I'm sure I'm not the only one who went cray with excitement when it was announced that Kathryn Bernardo and Alden Richards were starring in a romantic film together! I was also definitely curious because these two have never been paired in any project before this.
In the film Hello Love Goodbye, Alden plays Ethan Del Rosario, an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) and bartender in Hong Kong. Kathryn is Joy Fabregas, a Filipina domestic helper who is solely dedicated to providing for her family. Ethan is determined to make Joy fall in love with him, but Joy tells him: "Hindi puwedeng magkaroon ng 'us.'" And as an audience member who loves hugot movies, lines from the trailer such as "I'll take whatever you can give" and "Kung mahal mo ako, bakit pinapapili mo ako?" made me die to watch the film even more.
Getting the chance to interview the pair was surreal. After just a few months of working together, Kathryn and Alden seemed like old friends—they were comfortable, relaxed, and had more than a few inside jokes between them. And all throughout our conversation, they kept telling each other, "You go first!"
Their First Awkward Moment
The pair have been asked about their first meeting so many times, and as it turns out, there's more to the story than we think! Alden shared that during their story conference for Hello, Love, Goodbye, he was casually eating grapes when Kathryn suddenly turned to look at him and..."Pagkagat ko, yun na 'yon, nakakahiyang sabihin. Sobrang hiyang-hiya ako kay Kath at that moment. Parang gusto ko mawala, nakakahiya kasi first meeting namin 'yon e...Ayoko na ngang gawin yung movie kasi sobrang hiyang-hiya ako."
Memorable Scenes And Shooting Locations
They certainly got over that ~awkward~ moment, since they stayed in Hong Kong for a month to film their movie. According to Kathryn, she especially loved the scene that took place at the iconic 495-meter Lion's Rock, which was "sobrang hirap akyatin," said her co-star. Kath also shared how they bonded as a cast, especially when they shot scenes near milk tea places and shopping districts! "'Pag may masarap na milk tea or pagkain, 'yon na yung nagpapasaya sa amin."
Alden liked the scene they shot during the Symphony Of Lights show at the Victoria Harbour. "Na-capture namin yung moment when the people were really actually watching it," he shared. "Nag-set up kami, tapos sila nagtataka, 'para saan ba 'to?' For the movie, it was very romantic. Ang ganda talaga ng feel."
Realizations And Lessons Learned
It wasn't all fun and games, of course. The young actors were also exposed to the harsh realities of life in Hong Kong—director Cathy Garcia-Molina made sure of that. She was actually very strict with Kathryn during their shoot, telling the rest of the cast not to talk to her, separating her from her Mommy Min, and even asking her not to contact her boyfriend Daniel Padilla.
Kathryn told us about her most important takeaway from the OFWs there: "'Wag kalimutan yung sarili...Kapag kausap mo yung mga nandoon, makikita mo na may pagpapahalaga sila sa sarili nila. May self-love, and dreamers sila. Mayroon silang goal, na: 'Okay, tutulungan ko family ko, pero gagawin ko [rin] yung pangarap ko, yung para sa akin naman.' 'Yon yung important, 'wag natin kakalimutan self natin."
Alden shared that his favorite Hong Kong experience wasn't going shopping or eating with the cast, it was the actual process of shooting the movie! "Naramdaman talaga namin na para kaming OFWs. The whole experience made us feel as if we weren't acting out scenes, because we were actually living it. We were far from home, and we were shooting alongside our kababayans there who are OFWs. Kasi wala kaming extras, most of the Pinoys there with us were really OFWs. That was my favorite experience kasi parang hindi kami umaarte, we were living the actual scenario of Hong Kong through an OFW's point of view."
What To Love About Their Characters Joy And Ethan
The role of Joy is totally new for Kathryn, who's used to playing the quirky and loud character. She loved that Joy isn't "pa-cute!" "Most of my roles, lalo na sa movies and rom-coms, ako yung magulo. Yung guy yung tahimik, ako parati yung maraming lines, yung mas loud. Pero ngayon si Joy yung mas introvert. Quiet type [siya], hindi siya yung tipo na mabilis mo lang mapapatawa." She also added that her character is also very malungkutin.
Alden went out on a limb to say that he liked how bossy Joy is! He explained, "Si Joy, 'if you really want me, sunod ka. Pagtrabahuhan mo.' That's one of the motivations of Ethan the character. He really wanted Joy's attention. He really wanted to be with her, but Joy had different priorities. Mayroon siyang future na hinahabol."
When it comes to his role as Ethan, Alden shared that he loved how the character went after Joy without forgetting himself and his identity. Kath added, "Si Ethan kasi, yung babae yung lumalapit sa kanya. So noong na-meet niya si Joy, nakita niya na parang may iba sa girl na 'to. Na-curious siya kay Joy noong nakausap niya. Kaya siya yung humabol, hindi siya agad sumuko para makilala si Joy. Gusto ko kung gaano ka-family-centered si Ethan. Makikita nila sa story...kapag nakilala mo yung side [na 'yon] ni Ethan, yung pagka dedicated niya sa pamilya niya, especially sa daddy niya. 'Yon [rin] yung makikita ni Joy."
On Their Characters' Flaws
When I asked, "What's your character's biggest flaw?" both Alden and Kathryn beamed and took a few careful moments to think before answering (at this point I was totally in love with how much they knew their roles).
Alden, with knotted brows, said, "Si Ethan kasi, siya yung example ng mga tao na go-getter, 'yon yung naging flaw niya sa story. Akala niya tama lahat ng gusto niyang mangyari, lahat ng gusto niyang puntahan. 'Di niya alam nakakalimutan niya na pala yung ibang tao. It's always what HE wants. Hindi niya natanong kung gusto rin ba yun noong mga tao sa paligid niya. Upon realizing it, masakit 'yon for him. Parang, 'oo nga naman,' it's all him. It has always been Ethan's desire to be happy and to settle, ayun pala, hindi 'yon for the people around him."
"Minsan nakakalimutan niya mag-enjoy," Kath said about Joy. "Kasi masyado siyang workaholic, masyado siyang mabilis kumilos kasi parati siyang may hinahabol na oras. Ayaw niya ng may nasasayang. So, nakakalimutan niya mag-enjoy. Feeling ko important 'yon sa tao kasi...kami, sa artista, okay lang na magtrabaho nang magtrabaho. Pero dapat 'di namin nakakalimutan to have fun, 'yon yung magbabalance sa'yo. Si Joy, hindi, masyado siyang inclined doon sa trabaho niya."
At the end of our shoot, Kathryn and Alden said that they were more than willing to work on another film together! Does this mean their current one will have a sequel or...? We'll find out soon enough!
Hello, Love, Goodbye is currently showing in cinemas nationwide.
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ART DIRECTOR & PHOTOGRAPHER: Jico Joson
ART DIRECTION ASSISTED BY: Mixi Ignacio
SOCIAL MEDIA: Andie Estella
SITTINGS EDITOR: Retty Contreras