Diego Loyzaga, Barbie Imperial mark anniversary with their first film together

Leah C. Salterio

Posted at Nov 18 2021 09:08 PM

Real-life sweethearts Diego Loyzaga and Barbie Imperial Handout 
Real-life sweethearts Diego Loyzaga and Barbie Imperial. Handout 

MANILA -- Working together for the first time in a full-length romantic film “Dulo,” real-life sweethearts Diego Loyzaga and Barbie Imperial are expected to find the project merely a breeze for both of them, since they have been together for a year now this December.

However, even the young stars were surprised that they both needed to adjust when the cameras started grinding. 

“Sobrang nailang akong um-acting kasama si Diego,” Imperial told ABS-CBN News. “After a few days, naging madali na for me, for both of us. Nasanay na kami.”

In their heavily dramatic confrontational scenes, both stars had to stay in their respective acting zones.

“Kung ibang actress ang kasama ko, tapos may confrontation scenes, kailangan ang huhugutin mo totoo,” Loyzaga explained. “Since kami talaga, ‘yung pinaghuhugutan namin, mas totoo. Iba ‘yung bigat. Mas personal.”

Not a few noticed that both Loyzaga and Imperial no longer have any qualms to show everybody they are indeed in a relationship -- even if they came from their respective previous romances.

Imperial became romantically involved with young actors Paul Salas and Ryle Santiago, while Loyzaga earlier disclosed it was over between him and actress Sofia Andres.

“Mas gusto kong pinapakita sa mga tao kung sino ang mahal ko or paano ka minamahal,” Imperial admitted. “Mas masarap din kapag hindi ka tinatago.”

Loyzaga, meanwhile, revealed. “I remember, may usapan kami nanliligaw pa lang ako sa kanya at that time. We agreed that we’re both in the part of our lives na if ever we are dating, we don’t want anything with restrictions. We can both go public.

“Walang takot or we should have no boundaries. What if hindi tayo mag-work out. Kung magmamahalan kami, whether it works out or not, siyempre doon kami sa magwo-work out. We should be true. We both accepted to be real.”

“Dulo” is an “anniversary gift” to both Loyzaga and Imperial, since the streaming of the film on Vivamax starts December 10, a day before they mark their first year as a couple on December 11.

It will be remembered that Imperial was the “Doll Along the Riles of Albay” when she joined “Pinoy Big Brother” in 2015. However, after leaving the “PBB” house, Imperial rose to become one of the most visible young stars around.

“Dulo” is Imperial’s first project with Viva, as well as with her real-life boyfriend, Loyzaga. She plays the caring and loving freelance architect Bianca, opposite Dex (Loyzaga), the food vlogger who’s ready to settle down.

Imperial cannot be thankful enough that she was given a chance to work with her boyfriend. “Sobrang happy and grateful ako na binigyan nila ako ng project na kasama si Diego,” she said.

“Even before, sinabi ko na agad na gusto kong maka-work si Diego. Meron pa kaming gagawin after this.”

The young couple was asked what led them to fall in love with each other and both of them were honest.

“Consistent naman ako sa lahat ng mga interviews ko,” Loyzaga said. “Nakita ko kay Bie [how he fondly calls his girlfriend], sinabi ko sa sarili ko, if ever I date a girl again, gusto ko I can see her as the mother of my children.

“Kailangan may ganu’n siyang factor. I saw that in Bie early on sa relationship namin. Nanliligaw pa lang ako sa kanya.

“I saw how organized she is as a person when it comes to work. Sobrang caring niya like a mom. Maternal. Isa sa mga nagustuhan ko sa kanya.”

For her part, Imperial also talked fondly about how she got to like and eventually fall in love with Loyzaga.

“Wala siyang pakialam sa past mo or whatever maling decisions ang nagawa mo noon. Siya ‘yung tao na hindi ka takot kung ano ang sabihin mo sa kanya, kahit na mabigat na bagay or nakakahiyang sabihin," she said.

“Tatanggapin ka niya at hindi ka niya i-judge talaga based sa past mo. Sobrang maalaga din siya.”

Both stars agree the story of “Dulo,” written and directed by Fifth Solomon, is an accurate depiction of what has been happening to people their age in real life.

“Nakuwento naman sa amin ni Direk Fifth, ‘yung mga sinusulat niya, makaka-relate kang talaga sa mga linya pa lang,” Imperial said. “Lahat ng nangyari sa movie na ‘to, nangyari talaga in real life.”

