After some hurdles along the track, GMA Network's much-anticipated show "Running Man Philippines" has crossed the finish line and will begin airing tonight. Leading the cast members of Running Man PH are Glaiza de Castro, Ruru Madrid, Kokoy de Santos, Lexi Gonzales, Angel Guardian, Buboy Villar and Mikael Daez.

During the show's media conference and grand fanfest, de Santos playfully called themselves, the Lucky Seven.

"Kami ang Lucky Seven kasi wala namang nag expect na mapapasama kami sa napakalaking show na ito," de Santos declared.

The versatile actor — who started in the business as an indie actor, became a household name through he Boy Love series "Gameboys," and now appears in multiple comedy shows of GMA — had every reason to feel overwhelmed with their project.

Glaiza de Castro
Glaiza de Castro

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Ruru Madrid
Ruru Madrid

Running Man PH, after all is the local adaptation of the hit South Korean variety show of the same name. For more than 10 years now, Running Man has featured top Korean stars as cast members and special guests like Hollywood heavyweights Jackie Chan, Tom Cruise, and Henry Cavill competing in fun challenges, games, and races in different locations.

More importantly, the show marks the first time that SBS — one of South Korea's biggest networks — collaborated with a Philippine TV network.

It can be remembered that back in February 2020, GMA Entertainment Group inked a co-production deal with SBS Korea for the local version of the game show.

"It took two years because we kept on moving the schedule. It was supposed to happen first here in the Philippines and maybe a few scenes in Korea kaya lang urong siya ng urong dahil sa lockdowns," Senior Vice President for Entertainment Lilybeth Rasonable, also present at the media conference, divulged.

Kokoy de Santos
Kokoy de Santos

Lexi Gonzales
Lexi Gonzales

Buboy Villar
Buboy Villar

Angel Guardian
Angel Guardian

When South Korea borders opened anew, thus also opening the opportunity for shoots in their country, GMA took the opportunity to shoot the entire season of Running Man PH there. Rasonable saw this as a blessing in disguise.

"Sa tagal ng paghihintay, medyo maganda, dahil nakapag-handa na rin ng maigi para ma stage yung 'Running Man' the best and the safest way possible," the executive added.

Instant chemistry, lifetime friendship

One of the key ingredients in Running Man's popularity is the natural chemistry of its cast members. The missions are designed to be unpredictable, engaging and hilarious — all of which wouldn't be possible if the cast couldn't blend well.

But if the media conference were to be the initial basis, it seemed the seven GMA artists did not have a difficult time in achieving this chemistry. They were bantering and they had their inside jokes as well.

As Lexi Fernadez would reveal, it came natural for them, "Sobrang galing din kasi parang first day pa lang ng taping namin, comfortable na kami sa isa't isa. Sobrang naging madali yung shoot namin because of that."

It also helped that outside their actual shooting, the cast were able to bond and further develop their natural chemistry. De Santos revealed they would go on coffee dates while Mikael Daez shared they also used their travel time to and from their shooting locations to further get to know each other.

As Glaiza de Castro summarized, "Yung last day, di ko talaga makakalimutan. Sinemento lang din kasi ng last day yung nabuong bonding namin. Siguro nagtataka yung South Korean crew bakit kami umiiyak nun last day — since Running Man is known for comedy and good vibes — pero kasi syempre mami-miss namin ang isa't isa. It's a once in a lifetime experience we got to spend with each other."

Don't miss the world premiere of Running Man PH every Saturday at 7:15 p.m., and Sunday at 7:50 p.m. on GMA.