What Elijah Canlas had to ‘unlearn’ in ‘Batang Quiapo’

What Elijah Canlas had to ‘unlearn’ in ‘Batang Quiapo’

/ 12:20 AM April 17, 2024

Elijah Canlas as Pablo Caballero in “FPJ’s Batang Quiapo” —ABS-CBN ENTERTAINMENT/ YOUTUBE

Elijah Canlas as Pablo Caballero in “FPJ’s Batang Quiapo” —ABS-CBN ENTERTAINMENT/ YOUTUBE

Actor Elijah Canlas, who plays the villainous character Pablo Caballero in the action series “FPJ’s Batang Quiapo,” said he had to “unlearn a lot of things” when he started working for the program.

For one, Elijah used to be the type of actor who relied on the script as a guide to create his character. The show’s production team, however, is known for shooting without a detailed script on hand. “I was given parameters, like the character archetype, but I had to unlearn certain things in terms of dimensions, and when it comes to character making. Work on this show is really different because, at least, if you have a script, you can create a character that’s more complete and whole,” the actor told Inquirer Entertainment.


“For the show, I was given enough time to process, and so, by the time I stepped on the set, I was already prepared to be Pablo. It’s true that you will only get a copy of the script on the day itself, so it was important that I already know who Pablo is. As it goes, we should always expect changes—either some lines or scenes will be removed or some will be added,” he explained. “The process is refreshing because I am able to adapt to different environments and processes of filmmaking. I consider it a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I’m enjoying it so far because I am given freedom in terms of character building.”


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Menacing character

Elijah said he also had to “unlearn preparing too much for a character.” He explained: “As in, they were telling that the show’s audience is different. It’s a genre that I’ve never done, as well. That’s why I needed to adjust even in terms of delivering my lines. For example, I have to be a lot more menacing, more intimidating. If Pablo is angry, I really need to show the audience that he is angry and not conceal the feeling and then simply reveal it later. Here, I need to show how my character feels all the time. That’s new to me because I usually counter-read my intentions, my objectives. I’m enjoying the process because I find it challenging.”

Comparing the show to “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano,” which was also produced and directed by Coco Martin, and lasted for seven years, the new program is also expected to air for many years. Is Elijah prepared to play Pablo for a long period of time, even if it would mean not being able to accept other projects?

Different role

“This was why it took me a while to say ‘yes’ to the show. I have other projects lined up for this year. It’s actually amazing, because I had just finished doing the series ‘Senior High,’ and so, I thought could focus on doing movies for the remainder of the year. But the very first offer I got for 2024 was ‘Batang Quiapo,’ with a different role initially. It was a type of role that I’ve already done before, so I had to say ‘no,’” Elijah began.

“But Direk Coco and the ‘Batang Quiapo’ team were persistent. They said they had a new character for me. When they mentioned it, I got excited and immediately said, ‘Game!’ In terms of how long it will take to play Pablo, of course it’s an honor to be part of the show. ‘Batang Quiapo’ has only been airing for a year, and yet Tanggol (Coco’s character) has already become iconic,” Elijah said.

“Honestly, I hadn’t watched the show before, but when I finally became part of it, I tried to watch as many episodes as I could. I realized that it tackles a lot of socially relevant topics and, as an actor, that’s what I want to do. I’m known to take on projects that have a statement or something that’s relevant to society and to its audience, and ‘Batang Quiapo’ is just that.” INQ

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