drama, entertainment, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Taiwan, television, Thailand

FTT Wonders: Who Really Aired the First Asianovela in the Philippines?

Taiwanese drama ‘Amazing Twins’ was considered by some viewers to be the first Asianovela to air in the Philippines when it was broadcast on IBC-13 in early 2003. (Photo credit: CTS)

Tagalized Asian dramas are a thing these days.

Also popularly known as ‘Asianovelas’, these programs are imported from neighboring Asian countries such as Taiwan, Japan and Korea. Although the initial wave of Asianovelas were of Taiwanese origin, Korean dramas (colloqiually known as Koreanovelas) became a more common sight on Philippine television as the years pass.

But in order to understand the origin of the Asianovela, one must go back to 2003, the year these Tagalized Asian dramas first arrived. For many years, ABS-CBN claimed that they were the ‘First and True Home of Asianovelas’, given that they were responsible for bringing ‘Meteor Garden’ to the small screen around 15 years ago.

However, there is also an argument that IBC-13, with help from Viva Entertainment, was actually the first station to air an Asianovela. Just months before ‘Meteor Garden’ arrived, IBC-13 aired a Taiwanese action series called ‘Amazing Twins’ (locally known as ‘The Legendary Siblings 2’).

Unfortunately for IBC-13, ‘Amazing Twins’ tanked in the ratings, mainly due to the network’s poor reception and reach that persists to this day. It also did not help that the series aired once a week, which makes some viewers impatient given the daily nature of Filipino dramas.

Meanwhile, ‘Meteor Garden’ became a smash hit, turning F4 and Barbie Hsu into household names. The series also benefited from its near-daily airings on ABS-CBN, thus making viewers wait less for the next episode.

Following the success of ‘Meteor Garden’, ABS-CBN, GMA and occasionally ABC/TV5 began to air more Asianovelas. But as time passed, Korean dramas became the most preferred choice thanks to series such as ‘Jewel in the Palace’, ‘Endless Love’ and ‘Lovers in Paris’.

GMA also made history in 2005 by airing ‘Gokusen’, the first Asianovela hailing from Japan. Then earlier this month, the network premiered the Thai drama ‘You’re My Destiny’.

Given that ‘Meteor Garden’ became popular to begin with, it is safe to assume that this series gave birth to the modern-day Asianovela. As much as people would argue about ‘Amazing Twins’ being the first Asian drama to air in the country, it did not quite fit the mold of today’s Asianovela since it failed to become a hit and was only seen once a week.

Still, the jury is on the viewers to decide. Who really is the first Asianovela to air in the country?

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11 thoughts on “FTT Wonders: Who Really Aired the First Asianovela in the Philippines?

  1. Point of order (from Katerina Mendoza in PHTV Group and some guy from Anime Pilipinas that I get admonished): Who actually first coined the term “Asianovela”?

  2. Dakchigo says:

    Would just like to add that the first Chinese drama was aired by GMA (Love of the Condor Heroes) in 2006. I think the first Hong Kong drama was aired by Q (Kung Fu Soccer) in 2008. TV5 aired the first Singaporean drama (The Little Nyonya) in 2009.

    • If you’re talking about the first Chinese drama, it’s from Mainland China, not Taiwan. Anyway, these are just a select few outside of Taiwan, Japan and Korea that were aired here, and not much else.

  3. monotype says:

    AFAIK, GMA7 is the first local network to air a Korean drama around 2003, and that Korean drama was “Bright Girl”, although tingin ko kaunti na lang nakakaalala nito dahil sa alanganing oras siya pinapalabas (IIRC, it aired at 3:00 PM at weekdays after Daisy Siete). Its lead star is Jang Na-ra, which recently is also one of the leads of “Go Back Couple”, which currently airs at ABS-CBN’s afternoon Kapamilya Gold block.

  4. mam says:

    I remember a GMA promo which uses Gokusen’s first opening theme song that listed several J-dramas I can’t remember their names of in bulk; maybe one of them is the airport J-drama ‘Good Luck’. Once GMA realized that almost all of them run for about 10 one-hour episodes, they deprioritized their J-drama efforts. Only a few J-drama series (most of them are manga adaptation) aired on Philippine free TV since then.

    Meanwhile, the Thai drama You’re My Destiny is a remake of the Taiwanese drama Fated to Love You.

    • If GMA were smart they could’ve aired these J-dramas once a week (preferably Saturday mornings). Or move them to sister station QTV (which is now GMA ‘News’ TV). Sad to say they failed to do that because they’re always stuck in a weekday drama mentality like ABS’.

      And, I wonder if Fated to Love You also aired on GMA. If so, this could be the reason why they got You’re My Destiny.

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