More than the spiffy flight suits, dramatic encounters and action-packed set pieces, one thing Ysabel Ortega and Miguel Tanfelix will never forget about their “Voltes V: Legacy” journey was representing the Philippines at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.
The live-action adaptation of the beloved 1970s anime “Voltes V” was the first Philippine—and first Asian—TV series to have a dedicated panel at one of the biggest and most prestigious comics and pop-culture events in the world.
“We’re proud of the show we made and the opportunity to represent it there. The Filipino fans abroad were also very proud… some of them welcomed us at the airport and we appreciated their thoughtfulness. They were thankful that for the first time, the country had representation at the comic-con,” Ysabel said at a recent Zoom conference.
GMA Network was invited by Dogu Publishing, which “aims to expand the reach of international panels from around the globe, driving the way for a more diverse comic book industry.”
“It wasn’t just a win for GMA 7 and the production, it was a win for Filipinos,” she said in a recent video conference. “It was a milestone. At the panel, we repeatedly said that everyone in the show is part of history. It was very heartening to be one of the people who sat there,” added the actress, who plays Jamie Robinson, one of the five members of the Voltes team.
Though she doesn’t consider herself a comic book nerd, Ysabel still couldn’t help but fangirl upon seeing actual costumes from different superhero franchises on display at the event.
“Seeing the costumes alone was enough to make me fangirl. What more if the actors who wore those costumes were also there? I’m not that deep into the comic book world, but I’m a fan of the different franchises. Kilig!” related Ysabel, who was joined at the panel by Miguel, coactor Gabby Eigenmann and director Mark Reyes.
Exploring San Diego
Of course, their six-day trip to San Diego didn’t revolve solely around the comic-con. In their free time, Miguel and Ysabel, who are rumored to be dating, did some sightseeing together. And in doing so, they ended up knowing each other better.
“We roamed around the city on scooters and enjoyed it. We headed over to Sunset Cliffs and chanced upon a marriage proposal in public,” Miguel said. “I’m fond of traveling abroad on my own, which helps me discover new things about myself… This was my and Ysabel’s first time out of the country together. This time, I learned a lot of things about her.”
“It’s one for the books for the both of us,” added Miguel, who plays the Voltes team leader, Steve Armstrong.
And it sure was for Ysabel, whose strict mom doesn’t usually let her go on out-of-town trips by herself. “This time, she gave me permission, because, like I have said, it was a milestone, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
“Marami akong bantay!” she quipped, laughing.
“We maximized our time there. The comic-con itself, of course, was a highlight but so were the little adventures, exploration we did in the city. Miguel pushed me to do more and explore more. We rode electric scooters. I stepped out of my comfort zone,” Ysabel added. “If it weren’t for him, I would have probably done things I usually do, like reading books in cafés.
“To experience these things with him is something I appreciate.”
Taking their time
While the two Kapuso stars enjoy each other’s company, Miguel clarified that he and Ysabel are not a couple or at least not yet. They’re taking their time, helping each other grow on- and off-cam.
“She’s putting up a business; I’m studying film. Our relationship isn’t a hindrance to our personal goals… If the relationship requires all your attention that you have no time to build what you want in life, it can stunt your growth as a person,” Miguel said.
“So I’m happy that in this relationship, we push each other to better our lives and career,” he added.
The two barely knew each other before taping for “Voltes V” began four years ago. And now that the show is about to end this Friday, Miguel and Ysabel continue to be each other’s “support system.”
“We got close while working on the show. There are relationships [whose longevity] depend on the setup or work environment. But we knew that our relationship wouldn’t end, even after the show, because the reason we’re OK isn’t just because of taping. It’s exciting that we’re in this new chapter… excited to see each other grow outside ‘Voltes V.’ We’re rooting for each other.”
While their “Voltes V” journey is about to end, the lessons they learned from their characters, they said, will live on.
“I’m a naturally shy person. I don’t know how to approach people I don’t know. But I think playing Jamie helped me embody her confidence, her courage and even the way she carries herself. Her persona rubbed off on me,” she said.
Miguel echoed Ysabel’s sentiments, adding that playing Steve has made him more confident and self-assured. “I just stay on the sides, because I feel unworthy of being given the mic. But now I have more confidence. I think it was something that has always been inside me. But playing the character helped let that side of me come out.”
“I hope to start trusting myself more when given roles and duties, instead of doubting myself,” Miguel added. EDV
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