"2 Good 2 Be True" Stars Kathryn Bernardo, Daniel Padilla, and Ronaldo Valdez Wax Nostalgic As Their Hit Series Comes To An End
All good things come to an end, but the great memories stay forever. And the lead trio and the rest of the cast and crew of the successful Filipino series "2 Good 2 Be True" now say goodbye to the one-of-a-kind pandemic show with heavy yet grateful hearts
Some shows are good. Some shows are great. But there are some, too, that are too good to be true. This ABS-CBN series一starring Kathryn Bernardo, Daniel Padilla, and Ronaldo Valdez一easily fits into the last description not because its title is that, 2 Good 2 Be True, but because of the fact that that's the perfect way the cast and crew can describe the way they feel about this project.
Doing the series was an exemplary experience for everyone behind it not only due to the friendship that blossomed between everyone on the set. "Experience talaga siya not only because everyone bonded so well [but] also because this may never happen again. I mean, this is a pandemic show," points out director Mae Cruz-Alviar.
The cast and crew worked on the series together for about a year, beginning at the height of COVID-19's wave of Delta variant in the Philippines一no less! Although that posed challenges for the production team, it was also thanks to their lock-in tapings that they also bonded more, making their work lighter, smoother, and more enjoyable for everyone.
Forming true, lasting bonds
"Nakatulong din 'yung mga lock-in tapings. Talagang magkakasama kami buong araw e… We became really close. As in nakita namin ang isa't-isa naka-pajama, naka-tsinelas, bagong ligo, walang ayos. And it was, like, normal. And we were eating our meals together… Kaya siguro 'pag pinapanood, nararamdaman din ng mga nanonood kung ano 'yung nararamdaman ng cast," shares actress Gelli de Belen, who portrayed the role of Margie, an online seller and Ali's mom, during the show's finale press conference.
The cast also includes Gloria Diaz as Helena Agcaoili, Hugo's Sister; Cris Villanueva as Capt. Rafael Rosales; Romnick Sarmienta as Frederico "Fred" Borja, Eloy's Father; Irma Adlawan as Heart Borja, Eloy's Grandmother and Fred's aunt; Alyssa Muhlach as Jillian "Jill" Agcaoili, Hugo's granddaughter; Leo Rialp as Atty. Jimmy Manansala; Bodjie Pascua as Bartolome "Lolo Bart" Panganiban; Gillian Vicencio as Concepcion "Tox" Baquiran; Bianca de Vera as Patricia "Pat" F. Fajardo; Raul Montesa as Atty. Ramon Evangelista; Earl Ignacio as Benjamin "Ben" Baquiran; Smokey Manaloto as Badong Nolasco; Matt Evans as Ays; Yves Flores as Red; Pamu Pamorada as Gemma; Mary Joy Apostol as Queenie; Hyubs Azarcon as Tino; and Via Antonio as Chubs.
As Gelli described the cast and crew's bond off-cam, one could almost imagine a familiar scene that perhaps mirrors the very same way their viewers had spent their weeknights: bonding with family members during dinner while watching this primetime series.
Since 2 Good 2 Be True first aired last May on Netflix, it's been a part of the lives of many families, with stories that truly resonate with them. It made history as the first Filipino series to premiere on the streaming platform, and eventually took the first spot for the most-watched show on Netflix nationwide. This is why the show's finale sparks bittersweet feelings. How do you even say goodbye to a series this good? How do you say goodbye to the characters that have kept you company and comforted you for months all throughout its 130 episodes?
As Direk Mae puts it, why end something good, right? But, in life, all good things do come to an end and that's not necessarily bad, because the great memories created in the process stay一even for an Alzheimer's disease patient like Lolo Sir who feared that he could no longer preserve his memories with the woman he loved the most. What's more important is that we keep going and should we need to close a chapter, as Direk Mae adds, we end it with a bang and on a high note.
"For me, every good journey, every good story has an end," continues director Paco Sta. Maria. But the story continues in real life for everyone behind the show, carrying with them all the learnings they could use for their next milestones, whether in their personal or professional lives.
Ronaldo looks back on the mood and energy on the set, saying, "I'm so blessed na this project came along without imagining that it would be this good and this nice. Everything about it has jived. The story is cute, light. 'Yung mga lines, 'yung mga dialogues, ang ganda, e. Ang galing nu'ng mga scriptwriters. And then, the group—'yung mga fellow actors, the company, they are such nice people, so ang sarap-sarap ng [trabaho]. It makes the work so much easier. Parang hindi siya work na, e. It's fun. Of course, you're always serious about your job, but then again, it makes it so much easier na masarap [ka-trabaho] 'yung mga kasama—ang babait, bukod sa ang gagaling. Magagaling sila kaya ang sarap ng batuhan, masarap kasama sa eksena."
