ACTRESSES Joanna Ampil, Angelica Panganiban, Cherry Pie Picache, Lorna Tolentino, Agot Isidro, and Mylene Dizon all agree that there is more to being a tita (aunt) — in this case referring to middle class, middle-aged, urban aunts — than work meetings, yoga sessions, salon appointments, tea time. The actresses star in the new iWant original series, Call Me Tita.

The show looks into the lives of five spirited life-long friends who seek new experiences as they mature and find a deeper purpose in life.

Through his friendship and interactions with the actresses, director Andoy Ranay thought of producing a story about titas. “We pitched it last December (2018) to Dreamscape. We got the go signal during the Christmas break. We created a concept and story and starting shooting this April,” Mr. Ranay said in a mixture of English and Filipino, at the press launch at the ELJ Communications Center on Aug. 6.

According to Mr. Ranay, the biggest challenge was how to schedule the actresses’ shooting dates. “This is a very ambitious [project] but I guess we pulled it off,” the director said, adding that the scenes were shot separately with the different leads.

Ms. Picache plays Ruth, a bakery owner who finds herself interested with a chef despite a solid 25 years of marriage; Ms. Dizon plays the demure Frida who has just ended her 15-year-marriage to her American husband and unexpectedly finds solace with a lesbian artist; Ms. Isidro takes the role of Celine, a retired beauty queen and social media savvy mother of a grown-up son who comes out as gay; Ms. Ampil plays Maya, human rights lawyer who falls in love with her friend’s husband; the youngest of the five friends is Gabbi — played by Ms. Panganiban — who slowly matures as she and her friends scramble to search for her missing mother — played by Ms. Tolentino — who is involved in a drug ring.

Co-produced by Dreamscape Digital and Heaven’s Best Entertainment, Call Me Tita is the first series to simultaneously premiere on ABS-CBN and iWant on Aug. 18.

All episodes will drop on the streaming service on that date while new episodes will be shown on ABS-CBN every Sunday night at 9 p.m.

The lead actors reveal that they are cool with being a tita in real life.

“A lot of us actually embrace it,” Ms. Ampil said. For Ms. Panganiban, titas are not boring because they are “mature and responsible.” For the other actresses, being a tita is an opportunity to explore new things. “We have choices and we are able to do whatever it is we want to do,” Ms. Dizon said.

The misconception about titas that Mr. Ranay hopes to debunk is that actors of their age can only play mother and supporting roles.

“After 45 years of your life, you will discover na may kaya ka pang gawin (you will discover that you are still capable of other things). There’s another facet of your life that you want to pursue,” he said. “Mas rich ’yung mga pwede pang ma-experience at pwede pang maikwento (There will be richer experiences and stories).”

Call Me Tita premieres on Aug. 18 at ABS-CBN and all episodes will be available on the iWant app (iOs and Android) or oniwant.ph. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/iWant. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman