lead character, 25-year-old cashier Malta, played by Herlene “Hipon Girl” Budol, who will get to grips “with that sort of realization na kung siguro magmahal siya, kailangan rin niyang mahalin ang sarili niya (that before she could love another person, she should love herself first),” said Victor, whose Malta will figure it out along the way through the help of other characters.

“The inspiration or in a way treatment that I was going for this series (was) very K drama-slice of life,” added he. “It’s very light-hearted, sweet and cute.”

Direk Victor was grateful for the company’s initiative to create stories available online that inspire people and teach them how to live. With that, narratives like Ang Babae sa Likod ng Face Mask will definitely resonate with viewers.

From the digital series’ teaser, viewers get acquainted with Malta, who “has a problem that she can’t face.” That is, having no boyfriend since birth. In her quest to find The One, she gets rejected many times.

“Ang tingin pala nila sa akin eh hipon (They find me as someone who has a nice physique but not that pretty),” the character quips in a scene. But during the pandemic times, she has found a solution. Every time Malta puts on her face mask, she “transforms” into a desirable lass or a mysterious woman that deserves a second look — and all her insecurities disappear.

“Sobrang saya ko because this is my first series in which I am the lead,” said Herlene, the Wowowin co-host-comedienne-turned-social media personality. “I’m grateful for this chance (to act).” She added her Malta is close to her since she also lacks self-confidence. “Relate na relate ako, hindi naman ako ganun ka-fresh kaya kumakapit lang din talaga ako sa face mask (I’m not that looker so I also depend on face mask).”

Seriously, doing the digital series has boosted Herlene’s confidence. She sprang a surprise because when she came to the set, according to direk Victor, she memorized her lines, “at may pa-ad-lib pa siya na di namin in-expect, tawa lang kami ng tawa sa mga improvisation niya.” Bringing her A-game was brought about by the level of comfortability that Herlene and fellow creatives had established while working.

“Nagiging palagay (ang loob mo), parang normal na lang po kayong nag-uusap, nagpapalagayan na kami ng loob kaagad before kami mag-take,” said she. “Tinulungan nila akong mag-acting kasi baguhan pa lang ako. Lahat nakatulong sa akin (Everybody helped me play the part).” The necessary help was given since Herlene was honest to acknowledge her weaknesses like in memorization.

In a statement given to media, Herlene considered starring in the digital series as a very exciting opportunity, and a new experience for her, who entered the business of entertainment as a TV co-host and then a host of her own YouTube show.

“Ngayon naman, gusto ko ipakita sa lahat ng followers at Hiponatic supporters ang kakayahan ko bilang isang leading lady (This time around, I want to show my potential as a leading lady),” said she.

Ang Babae sa Likod ng Face Mask is part of Puregold’s “retailtainment,” said Puregold Price Club, Inc. manager for marketing Ivy Piedad. In the course of the pandemic, the retail brand made live episodes and created a YouTube channel.

“We developed fun shows where people can be entertained, hindi masyado kailangang mag-isip, hindi masyadong mabigat ang plot twist, every time na nag-li-live kami and every time we do any series, may paayuda pa yan… Nagpapasaya, tumutulong,” added she.

As for its presence in the digital space, Puregold has garnered over three million followers and about 50,000 subscribers on YouTube. Ivy said that the company wants to connect with customers via combining storytelling and modern retailing. “We hope that in this new series, this will warm your hearts with kilig and laughter. Kumbaga sa K-drama, di ba? Mapapa-flutter ang inyong hearts. So, good vibes will still continue.”

(For more details, like on Facebook, follow @puregold_ph on Instagram and Twitter and subscribe to Puregold Channel on YouTube.)

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