Genuinely great Filipino soap operas are hard to come by, even more so genuinely great performances.
But as Magkaribal surprised everyone with its excellent production, so did Angel Aquino as broken, hurt, and vengeful villain Vera Cruz.
Villains are always some of the hardest characters to play, but also the most fun and many times the most rewarding. They are also the hardest to write for as there are villains who can be paper thin and then there are villains who are three dimensional.
Thanks to the writing team of Magkaribal, Vera Cruz was more than just the kontrabida. Her character went deeper than just wanting revenge on the “heroines” of the series.
She wronged, but she was also wronged. Her heart was filled with hatred and selfishness, but not so much that there wasn’t room for love and compassion. She struggled with the pain, she was broken and many times was left alone.
But through it all, Vera Cruz evolved. She grew, even if at a turtle’s pace. Her inner conflict led her to a powerful realization on the series finale.
And all of this couldn’t be possible without the performance of Angel Aquino. She brought out the wide range of emotions the character required of her. Pain and sorrow to devious and strong. Powerful, but also very vulnerable. Angel Aquino brought her to life and was the most real and sincere performance of an already stellar cast.
This isn’t Aquino’s first acting role, but this was probably her best. A truly career performance that showcased her, at the time, untapped talent.
It is very rare to find a performance like this on Philippine TV. And it is definitely one that deserves recognition.