Meet the Drukpah Council
I know you probably see us on the TV and you don’t even know who we are, what our names are and what we have done. This is a primer on the Drukpah council as you have seen on the show Princess and I.
The Drukpahs are Yang Don’s Royal Council. Our job is to guide and assist the king and the monarchy in ruling and running the kingdom. Each member of the Drukpah council is royalty in their right – be it by lineage or by appointment.
Nina Ricci Alagao as CHUMI – Chumi is a Royal Drukpah and is also the closest confidante of Ashi Behati. I don’t really know the background of Chumi but I would imagine that she is of royalty by lineage. I would assume that she is Yang Don’s equivalent of a Duchess or a Baroness, seeing that she is very graceful and poised – could be evidence of her finishing school years or early exposure in being part of the Royal Court.
Nina Ricci Alagao in real life is just as accomplished and meritorious as her character. She is a model, make-up artist, realist painter, actress, talented crafter that can possibly rival Martha Stewart (she can give me a run for my money in crafting! Na-insecure ako doon, actually), the country’s millenium Bb. Pilipinas, singer, UP grad and mom to 3 boys! Oh, and did I mention she is a fantastic cook? Yeah…kinda makes you want to hate her for being almost perfect but then you can’t because she is also genuinely and sincerely nice. She’s so freaking nice that it kind of does make her perfect.
I am a firm believer that Nina Ricci is mis-packaged. Though statuesque and every bit as graceful as a ballerina, she is an effective and hilarious comic. Ang dami nyang bentang jokes sa akin, promise!
Arthur (Art) Acuna as SHIVAJI – Shivaji is the King’s closest confidante. Though Dasho Kencho was the Vice-King, it was still Shivaji that the king trusted and relied on the most. If I were to create a back story for Shivaji,I would say that he was born into the position – sort of an inheritance. Shivaji’s father was the Maharaja’s closest confidante and because of that, he would have to pass on the secrets of that reign to his son. This was both his inheritance and birthright which would be passed on to his son and so on. It would be interesting if one down the line decided it was not for him and quit. Or if one down the line would decide to use all these secrets to his advantage. Could be a nice plot for a story or a show. [Officially, I call dibs on that plot.]
Art Acuna in real life is a very accomplished actor that can put all of us in the show combined to utter shame. He recently won the Best Supporting Actor for his role in the movie Nino in the 35th Gawad Urian Awards, before that, he was nominated as Outstanding Actor for his role as Harry Shaw in The Kitchen Musical in the 2012 Monte Carlo International TV Festival Awards. His mantle is peppered with awards and recognition. He has appeared in respected US shows like Law & Order and Law & Order: Criminal Intent (which makes me utterly envious) You can read a wonderful article about him here and read about his work on IMDB here.
Off cam, Art is adorable! He has an infectious laughter and a warm personality that exudes unadulterated concern and care to everyone around him. On the first day of taping, he was introduced to me by our wardrobe staff. We worked on Rosalka before but our paths never met. On that first day, he gushed about how excellent I was in Nono. (I solemnly swear that was exactly what he said.) He plays with the on set puppy and treats everyone on the set, regardless of who they are, like a long time friend.
Jerry O’Hara as BIBEK – Bibek is the silver haired and wizened Drukpah council member who was the target of a foiled car bombing. Perhaps it was a warning to the kingdom and the council that the rebels are closing in. If I were to make a guess, Bibek is part of the Maharaja’s Drukpah council. I would assume that Bibek was appointed by the Maharaja to be a Drukbah by virtue of his work and academic excellence. Bibek’s specialty is law and governance. He is the only one in the council who can quote the laws and decrees of the kingdom at a whim. He is the adviser for foreign affairs and diplomatic concerns.
Jerry O’Hara is very much like Bibek in a way that he is most definitely learned, wizened and very well accomplished. As an actor, he has appeared in a great number of television shows in the top stations since the 1970′s. He has also appeared in several top-grossing and critically acclaimed movies since the 70′s. One particular role that one must note is the role he played in the Lino Broka classic “Maynila: Sa kuko ng liwanag”. Direk Jerry, as we call him on the set, is also a prolific Assistant Director. His works as an AD include “Sa Ngalan ng Ina”, “Underage” and the iconic & original “Temptation Island”.
Tito Jerry off cam is like a cup of warm sunshine. You just can’t feel terrible about anything when he’s around. He always has this air of positivity about him. You can always count on him for a laugh, a great story, a word of encouragement or just over all support. And if that O’Hara surname is making you think that you kind of know someone of the same name, that would be his brother, Mario O’Hara.
Ian Galliguez as Noime – Since I play Noime, I created this back story about her so that I can give the character justice. Noime is a Drukpah by virtue of lineage. Her father was the former Drukpah responsible for Culture and the Arts and since Noime was born, she has been groomed to take his place. There are times when she appears as if she’s flighty but this is just due to her artistic nature.
