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The Encantadia Sanggres Reunite in Mystified: A Film by Women for Women

Encantadia alums Iza Calzado, Karylle, Sunshine Dizon, and Diana Zubiri talk about their real-life sisterhood, conjuring up the magical iFlix film Mystified, and how they support of each other on-set and beyond.

by Karen Mae De Vera | Mar 27, 2019

Eventually, Iza, Karylle, Sunshine, and Diana got tired of waiting for opportunities and decided to take the reins.

It's been more than a decade since we’ve visited the kingdom of Lireo via the 2005 hit fantasy series Encantadia. Back then, everyone tuned in with rapt attention as they followed the trials and tribulations of Amihan (Iza Calzado-Wintle), Alena (Karylle Tatlonghari-Yuzon), Pirena (Sunshine Dizon), and Danaya (Diana Zubiri-Smith). The royal siblings all had the ability to wield nature's elements and were embroiled in a battle over mystical gems and the throne. It was quite progressive for its time, depicting strong female role models in powerful positions.

Since then, fans or "Encantaddicts" have been clamoring for the fab four to get back together. There were talks in the past of a possible Enca movie, which, unfortunately, fell through. Eventually, Iza, Karylle, Sunshine, and Diana got tired of waiting for opportunities and decided to take the reins.


Sunshine Dizon, Karylle Tatlonghari-Yuzon, Iza Calzado-Wintle, and Diana Zubiri-Smith for

The actresses decided to put up their own production company called Sanggre Inc. alongside Encantadia director Mark Reyes. Iza and Karylle handled Public Relations and Marketing, and with their experience in business, Diana and Sunshine became in charge of accounting and production management. Direk Mark, who's dubbed by the girls as the "fifth sanggre," was in charge of the concepts and materials, but everyone had a say in approving the content. These roles aren't too stringent either, as the girls admit they're still learning and improving together. As Sanggre Inc., the team pitched a film to video streaming site iflix and successfully gained support to create their own film. Their first venture, Mystified, is a fantasy-themed fare that's definitely nostalgic of Encantadia. But this time, they ditched the elemental armor for lace corsets and Victorian-style garb.

Mystified follows four witches as they leave their former realm for earth after banishing an evil witch named Hellga into the magic Portalis. The main characters are witches who have been wandering the earth for three hundred years, continously evolving with the times and updating their occupation and identities to avoid suspicion. Iza plays Adela/Addie, a mind bender who's also a teacher and guidance counselor; Karylle portrays Helena/Ena, a chronomancer turned social media influencer; Sunshine is Althea/Thea, a maiga/healer who’s now a doctor, and Diana acts as Kathlina/Kath, an Atmokinesser (a controller of the elements) and an event specialist. They were forbidden to use their powers at the time, but when the evil returns, the sorceresses had to reunite to defeat it.

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The girls admit to facing many challenges during the movie's pre-production—the first being their contracts with competing networks. Their schedules were difficult to align as well, since Iza was swamped with filming soap operas, organizing events and forums for She Talks Asia, and preparing for her nuptials to husband Ben Wintle. Meanwhile, Sunshine was also balancing her family life and several soap operas at another network; Diana was busy off-screen managing her garment business; and Karylle's music career and regular stint as an It’s Showtime host kept her calendar filled. To meet halfway, the foursome opted for a full-length film instead of a series.

Ahead, Iza, Diana, Karylle, and Sunshine talk more about the film and their friendship in an exclusive interview with Preview:


On Diana: Ruffle top, price unavailable, HOUSE OF LAUREL; Maillot, P1420, FOREVER 21, SM Makati; Cluster stud earrings, P5500, Open bead ring, P3780, tangled ring, P4400, all from SUKI

"This line, 'Madami tayong sinayang na panahon. Hanggang kailan tayo ganito?' parallels the journey that the four of us took in real life. This described the time we were waiting for someone to produce the movie until we just finally took the reins and did it ourselves." - Karylle

On Going from Sanggres to Sorceresses

Working together on the set of Mystified was a surreal yet familiar experience for all four women. Aside from getting the gang back together, they also brought back most of the Encantadia staff as part of the production team including fight director Ali Leal and the costume department head Bill Gustillo (you can thank him for conceptualizing the iconic Enca armor). The main heroines even got emotional while filming—Sunshine teared up the first time they suited up in costume for a scene and Iza and the rest followed suit.


Can you tell us more about your characters and the similarities that you share with them?

Iza: Adela can read minds and control objects, which is very cool. She’s strong, opinionated, and vocal about her beliefs. She’s a little cheeky! In one scene, she says, 'Open Sesame' while using her telekinetic powers. She’s makulit like that.

Karylle: Paano pala kung walang mind yung tao? How will you control them? Yun yung challenge!

Iza: Actually, may gumagana pa rin naman. Hindi lang niya mapagana kaya ako ang magpapagana! (Laughs) I wouldn’t want my power because I’d rather not hear what other people are thinking. Sure, it could be helpful but it can also trigger your paranoia. Imagine trying to help everybody! How do you do that?

