For Elora Españo, every role is close to her heart

Elora Españo in Signal Rock

Elora Españo is everywhere.

To be more specific, the sought-after dusky actress is in the cast of just about every independent film that matters. Since making her film debut in Jim Libiran’s controversial sexy drama, Ninja Party in 2015, Elora has been an indelible presence in acclaimed indies like Tandem, Purgatoryo, Iadya Mo Kami, Siphayo, Seklusyon, Birdshot, Bhoy Intsik and Baconaua.

This year alone, she was in the cast of Mike de Leon’s comeback film Citizen Jake, and just recently, starred in not just one but two films in the recently concluded Cinemalaya film festival, Jay Velasco’s sex comedy short, You, Me and Mr. Wiggles opposite Kiko Matos and a short but memorable supporting turn in Denise O’ Hara’s Alzheimer’s drama, Mamang.

And that’s not even counting Status, the extremely popular Kwentong Jollibee Valentine’s Day TV commercial that pretty much turned Elora into a household face and an online sensation after generating over 13 million views on Facebook and another 4 million on YouTube.

Now Elora is back with another quality project directed by no less than acclaimed filmmaker Chito S. Roño. In Signal Rock, she portrays Rachel, the ambitious girlfriend of the lead character Intoy, played by fellow rising sensation Christian Bables (Die Beautiful). Signal Rock is an official entry in this year’s Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino film festival.

Set mostly in the picturesque island of Biri, Samar, the film focuses on a young man’s struggle to keep his family and relationships intact. The title refers to the rock formations where the mobile phone signal is good enough for residents to communicate with their friends and relatives who live outside the island.

“It’s a story about a community, dreams of simple Filipinos wanting a better life for themselves and their families,” Elora told this writer in a recent interview.

Elora, who worked in a similar island setting in Baconaua that was shot in Marinduque said working on Signal Rock in the island of Biri—considered as one of the country’s best kept secrets—is an experience she will always treasure.

“The majestic rock formation, the seafood and the very warm locals are just some of the things that come to my mind whenever I think of Biri now. We enjoyed the food, the people and the experience in general. We blended with the locals and it’s a good thing. We never felt alienated in the island. It felt like another home,” she quipped.

The actress added that what made the experience even more special is the fact that like Marinduque, it’s not easy to go to Biri as it involves hours of traveling via land, RORO and boat after arriving at Catarman airport.

Working on the project is also a privilege for Elora as it has allowed her to work with award-winning director Chito Roño.

“I feel blessed and thankful to be able to work with him. Being part of a good project with brilliant directors and equally brilliant actors is always a blessing.”

Elora Españo and Christian Bables in a scene from Signal Rock
Elora Españo and Christian Bables in a scene from Signal Rock

Signal Rock was also an opportunity for Elora also got to know Christian up close and personal.

“Christian is a very giving professional actor, we had no issues or problems at all throughout our shoot. He is also a genuine person, we were able to jive right away and become friends later,” she shared.

Elora added that the bond of the whole cast and crew of Signal Rock also became deeper as a result of their experience. As for the actress, it looks like we will continue to see more of her in the months to come especially with festivals like QCinema, Cinema One Originals and the Metro Manila Film Festival still coming up.

“I think every role is relevant in telling a story. And every role that I do is close to my heart. Hopefully, I will get the chance to be part of more stories worth telling and doing more characters worth embodying,” she concluded.

Signal Rock is now showing in cinemas nationwide.