The 2 Good 2 Be True trio
With almost five decades of experience in the entertainment industry, Ronaldo has more than 30 TV projects across different networks under his belt. "I didn’t think it would be this good! I thought this was going to be just one of those projects that came along," the 74-year-old showbiz veteran candidly admits. "But then again, may excitement."
But while the collective expertise of ABS-CBN and the directors and writers behind 2 Good 2 Be True was an assurance of the quality of the series from the get-go, the off-cam dynamics and onscreen chemistry of the cast are entirely different topics. For Ronaldo, it's the first time he's ever worked with Kathryn and Daniel, so the experience was new and unlike anything he's ever done before.
In the series, Kathryn played the role of Ali Fajardo, a bubbly, hardworking nurse who became the executive assistant of real estate mogul Hugo Agcaoili (played by Ronaldo) when the latter was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Crossing paths with the two was expert car mechanic Eloy Borja (played by Daniel), who found himself working in Hugo's mansion to fix the old man's beloved vintage car and pry into his private life in search of truths related to the imprisonment of Eloy's father.
In the course of going through the daily challenges of hiding Hugo's condition from others, masking Eloy's real motive for entering the mansion, and Ali performing her duties as a personal nurse, the three characters became close—and so did the actors portraying them. Ronaldo says of KathNiel, "Actually, parang talagang apo ko sila e—si Kath at tsaka si Daniel, e. Aside from being brilliant actors, they’re such nice people, such kindred spirits—ang babait, ang bait!"
2 Good 2 Be True marked the small screen comeback of the KathNiel loveteam on the primetime block. Kathryn and Daniel last starred in a series together in 2017 via La Luna Sangre. And in that span of five years, the reel-to-real couple has grown up a lot and evolved as artists and individuals.
Since the KathNiel tandem has been around for more than a decade, Kathryn and Daniel were extra mindful of how they executed their scenes. Somehow, it was still the same KathNiel their loyal fans loved all those years ago, but their chemistry hit differently this time as well.
"Tumatanda na rin so iba 'yung timpla from last year to this year. Iba rin 'yung next year, so 'yun lang 'yung conscious effort [namin]," Kath emphasizes.
To which, Daniel adds, "Siyempre, nag-e-evolve na rin kung pa'no 'yung atake dahil ilang beses na naming ginagawa. So 'yung mga cheesy masyado na [eksena], magwo-work naman sa mga [bagong love teams], pero sa'min, hindi na masyadong magwo-work 'yun. 'Pag kami, baka irritating na 'yung dating niya. 'Yun 'yung pilit na para sa'min, so parang mas real lang, mas mature lang 'yung atake pero at the same time, nandu'n pa rin naman 'yung bagong feeling ng pag-ibig. 'Yun naman 'yung pinakamasarap na feeling, e—'yung ganu'n, so 'yun 'yung nilalabas pa rin naman namin."
There were fresh takes on the romance, with remarkable nuances on the facial and body expressions of Kathryn and Daniel, the ways they delivered their lines, and the glances they exchanged. All these worked in showcasing a different, more mature side of the phenomenal team-up. But the traditional approaches to sending viewers' hearts aflutter made for a formulaic spin that's heartwarmingly amusing for long-time teleserye fans and yet refreshing for a new set of followers who enjoyed the show on a new platform.
Collaborative is the best way to describe Kathryn and Daniel from the beginning of 2G2BT till its finale. "Na-discover namin how hands-on kaming pareho siguro when it comes to [the] script and all, na hindi namin gagawin 'yung isang eksena kung 'di kami komportable," Kathryn says. "Du’n na papasok 'yung kakausapin namin sina Direk Mae or si Direk Paco and then, sasabihin namin na 'siguro mas okay kung ganito timplahin 'yung story'—of course, with their permission. And then, once na naging okay sa kanila, ayun, du'n na namin i-re-revise… I think this project 'yung pinaka naging collaborative kami ni Deej to the point na sabi namin baka na-offend na sila because we’re very [particular].’ Pero, at the end of the day, 'yun 'yung mas nagwo-work talaga kapag sa team, e. Kailangan mong maging vocal about your thoughts and they ask us din naman. And of course, natututo ka ding makinig and alam mo kung hanggang saan."
No doubt that, aside from the layers of the plot and the interesting characters, one of the factors that made 2G2BT the successful show that it was is the power trio of Ronaldo, Kathryn, and Daniel.