With an intense plot that covers living together, “Dulo” has no inhibitions for Loyzaga and Imperial, who gave their honest opinion about the unsurprising, live-in set-up for young couples, one of the messages the film wants to convey.

“I think with everything in life, there’s a big aspect of trial and error, especially sa relationships,” Loyzaga said. “The way that you guys will be on the second month, hindi na kayo gano’n ng sixth month or sa 12th month.

“Overall, the story of the movie is not just specifically about living in. The story of the movie is individually, we are not mature enough to even be in a relationship. That’s the thing. That’s the status quo of everyday life.

“You think that to be complete, you need someone else to complete you. Since it’s such a normal way of living life. Kailangan kong humanap ng jowa to feel loved.

“The thing is, in real life, you should be able to love yourself first. Para if ever you add someone to your life as a partner, mas masaya. It’s so real.”

Solomon, who finds it easier to direct a film he also wrote, simply submitted the script of “Dulo” to Viva, not but specifically for Loyzaga and Imperial.

“I’m very collaborative with Viva, that’s why I simply submitted the script to them. Then, sila ang nag suggest ng actors. I was told the project would be for Diego and Barbie. Gustong-gusto ko naman kasi real-life couple sila," Solomon said.

“I really want to work with a real-life couple. Mas excited ako to work sa mga mag-jowa talaga. Gusto kong malaman ang chemistry at dynamics nila sa set. Nakita ko iba talaga ‘pag mag-jowa compared sa hindi mag-jowa.”

The young director was often thrilled how his stars execute their scenes together. “Realistic talaga when they do their scenes. Pinapabayaan ko lang sila kasi doon lumalabas ang totoo nilang chemistry. Kung paano sila magbiruan in real life.”

Even in the love scenes, there wasn’t any “wall” when the young stars did their scenes. “Halik kung halik, yakap kung yakap,” Solomon happily observed. “Walang ilangan. Parang sanay. [Laughs]

“What’s nice about them, they motivate each other on the set. Kailangan lang nila ng mga hugot kaya natutulungan nila ang isa’t-isa at nagiging totoo ang mga eksena. Sila rin mismo, hindi sila pumapayag na mediocre lang ang isang eksena.

“They would tell me, ‘Push pa natin ‘to, direk. Kaya pa natin ‘to, please.’ ‘Yun ang masarap ka-trabaho, di ba? With the actors, very collaborative sila. Binibigay nilang lahat, 150 percent.”

The love scenes between Loyzaga and Imperial became another important factor to consider.

“First time kong mag love scene sa movie,” Imperial revealed. “In the past, hanggang kissing scenes lang ako with my leading men.”

She had jitters before she executed the love scenes with Loyzaga. It helped that he is her boyfriend in real life. “Pinapakalma niya ako before the scenes,” Imperial said. “Ina-assure niya ako na okay lang every time.

“Totoong nangyayari among real-life couples ang love scenes na ginawa namin dito. But the movie is not focused on the love scenes alone. Parte lang siya ng storya.”

Imperial is thankful that their director has consistently been supportive all throughout the filming, especially with the difficult or intense scenes.

“Si Direk Fifth, inalalayan at binantayan naman kami. Hindi niya kami pinabayaan ni Diego. Hindi naging mabigat sa amin. Kahit ina-antok na kami, ang saya pa rin,” she said.

Loyzaga also commended the people they worked with who made everything eventually light for them.

“The script was perfect, the story was perfect,” Loyzaga maintained. “‘Yung characters namin, we didn’t have to wander very far to get into the roles. Swerte kami dito.

“Sabi ni direk sa akin, ‘What happens if next time around, hindi ganu’n ka-swak ‘yung role mo?’ I guess I have to put more effort into it. But I’m not saying walang mahirap sa ginawa namin.

“We did difficult scenes, parang nagtitigan kami after. ‘Grabe naman, parang totoong away na naman.’ We were telling ourselves after the scene.”

The challenge was detaching from their roles after the scenes were done. “Mahirap din kapag tinitignan namin ang isa’t-isa at feeling naming, kami na talaga ang nasa eksena,” Imperial recalled.

“Nagiging ako si Bianca kahit wala ng camera. Mabigat ang eksena. Nadadala ko siya hanggang pagbalik sa hotel. Si Diego hindi naman niya ako pinapabayaan.”