Next Challenge for A Love to Last: I Heart Davao

It’s another rom-com vs. rom-com starting this Monday.

On GMA, the picturesque setting of Davao will be the focus of this soon-to-air primetime series. Enter ‘I Heart Davao’, the network’s newest offering on the Telebabad block.

In this up-and-coming series, Carla Abellana will play the role of Hope, a heart transplant recipient who goes to Davao in hopes of saving her family’s chocolate business. There, she meets Ponce (Tom Rodriguez), the proud yet pragmatic son of a chocolate haciendero who happens to be the former boyfriend of Hope’s donor.

Unfortunately for the two, their cultural differences and personalities become a challenge as they try to help each other out. It only gets more complicated when Hope’s childhood friend and businessman Paul (Benjamin Alves) arrives on the scene to rekindle their relationship.

According to GMA, 80% of ‘I Heart Davao”s scenes were shot in Davao in an effort to highlight the province’s amazing scenery. The network also made good use of the Davaoeño dialect by incorporating speaking lines in the said tongue.

‘I Heart Davao’ will also star Betong Sumaya, Maey Bautista, Ricardo Cepeda, Glenda Garcia, Racquel Villavicencio, Joel Saracho, Geraldine Villamil, Natileigh Sitoy, Kevin Sagra, Philip Lazaro, and Catherine Rem, with special participation by the Davao theater group Cine Madayaw. The series is directed by Marlon N. Rivera.

While ‘I Heart Davao’ should be a must-watch, they will face a very serious challenge from the start. ABS-CBN’s ‘A Love to Last’ is coming off a highly-rated wedding episode between Anton (Ian Veneracion) and Andeng (Bea Alonzo), and with latter still raking in episode victories on a consistent basis, the former’s winning aspirations will not be an easy one.

Add to that is the fact that it will be GMA Public Affairs who will shoulder the series’ burden. Considering the division’s many non-news programs that primarily focused on winning awards than ratings, it will not be a surprise to see ‘I Heart Davao’ follow the same path.

In any event, good luck to GMA in making ‘I Heart Davao’ a success. There is no doubt about its potential, but will it be more than enough?

‘I Heart Davao’ airs weeknights after ‘My Love from the Star’ on GMA Telebabad.

Meant to Be Down to Last Five Episodes

The search for ‘the one’ is down to its last week.

In the final week of ‘Meant to Be’, Billie (Barbie Forteza) has a choice to make. For the past 118 episodes, Billie’s heart is chased by four men: Fil-Chinese Yuan (Ken Chan), Fil-Brit Ethan (Ivan Dorschner), Fil-Indian Jai (Addy Raj) and pure-blooded Filipino Andoy (Jak Roberto), and now, she must pick who among the four will fit her best.

In an unprecedented move, GMA asked viewers and fans the same question as Billie. Voting for ‘the one’ took place from June 4 to 18 on GMA’s official website, with each entry qualified for the opportunity to win a Samsung J7 smart phone and a meet-and-greet with the ‘Meant to Be’ cast.

The winner of the poll will be determined throughout the final five episodes of ‘Meant to Be’. That said, viewers must wait with bated breath to see who among their favorites won Billie’s heart.

First aired on January 9, 2017, ‘Meant to Be’ premiered on the same night as its current rival ‘A Love to Last’. But for the first two weeks of its run, ‘Meant to Be’ was pitted against ‘Till I Met You’, the ABS-CBN drama series that starred James Reid and Nadine Lustre.

Luckily for ‘Meant to Be’, they began their run on a strong note, as they took advantage of an underachieving opponent. But once ‘A Love to Last’ moved down to challenge the former, the tables turned against them.

While ‘Meant to Be’ still enjoyed impressive ratings (on average, the series raked in 14% per episode), they were unable to contain ‘A Love to Last”s 18% or better mark. Nevertheless, ‘Meant to Be’ still had some memorable moments that could make Anton (Ian Veneracion) and Andeng (Bea Alonzo) say wow, such as Billie’s bikini moment with the boys.

Summer came early for JEYA and Billie! 🔥😍 #MTBBeachBodyReady 📷 : @akosila

A post shared by Barbie Forteza (@barbaraforteza) on

According to Ken Chan on Pep.PH, ‘Meant to Be’ was initially aimed to last six weeks. But the surprisingly positive reception from viewers (notwithstanding its shortcomings against ‘A Love to Last’) extended the series to a mere six months, which is still noteworthy.

As ‘Meant to Be’ enters its final week, the chase for Billie’s heart is on. Regardless of the outcome, viewers and fans alike should be pleased with how this feel-good story turn out.

Love in the Moonlight Marks Return of Asianovelas to ABS-CBN Primetime Bida

For the first time in nearly two years, a Koreanovela will occupy the penultimate slot on ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida.

Tonight will mark the premiere of the popular Korean series ‘Love in the Moonlight’, starring Park Bo Gum and Kim Yoo Jung. The series enjoyed an impressive run in its native Korea, and it won a number of awards such as Best Couple, Best Excellent Actress, and Best Actor awards in the 2016 KBS Drama Awards.

