drama, entertainment, Philippines, suspense, television

The Last Stand of La Luna Sangre

The most physically demanding series in the careers of Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla will come to an end this week.

After 185 episodes, ‘La Luna Sangre’ officially closes its curtain Friday night. The third series in the ‘Lobo’ trilogy, ‘La Luna Sangre’ saw Kathryn and Daniel (as Malia and Tristan respectively) grow up from being mere mortals to full-fledged vampires while enduring some of the toughest challenges that proved their worth.

But KathNiel was not the only main attraction. The series also marked a comeback of sorts for Richard Gutierrez, who as the villainous Sandrino, tried to convince Malia to join the dark side.

The original duo of ‘Imortal’ in Angel Locsin and John Lloyd Cruz likewise made a cameo earlier on as Lia and Mateo respectively, though Angel returned midway through the series as Jacintha. The duo’s presence helped connect the story of ‘La Luna Sangre’ to its predecessor.

Throughout its lengthy run, ‘La Luna Sangre’ provided an avenue for new talent to shine. The series would mark the acting debut of another rising love team in MayWard (Maymay Entrata and Edward Barber), as well as former ‘Pinoy Boyband Superstar’ participant Tony Labrusca.

Not to be outdone are industry veterans who were also part of ‘La Luna Sangre’, namely Randy Santiago, Gelli de Belen, Maricar Reyes and Albert Martinez. Overall, an estimate of over 50 actors, whether in a supporting or cameo role, were included in ‘La Luna Sangre’.

As far as its performance is concerned, ‘La Luna Sangre’ far and away made a huge impression. The series constantly earned ratings in the 30s while it dispatched its GMA rivals in ‘My Love from the Star’, ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ season 2 and ‘Kambal Karibal’.

That said, the high ratings and the long run of ‘La Luna Sangre’ are further proof of KathNiel’s wide commercial appeal. But more than just KathNiel’s brilliance is the fact that both Angel Locsin and Richard Gutierrez rekindled some huge memories of past GMA projects, albeit not as a love team of years past.

It will be an interesting final five episodes for this thrilling ABS-CBN primetime series. Best of luck to ‘La Luna Sangre’ on making its last stand.

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entertainment, Philippines, reality show, talent show, television

New Season of Pilipinas Got Talent Premieres This Weekend

Another season of ‘Pilipinas Got Talent’ awaits.

Now on its sixth season, ‘Pilipinas Got Talent’ will once again welcome some of the Philippines’ most unique and breathtaking talents. Whether they can sing, dance or perform spectacular and unusual feats of strength and skill, ‘Pilipinas Got Talent’ has them all covered.

Joining in the fun are hosts Billy Crawford and Toni Gonzaga, along with judges Freddie Garcia, Angel Locsin, Robin Padilla and Vice Ganda. Also making its return will be the coveted Golden Buzzer, which will now be used by the hosts as well as the judges to determine which acts will make it straight to the semifinals.

Live auditions for ‘Pilipinas Got Talent’ are currently underway, with the Visayas and Mindanao auditions already finished last month. For its opening salvo this weekend, the Metro Manila auditions will be showcased where the judges evaluate the area’s aspirants.

Last season’s ‘Pilipinas Got Talent’ saw Power Duo emerge as champion, marking the first time in the show’s history that a non-singer won the competition. It also proved that ‘Pilipinas Got Talent’ is more than just a typical sing and dance show, but rather a series in which all unique talents of various fields are given a chance to shine.

If last season was of any indication, then the upcoming sixth season of ‘Pilipinas Got Talent’ should expect more of the same, if not better. That said, it will be interesting to see how this year’s cast will hold their own in front of both the judges and viewers.

Of course, if anyone performs exceptionally well, then the Golden Buzzer will serve as their ultimate ticket to the highest level of competition. With that, good luck to all the up-and-coming acts who will grace the ‘Pilipinas Got Talent’ stage.

‘Pilipinas Got Talent’ season 6 airs every Saturday at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday at 7:30 p.m. on ABS-CBN.

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action, drama, entertainment, game show, Philippines, television

FTT Year 2017 in Review: The Hot or Not Stories That Define the Year in Media (Part I)

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2018, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article looks back at some of the Hot or Not moments that define the Philippine media this year.

Here is Part I of the four-part series. These stories are arranged in no particular order.

HOT: La Luna Sangre

The tandem of Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla returned to ABS-CBN Primetime Bida in June to star in ‘La Luna Sangre’, which also starred Angel Locsin (initially in a special participatory role as Lia before returning full-time as Jacintha) and another comebacking star in Richard Gutierrez. The series became an immediate hit scoring well over 30% in the nationwide ratings.

The success of ‘La Luna Sangre’ also revitalized the third slot of Primetime Bida following the lukewarm reception of predecessors ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’, ‘A Love to Last’ and ‘My Dear Heart’. But while KathNiel did not lose their magic upon returning to the small screen, the same cannot be said for another popular love team.

