drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

I Heart Davao to End Friday

Talk about a regular occurrence.

After the Koreanovela remake series ‘My Love from the Star’ ended its 55-episode run Friday night, it is the turn of ‘I Heart Davao’ to take the cancellation ax. This time, its run is not even close, with 40 episodes in total.

‘I Heart Davao’, the latest entertainment project of GMA Public Affairs, premiered on June 26 as a replacement to ‘Meant to Be’. The series starred Carla Abellana, Tom Rodriguez and Benjamin Alves, with Catherine Rem playing a special role as the heart donor to Carla’s character.

80% of ‘I Heart Davao”s scenes were shot in Davao, while the characters learned the Davaoeño dialect to further infuse the region’s culture into the series. Throughout the course of its run, viewers learned to appreciate the distinct and friendly appeal Davao has to offer, from its scenery to the people involved.

Despite ‘I Heart Davao”s unique approach, its performance was not enough to overcome rival ABS-CBN series ‘A Love to Last’. That, coupled with the involvement of GMA Public Affairs, made it clear that the series is destined to run for only a short period of time.

While ‘I Heart Davao’ was still a great series as far as promoting one’s culture is concerned, they do not deserve a short 40-episode run. Had GMA Public Affairs not meddled with its production, then this series would have lasted much longer.

Nevertheless, for viewers who stuck with ‘I Heart Davao’ despite the overwhelming odds, it was a great experience to see the beautiful landscape of Davao. As unfortunate as it was to end so soon, the captivating and tear-jerking scenes of ‘I Heart Davao’ will forever be embedded into the viewers’ hearts.

This Friday will be the conclusion of an inspiring yet brief love affair with Davao and its culture. For ‘I Heart Davao’, all they need is a lasting impression so that viewers will remember all the good things that this show can offer.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

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.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Next Up for The Greatest Love: Pinulot Ka Lang sa Lupa

GMA’s push for movie remakes on television continues.

After the not-so successful run of ‘Sinungaling Mong Puso’ last year, GMA is attempting to turn another classic movie into a hit teleserye. This time, the target is the 1987 film ‘Pinulot Ka Lang sa Lupa’, directed by Ishmael Bernal and starred Maricel Soriano, Lorna Tolentino and Gabby Concepcion.

The TV remake of ‘Pinulot Ka Lang sa Lupa’, to be directed by Gina Alajar and Aya Topacio, will star Julie Anne San Jose, LJ Reyes, Martin del Rosario and Benjamin Alves. They will be joined by Ms. Jean Garcia, Ara Mina, Victor Neri, Allan Paule, Geleen Eugenio, Janna Dominguez and Lharby Policarpio.

In this version of ‘Pinulot Ka Lang sa Lupa’, Santina (Julie Anne) is an orphaned girl who wound up working in a restaurant owned by Diony (Jean). Angeli (LJ) on the other hand is a homeless woman whom Diony later adopted.

Along the way, the lives of both Santina and Angeli took a more drastic turn as they try to gain the attention of Ephraim (Benjamin), Santina’s childhood friend. Both Ephraim and Angeli’s troubled past will also be revealed, both through Diony and Mariz (Ara).

Hype for ‘Pinulot Ka Lang sa Lupa’ has been heavy since its official announcement late last year. In fact, one of the series’ teasers featured a slapping scene involving Santina and Angeli in bathing suits, which set the tone for arguably another of the most seriously-toned series in Philippine television.

Still, despite all the frequent promotion, it remains to be seen if ‘Pinulot Ka Lang sa Lupa’ will give ‘The Greatest Love’ a run for its money. The ABS-CBN series has been on a roll of late thanks to Sylvia Sanchez’s harrowing portrayal of an Alzheimer’s-stricken mother, and for ‘Pinulot Ka Lang sa Lupa’, they will be hard-pressed to match the former’s momentum.

That said, ‘Pinulot Ka Lang sa Lupa”s first week will be a crucial one. Anyone who have seen the original film will look at it and see if the TV remake is worth watching.

‘Pinulot Ka Lang sa Lupa’ premieres this Monday after ‘Hahamakin ang Lahat’ on GMA Afternoon Prime.

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comedy, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television

With A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo, KiliTV Return Imminent

Remember GMA’s KiliTV block?

Back in the early and mid-2000s, GMA used to have a comedy block that immediately aired after GMA Telebabad (around 9:30 or 10:00 p.m.). Some of the most memorable programs that once aired on the KiliTV block include:

  • Kool Ka Lang
  • Nuts Entertainment
  • Idol Ko Si Kap
  • Beh Bote Nga
  • Lagot Ka, Isusumbong Kita
  • Daddy Di Do Du
  • Bahay Mo ‘Ba To
  • Bubble Gang

By 2008, however, KiliTV was deemphasized in favor of an extended GMA Telebabad. Today, ‘Bubble Gang’ was the lone program left from the original block.

