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Star-Studded Premiere Unveils Gripping Drama Awaits in ‘PULANG ARAW,’ Netflix’s Historical Epic

Step back in time with the 'Pulang Araw' premiere, featuring heartfelt performances and a deep exploration of Philippine history, only on Netflix. Join Barbie Forteza, Sanya Lopez, David Licauco, Alden Richards, and the rest of the cast on a journey back to a pivotal era.

Netflix Philippines pulled out all the stops to celebrate the arrival of PULANG ARAW, the country’s biggest historical series of 2024. The Peninsula Manila Hotel became a beacon of glamour and anticipation on July 9, 2024, as a dazzling array of celebrities, press, content creators, and VIPs gathered for the series’ star-studded premiere event. All were eager to catch the first glimpse of what is touted to be a groundbreaking series.

Celebrity Insights and Historical Portrayals

Leading the charge were the captivating stars of PULANG ARAW – Barbie Forteza, Sanya Lopez, David Licauco, and Alden Richards – who commanded the spotlight with their captivating presence. The supporting cast also graced the red carpet, adding another layer of intrigue as they hinted at the intricate web of stories woven within the series. Dressed in 1940s attire, reflective of their characters’ era with impeccable style in “Pulang Araw,” they shared insights into their roles and the deep connections to Philippine history they portray.

Lead stars Barbie Forteza, Sanya Lopez, David Licauco, and Alden Richards were the cynosure of all eyes, donned in striking 1940s attire, reflecting their characters’ era with impeccable style.

Photo credit: Netflix

Alden Richards, portraying Eduardo dela Cruz, shared his deep connection with the project, reflecting on its decade-long journey from conception to screen. He shares that the project has been a long-awaited endeavor for him and the production team, “Nabanggit na po ito sa akin ng aking boss na si Ms. Annette (GMA Executive Atty. Annette Gozon-Valdes, President of GMA Films and GMA Worldwide) sampung taon na ang nakakalipas.” (“This was mentioned to me by my boss, Ms. Annette, ten years ago”). He highlighted the series’ significance in bringing forgotten historical narratives to the forefront of modern consciousness.

Barbie Forteza, embodying the vivacious Adelina dela Cruz, shared her enthusiasm for showcasing vaudeville within the series, drawing parallels between the art form and the enduring spirit of finding joy amidst adversity. “Kahit sa buhay, kahit na anong kinakaharap mong problema at paghihirap, lahat ‘yun ay kakalimutan mo, kasi the show must go on,” (“Even in life, no matter what hardships you face, you’d forget them all, because the show must go on”)

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Sanya Lopez, who steps into the shoes of Teresita, elaborated on the series’ intent to educate the current generation about the sacrifices that shaped their freedoms. “Para sa akin ‘yun ‘yung katangian ng isang magiting na babae, na hindi lang noong panahon ng mga Hapon o ng digmaan, kundi sa panahon ngayon ng mga makabagong Teresita. Na patuloy lumalaban sa mga pagsubok, sa mga panga-abuso, sa pangmamaliit. Na lumalaban para sa kanilang karapatan,” (“For me, that’s the main characteristic of a brave woman, not only during that period, but even today, a time of modern-day Teresitas. They continue to fight the challenges, the abuse, and the oppression. They fight for their rights,”) She also shared her privileged experience of conversing with actual comfort women as part of the preparation for the role, which added a profound layer to her portrayal. Echoing her sentiment, Alden emphasized the importance of remembering the heroes of yesteryears, which he believes is a cornerstone of the series.

David Licauco, portraying the conflicted Hiroshi Tanaka, shared insights into his character’s dilemmas of heart versus duty, adding layers to the narrative fabric of ‘Pulang Araw’. Sanya also highlighted her character’s embodiment of courage, drawing inspiration from historical figures to deliver a performance that connects with both historical enthusiasts and casual viewers alike.

Photo credit: Netflix

Barbie and David, known collectively as ‘BarDa,’ discussed their dynamic working together again. For David, one particular scene made him realize how different Barbie is in this show,  ‘yung iksena na nag-I love you ako kay Barbie, dun ako may nakitang kakaiba. Napakagaling ni Barbie Forteza bilang aktres.” (“The scene where I told Barbie I love her, I saw something different there. Barbie Forteza is a brilliant actress.”). On the other hand, Barbie not only commended him for his Japanese-speaking skills but also applauded David for the growth in his passion for acting, “Natutunan niyang mahalin ‘yung craft. (…) Ibang David Licauco po talaga ang mapapanood natin dito, and I’m just very proud of him.” (“He learned to love the craft. (…) We’ll get to see a different David Licauco here, and I’m just very proud of him.”)

Photo credit: Netflix

Behind the Scenes and Beyond

The influence of vaudeville is a significant element in ‘Pulang Araw,’ especially for the characters played by Barbie and Sanya. The actresses shared their memorable experiences preparing for these roles, highlighting the rigorous tap dance sessions they undertook before filming commenced. “Tap dance classes, bago pa man magsimula ang taping. Ang saya ng experience kasi sobrang lapit sa puso ko si Sanya.” (“Tap dance classes, even before we started filming. The experience was fun because Sanya is someone I hold close to my heart.”) Sanya was equally enthused with the experience, cherishing the moments she spent training with Barbie, “Kumakanta habang nagta-tap dance—umaarte habang nagta-tap dance(…) Masarap sa feeling na meron kaming bagong natutunan para sa palabas na ito.” (“Singing while tap dancing—acting while tap dancing. (…) It’s a great experience to learn something new for this show.”)

Photo credit: Netflix

To conclude the event, the supporting cast composed of Sef Cadeyona, Aidan Veneracion, Neil Ryan Sese, Jay Arcilla, Ashley Ortega, Mikoy Morales, Rochelle Pangilinan-Solinap, Angelu de Leon, and Epy Quizon headed to the stage to introduce their characters and hint at their relationships with the main cast, teasing viewers with their intriguing connections and hinting at the complex interplay of relationships that viewers can expect. The event culminated with a screening of the pilot episode, leaving the audience eager for the series’ official release.

PULANG ARAW premieres first on Netflix starting Friday, July 26, 72 hours before free TV airing.

About PULANG ARAW

Pulang Araw chronicles the lives of Adelina (Forteza), Teresita (Lopez), Hiroshi (Licauco), and Eduardo (Richards) during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. Find out how the characters navigate an intricate web of loyalty, betrayals, sacrifices, and resilience amidst the backdrop of a war ravaging the country.

PULANG ARAW is directed by Dominic Zapata and written by Suzette Doctolero.

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