How 'Linlang' teaches viewers about annulment, divorce

How mystery thriller ‘Linlang’ teaches viewers about annulment, divorce

/ 12:20 AM October 10, 2023
Avelino, Chiu and De Guzman during an interview with Inquirer Entertainment —MARINEL CRUZ
Avelino, Chiu and De Guzman during an interview with Inquirer Entertainment —MARINEL CRUZ

For Kim Chiu to publicly discuss a controversial topic like the divorce bill in relation to Filipino values and culture can be a bit tricky, but the actress said “it’s time for Filipinos to embrace modern times.

”Kim was reacting to a challenge by Inquirer Entertainment for her to comment on the controversial issue during this exclusive interview to promote her latest project, “Linlang,” where she plays Juliana, a woman who desperately wishes to break ties with her husband (Paulo Avelino) who she feels does not support her emotionally.

“The topic about  whether we should have divorce here in the Philippines is really debatable. Even if we discuss it for 10 days straight, no one will win—opposing points are both valid. It’s just that our Catholic values are so strong and most Filipinos are conservative and traditional. We really need to embrace modern times, but this isn’t always the case here,” Kim pointed out.


Aside from the Vatican City, the Philippines is the only country in the world where divorce is illegal; even Malta legalized it in 2011. Annulment is the only legal route to get out of a marriage for most Filipinos.


“For us, we stay married because we want to fight for love, for family. What’s good about ‘Linlang’ is that it shows its audience the reality within the relationship of a married couple, as well as the choices that individuals in these relationships can make,” she added.

Choices, explanations

Kim said the series offers five choices, as well as explanations related to both the legal and emotional aspects of marriage. “You will be shown how to weigh things. You will learn a lot. You will be shown how to turn something bad into something good, too,” she pointed out.

Paulo’s character, Victor, harbors suspicions of his wife Juliana’s infidelity. He eventually consults with a lawyer to know how the law can help his cause. “At the end of the day, we should always adapt to modern times. Everything progresses so fast, everything innovates in very drastic ways. Our laws and views should change appropriately with the times without forgetting our culture and who we are as Filipinos,” Paulo said as a way to express his agreement to the eventual passing of the divorce bill.

JM de Guzman, who plays Paulo’s half-brother, Alexander in the series said, “Paulo is right. We also need to consider, aside from the traditions and beliefs that we grew up with, the people who might get affected by our actions, especially if we have children. As parents, we have to be accountable for our actions. We have to think about what will happen to them in the future.”

Kim said Juliana, with all her complexities and the various character arcs she has to go through in the story, is by far the most challenging role she has played in her 17 years as an actress. She agreed to do the project even though she knew early on that she had to shoot several bed scenes.


“I want my audience to see me in a different light. Because I grew up in this business, my life is already an open book. People know everything about me that sometimes it’s already hard to separate my real life from my show biz persona,” she stressed. “It’s my gift to my supporters. Hopefully, this will gain me more supporters as well,” said the 33-year-old actress.

Paulo who’s always been picky with projects said doing “Linlang” gave him so much freedom artistically. “I always look for something new when I accept a project. With this one, I was allowed to add small things to my character in order to make it seem new,” he explained.

“While others would call this a ‘kabit’ story, which I don’t agree with, they will see bits and pieces of the character I’ve created along the way. They will see that the story is far more complex,” said Paulo, who plays a retired boxer. He had to gain 35 lbs. in just over two weeks. “When the producers pitched it, they mentioned what I needed to do to show changes in my character. It was hard because I wasn’t given enough time. I had to triple the effort. This really challenged me. I had to be strict and disciplined, especially because I also had to show that I eventually lost more than the weight I gained.”

More to the series

Meanwhile, JM who plays a lawyer said he spent as much time as he could with his own lawyer to observe him. “Alexander is the more privileged one compared to his brother Victor. He is educated and is the favorite of their mother (played by Maricel Soriano). I tried to observe my lawyer in the way he speaks, how he dresses up and his mannerisms. When I come across legal terms that I don’t understand, I would just ask him. When I encounter ideas in the script that I find confusing, I make sure to study them,” said JM.

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Paulo swears there’s more to the series than what was shown in the trailer. “Important details are slowly revealed as the story progresses. It’s hard to discuss it more extensively for fear of spoiling it for the audience. That’s one good thing about the show—it doesn’t spoon-feed its viewers.”

The series, directed by FM Reyes and Jojo Saguin, began streaming on Prime Video in the Philippines and in more than 240 countries worldwide on Oct. 5. INQ

TAGS: Celebrities, Entertainment, JM de Guzman, Kim Chiu, Paulo Avelino

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