Diana: Kathlina can summon the elements. She’s also a romantic at heart. Pero may rule kami na di pwedeng magmahal at bawal magkapamilya. Ang saklap diba? But I'm a wedding planner so paanong hindi ako mag-fall in love? She's very chill and relaxed, plus, she’s a very strong and independent character so I can relate to that. Pero, hindi ako nagda-daydream about men. (Laughs)


Karylle: Sometimes, it’s based on the feelings of [Diana’s character]. I like her power! I always believe that women are strong if they are comfortable with their emotions.

Diana: [If I had my power,] Aayusin ko ang mga weather disaster tulad ng baha kasi that's one of the problems here in the Philippines! I also love Karylle’s power because she can transport everywhere. Mahilig akong mag-travel so I would wanna use that.

Karylle: As a social media influencer and vlogger, my character Helena or Ena uses her ability to phase in and out of space and time to travel from one spot to another. I also love to vlog but I hate editing!

Sunshine: I also like Kaye’s power. Pwede siyang tumalon-talon through time, though she can’t change anything. It would be nice to visit a specific era and see what went on during that time.


Karylle: Helena is also a pacifist. Like Ena, I pride myself in taking the high road because it’s not a gift that all humans and sorceresses possess. However, [Helena] waited 300 years to pacify her friends and I wouldn’t wait that long. I’ve learned to be an “unfriendable friend.” I’ll tell somebody what they need to hear at the risk of no longer being their friend.

Diana: Actually, peacemaker/referee ang mga characters namin ni Kaye kasi laging nag-aaway ang characters nina Iza and Sunshine—kailangan may touch ng Encantadia diba? (Laughs)

Sunshine: Althea is a maiga or alchemist, I can heal and make potions. [If I had that power,] I’d make a cure for cancer and HIV.

Iza: I like [Sunshine’s ability] because it's very straightforward. Someone's in pain so you help them out.

Sunshine: I'm also an “oilbularyo” in real life and mix essential oils. I sort of make my own potion for my kids. My blend for sleeping consists of lavender, peppermint, and I think some chamomile. Sasabihin talaga ng kids ko na, “Mom, I slept better last night!”


On Iza: One shoulder dress, price unavailable, HOUSE OF LAUREL; Front facing hoop earrings with dangling discs, P13,200, SUKI JEWELRY,; Soft chunky ring, P2550, Hammered skinny ring, P2580, Claw ear cuff, P900, all from MODERN


"We’ve always been there for each other and cheering each other on for whatever we’ve achieved. When we encounter frustrations in life, we make sure to be there for each other as well." - Sunshine

On Mystified’s Theme Song, “Simula”

Karylle wrote the theme song for the iFlix movie. And with a looming deadline approaching, she was able to finish the song in three months.

What was the inspiration behind this anthem?

Karylle: Ever since I got married to Yael [Yuzon], he's always been like, "You have to write your own songs!" So, I've just been working on that so I'm really happy that I've got a track in our new movie. I find it hard to write in Filipino. Two other people from Showtime have encouraged me, one is Rey Valera (head of the hurados), he told me to try writing in Filipino so I took that as a challenge. The other one is Ryan Bang who’s always like, "Ate Karylle, write something in Tagalog!" So, those are my three main influences! (Laughs)

It’s really an anthem because it’s empowering! This song is very close to my heart because I wrote it specifically for the movie. This line, “Madami tayong sinayang na panahon. Hanggang kailan tayo ganito?” parallels the journey that the four of us took in real life. This described the time we were waiting for someone to produce the movie until we just finally took the reins and did it ourselves. I’m so slow in writing! I did the chorus first but wondered about the verse. I even considered turning the verse into a rap where the rapper can fill in the blanks! There will also be a piano version, a slower emotional ballad.


What’s your favorite line from the song?

Karylle: I love the line “Pag mahina ako, ikaw ang lakas ko.” That’s both my message of what the movie means to me and us journeying together as a group. There will be days when you’re feeling blah, defeated, and at the quitting point so you draw strength from somebody else. I feel there are days when you’re the cheerleader of the group and others when you’re feeling down. There’s also another line, “Iikot dito kung san ang dulo ay simula.” I was telling a friend, “Hindi yan deep, ha? If you do a fun run, the end is the beginning.” It’s the same balloon arc so it’s nothing too deep. (Laughs) So, we finally start here!


On Karylle: Slip dress, P2295, ZARA, Powerplant Mall; Thin orbit hoop earring, P1750, Toggle choker, P2100, Cable chain necklace, P4850, Slim rings, P3690, Skinny rings, P2820, all from MODERN MYTH,

"If [you] can create something else that will also empower [women], just do it! I say it’s about time!" - Diana

On Women Uplifting Each Other

Working on Mystified made the four ladies closer than ever. They reveal that the movie is an ode to the long-time Encantadia fans, who have stuck by them through the years and supported their work. They wanted to give Encantaddicts the epic reunion that they’ve been waiting for decades to happen. And if there’s something we can learn from their experience, it’s to forge your own path and create your own opportunities—don’t just stand around and wait for something good to happen. These ladies talk about providing a solid support system for each other.


