The coronavirus pandemic has affected the lives of millions around the world, and has taken a toll on a lot of individuals, including celebrities.

Lovi Poe and Zanjoe Marudo, while also having been affected by the pandemic, were just glad to have finished their romantic drama Malaya, directed by Connie Macatuno of Glorious fame, and which are both now part of the iWant movie catalogue. 

In an exclusive interview with Starstudio.ph, the two discussed how they got through these trying times while shooting the film.

 

LOVI DURING THE LOCKDOWN 

It didn’t fully sink in when Lovi Poe first heard that the enhanced community quarantine had been implemented. As much as she wanted things to get back to normal, she remained vigilant. “Nakakalungkot isipin. But we all know that we should try to make sure that everyone is safe at ‘yun talaga ‘yung uunahin natin,” the actress said.

Photo from Instagram (@lovipoe)

“We were trying to stock up food for the house and the dogs. We made sure that we were clean and iiwanan namin ‘yung mga shoes sa labas. Extra careful talaga, bawat galaw,” she recounted. 

Photo from Instagram (@lovipoe)

Notwithstanding the unfortunate circumstances, Lovi elaborated that she tried to make her day as normal as she could. “I’d wake up in the morning and work out and get on with my day. I’d read books, watch T.V and do Zoom meetings with friends.”

 

TRYING TO COPE

Even if she tried to distract herself by doing tons of activities, Lovi shared that there were moments when the painful reality of the pandemic would hit her repeatedly. “Sometimes it hits you eh, feeling anxious about all these things. It’s tough, it comes and it goes—‘yung mga good days and bad days,” she explained.

“But as much as possible you just find ways nalang how to cope,” she interjected.

Another way of perking up was by keeping touch with her family, which Lovi tried to do often to make up for lost time. “Kahit nakakulong sa bahay parang mas lalo kaming nag-connect. Nagkaroon kami ng moment to talk at saka mag-reconnect,” the celeb said.

Photo from Instagram (@lovipoe)

Lovi carried on: “Doon ko kasi na-realize na masyado akong naging busy sa trabaho ko, at ‘yun ‘yung naging priority ko.” 

  

A NEW LEARNING

Even if things turned out the way they did, Lovi decided to look at the brighter side of it all. “It’s a very sad situation. None of us expected this to happen but now is the time to have more faith and be closer to God and reconnect with Him.” 

“Kasi since we’re so busy we forget to be grateful for what we have. We’re so focused on achieving our goals and we forget to prioritize our faith,” she stressed.

 


  Photo from Instagram (@lovipoe)

Lovi adds: “Another good thing is that there are people out there helping each other. Even a simple penny helps because if you put them all together it makes a huge difference for other people.” 

She further expressed: “There is no way but to be optimistic. You just really have to have faith because at the end of the day ‘yun ‘yung panghahawakan mo.” 

 

STARRING IN MALAYA

In spite of the pandemic, Lovi had another thing to look forward to, which is the film that she recently starred in called Malaya, which was filmed abroad. 

“I was so excited because it’s my first time shooting abroad and in my favorite country pa.  And it was in a part in Italy na hindi ko pa napupuntahan,” she recalled. 


  Photo from Dreamscape Entertainment

However, Lovi pointed out that portraying her character Laya was somewhat of a challenge because they were not alike. 

“Hindi talaga kami nagtutugma in terms of the choices she’d make. I questioned some of her choices at kung bakit siya ganoon magmahal. Pero I realized na si Malaya, kung sino talaga ‘yung mahal niya, doon lang talaga siya nakatutok,” she explained.  

 


Photo from Instagram (@lovipoe)

Aside from her character, Lovi also had to adjust to being in a different country, but the actress said she was able to get used to her surroundings right away.  

“You get to adjust faster, for around 10 days or 2 weeks. So ‘pag gising ko sa umaga, ako na talaga si Malaya. They (Italians) were also very warm so it wasn’t hard at all kahit kailangan pagminsan mag-e-explain sa isa’t isa kung ano ‘yung ibig sabihin.”

When it comes to being paired up with Zanjoe for the first time, Lovi admitted that she was quite nervous and said, “Ako, super ilang ako, pero siyempre, hindi ako mag-ba-backdown. Parehas kami game, and we really wanted to make sure na maganda ‘yung kalalabasan.”

Photo from Instagram (@lovipoe)

The versatile actress also added, “It's just nice that we were able to touch people’s hearts when they can relate to my character or Iago’s. Marami palang nakaka-experience no’n.”

“I feel kasi that sometimes people get into situations where they want to move on and jump into another relationship to see how it works. So I think na if you find that right person, just wait for that right moment,” she said positively. 

ZANJOE’S STORY  

When Zanjoe Marudo found out about the lockdown, he didn’t panic at all. The actor even  shared that he is the type of person that was used to chilling out at home, so he decided  to just be calm about it and comply with safety precautions. “’Yung ginawa ko ay inayos ko lahat ng gamit ko, at umuwi sa probinsya, at doon ako nag-quarantine,” he recalled.


