drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Araw Gabi: The Return of PHR to ABS-CBN

Remember the ‘Precious Hearts Romances Presents’ series?

Between 2009 and 2013, ABS-CBN produced 13 different series based on the Precious Hearts Romances pocketbooks. The last such series, ‘Paraiso’, was aired from November 2012 to April 2013.

Five years after the last ‘Precious Hearts Romances’ series, ABS-CBN announced the revival of the franchise with ‘Precious Hearts Romances Presents: Araw Gabi’. This upcoming Kapamilya drama will be led by PHR veteran JM de Guzman and up-and-coming star Barbie Imperial.

In ‘Araw Gabi’, Michelle (Barbie) is a bright and optimistic young woman who aims to bag the Tranquila Resort account. That resort, in turn, is owned by Adrian (JM), whose grave sin he committed 18 years ago made him a pariah in his home town.

Both Michelle and Adrian eventually cross paths but at first, Adrian rejects Michelle’s proposals that would have helped her advance her career. This leads to a daunting research project where Michelle learns more about Adrian’s past life and the mystery behind the lighthouse that she is dreaming of.

Also starring in ‘Araw Gabi’ are Rita Avila, Vina Morales, Ara Mina, Raymond Bagatsing, RK Bagatsing, Jane Oineza, Phoebe Walker, Paolo Angeles, Ysabel Ortega, Victor Silayan, Arlene Muhlach, Eric Nicolas, and Joshua Colet. The series will be directed by Theodore Boborol, Don Cuaresma, and Mylah Ajero Gaite.

Throughout the history of ‘Precious Hearts Romances’ on television, mature, daring and sensual scenes became the norm. ‘Araw Gabi’ is no exception, and for the likes of Barbie Imperial, Jane Oineza and Ysabel Ortega, the opportunity to shed more skin is a way of elevating their respective acting careers to new heights.

For JM de Guzman, ‘Araw Gabi’ is a reward for the continued perseverance he showed in the years since returning from drug rehabilitation. It is also a homecoming of sorts for the now 29-year-old actor, having starred in three PHR series in its initial run.

As for ‘Araw Gabi’ itself, it remains to be seen if this series will be able to make an impact like its successors. That said, it’s either boon or bust for the revived PHR.

‘Precious Hearts Romances Presents: Araw Gabi’ airs weekdays after ‘Asintado’ on ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Hanggang Saan Nears Finale

Two different sides of the story.

Indeed, the long run of ‘Hanggang Saan’ can be divided into two parts. One part featured a series that struggled right out of the gate, and the other part featured a series that became a winner in the viewers’ book.

‘Hanggang Saan’ first aired on November 27, 2017 amid a slump in Kapamilya Gold’s fortunes. When it began its run, rival GMA series ‘Haplos’ was still ruling its timeslot, and it also helped that its success was bolstered by its lead-in shows ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ and ‘Impostora’.

The fact that ABS-CBN received some criticism for overemphasizing ‘kabitseryes’ in the afternoon weighed heavily on ‘Hanggang Saan’. At the time, it seemed like the series was on the verge of immediate cancellation with the way it performed from the start.

But when ‘Haplos’ was replaced by ‘Hindi Ko Kayang Iwan Ka’, ‘Hanggang Saan”s fortunes soon turned for the better. After scoring an average of only 12% in the ratings to ‘Haplos” 14%, ‘Hanggang Saan’ raised its mark to 14% whereas ‘Hindi Ko Kayang Iwan Ka’ fell to 10%.

In a similar manner as ‘Haplos’, ‘Hanggang Saan’ benefited from the success of ‘Asintado’, which replaced ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ as the Philippines’ top-rating afternoon series by late March. That, of course, helped save the series from the guillotine and assured that ‘Hanggang Saan’ would end on its own terms.

Overall, ‘Hanggang Saan’ will have a total of 108 episodes once it reaches its finale this Friday. While it didn’t come close to reaching the heights of Sylvia Sanchez’s previous series ‘The Greatest Love’, ‘Hanggang Saan’ still enjoyed a respectable performance on its own right.

That said, ‘Hanggang Saan”s successful run only added to Sylvia’s growing legend as a top-billing actress in her 50s. It may be a case of late blooming, but it was still good to see a career supporting actress turn into a bankable star at this point in her career.

The series also provided a boost to the careers of emerging stars Arjo Atayde (Sylvia’s real-life son) and Sue Ramirez. Both should be primed for greater roles in future projects.

On Friday afternoon, ‘Hanggang Saan’ will air its last episode. Notwithstanding the slow start, the most important thing here is the finish, and that is how this series will be remembered for it.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Asintado’s Newest Challenger: The Stepdaughters

A new opponent awaits ‘Asintado’.

After taking out ‘Impostora’, the ABS-CBN afternoon drama will face a different challenger starting today. Looking to match wits with Julia Montes will be Katrina Halili and real-life couple Megan Young and Mikael Daez, who will lead GMA’s newest drama series ‘The Stepdaughters’.

The story of ‘The Stepdaughters’ revolve around two women who were both beautiful and intelligent but have contrasting personalities. Mayumi (Megan) is a chemistry graduate with dreams of setting up her own makeup line, while Isabelle (Katrina) already manages one, yet as an only child she grew self-centered and spoiled.