Prior to ‘Love in the Moonlight’, Primetime Bida has not had a Korean drama since ‘My Lovely Girl’, whose last episode was aired in June 2015. In between, two seasons of ‘Pinoy Big Brother’ (737, Lucky 7), the teleserye ‘You’re My Home’, and the American series ‘Jane the Virgin’ were aired on that slot.

‘Love in the Moonlight’ is just one of several Korean dramas whose rights were acquired by ABS-CBN a few weeks ago. Others in the pipeline include  ‘Legend of the Blue Sea’, ‘Hwarang’, ‘Goblin’, ‘Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo’, ‘W’ and ‘Doctors’.

In premiering ‘Love in the Moonlight’, ABS-CBN crushed the notion that Asianovelas on Channel 2 were essentially extinct. Their last Korean drama was ‘My Love Donna’ last year, and many thought the network finally moved on from the genre once sister channel CineMo began to import its own set of Koreanovelas later that year.

Instead, ABS-CBN surprised many, including Koreanovela fans, by acquiring the aforementioned hit Korean dramas. And considering how rival GMA loaded themselves up with more Asianovelas (including those airing on sister station GMA News TV), ABS-CBN made it clear that they are still indeed the ‘First and True Home of Asianovelas’.

The question now is whether or not ‘Love in the Moonlight”s success in Korea will translate over to the Philippines. With ABS-CBN having not aired a Koreanovela on primetime in nearly two years, this will be a huge test to see if their decision to bring them back is all worth it.

‘Love in the Moonlight’ airs weeknights after ‘A Love to Last’ on ABS-CBN Primetime Bida.

The Final Week of Alyas Robin Hood

‘Alyas Robin Hood’ is coming to a close.

Friday, February 24, will be the show’s final episode, and for those who stuck with ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ throughout its run, they will have plenty of stories to tell for this hooded hero. However, it was not all smooth sailing for this GMA action-drama series.

Just weeks before its premiere, many doubted ‘Alyas Robin Hood’, particularly its similarities to another Robin Hood-inspired character ‘Arrow’. Though creative head Suzette Doctolero tried her best to differentiate the two, it was clear from the beginning that the criticisms surrounding ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ would linger on during its run.

‘Alyas Robin Hood’ premiered on September 19, and was pitted against another newcomer in ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’. Though the latter’s subpar ratings did alarm ABS-CBN for a while, the former failed to take advantage, at best closing to within 1% of ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’.

The series also failed to get past ‘A Love to Last’ (during its brief two-week run at the second slot) and ‘My Dear Heart’ despite getting decent ratings of 20% or better. Overall, even with a total of 115 episodes and strong hype over the controversy, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ still fell short of expectations.

The fact is, the superhero genre that GMA advocated in ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ no longer works in today’s primetime scene. Many prefer the more realistic and inspiring plots that ABS-CBN produces in series such as ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘My Dear Heart’ rather than the fantasy leanings of ‘Encantadia’ and ‘Alyas Robin Hood’.

It also puts into question GMA’s casting choices. Let’s face it, Dingdong Dantes is in a starring role for way too long and should’ve given way to younger talent, but as it turns out, GMA wanted him because there is no other capable actor who can portray the lead role in ‘Alyas Robin Hood’.

And while Megan Young and Andrea Torres are worthy supporting actors in this series due to their youth, giving them a younger male lead would’ve helped ‘Alyas Robin Hood’. In the end, GMA made a grave mistake by putting over an actor with over a decade of service as a leading man, thus continuing a path of overusing veterans.

Come this Friday, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will be in a fight of his life. But whether or not it will make a lasting impression at the end remains to be seen.

Analyzing the Possible Timeslot of My Dear Heart

There is still no timeslot for ‘My Dear Heart’.

Although the inspirational family drama is expected to replace ‘Till I Met You’ come this Monday, ABS-CBN has yet to reveal its official timeslot as of today. There are three factors as to why the network is having a hard time figuring out its upcoming timeslot.

1. Ang Probinsyano Continues to Rate Well In the 7:50 Timeslot

Traditionally, ABS-CBN’s value-oriented family dramas are placed after ‘TV Patrol’, which is around 7:50 p.m. Series such as ‘May Bukas Pa’, ‘100 Days to Heaven’, ‘Honesto’ and ‘Nathaniel’ attracted huge audiences during their respective runs, mainly because it is catered to all audiences and families.

However, ABS-CBN broke the mold when the action-oriented ‘Ang Probinsyano’ premiered on September 28, 2015. The break from tradition did not affect the viewership at all, as ‘Ang Probinsyano’ constantly scored ratings of 35% or better during its ongoing run.

2. Second Slot on Downward Trend

Looking at the second slot post-‘Dolce Amore’, it is clear that the slot is on a downward trend ratings-wise. Neither ‘Till I Met You’, ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’ nor ‘A Love to Last’ reached the 30% mark, citing various formulas that keep on repeating itself.