NOT: AlDub and More

Good news: AlDub did not need to face KathNiel as ‘Destined to Be Yours’ ended weeks before ‘La Luna Sangre’ premiered. Bad news: 63 episodes is more than enough to justify the lack of success of ‘Destined to Be Yours’, the first primetime series to star Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza together.

Things only got worse for the duo from that point on. In late November, Maine revealed on social media that she and Alden are only friends in real life and that she ‘deserves all the hate in the world’ for being a ‘coward’ and a ‘selfish little brat’.

Perhaps the pressure and the expectations are starting to take its toll on Maine. Much like her harrowing portrayal of a depressed workaholic in the ‘Eat Bulaga’ made-for-TV film ‘Love Is…’, somebody should help her overcome these stresses.

HOT: Ika-6 na Utos and Afternoon Prime

‘Ika-6 na Utos’ premiered late last year to lukewarm reviews. But thanks to some campy moments that elicit plenty of laughter from its viewers, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ became unexpectedly popular, so much so that GMA decided to add Saturday episodes starting in April to capitalize on its success.

The series also boosted the fortunes of Afternoon Prime which had been left for dead earlier in the year. By August, succeeding dramas ‘Impostora’ and ‘Haplos’ were winning over their ABS-CBN counterparts thanks in large part to ‘Ika-6 na Utos’.

NOT: The Entire Kapamilya Gold Post-Doble Kara

Led by back-to-back ‘kabitseryes’ in ‘Pusong Ligaw’ and ‘The Better Half’, Kapamilya Gold lost ground to Afternoon Prime that by the late third quarter of 2017, it was the latter that stood tall. Not even ‘The Greatest Love”s critically-acclaimed run saved the block from its sudden fall from grace.

The end of ‘Doble Kara”s year-long run in February foreshadowed a decline in Kapamilya Gold’s performance. Soon after, Afternoon Prime closed the gap and overtook Kapamilya Gold in the ratings for the rest of the year, much to the dismay of Kapamilya viewers everywhere.

HOT: Wildflower

Also in February, ‘Wildflower’ premiered on Primetime Bida’s pre-newscast slot. It didn’t take long for the series to make an impact as it constantly registered ratings of over 20 to 25%, putting it among the top five programs in the country.

The success of ‘Wildflower’ also spawned numerous memes on social media, some of which depict the various confrontations between Ivy/Lily (Maja Salvador) and Emilia (Aiko Melendez). With that kind of impact, ‘Wildflower’ truly turned viewers’ heads upside down whenever these two go at it.

NOT: Kapamilya Game Shows

The slogan ‘In the Service of the Filipino’ does not apply to ABS-CBN game shows. That said, ‘Minute to Win It’, ‘Family Feud’ and ‘Bet on Your Baby’ continued to alienate audiences by utilizing celebrities more often than ordinary people throughout their runs this year.

Luckily all three shows’ seasons came to an end this year: ‘Minute to Win It’ in February, ‘Family Feud’ in May and ‘Bet on Your Baby’ in September. Perhaps ABS-CBN should stop producing game shows and defer these to ‘It’s Showtime’ since they do not even have a clue how to utilize the power of the viewing public.

Part II of this four-part series is coming up tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, suspense, television

Kambal Karibal Starts Tonight, Seeks to Topple La Luna Sangre

KathNiel, meet BiGuel.

It seems like nothing can stop ABS-CBN’s ‘La Luna Sangre’. After all, since it premiered last June it became the second most-watched teleserye in the Philippines behind only ‘Ang Probinsyano’.

Three times GMA has tried to curb the dominance of ‘La Luna Sangre’, and three times they miserably failed. After striking out with ‘My Love from the Star’, ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ and ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ season 2, they decided to go fire with fire by going with a supernatural theme and a love team.

Their response is a teleserye titled ‘Kambal Karibal’, starring Bianca Umali and Miguel Tanfelix. In the series, twin sisters Crisanta and Criselda (Bianca) battle for the love of both her family and Diego (Miguel), with the already dead Criselda consumed by Crisanta’s increasing affection for Diego and her mother.

The story begins with the death of Criselda from a rare disease, leaving her spirit behind that only appears to Crisanta. But after Crisanta gains the favor of Diego and her mother, Criselda decides to inhabit another person’s body in an attempt to stop Crisanta from getting the love that she deserves.

‘Kambal Karibal’ also stars Jean Garcia, Marvin Agustin, Alfred Vargas, Carmina Villarroel, Gloria Romero, Christopher De Leon, Jeric Gonzales, Pauline Mendoza, Rafa Siguion Reyna, Sheree, Racquel Montessa, and Kyline Alcantara. Katrina Halili and Gardo Versoza will also play special roles in the series.

If ‘La Luna Sangre”s ratings of over 30% and a disparity of over 15% are any indication, then ‘Kambal Karibal’ is in for a rude awakening. The powerhouse cast of ‘La Luna Sangre’, led by Kathryn Bernardo, Daniel Padilla and Kapuso castoffs Angel Locsin and Richard Gutierrez, continues to wreak havoc, and it will be very difficult for BiGuel to overcome KathNiel.

