After a successful run throughout 2022, Maria Clara at Ibarra continues to capture the imagination and interest of its audiences. The unique and modern retelling of Jose Rizal’s thought-provoking novel, Noli Me Tangere, highlighted its core messages in a way that the younger generations would understand and appreciate.
Now that the series covered the first half of Rizal’s novels, Maria Clara at Ibarra will soon tackle the more serious world of El Filibusterismo, the sequel to Noli Me Tangere. Fortunately, the writers behind GMA’s hit series came prepared as they will embark on the following chapters.
“Sa pag-conceptualize pa lang, ang unang-unang inisip namin ay paano ihahanda ihahain ang Maria Clara at Ibarra sa audience sa parang hindi sila mabo-bore, hindi nila makikita na masyadong seryoso,” said Maria Clara at Ibarra screenwriter Suzette Doctolero during an online media conference.
“Ang soap opera kasi, by nature, ay napaka-eskapismo. ‘Yung Noli at El Fili, kahit na siya ay fiction, hindi siya escapist kundi realistic. Kung ano ‘yung nangyayari noon at hanggang ngayon ay nasasalamin pa din doon,” Doctolero added.
This thought process encouraged the creative team to add the tandem of Fidel (David Licauco) and Klay (Barbie Forteza), collectively known as FiLay. But when choosing parts to portray on television, Doctolero shared that they don’t follow the book chapter by chapter. Instead, they pick particular scenarios that remain relevant today.
However, the creative team isn’t the only one preparing for a different approach to the series. The cast of Maria Clara at Ibarra will also portray a new depth to their characters, especially with El Fili set some years after the first novel.
Dennis Trillo, who plays Crisostomo Ibarra, will continue his portrayal of the lead character. Although, as many Filipinos know, Ibarra’s role will take a darker turn in El Fili as he hides under the guise of a wealthy jeweler named Simoun.
However, the team behind Maria Clara at Ibarra had limited time to prepare for the story’s continuation on the small screen. Nonetheless, Dennis made sure he was ready to take on his role.
“Nandoon ‘yung pagre-research. Inalam ko ‘yung itsura niya [Simoun]—kung ano ‘yung magiging itsura ko dito, ‘yung itsura niya sa libro, ‘yung itsura niya sa mga ibang pelikula na ginawa. Kinuha lang namin yung common factor. Pero syempre pinagbasehan pa din namin ‘yung libro para mas maging accurate ‘yung depiction ko ng character ni Simoun,” the Kapuso actor said.
Besides the returning cast, like Dennis, Julie Anne San Jose (Maria Clara), David, Barbie, and more, the second book of Maria Clara at Ibarra will also introduce new characters to coincide with the novel’s events. Among them is Khalil Ramos, who will portray the titular role of Basilio.
Although Khalil admits to feeling the pressure during his first day on set because of the series’ relevance and popularity among audiences, he remains excited to be a part of the award-winning cast and show.
“Gusto ko magampanan ‘yung role ni Basilio ng tama. I’m super excited na ma-fill in ‘yung truths ng ilang character na ilang beses na nating napanuod,” Khalil said.
With so many expectations for the team behind Maria Clara at Ibarra, they promise to deliver on the second book of the series and share the relevant messages from Rizal’s critically-acclaimed novels.