Soldiers catch acting bug, play selves on TV | Inquirer News

Soldiers catch acting bug, play selves on TV

/ 05:20 AM June 06, 2011

It looks like they found the klieg lights hard to resist.

Combat-toughened soldiers are playing the roles of—what else?—soldiers in a television drama series that has a military theme. And they are liking it.


The soldiers come from the Civil Relations Service and National Capital Regional Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and they play cameo roles in ABS-CBN’s primetime teleserye, “Minsan Lang Kita Iibigin,” when they are off duty.

Under its deal with ABS-CBN, the AFP was to only provide technical assistance to the show’s creators and writers, like giving them the lowdown on what really transpires in combat situations.


“We’re happy because it’s a new experience,” said Army Capt. Genesis Gabrido of the 7th Civil Relations Group of the AFP-CRS.

The soldiers, however, were not content to be advisers for long.

More than advisers

Gabrido said the soldiers decided to go beyond being advisers and become actors themselves after the stunt men who were supposed to play them were not convincing enough.

“Their bearing was not right. They did not know how to move, how to carry weapons. They did not look like soldiers at all,” said Gabrido, a member of Philippine Military Academy Class of 2004 and who served six years in the field as a company commander in strife-torn Mindanao.

“They would not have portrayed it right. So the troops volunteered to do it to make it look as realistic as possible, so the public will see that our soldiers are snappy,” he said.

The series stars Coco Martin who portrays estranged twins: One a young military officer raised by his father and grandfather who were also officers, while the other was raised by his mother among rebels.


After overcoming their initial self-consciousness in front of the cameras, the soldiers playing the role of soldiers began finding the experience enjoyable but “different.”

“On TV, it’s just acting, there’s a ‘take two.’ But it’s not that way for soldiers. When you’re hit, you’re hit. When you’re killed, you’re killed. It’s different,” said M/Sgt. Larry Sancho who is a military adviser during location shootings who talks directly to the directors.

Speaking lines

Then he sheds off his adviser role and essays the role of close-in security to military vice chief of staff Ronaldo Valdez, who, the soldier-advisers have noted, is past the age of retirement for generals, which is 56.

Sancho was also given two speaking lines, including a three- to four-minute on-cam exposure explaining the government’s integration program to captured rebels.

Sancho, an Army Scout Ranger who is a veteran of the Mindanao campaign with 28 years in the service, said he was not afraid to face the cameras.

“Facing the cameras is exciting. But when you’re facing enemy fire, that’s what’s scary,” he said.

“It’s exciting because we can help bring the image of the armed forces to the public,” he added.

“There are many things they do not know about the life of a soldier, about insurgency, about peace and order. But as we work together they can be enlightened,” Gabrido said.

The soldiers have decided to donate their talent fees to the Balik Eskwela program of the Department of Education.

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TAGS: ABS-CBN, acting, combat, Shooting, soldiers, teleserye, television
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