Francis (Mikael), a head product engineer, becomes Mayumi’s love interest, even though Isabelle pleads to love her back. The growing dislike between Mayumi and Isabelle grows even more apparent when Mayumi’s mother Luisa (Glydel Mercado) and Isabelle’s father Hernan (Gary Estrada) get married, making them stepsisters.

‘The Stepdaughters’ also star Allan Paule, Angelu de Leon, Sef Cadayona and Samantha Lopez, with the special participation of Dion Ignacio. It will be directed by Paul Sta. Ana.

As ‘The Stepdaughters’ makes its debut, they will have their hands full in trying to solve ‘Asintado. Since premiering last month, the Julia Montes-led drama revitalized ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold block, and if not for ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ they would have taken the mantle of afternoon’s top drama series.

But if ‘The Stepdaughters’ want to defeat ‘Asintado’, they will have to convince viewers that veterans such as Megan Young and Katrina Halili are still worth watching. After all, GMA’s overdependence on older stars has become a problem this decade and it cost them a majority of their audience.

It will be interesting to see how ‘The Stepdaughters’ can help rekindle Afternoon Prime’s flickering fortunes. After a strong finish in the second half of 2017, the block finds itself in the doldrums once again and it will be up to ‘The Stepdaughters’ to put them back to relevance.

‘The Stepdaughters’ air weekdays after ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ on GMA Afternoon Prime.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

New Impostora to End Tomorrow

The new version of ‘Impostora’ will officially bow out.

Tomorrow afternoon will mark the 160th and final episode of this GMA afternoon drama. And much like the villainous Rosette and the good-but-ugly Nimfa (both played by Kris Bernal), ‘Impostora’ had two different faces: one that was dominant and the other inferior.

First premiered on July 3, 2017, ‘Impostora’ was based on the 2007 version of the same title starring Sunshine Dizon and Iza Calzado, which in turn adopted the story from the 1994 film ‘Sa Isang Sulok ng mga Pangarap’. Pitted against ‘Pusong Ligaw’ for a majority of its run, the new ‘Impostora’ had a slow start but by August the series began to win over the viewers and beat its closest competitor.

For a while, it seemed that nothing can stop ‘Impostora’. However, the series began to lose anew as 2017 turned to 2018, thanks largely to a late push by the concluding ‘Pusong Ligaw’.

It only got worse for ‘Impostora’ once Julia Montes entered the fray. Her series ‘Asintado’ made an immediate impact from the get-go and while ‘Impostora’ relived some past glory in some of its episodes, a younger Julia Montes was simply too much for Kris Bernal to handle.

Regardless of the late swoon, the 160-episode run of ‘Impostora’ remains an impressive feat by GMA’s standards. To air so many episodes speaks volumes of its immense impact in the weekday afternoon landscape, particularly with ABS-CBN’s struggles in the afternoon slots that gave ‘Impostora’ an opportunity to strike.

But even if Kris Bernal made a good account of herself by playing a bad girl on ‘Impostora’, she won’t be able to escape the ‘good girl’ persona that she always prides with. Much like ‘Rhodora X’ with Jennylyn Mercado, it is highly unlikely to see Kris play a villain in future drama series.

Perhaps GMA could change that stereotype in order to elevate younger and up-and-coming stars to the fold. Still, it will be up to Kris to make a decision that could either help or hurt the network.

As ‘Impostora’ nears its finale, one must wonder which fate will await Rosette and Nimfa. The last episode should be a must-watch, so good luck.

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Bouncing Back: Julia Montes Returns in Asintado

ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold badly needs a boost.

For months, the block has struggled against a resurgent GMA Afternoon Prime. It was clear that Kapamilya Gold has gone stale with a repetitive ‘kabitserye’ formula, and as a result, viewers tuned away in favor of series that had campy scenes (‘Ika-6 na Utos’), one actress playing two contrasting personalities (‘Impostora’), and allusions to the supernatural (‘Haplos’).

This Monday, Kapamilya Gold will try to return to relevance with a familiar face and a new attitude. Enter ‘Asintado’, the newest afternoon series starring daytime drama’s undisputed queen in Julia Montes.

In ‘Asintado’, Julia is Ana, a member of a rescue team who looks to make her adoptive family proud. After saving Gael (Paulo Avelino) from a mining accident, she became his personal nurse and eventually fell in love with each other.

But just as their relationship blooms, Gael’s ex-girlfriend Samantha (Shaina Magdayao) returns to try to win back his heart, even if it means killing Ana. Fortunately, Ana was saved by Xander (Aljur Abrenica), only to find out later on that Gael and Samantha are about to get married.

Just as Ana is plotting her revenge, she finds out that Samantha was her long-lost sister. Samantha, as it turned out, was lost in the fire that killed their parents.

The search for love and justice in ‘Asintado’ will also involve a veteran supporting cast consisting of Lorna Tolentino, Cherry Pie Picache, Lito Pimentel, Agot Isidro, and Nonie Buencamino. The series will be directed by Onat Diaz and Lino Cayetano.

If Julia’s previous series ‘Doble Kara’ helped Kapamilya Gold reclaim the ratings lead from Afternoon Prime, then ABS-CBN should look for ‘Asintado’ to do the same. Still, the series will be up against a formidable foe in ‘Impostora’, and battling a tested star in Kris Bernal will not be a walk in the park.

But considering Julia Montes’ star power, facing such an obstacle is no big deal. That said, it will be up to her to lead Kapamilya Gold back to where it wants to be.

‘Asintado’ airs weekdays after ‘It’s Showtime’ on ABS-CBN.

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