Nevertheless, the battle between ‘La Luna Sangre’ and ‘Kambal Karibal’ should be an interesting one. Not only will this be a competition between love teams, it will also be a fight between vengeful vampires and possessed spirits.

Directed by Don Michael Perez, ‘Kambal Karibal’ airs weeknights after ‘Super Ma’am’ on GMA Telebabad.

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drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

Curtains Close on Mulawin vs. Ravena

‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ will air its final episode this Friday, concluding a brief 85-episode run. (Photo courtesy of GMA Network)

Who would have thought this will end so soon.

After 85 episodes and a timeslot change, the end is drawing near for the GMA fantaserye ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’. The series that began as a follow-up to the successful (as far as GMA is concerned) fantaserye ‘Encantadia’ had high expectations from the start, only to fizzle amid intense competition from ABS-CBN’s ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘La Luna Sangre’.

‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ was the sequel to the highly successful mid-2000s fantaserye ‘Mulawin’. The series was headlined by Dennis Trillo, Heart Evangelista, Carla Abellana, Tom Rodriguez, Lovi Poe and Regine Velasquez among others.

First aired on May 22, ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ was initially pitted against the long-running ABS-CBN action series ‘Ang Probinsyano’. But while ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ gained a substantial audience, it was not enough to withstand the dominance of Cardo (Coco Martin) and company.

On August 14, GMA made a bold move by moving ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ to the second slot in exchange for the second season of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’. This meant new competition for the former as it went up against ‘La Luna Sangre’, which ironically featured former ‘Mulawin’ lead stars Richard Gutierrez and Angel Locsin.

GMA even went as far as bringing some of the Sang’gres of ‘Encantadia’ to ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’, thus connecting the two series together. But not even the presence of Pirena (Glaiza de Castro) and Lira (Mikee Quintos) saved the series, and as a result, GMA decided to end ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ following its final episode this Friday.

Considering GMA’s high standards for their fantaseryes, it was disappointing to see ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ run for only a short period of time. After all, production of such series is not easy to begin with as logistics, finances, props, talents and special effects factor in alongside overall performance.

Still, for the viewers who have tuned in to ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ from the beginning, the story was not that bad. GMA may have had its shortcomings, but at least they gave their 100% effort in bringing the tale of ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ to life.

Come this Friday, it will be one last stand for the Mulawin and the Ravena tribes. It may not be a graceful exit, but as far as ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ is concerned, it will be one hell of an ending.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, suspense

La Luna Sangre, Third in the Lobo Franchise, Premieres Monday

The third series in the ‘Lobo’ franchise is about to unfold.

Starting Monday, the popular tandem of Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla will grace the small screen anew in ‘La Luna Sangre’, the third installment in a saga that began with ‘Lobo’ and continued with ‘Imortal’. The new series, which will be set in the world of werewolves and vampires, will also have Angel Locsin and John Lloyd Cruz playing special roles.

Picking up from where ‘Imortal’ left off, ‘La Luna Sangre’ begins with the former’s lead characters Lia (Angel) and Mateo (John Lloyd) now living a simple life as mortal beings. During their transition to normalcy, they raised a daughter named Maila (Kathryn).

Unknown to them, a prophecy called “La Luna Sangre” is about to haunt them. The prophecy says that “the child of the most powerful vampire and the chosen wolf will end the evilness of the vampire imprinted with the cursed ink”.

Shortly after raising Maila, a vampire named Sandrino (Richard Gutierrez) arrived in an attempt to kill Lia and Mateo, and in the process turn Maila over to the dark side. Try as they might, Lia and Mateo have no more powers to save them, and in the end, Maila was orphaned to Sandrino’s world in hopes of fulfilling the prophecy.

But after turning 21, it turns out Maila was still a mortal woman, and she decided to leave the dark side in order to resume her normal life. There, she met and befriended Tristan (Daniel), a young man who seeks to kill one of the vampires that killed his father.

As the story goes along, Maila’s thoughts will be conflicted between vampire hunter Tristan and the dark world she left behind. That said, expect ‘La Luna Sangre’ to encounter some twists and turns in this haunting struggle between immortality and justice.

The supporting cast of ‘La Luna Sangre’ will include the likes of Randy Santiago, Gelli de Belen, Desiree del Valle, Niña Dolino, Dino Imperial, Bryan Santos, Ina Raymundo, Nikki Valdez, Mike Agassi, Joross Gamboa, Tony Labrusca and Sue Ramirez. It will be directed by Cathy Garcia Molina and produced by Star Creatives.

If the previous small screen success of KathNiel (and of Cathy Garcia Molina) is any indication, then expect ‘La Luna Sangre’ to enjoy a similar path. Still, it will not be easy to follow a pair of popular predecessors in ‘Lobo’ and ‘Imortal’, so let’s see how this upcoming series will unfold in front of millions of viewers.

‘La Luna Sangre’ airs weeknights after ‘Ang Probinsyano’ on ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida.

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