How do you support one another during production and outside the set?

Sunshine: We’ve always been there for each other and cheering each other on for whatever we’ve achieved. When we encounter frustrations in life, we make sure to be there for each other as well. I’ve dealt with a lot in the past year, but knowing that I had good friends helped. We’ve gotten to a point in our friendship where we already anticipate each other’s needs. It comes out naturally. Wala kaming inggitan o intriga, never ganon. We’re honest with each other so if, say, a dress doesn’t look flattering, somebody will call it out. We wouldn’t be happy if one of us looks panget! (Laughs) We look out for each other and want to see everyone at their best.

Diana: We have a group chat where we talk about whatever problems that occur. Kung meron kaming kailangan gawin na hindi kaya, hihingi ako ng tulong sa kung sino man sa kanila. We’re all ready to help and support each other.


Iza: During production, they were very understanding of my schedule. Nakaka-pressure because I felt like, “Bratinella ba ako that I couldn’t do this?” My schedule’s really tight! We all have our roles, so we support each other with whatever it is that’s needed at the time. May it be locking in dates, mounting our press conference, and aligning our schedules. They won’t stop you from doing something and will even encourage you.

Karylle: It’s more like we take turns being busy. The four of us aren’t always physically together and whenever we are, we’re still working. How do you make time? I guess we always have enough patience [to deal with this so fortunately,] it still works out [in the end.]

What do you think is the best way to support each other in general?

Karylle: I believe that women do support women but they’re sometimes afraid to ask for help. It’s so beautiful when we finally ask and receive the support. The asking part is the difficult part [dyahe]! We need to receive with gratitude and be open to the fact that we’re all supporting each other [because we want to start building a] community.


Sunshine: You have to know each other’s strengths weaknesses and work from there. I think the secret is really open communication. It doesn’t matter if you’re all busy with whatever you’re doing outside just as long as you can still talk about anything. We have to watch each other’s backs. Nothing is impossible if all women share the same goal of uplifting each other instead of pulling each other down. Mas marami kayong bigger things that you can achieve.


On Sunshine: Ribbed dress, P1695, ZARA, Powerplant Mall; Hoop earrings, P1950, Dent ring, P2550, Fluid ring, P2300, all from MODERN MYTH,; Twist stackable rings, P3300 and P3700, SUKI

"We all have our roles, so we support each other with whatever it is that’s needed at the time. May it be locking in dates, mounting our press conference, and aligning our schedules. They won’t stop you from doing something and will even encourage you." - Iza

On Female Representation

These actresses/producers discuss the visibility of women in the industry and what the movie ultimately represents.


The movie comes out during International Women’s month. Was that a conscious decision on your part?

Karylle: No, not really.

Iza: It just happened that way!

Karylle: Sometimes, it really just falls into place. It’s nice when it’s not deliberate because [otherwise,] you might [mistake it for a] marketing ploy. It’s just that sometimes it happens when it’s supposed to happen.

Iza: Hashtag, aligned!


Is there a need for more female-driven fare in local media?

Diana: Oo naman! If [you] can create something else that will also empower [women], just do it! I think marami silang makukuhang support. I say it’s about time!

Sunshine: It’s good that there are lots of small companies like Sanggre Inc. that can do their own range of cinema. We can decide on casting an all-female lead, bringing female writers onboard, and placing a female director at the helm. Marami pa ring lalaki dito na mas mataas ang sweldo pero pareho lang naman ang ginagawang trabaho. Bakit hindi equal? Dahil babae ako? Kulang pa siguro ng voice but we’ll get there.

Karylle: When we were doing Encantadia, it wasn’t branded as such. I think it eventually became [representative of strong female role models]. Aside from the director, we have to thank Suzette Doctolero for having this wonderful vision of a group of strong women back then. During that time [back in 2005], it wasn’t really the norm. When it’s unintentional, the message becomes very clear and long-lasting. If you look at Iza’s project [She Talks Asia], you get to hear a lot of dialogue from women. A safe space has been provided for us not only in cinema, theater, but also in the real world. There’s so much space for it. We’re finally getting there.


Iza: I work on [She Talks Asia] for my own growth as a woman, as a human. I feel like it’s for my healing. It’s a women-empowerment group that aims to discuss issues and sometimes there’s discourse but that’s part of it. We foster a community of women, hopefully men and also the LGBTQ+ community to understand one another and where everybody is coming from. I am working with amazing women who inspire me everyday, Vicky Herrera, Sarah Meier, and Lynn Pinugu.

Produced and Styled by Maura Rodriguez

Photographed by Mario Genoveza

Art Directed by Mark Buenaobra

Beauty Direction by Nicole Arcano

Makeup by Lala Flores (Iza & Sunshine) and Jigs Mayuga (Karylle & Diana)

Hair by Jan Edrosolan (Iza & Sunshine) and Mark Ibarrola (Karylle & Diana)

Nails by Nailandia

Shoot Assistant: April Lozada

Catch Mystified when it premieres on iflix for free on March 29 (Friday) at 8:00PM.

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