Whenever my dad and Tito Victor would see each other, they'd organize pig out sessions with each of our families. Sometimes I have suspicions that they're the ones directly related instead of my tito and my mom, but my dear mother just laughs it off every time I tell her this. Anyway, their recent meeting resulted into a family gathering at this Chinese restaurant somewhere in Binondo where streets are narrow and shops are crammed, traffic is an abomination and cute guys have chinky eyes. Weird choice of place from our usual QC or Makati sojourns. So being a dutiful daughter, I made my peace and joined this noisy, albeit excited aliens called "my family".
But during this bemused gathering, the people in the full-capacity Chinese diner were transfixed at the 32-inch Sony Bravia television precariously hanging down the ceiling. For a while, I was disoriented and forgot the day (Saturday). ABS CBN has a new teleserye? Did they bump off the ridiculous Piolo starrer "Noah"? Then it all came back to me, it was a Saturday and this station usually fields mini-series featuring paniki (bats), anting-antings (magical amulets) and vampires with fake canine prosthetic teeth and bad new actresses like Sam Pinto. Ah yes, this was the new "Wansapanataym" - a series of monthly neo-fairy tales culled from komiks materials. These fantaseryes sometimes leave much to be desired, but if they're meant for children's wonderment during primetime, why not?
This particular episode - Elena M. Patron's "Cara".
You don't wonder why people inside the restaurant were caught in the drama unfolding before all of us. The series follows the life of a child born with 3 heads, each one with separate thinking processes, but share a single body. Before I finally settled with the thought that this was all fantasy, my tito (who's a pediatrician) offered, "That's a rare developmental condition in conjoined twins, but I'm only aware of 2 headed twins; but three heads could be possible too." The condition is called Tricephalic Parapagus Twins - separate heads but their bodies are joined.
Alessandra de Rossi is its surprising protagonist, no wonder I was kinda disoriented because ABS CBN always gives lead roles to their rooster of talents. Alex play 3 girls with dissimilar attitude. As a child, they were mostly kept away from the public to protect them from ridicule. As they were growing older, their father started to introduce them to the outside world by allowing them to wander public places like church services. However, the two heads cropping up from each side are conveniently covered by a shawl, exposing only the middle head.
This of course results to a girl that seems to be carrying a load on her shoulder. The lucky middle girl gets to see the world around her while the 2 other girls see their environment on veiled countenance. Thus its bound to inspire feelings of dissention among the siblings. One fateful day, Alex meets Jake Cuenca. And as though it was meant to happen, an accident had them kiss accidentally. And the plot thickens. Three more Saturdays then...
I am particularly pleased to see Alex (Alessandra) play the lead once again. Ever since her move from GMA, Alex has been relegated to undedr-the-radar supporting roles (the other nice girl who doesn't get chosen by the bida, the cousin who gets shot, etc.) Imagine Alex playing second fiddle to a girl as emotive as a sea cucumber like, hmm, Kim Chiu?
I don't exactly understand why it took the station this long to give Alex the lead that she is born to play. After all, she is used to lead roles in critically acclaimed indie movies (the Singapore movie "The Maid", "Mga Munting Tinig", "Homecoming"). She has graciously represented the country in international film festivals way before the country's boom of independently produced movies, especially with "Small Voices". On the smaller screen, she gets supporting roles? This doesn't make the equation when big screen movie leads become smaller actors on TV. Baliktad 'ata. Only in the Philippines. She is a great actress, she is relatively young, and in interviews, she cracks me up. She has one bubbly, funny personality. Beside her, stars like Kim Chiu look like toadstools.
Jake Cuenca on the other hand isn't my cup of tea. He is too good looking to really capture any sincere form of empathy. Would you really appreciate having a boyfriend as cute as Jake? Heck no! People would stare at him and you'd invariably feel invisible and disposable. LOL. To be fair, Jake plays his part with whimsical wonder, thus the following Saturdays will be exciting. This mixed race "freaks" are so darn gorgeous! (Alex was born in England to an Italian dad and a Filipina mother, while Jake is half-Spanish and half Pinoy.)
Congratulations to a great talent in Ms. Alessandra de Rossi.