Where do we go from here: Jodi, Joshua and Gabbi on ABS-CBN-GMA 7 collab
Sometimes, there are events in our lives that need to happen no matter how painful because it’s going to redirect us to something more beautiful.”
Thus said actress Jodi Sta. Maria, referring to the controversial nonrenewal of broadcast network ABS-CBN’s franchise in 2020 that eventually led to a groundbreaking collaboration with rival channel GMA 7: The romantic drama series “Unbreak My Heart.”
The series, currently streaming on the Viu app and airing on the Kapuso network, also features Joshua Garcia, Richard Yap and Gabbi Garcia.
“ABS-CBN was hit with a double whammy at the time. A few months into the pandemic, it was announced that our franchise would not be renewed. What happened was that nadapa ka na nga, nasubsob ka pa nang sobra. I believe most of us thought, ‘Where do we go from here?’ ‘How do we move forward?’ It’s hard to refer to it as a ‘blessing in disguise.’ If you will try to look back, you will realize that there were things that you couldn’t find any logical explanation for,” Jodi told Inquirer Entertainment in a recent interview to promote the series that was shot on location in Switzerland and Italy.
“If ABS-CBN was still on free TV, I don’t think this partnership with GMA 7 would be possible at all. There will still be that rivalry. I also don’t think the partnership with other streaming platforms would happen. I’m just so thankful that I’m part of this redirection,” the actress pointed out.
‘No more competition’
“Today, there’s no more competition. Everyone is considered an ally. We are doing this for the audience and for the people working in this industry. This was the best thing that came out of a painful past experience,” Jodi declared.
Meanwhile, Gabbi Garcia, the Kapuso network’s main figurehead in the landmark project, agreed with Jodi and said: “I also didn’t think it was a ‘blessing in disguise’ because a lot of people got displaced as a result of what happened. I’m friends with a lot of people in ABS-CBN. Nobody wanted that to happen.
“I’m just so grateful that, at least, something good came out of it. Let’s pray that more doors will open for everybody. I also hope that there will be more partnerships because, after all, we’re all in one industry,” Gabbi pointed out.
In December 2022, executives of both networks began discussions for the collaboration. ABS-CBN’s production unit, Dreamscape Entertainment, was tasked to develop the show. In February 2023, the cast and crew flew to Europe to shoot the series.
In “Unbreak My Heart,” romance blossoms between a young man (Joshua) and a woman (Jodi), who is incidentally searching for her estranged daughter in Europe. After their relationship fails, a twist of fate brings him and her daughter together.
Asked what viewers can expect from the series, Joshua, who plays the lonely and troubled Renz, said: “This features different stories of love. It is also about how a number of characters try to ‘unbreak’ their hearts, meaning heal from previous experiences. You can learn a lot from the series, depending on which perspective you hold. It tells the struggles of OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) in Europe, as well. It also shows the undying love of a parent, a partner and a friend.”
Not the typical boy-meets-girl story
For Gabbi, “Unbreak My Heart” is not the typical boy-meets-girl story. “A lot of twists are going to happen. As one of the actors, I get to read the script first. I tell you, every time there’s a fresh one, we always look forward to reading it. There’s always something new and exciting in terms of character development of all the leads in the series. This definitely offers a different flavor to the audience. They should watch out for the crazy love story that happens among our characters, as well as with Papa Chen (Richard).”
An interesting promotional teaser for the program described it as such: “Destiny finds its way to show you a love that’s beyond ordinary.” When asked whether or not she believes in the idea of destiny, Gabbi replied: “My character, Alex, doesn’t believe in destiny but, as Gabbi, I do. My mom would always tell me when I was younger, ‘Kung para sa ‘yo, para sa ‘yo.’ That’s destiny for me. I would always get frustrated when I was a kid, especially when my contemporaries in the industry—those I see doing VTRs with me—are already professional actors. She would always say to me: Your time will come.”
Josh agreed with Gabbi and said: “Everything that’s happening in our lives is part of a bigger story. This will all lead to what is meant for us in the future.”
While Jodi claimed to believe in destiny, too, she offered this interesting thought to mull over. “I have been thinking about the idea for days now. Has everything really been written for you and you’re just walking the story of your life, or do we have some sort of freedom to control the narrative of our stories? If you’re going to ask me now, my answer would be, I believe that even before we were conceived in the minds of our parents, there has already been something that’s laid out for us.
“But we cannot negate the fact that we have to be responsible also for the choices we make in life. Yes, maybe life has destined you to be a writer, for example, but if you don’t act on the opportunities given to you or if you don’t take care of the gifts meant for you, then how will this materialize? For me, it’s 50-50. Yes, you’re destined for something, but you also have to do something to achieve it,” she explained.
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