Eight years later, however, a revival of the KiliTV block appeared to be in the works. As GMA shifted its focus to comedy/romance in some of their Telebabad series (e.g. ‘Poor Señorita’, ‘Juan Happy Love Story’), it was only fitting that a new comedy program will consolidate all of that.

Tonight, GMA proudly presents ‘A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo’, a sexy sitcom that should make every Thursday nights hotter and funnier. The program will be led by Jaclyn Jose, who will play the role of a talent manager who searches for a perfect beauty queen.

Also starring in ‘A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo’ are Gardo Versoza, Solenn Heussaff, Sef Cadayona, Denise Barbacena, Gee Canlas, Benjamin Alves, Roi Vinzon, Ervic Vijandre and Mara Alberto. It will be directed by Randy Santiago.

With the entry of ‘A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo’, the Koreanovela slot of GMA Telebabad will now be reduced to just three episodes per week. This should not pose a problem, as most Koreanovelas tend to have fewer episodes.

Still, it remains to be seen if ‘A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo’ can revive the presence of sitcoms on weeknights. That said, expect an interesting first few weeks for the sitcom, as they try to convince viewers that change is once again on the horizon.

‘A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo’ airs Thursday nights after ‘Juan Happy Love Story’ on GMA.

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entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

Alamat Returns for Season 2

Six new stories highlight ‘Alamat”s second season, which premieres this Sunday. (Photo credit: GMA Network)

The critically-acclaimed Filipino animated fantasy anthology ‘Alamat’ has a new season.

Premiering this Sunday on GMA, the second season of ‘Alamat’ will spotlight not only new stories, but also a new approach to storytelling. While Season 1 of ‘Alamat’ featured purely animation, Season 2 will now feature a mix of both animation and live-action.

The first season of ‘Alamat’ ran from July 12 to August 26, 2015, and introduced viewers to six different stories with a moral lesson. It earned an Anak TV Seal award earlier this year.

For the show’s second season, six new stories will be introduced, and these are:

  • Ang Bakunawa at ang Pitong Buwan
  • Alamat ng Gagamba
  • Alamat ng Dama de Noche
  • Alamat ng Saging
  • Alamat ng Sampaloc
  • Alamat ng Matsing

This season’s cast for ‘Alamat’ include Benjamin Alves, LJ Reyes, Bianca Umali, Franceska Farr, Rafa Siguion-Reyna, Leo Martinez, Tonipet Gaba, Love Anover, John Feir, Zymic Jaranilla and Miggs Cuaderno. All are expected to play either a voice-only role, a live action role, or both.

With the critical success of Season 1, the pressure is on for ‘Alamat’ Season 2 to deliver the same, if not improved results. That said, expect ‘Alamat’ to provide not only entertainment, but also inspiration and positivity to not only kids, but also people of all ages.

‘Alamat’ Season 2 airs Sundays at 5:15 p.m. on GMA. It is produced by the GMA Public Affairs group.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Unable to Beat Kathniel and Pangako Sa ‘Yo, GMA Resorts to Its Old Reliables

‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’ took its toll on GMA once again.

Fifteen years after the original series took the then-Rainbow Network by surprise, the newly-revised version of ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’ again proved its lasting power in the era of social media. It showed that even with new actors, new technology and a tweaked script, the results will still be the same.

For rival ‘Let the Love Begin’, it was a total disappointment. GMA tried to concoct a new and promising love team with Gabbi Garcia and Ruru Madrid, but it never clicked with the viewers at all.

Whether it’s the ‘Forevermore’ duo of Enrique Gil and Liza Soberano, or ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo”s Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla, the GabRu duo failed to match the chemistry and mass appeal of its rivals. And after 70 episodes by the end of Friday’s finale, their future as an on-screen duo is now in doubt.

Now GMA is going back to its old reliables in hopes of curtailing the momentum of ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’. Enter Lovi Poe and Heart Evangelista of the upcoming series ‘Beautiful Strangers’.

In ‘Beautiful Strangers’, Heart and Lovi are billed as rivals, in contrast to their off-screen friendship. Heart plays the role of a kind-hearted plastic surgeon, while Lovi portrays the role of an interior designer with a dark past.

The two lead stars will be joined by Christopher de Leon, Benjamin Alves, Rocco Nacino, Dina Bonnevie, Ayen Munji-Laurel, Renz Valerio, Kier Legaspi, Dianne Medina, Djanin Cruz, Gab de Leon, Nar Cabico, Mariel Pamintuan and Lovely Rivero. ‘Beautiful Strangers’ will be directed by Albert Langitan.

Once ‘Beautiful Strangers’ premieres this Monday, it will be the second of three new dramas that GMA will introduce on the same day, as part of a month-long overhaul of Telebabad. But it remains to be seen if the new series will pose a more interesting challenge to ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’.

One thing’s for sure: GMA still can’t make the most out of their younger talents and now resort to old-timers in hopes of gaining some relevance.

‘Beautiful Strangers’ airs starting August 10 at 8:30 p.m. after ‘Pari ‘Koy’ on GMA Telebabad.

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