Angel Locsin remains to be the top choice to play Philippine heroine Darna.
At least, that's what fans keep telling her, usually --one can imagine-- with hands clasped together in prayer, ignoring that she herself has said that her time as the Pinay superhero is up and that it's only right to hand down the fabled "bato" to someone else to keep the character's legacy alive.
It's been more than a decade since Locsin wore the iconic costume for a TV series, imbuing it with gravitas and grace --a famous performance that defined, in the eyes of many, what a strong female superheroine should be for years to come.
She was supposed to don it again for a movie but had to exit the project due to health concerns regarding her back. Since then, she has expressed her full support for her replacement, young actress Liza Soberano, and yet there were still rumblings.
This noisy clamor for her to take the role back found headwind when she was seen doing stunts for her primetime series "The General's Daughter." It only grew stronger when it was revealed that Soberano has decided to back out because of a finger injury.
But, in an interview with ABS-CBN News' MJ Felipe, Locsin's answer remained to be a firm "no."
Her first thought when the news broke out, she shared, was not that if she could possibly reconsider putting on the costume again. Rather, it was one of worry.
"Nag-alala ako sa kaniya," she said of Soberano.
(I was worried about her.)
"Kung mayroon man sigurong tao na makakaintindi sa pinagdadaanan niya ngayon, ako iyon. Nag-alala ako na sana OK lang siya. So nag-try ako mag-message sa kanya. Sabi ko lang , 'Liza.' "Sagot niya, 'Ate, I'm sorry.'"
(If there's someone who would understand what she's going through, that's me. I got worried and hoped she's OK. So I tried to message her. I just said 'Liza.' She answered, 'Ate, I'm sorry.')
"Naramdaman ko kung gaano siya ka-devastated sa nangyari and kung gaano niya kagusto i-please iyong network and fans niya na nagaantay. Pero siyempre, kailangan din niyang alagaan iyong sarili niya. Siguro ganoon din niya kamahal iyong role, na feeling niya hindi niya maibibigay iyong buo niya."
(I felt how devastated she was about what happened and how much she wants to please the network and her fans who have been waiting. But of course, she needs to take care of herself. Perhaps that's how much she loved the role, that she felt she couldn't give her all.)
She also begged fans to give the selection process for the new Darna some time, true to the comics' lore about the hero, "ang bato talaga ni Darna, namimili ng tao. Hindi basta basta lang."
(Darna's stone chooses. It's not that simple.)