Eleven long years since their time in Encantadia came to an end, the original sang’gres reunite for a fulfillment of their individual creative prophecies…together.
“We’ve never actually been shot together like this before,” Karylle muses, as if thinking out loud. “Apart from promotional shoots, this would be the first time, yes,” echoes Iza Calzado from the far back. Nodding in agreement, Sunshine Dizon and Diana Zubiri join in the huddle as they all intently study the shots taken to immortalize this coming together again of sisterhood.
With the fantasy distilled and disbelief suspended, it is quite endearing to see the friendship of these ladies in the flesh. You see, in the glittering realm of entertainment, everything from the physical to the personal are built to be destroyed. The permanence of celluloid or digital format aside, even the luckiest of TV shows and films all exist on a limited lifeline, especially in its ever-evolving production state. Worlds are make believe and the relationships nurtured onscreen, as well as behind the scenes, are fleeting. Once production wraps up, everyone moves on to the next. There is no other way to it; it is just how things are.
However, once in a while, the proponents that light up the constellation of show business sift through the transitory nature of relationships and find a connection that binds itself to a rare permanence. In a case of life imitating art, the friendship of the original Sang’gres of Encantadia fame: Iza Calzado, Karylle, Sunshine Dizon and Diana Zubiri has turned into an almost familial bond, extending itself far into the breadth of their highly successful fantasy TV series. But as we have come to terms with in a more thinking and mature state, we understand that life gets in the way, testing even the strongest of ties, which in turn waylays it into some form of dormancy.
Again, that’s just the way life goes.
THE MAGIC CONTINUES
But much like how fate and purpose navigated their lives in Encantadia, destiny had other plans for the four of them beyond the vast and enchanted realm.
“I don’t know [how much we can reveal] in full detail, except that the four of us, the Encantadia sisters, and our director, Mark Reyes, got together last year and we were like, it’s so good to work on a reunion project,” Iza Calzado reveals. “And we have wanted to work together [for the longest time.] The thing is that Karyl and I, we are in ABS-CBN. Shine and Diana have stayed in GMA 7, also Direk Mark. Now, the only way for us to work together is to do a movie. So, we said if [an offer] doesn’t come, then maybe we should do it. And sakto, Karylle and I are affiliated with iflix. Direk Mark knew Georgette Tengco of iflix, and so he fixed the concept, and they liked it.” This was then what was just an idea, or well, a figment of a collective imagination, took steam and unravelled as a project they all eventually joined forces for.
Together, they put up Sang’gre Productions, which is set to produce their reunion project after 11 long years, as well as engaging and interesting content they see potential in. “It has always been my dream to produce content, and it’s something I eventually want to do,” mulls Sunshine Dizon in an interview. “Nakakapagod din naman na parating ikaw na lang yung umaarte. Maganda din naman na experience na you get to discover new artists for certain projects, makatulong din sa industry.” A fulfilment of individual creative prophecies, the yet-to-be-revealed movie project on iFlix not only solidifies their stature in the industry, but it also levels them up, because aside from acting in it, they are now calling the shots. “Let’s be honest, we are no longer It girls. We’re not up-and-coming,” Iza explains. “In so many ways, it feels different, because we’re on different stages in our life. Before, we were really just playing around lang, then now you see the shift in all of us. Ang ganda din where life is taking us.”
A testament to the growth they have all undertaken, this perfectly illustrates the beauty of ever-evolving relationships. When it is real and true, it will pick itself up where it has left off, and reveal itself to be even better than what once was. “Actually, nag-umpisa siya sa fun days. That brought us together again, and that’s really what it was. That’s the magic of Encantadia. I hope that this magic will continue with this project that we do,” says Iza. “In fact, on our first day on set and we were in costume, Sunshine got emotional, which made me emotional after seeing her, and we were like, ‘Oh my God, we are together again doing this. It’s such a blessing.’”
There is something to be said about how tight-lipped everyone behind the production is about the story and nature of the comeback project of the sang’gres—it must be so good, and so special that they just want to pull the rug from under us once it is ready to stream on iflix. Save for teaser photos on Instagram there is barely anything to pick up from the foursome, plus Director Mark Reyes. And perhaps it is much better that way, especially since the anticipation for this has been building for well over a decade, we want to be surprised, shaken, and stirred beyond the kingdoms of Lireo, Etheria and Sapiro could ever take us.
More than anything, however, it becomes apparent that this reunion is a love letter to the fans that have inducted them to permanent pop culture canon. “This wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the fans,” Karylle affirms. “This sealed us forever you will be in the minds of people, but we didn’t expect that we would be ingrained this way,” Iza furthers. “Looking back, I was fortunate enough to experience it once in my life. Now, we are producers. We are not just an actor in it, but we are part of the production. I’ve never been part of that decision making process and at this point of my career, as well as the other girls; we are privileged to be given an opportunity to create something different.”
As if no time has gone by, there still exists that spark, as well as an inexplicable energy that flits through Iza Calzado, Karylle, Sunshine Dizon, and Diana Zubiri. No one can contest their magic, and it still reverberates even to this day. It is pure, earnest, and surreal, which only compounds to the anticipation. “It just feels good to be back together again,” says Diana Zubiri as they pack up. “What’s nice is that the four of us, including Direk Mark, we’re all in a good place in our lives. When we are doing Encantadia, I didn’t realize that it [was inherently about] women empowerment. We were just empowered individually like sang’gres, and now I understand it more. We can’t promise anything, but we will try to make just as, if not more empowering not just as women, but as human beings,” says Iza Calzado with a smile.
Needless to say, we already have our systems ready when the sang’gres deem it ready and worthy to be shown (or should we say, streamed) for all to enjoy. Until then, it looks like we aren’t saying avisala meiste (goodbye) to them anytime soon. Not that anyone wants that to happen, of course. Haste live, sang’gres. (Long live, sang’gres.)
Oh, does it feel good to say that again.