MANILA — Iza Calzado was instantly in tears in a recent media conference when she was greeted in advance for her birthday, which she considers her “most meaningful” one after having survived the novel coronavirus disease.
Calzado, who turned 38 on Wednesday, August 12, turned emotional when the cast and creative team of her upcoming primetime drama, “Ang Sa Iyo Ay Akin,” sang for her at the close of its August 7 virtual press conference.
“I was completely caught off guard,” she said, crying. “I’m sorry, I don’t want to hijack this presscon. This is not about me, but then… This is probably the most meaningful birthday in my life thus far.”
“Thank you for being the first to sing happy birthday to me. I’m really grateful to be alive.” (See the 1:35:05 mark of the video below.)
Calzado was among the first high-profile celebrity cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines. She has since made a full recovery.
In early July, she resumed taping for “Ang Sa Iyo Ay Akin,” which itself has had a complicated journey.
“It wasn’t just five months of waiting for this,” Calzado told reporters earlier. “We were supposed to launch March. Nag-release na kami ng trailer, at nangyari lahat ng ito.”
‘TULOY ANG LABAN’
Calzado’s condition at the time spelled the uncertainty of her participation in the series, and whether the project could even push through.
“Sa totoo lang, napaka-grateful ko. The fact na nag-uusap tayo ngayon, the fact na nandito pa ako ngayon, is something I am grateful for every day. Apart from this show being given the green light, ang daming pinagdaanan ng show, ang dami nating pinagdaanang mga Pilipino, and personally, mahirap-hirap din ‘yung pinagdaanan ko.”
The ABS-CBN drama was originally due to premiere on March 23. The coronavirus pandemic, however, forced the halt of its production as the industry grappled with the first community lockdown. “Ang Sa Iyo Ay Akin” was delayed indefinitely.
Further challenges arose as the Duterte administration forced the shutdown of ABS-CBN, resulting in the retrenchment of thousands of employees and entire units. The broadcast closure also meant “Ang Sa Iyo Ay Akin” would no longer air ABS-CBN’s free TV channel.
In July, the series was announced as the first new teleserye of Kapamilya Channel, the cable channel where ABS-CBN migrated a number of its programs.
“Ang Sa Iyo Ay Akin” is also now considered the first fully digital teleserye of ABS-CBN, as it’s set to join the primetime lineup of Kapamilya Online Live, the network’s free streaming on YouTube and Facebook which was launched the reach more viewers online in Channel 2’s absence.
“We have been chosen by God to do this, parang ganoon, e,” Calzado said, recalling a conversation she had with fellow cast members. “Ganoon ang pakiramdam. Tapos kami pa ‘yung una ngayon sa ganitong bagong platform natin.”
“I’m beyond grateful. We went through so many challenges… Alam ko hindi naman siya tungkol doon sa nangyari sa akin, pero kasi I cannot answer it without addressing that, too. Despite the challenges, tuloy ang laban.”