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Kicks and jabs

When Aiko Melendez hears 'Action!' these days, it only means it's time to work like her life depends on it

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On her latest series, Aiko Melendez plays a character that heads pirates whose fierceness owes a lot to boxing and Muay Thai.

Aiko Melendez (mb.com.ph)

Aiko Melendez

“I really have to learn ‘yung paghawak sa sword kasi ‘yung knife ko dito sa ‘Bagani’ ay malaki,” she said. ‘Good thing is nagbo-boxing at nagmu-Muay Thai ako so naa-aply ko dito ang napag-aralan ko.”

She’s been in the industry for 30 years now but it’s her first fantasy series. Naturally, she felt jittery on the first day of taping.

“I told (actor) Thou Reyes kasi barkada ko siya, ‘Bro, baka naman puwedeng paalalay sa set.’ Kasi nga, nahihirapan akong tumawid coming from ‘Wildflower’ na hard drama. Sa fantaserye kasi na ito, ‘yung hitsura ko, dine-glamorize talaga ako.”

She recalled shooting one action scene from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. which turned out “na five seconds lang o ilang minutes lang mapapapanood sa TV.”

“(This work) is physically strenuous, physical draining,” she declared with a smile.

She admitted having apprehensions when the role was offered to her.

“Ang isa sa worry ko after ‘Wildflower’ kasi isang taon kaming nag-ere, sabi ko magiging at home kaya ako sa ‘Bagani?'” she said. “But true enough, we’re family now at lahat kami may teamwork.”

She recalled how the role landed on her lap.

“This was offered to me while I was taping for ‘Wildflower.’ I was given a week to decide whether to accept ‘Bagani’ or not. Sabi ko, parang mahihirapan ako kasi ang layo ng role ni Emilia sa matadora.”

Aiko is thankful to her directors for the big help she gets on doing the series.

“Hindi talaga nila ako tinigilan hanggang mawala ko ‘yung pagiging sosyal role ni Emilia. Now, I can safely say na nakakawala na ako doon sa ‘Wildflower,’” she said.

Scene from 'Bagani' (mb.com.ph)

Scene from ‘Bagani’

Aware that the show has lots of followers and its share of bashers, Aiko said she has to be on her toes all the time.

“Kailangan kasi lalo na ang daming nanonood ng ‘Bagani.’ Bawa’t kilos dito pinupuna…”

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