Photo from Instagram (@onlyzanjoemarudo)

 He made the most out of the lockdown by eating and even cooking—simple things in life that made him happy. “’Yun ‘yung palaging nilu-look forward ko ‘pag umuuwi ako sa probinsya, ‘yung lutong bahay. Kasi sa Manila, hindi laging ganoon,” Zanjoe said.  

Photo from Instagram (@onlyzanjoemarudo)

Zanjoe was grateful that he remained healthy all throughout the quarantine and shared, “Wala akong naramdamang sakit during the lockdown. ‘Pag hindi ka pala lumabas ng bahay, hindi ka pala lalagnatin o mag-ka-ka-sorethroat. Ganoon pala ‘yun,” he said, chuckling.

 

LOVE FOR HIS FAMILY 

Desptie being isolated at home, Zanjoe made sure that he’s still in touch with his family. “Hindi muna ako dumikit sa pamilya ko at nag-isolate ako for 14 days. Pero mas naging close nga kaming lahat, dahil dito sa quarantine,” the actor revealed.

“May tatlo akong kapatid sa States at okay naman sila. Nag-vi-video call kaming magkakapatid,” he added.

Photo from Instagram (@onlyzanjoemarudo)

He also watched over his loved ones by giving them what they needed in order to survive. “Tinutulungan ko rin ‘yung mga kamag-anak and even friends financially or whenever silang may kailangan in order to make sure na hindi sila nag-aalala. Nandoon ako para lapitan,” the star elaborated. 

BAD DAYS AND GOOD DAYS

Even if Zanjoe tried to go on and be positive, the artist admitted that there were moments when anxiety would get to him. “May takot siyempre na pwede isang araw, ikaw o ako ang may sakit, or baka may masamang mangyari. Pero kailangan talagang labanan at hindi dapat tayo magpatalo doon,” he said.

Photo from Instagram (@onlyzanjoemarudo)

The Malaya star also stated, “Mas natutunan ko to take things day by day at i-appreciate kung ano ang nangyari nitong araw na ito at ‘yung mga maliliit na bagay. Nakakatulong siya na maging kontento sa buhay.”

“Eto na ang panahon para maibuo na ang sarili natin at mag-grow as a person. Eto ang challenge na binigay sa atin,” he stressed. 

 

WHAT HE LEARNED  

With everything that’s happening, Zanjoe admitted that he is also disheartened. “Siyempre nakakalungkot na may nababalitaan tayo sa lahat na nagyayari ngayon. Mas nararamdaman natin ‘yung sitwasyon.”

“Hindi rin lahat tayo pare-pareho ng sitwasyon. May mga kababayan tayo na doble o  triple ‘yung nararamdamang hirap sa nangyayari ngayon,” the star pointed out. 

Photo from Instagram (@onlyzanjoemarudo)

However, he shared that he still chooses to move forward, and be optimistic. “Pero hindi talaga tayo hahayaan ng Diyos, dapat ‘yun ‘yung unang isipin natin para hindi tayo mag-worry. Kasi ang pag-wo-worry, ‘yun talaga ang magpapa-down sa atin,” he said.

 

WORKING ON MALAYA

On another note, Zanjoe was also thrilled to have been part of the movie Malaya, an experience that was new for the actor. “Importante siya sa akin kasi never nila akong nakita na gumawa ng ganitong klaseng character. So, parang naging challenge sa akin na parang, ‘Uy, pwede kong gawin itong klaseng character, kaya pala,” he said.

It can be noted that Zanjoe plays the role of Iago, who was born in Italy, and he falls in love with Lovi’s character, Malaya. “Nag-enjoy ako kasi totoo ‘yung naging character ni Iago at naging natural sa akin,” he stated. 


Photo from Instagram (@onlyzanjoemarudo)

Even if there were challenges filming abroad, Zanjoe said that he grew accustomed to it right away, because he was looking forward to it. “Mawawala ‘yun eh. Kumbaga hindi mo na siya masyadong iisipin. ‘Yung excitement kasi ‘yung nangingibabaw,” he stressed. 

Zanjoe reveals that what he had to focus on was his acting. “Dapat maging realistic siya na may pinagdadaanan. Kasi dapat nakita sa mata at dapat maramdaman ng audience kung ano ang nasa loob ni Iago.”

As for the daring scenes with Lovi, he revealed that he had his own apprehensions. “Meron siyempreng kaba, kahit hindi intimate scene ‘yun. Pero nagpapasalamat ako dahil nagiging natural ang eksena dahil totoong matatawa kami at totoong mahihirapan kami.” 

“At ready rin ako palagi. Ayokong mahirapan si Lovi. Ayoko na everytime gumagawa kami ng scenes ako ‘yung cause ng delays,” he stressed.

Photo from Instagram (@lovipoe)

During the whole filming process, Zanjoe recounted that he has indeed learned a lot from the experience and even from his character. “Mas luminaw sa akin na kung kayo, kayo. Kasi kahit anong gawin mo at maghahanap ka, hindi pa rin eh,” he said.