Kathryn told Metro.Style that she and Daniel really had Ronaldo in mind as the actor who was perfect to portray the role of Lolo Hugo (or fondly called "Lolo Sir" by Ali). She shares, "He is such a great, great actor and bago pa namin siya maka-trabaho dito, siya na talaga 'yung dream kong maka-trabaho. So nu’ng pinresent nila 'yung project namin for 2 Good 2 Be True last year, 'yung first choice and only option namin talaga was Tito Ron. So, when he accepted this project, dream come true 'yun sa'min ni Deej and siya talaga 'yung perfect na Lolo Sir kasi wala, sobrang effortless, e—kung pa'no siya sa taping, kung pa'no siya sa bawat eksena. Minsan, manonood na lang kami sa eksena 'cause he's that good and parang nagkaroon kami ng lolo sa set."
The opportunity to work with such a seasoned actor is also something Daniel cherishes, so much so that one of the scenes that stand out for him the most in 2G2BT is his first one with Ronaldo. "Siguro ['yung] memorable is the first time na maka-eksena namin si Tito Ron," Daniel says. "'Yun 'yung mga memorable moments naman namin kasi siyempre, 'pag hindi pa naman kayo nagkakakilala, hindi n'yo pa alam 'yung timpla ng isa't-isa, you know, nandu'n 'yung kaba dahil you don’t want to fail, 'di ba?" He didn't want to look a like a fool in the presence of such a veteran in the industry, so he also made sure he came prepared on the set. He adds, "Kasi 'pag 'yun [si Tito Ron] dumating sa set, ready 'yun e, so kinakailangan mong sabayan 'yung standards na 'yun. 'Yun 'yung memorable para sa'kin."
Beyond 2 Good 2 Be True
2 Good 2 Be True is indeed memorable for Ronaldo, Kathryn, Daniel and the rest of the cast and crew. But every show or movie comes with takeaways woven into their plots, packaged to be picked up by the audience. And those memorable takeaways are what will stay with the viewers way beyond the run of a series.
With 2G2BT, family and friendship matters lie at its core. But another interesting thing Kathryn pointed out is their conscious effort to inform, inspire, and educate viewers, as they stay as true as possible to the portrayal of their characters一like, in her case, a nurse. It's ultimately aligned with ABS-CBN's mantra of being in the service of the Filipino.
One particular trending scene in episode 61 showed that Lolo Sir had a stroke and Ali was quick to think on her feet and used the F.A.S.T. method to check Hugo's condition. It's an acronym for what to look out for: F for face (ask the person to smile to see if the face is drooping), A for arms (ask the person to raise his arms to check if one arm is weak or numb and is drifting down), S for speech (ask the person to repeat a short phrase and watch out for slurred speech), and T for time (if you see that something's wrong, call 911 right away). This was a significant scene that earned Kathryn as well as the production team praises from those working in the medical field because they executed the scene properly, with careful handling of something technical. "We want it to be educational at the same time na 'pag napanood nila, p'wede kang maka-save ng buhay," Kathryn says. That was exactly what happened, as the show would make headlines for how it helped a 2G2BT viewer save her grandfather's life by doing the F.A.S.T. method she learned from the show.
That's just one of the ways 2G2BT has touched its viewer's lives. And albeit unconsciously, those are types of feedback that are ultimately unexpected yet delightful results of the production team's attention to detail and conscious effort to make a positive impact.
The show's cinematography deserves credit, too, for how it strived to follow world-class standards, ultimately setting the bar high for Filipino shows. Daniel appreciates some comparisons made about 2G2BT having that K-drama feel. He comments, "Nag-e-evolve naman na 'yung cinematography natin dahil siyempre, ayaw naman nating mahuli sa lahat—the Koreans and everyone. Lahat naman tayo natututo du’n e, so kailangan nating sumabay... Maganda, at least, nase-set natin 'yung bars kung pa’no. Pero hindi pa 'to 'yung mataas. Mag-e-evolve pa tayo nang mas maganda pa. Simula pa lang 'to."
Photography by Charisma Lico-Santos
Sittings editors: Geolette Esguerra, Grace Libero-Cruz and Randz Manucom
Creative direction by Eugene David
Kathryn: Makeup by Justine Claudia del Rosario, hairstyling by John Valle, and styling by Jan Aranilla
Daniel: Grooming by Ryan Ko and styling by Ryan Viloria
Ronaldo: Grooming by Nieva Ogatia and fashion styling by Patricia Coronado
Styling associates: Joan Catalla (Kathryn), Gino Valloyas and Kathrina Vapor (Ronaldo)
Videographers: CJ Reyes and Pat Buenaobra
Shoot coordination: Red Dimaandal
Shoot assistant: Carla Buyo
Photography team: Jaz Orbe, Antonio Baylon Jr., Erwin Arda, Emelito Lansangan
Shot on location at TGIS Studio
Special thanks to Star Magic, Lulu Romero, Luz Bagalacsa, 2 Good 2 Be True production team, Rens Dingli, and Mae Cruz-Alviar