AFTER three years of waiting, Teleserye Queen Judy Ann Santos is set to return to the small screen via nurserye “Habang May Buhay.”

The Kapamilya's face for 60 years of Philippine Soap Opera will give life to the character of Jane Alcantara, a simple woman who dreams of becoming a nurse just like her mother Rose, played by Gina Alajar.

Her mother will face an accident which was caused by her two best friends Sam (Derek Ramsay) and Nathan (Joem Bascon).

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Jane promises a better future by finishing her studies with the help of her Aunt Cora, played by seasoned actress Rio Locsin. She will finish a medical profession.

and meet David, the arrogant heir to the hospital she's working at, Raon, the man from the streets who will be her rescuer and Nonoy, her childhood friend of protector.

“Habang May Buhay” is the very first project of Juday director Wenn Deramas.

Deramas said Juday is a brilliant actress because she knows her craft and piece well.

“Sa kanya walang tapon na eksena. Sana lang noon pa naman eh na-experience ko na yun,” he said.

The two will work again together in the upcoming Sarah-Juday movie, which is set to finish before summer.

Deramas said “Habang May Buhay” was given to him with furnish list of actors, but added that Gladys Reyes in the cast to spice it a bit.

“Ang nilagay ko talaga ay si Gladys dahil ilang taon na yung Mara Clara tamang tama sa pagbabalik ni Juday sa primetime, tama na yung ilagay mo dyan eh yung kasukat nya sa soap opera,” he said.

Juday said she really missed their (Gladys) tandem because they've had numerous projects together and they know each other really well.

“Na-miss namin yung ganitong tandem, kaya nung first fight scene namin eh napaka-intense po at talagang pinaghirapan namin.”

Gladys meanwhile is also very happy to be included in “Habang May Buhay" and believes that this is a good way of showing how the two of them (Juday) progress as actors.

“Ibang-iba po dito sa ‘Habang May Buhay’ kasi pag sinampal ko po sya, ngayon eh mag-asawang sampal ang balik sa akin,” Gladys said.

Face of Soap Opera

Though its been said over and over again, Juday is still not that comfortable being called the Teleserye Queen and the face of soap opera.

“Naninibago at dapat ba talaga, at nandun po yung pagiisip na totoo ba ito o kunyari lang, pinaliwanag po sa akin ng ABS and thankful naman po ako,” she said.

She added: “Pero nandun parin po yung nahihiya kasi one way or another sana kaming dalawa ni Claudine ang nasabihan, maaaring kaming dalawa dapat."

Juday believes that aside from Gladys who really contributed in her acting career and fame, she is also giving it to Claudine who at some point dominated the primetime slots of ABS-CBN.

When asked if she was shocked with Claudine's move to another network, Juday said: “Nagulat po ako pero sa kabilang banda naiintidihan ko po sya, dahil pamilyado sya at kailangan nya ng trabaho.”

She shared that she went through times when she thought of moving to another station but was gladly stopped by ABS-CBN.

“Maraming beses kong naisip yan. Pero sa bawat desisyon na yan eh magpapa-alam ka.”

Juday meanwhile said she's glad she is sticking around.

“Habang May Buhay” is a comeback soap for Juday after three long years. Other casts include John Arcilla, Tetchie Agbayai, Melanie Marquez, Jeffrey Santos, Marc Abaya, Dominic Roque, RJ Ledesma, GeeAnn Abrahan, John Manalo, Kathleen Hermosa and more.

This newest offering will premiere this Monday, February 1, in ABS-CBN Primetime Bida. (Glaiza Jarloc/Sunnex)