Heidi Arima as KARUNA – Again, this is my assumption of the character Karuna. (In my head) She was chosen by the people to be part of the Drukpah council to represent them. Being from the people, Karuna has the most realistic perspective amongst the other council members. Before she was a member of the council, she was already the leader of their community in a farming area of Yang Don. Though her background is humble, she strove to finish her education and worked hard to improve the situation of her community. Karuna is the Drukpah in charge of domestic affairs.
Heidi Arima in real life is a well-applauded theater actress with a delightful singing voice. One of her best performances, I must say, is how she portrayed Sisa in the musical “Pepe”. She was also in another play also about the same person: “Sino Ka ba, Jose Rizal?” She was also in “Magsimula Ka!” also known as The only Pinoy Musical that works, singing alongside Ciara Sotto, Robert Sena and Ana Feleo.
Miss Heidi is my tent mate and was also my savior when I suffered an allergic attack. (I will bring an extra dose of antihistamine in my bag from now on, I promise) The first woman in our captive audience of two when Nina and I start putting on a comedy show, she would fill the tent with musical laughter.
Jonic Magno as ANASH – To tell you honestly, all I have about Anash is what I’ve created in my head. To me, his is the Drukpah that is taken for granted. Because of his silent nature, he is often looked over but this does not bother him one bit as he wants to be put on the sidelines so that he can have a better perspective which is “outside looking in”. Anash comes from a military family and because his height did not qualify for him to be part of the army, he decided to sharpen his strategical skills thereby making himself extremely valuable to the military and the kingdom.
According to IMDB (I’d have to let Jonic confirm this) he played a teenage shop worker in the horror flick Demonstone. This was back in 1989, which I would assume was the first time the acting bug bit Jonic.
What most people don’t know about Jonic is that he is an alum of the University of the Philippines with a degree in Theater Arts. He is also a graduate of Manila Science High School. Pretty impressive academic background, I know. The man with the nail cutter is pretty much like his character – quiet. Sometimes I feel guilty when we get too loud in the tent but he just laughs it off and laughs along as well.
Levy Ignacio as RAZZA – Razza is a Drukpah by appointment by virtue of his military service. Razza moved up the army ranks by his own hard work even if his father was a general. His father fought in the previous war Yang Don had with the rebels which made him a hero in both Razza and the kingdom. This was what ignited the desire to emulate his father and be almost like him within Razza. Though a good family man, his first priority is always the kingdom and the king. His son, Rio (played by Pierro) was one of the hand picked candidates of the king and the council to be the next heir of Yang Don. It would be interesting to think if Rio does become king, would he be a father or a subject?
Tito Levy has probably had the most movies ever made by anyone in the show with the exception of Mr. Albert Martinez. According to his IMDB page, he has been in more than 40 movies. He has worked with action legends and acting greats. He is also one of the few people I’ve met that has this internal switch that he can easily flick to get into character. One moment, he’s goofing around and as soon as the AD shouts “Action!”, he’s in character. It’s quite intimidating, really. Acting next to him makes me feel like I’m an amateur.
Tito Levy is the tough love guy. He’d berate me for not taking vitamins while whipping out a packet, taking one capsule out and putting it in my hand while attempting to open a water bottle with his other hand. He would stop mid-sentence, waiting for me to gulp the pill before he continues speaking. Yep, tough love.
Mimi Orara as NISHA – Nisha, next to Chumi is the Drukpah with silent grace. She is the Drukpah in charge of commerce and increasing trade and business both locally and internationally. My own back story about Nisha is that she has several degrees in Business and Economics from Yang Don’s Royal University and in Harvard. Nisha’s family has always been businessmen and she has inherited the family’s business acumen and is applying it to the economics and business dealings of the kingdom.
If Miss Mimi is very familiar to you, you may have seen her in other top rating ABS-CBN shows such as Maria la del Barrio and Imortal. She is also known as the other half of our two – man captive audience. Although I’m starting to think that she laughs at our antics because her chair is usually away from the door and we’re just blocking her only exit.
Miss Mimi is also in the Aga- John Lloyd starrer, Dubai. I didn’t know this until after we started working together in this soap but we have worked together before in the afternoon soap Reputasyon. Off cam, Miss Mimi is the chicha pusher until Miss Heidi started her diet. A true friend, she stopped bringing junk food on the set so Miss Heidi wouldn’t feel too bad about her diet.
Yussef Estevez as PRASHAN – Prashan is a very passionate and intelligent person, qualities that has earned him a position int he Drukpah council. He was the youngest graduate of their class and has received nothing but the perfect marks. His youth however often gets the best of him and he makes his decisions from his immediate reaction to the situation rather than from an informed choice.
Yussef is relatively a newbie in the industry, though he has been in the industry for 5 years. Princess and I is his first TV soap.