If ABS-CBN places ‘My Dear Heart’ to the second slot, they can only hope that it breaches past 30% right away. After all, the series is expected to be just as hugely popular as previous dramas like ‘May Bukas Pa’, but with ‘Ang Probinsyano’ blocking the first slot, there is no way to go but second.

3. Primetime Bida’s Third Slot is For Teens and Adults Only

The third slot of ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida does not bode well for ‘My Dear Heart’. Viewership at the 9:20 slot is typically lower (around 10-15%) at this point since most young children either go to bed or finish their studies to prepare for the following school day.

That said, the third slot is usually reserved for either light dramas (see ‘On the Wings of Love’) or more sensual series (see ‘The Legal Wife’). There is no way ABS-CBN will place ‘My Dear Heart’ at the third slot given its family-friendly tale.

With all these factors in play, the most logical timeslot for ‘My Dear Heart’ will be the second slot after ‘Ang Probinsyano’, after which ‘A Love to Last’ will move to the third slot. ‘Ang Probinsyano’ is already a lock for the leadoff position, and with the desire for the second slot to regain its past luster, ‘My Dear Heart’ appears to be the perfect fit.

Still, this is only a prediction. It will be up to ABS-CBN to decide the timeslot of ‘My Dear Heart’.

‘My Dear Heart’ will star Heart Ramos, Bela Padilla, Zanjoe Marudo, Ms. Coney Reyes, Joey Marquez, Loisa Andalio, Sandino Martin and Rio Locsin, among others. It will be directed by Jerome Chavez Pobocan and Jojo Saguin.

A Love to Last and Meant to Be: Primetime’s Opening Salvos This 2017

Two new teleseryes get their baptism of fire in the second week of 2017.

On ABS-CBN, Bea Alonzo and Ian Veneracion star in the upcoming series ‘A Love to Last’. A family drama, ‘A Love to Last’ tells the story of Andeng (Bea) and Anton (Ian), two individuals whose fates intertwined thanks to the crumbling relationships with their significant others.

Andeng, a breadwinner and a successful events organizer, was about to get married when she caught her fiancé cheating with another woman. Anton, on the other hand, was a company president and CEO, married to Grace (Iza Calzado) and had three children, only to see her leave and file for annulment.

Both eventually found love with each other in the most unexpected of ways. However, Andeng must first deal with Anton’s marital problems in hopes of gaining his acceptance.

‘A Love to Last’ also stars Enchong Dee, Julia Barretto, Ronnie Alonte, JK Labajo and Hannah Vito. It is directed by Jerry Lopez Sineneng and Richard Arellano.

Fresh from the successful-but-not-quite-impressive run of ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’, ABS-CBN is pinning its hopes on ‘A Love to Last’ to reverse a downward trend of sub-30% ratings in recent months. But as Bea and Ian were already industry veterans with nothing left to prove, it remains to be seen if viewers can still accept them as a force in primetime.

Over on GMA, a much lighter story will take place in the upcoming series ‘Meant to Be’, starring Barbie Forteza, Ken Chan, Jak Roberto, Addy Raj and Ivan Dorschner. It will be Barbie’s first primetime series since the not-so successful team-up with Andre Paras in ‘That’s My Amboy’ last year.

Joining them in this complicated love story are the ‘Triplets’ of ‘That’s Entertainment’ in Sheryl Cruz, Tina Paner and Manilyn Reynes, along with Keempee de Leon, Sef Cadayona, Mika dela Cruz, Stephanie Sol, Zymic Jaranilla and Ms. Gloria Romero. It will be directed by LA Madridejos.

In ‘Meant to Be’, Billie (Barbie) is an independent millenial whose life would soon revolve among the four men who will try to woo her heart; namely Fil-Brit Ethan (Ivan), Fil-Indian Jai (Addy), pure-blooded Filipino Macoy (Jak), and Fil-Chinese Yuan (Ken). But choosing the only guy that will fill her heart is not the only problem for Billie.

Billie will also deal with the crumbling relationship of her parents Wilton (Keempee) and Amelia (Manilyn), and the unemployment of her brother Bats (Sef). In addition, a sub-plot about Billie’s friendship with Mariko (Mika), and the once-formidable bond between Amelia, Suzy (Tina) and Beatriz (Sheryl) as a girl group will also be explored.

‘Meant to Be”s premiere will come at a not-so opportune time, as the JaDine-starred ‘Till I Met You’ reaches its final two weeks. With only a few episodes to prove themselves, it will be a huge challenge for this rom-com to make a first impression to Kapuso viewers.

Either way, both ‘A Love to Last’ and ‘Meant to Be’ are worth the wait for those who anticipate it. Good luck to both shows.

‘A Love to Last’ airs weeknights after ‘Ang Probinsyano’ on ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida, while ‘Meant to Be’ airs weeknights after ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ on GMA Telebabad.