Award-winning actress Gina Alajar prefers to be behind the camera these days. Since crossing over to directing TV series in 1999 (Del Tierro, GMA Network), the multiple Famas and Gawad Urian winner has taken on lesser projects for acting, and has since directed close to 20 teleseryes and specials for her home network.
On Tuesday night, at the grand press launch of her latest show—the remake of the iconic ‘80s children’s drama Yagit—Alajar sheepishly confessed she hardly misses acting.
“Hindi ko talaga na-mi-miss ang pag-arte ngayon—promise!” she laughed. “Especially now that I’m doing Yagit, masaya ako sa ginagawa ko. I like directing children very much, and I think it’s because I started out as a child actress myself.”
With Yagit, Alajar somehow feels she has come full circle in her career, seeing herself in the newly discovered batch of child actors Chlaui Malayao, Zymic Jaranilla, Judie Dela Cruz, Jemwell Ventinilla, who will reprise the much loved characters of Eliza, Ding, Jocelyn, Tomtom, respectively.
“Sabi nga nila ang pinakamahirap ka-trabaho sa showbiz ay mga bata, but I find it such a challenge. I sometimes wonder my directors felt the same way as I do now when they were working with me,” she mused.
What draws the four children closer to Alajar is the fact that she personally scoured the country to find them in long and arduous auditions earlier this year that took her to six provinces.
“Napakaraming gustong mag-artista sa buong Pilipinas at napakarami din namang batang magagaling, pero specific ang hinanap namin para sa Yagit, and thankfully, we found exactly who we were looking for,” she added.
Alajar especially likes the fact that the children’s acting are very “raw,” this being their first time to act on television, which she believes will give audiences a very real feel of their emotions.
“Immediately after casting the children, pinag-workshop naming sila araw-araw so they can gel with one another. And every day, I come to the set na may baong dasal and patience. But even when I say their acting is very raw, hindi naman sa pagma-mayabang, pero now that we’re ready to show, hindi niyo iisipin na first time nila sa TV screen sa galing ng pag-arte nila.”
Chlaui, Zymic, Judie and Jemwell’s development over a mere few months, according to the director, is proof of what she tells all her actors.
“Pag pinag-handaan at masugid na pinag-aralan ang isang role, siguradong maayos mo siyang magagampanan,” Alajar explained. Hard work, after all is what made her succeed in this business, and she has every intention of passing on her most important tool in the trade to the next generation.
Yagit premieres on Monday, October 13 on GMA Network’s Afternoon Prime.