documentaries, lifestyle, Philippines, public affairs, television

Gina Lopez’s G Diaries This Sunday on ABS-CBN

Gina Lopez has come home.

After a controversial 10-month run as environment secretary, Lopez embarks on a new role, that of a television personality. Her 13-episode series, ‘G Diaries’, serves as a platform of her past experience, as she dives deep into the country’s most scenic locations while continuing to advocate environmental protection.

As previously mentioned, ‘G Diaries’ is a homecoming of sorts for Lopez. Prior to her stint as environment secretary, Lopez served a variety of roles within the ABS-CBN family, most notably as managing director of the Lingkod Kapamilya foundation.

In ‘G Diaries’, Lopez pays a visit into some of the country’s must-see attractions, and along the way she will meet new friends and talk about preserving the environment. According to Lopez herself,

“‘G Diaries’ seeks not only to entertain viewers and promote the Philippines as a majestic travel destination but also to inform and incite action, for everyone to be part of the collective effort to preserve the environment and bequeath it in its healthiest state to the next generation.”

All 13 episodes of ‘G Diaries’ will be directed by esteemed Hollywood director, producer and writer Wil Harper. The series will kick off with a signature prelude film featuring celebrities such as Sharon Cuneta, Eddie Garcia and Charo Santos-Concio.

While ‘G Diaries’ may be just another travel program, there is one aspect of the show that is worth looking at. Not only will viewers see some new destinations, but they will also look at the environmental and aesthetic aspect that each locale presents.

That said, awareness of one’s surroundings is put to a premium in this series. And for those who want to become environmentalists someday, this show is worth watching.

The premiere episode of ‘G Diaries’ will air this Sunday before ‘ASAP’, after which it will air every Saturday at 8:00 a.m. on ABS-CBN. The series will also be seen on Lifestyle Network and the ABS-CBN News Channel.

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FTT Year 2016 in Review: The 20 Stories That Define the Year in Media (Part IV)

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2017, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article looks back at the 20 moments that define the Philippine media this year.

If you missed out on Part I, Part II and Part III of this series, click on the highlighted link for more information.

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

The Death of German Moreno

On January 8, the whole Filipino entertainment industry was stunned with the passing of German Moreno. The veteran host, actor and entertainer was best known for his distinguished work with up-and-coming stars on ‘That’s Entertainment’, as well as a near two-decade run hosting the Saturday late night show ‘Walang Tulugan with the Master Showman’.

The death of Kuya Germs also ended an era for late-night variety shows on Philippine television, as ‘Walang Tulugan’ signed off for good on February 13. Despite that, the legacy of Kuya Germs lives on with the Eastwood City Walk of Fame, which inducted new members late this year.

Other notable showbiz personalities who died this year include directors Wenn Deramas and Francis Pasion, actors Lilia Cuntapay, Joy Viado and Dick Israel, and singer Blakdyak.

Encantadia Returns

On July 18, GMA brought back the popular fantaserye ‘Encantadia’, featuring a rehashed storyline of the original 2005 series. The new iteration stars Glaiza de Castro, Gabbi Garcia, Sanya Lopez and Kylie Padilla, who play the roles of Pirena, Alena, Danaya and Amihan respectively.

Unfortunately, despite the hefty expenses that GMA spent for this version of ‘Encantadia’, the series failed to make an impact. In the national Kantar ratings, ‘Encantadia’ regularly fell by double digits to ‘Ang Probinsyano’, and the high expectations that came with it dissipated.

‘Encantadia’ is not the only primetime problem that GMA faced this year, however, as this next entry shows.

The Alyas Robin Hood-Arrow Controversy

When posters and teasers for ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ were first released, many felt the series was a ripoff of ‘Arrow’, with lead star Stephen Amell even going as far as sharing the clip with a ‘flushed-face’ emoji. However, creative consultant Suzette Doctolero made it clear that ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ and ‘Arrow’ were both based on the Robin Hood folklore.

Despite the controversial issues, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ was given the go-signal by GMA to air starting September 19. While the series came out flying in its first few weeks, rival series ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’ soon pulled away, with some disgruntled viewers choosing to watch either the Tagalized ‘Arrow’ on TV5, or the English dub on Jack TV.

‘Alyas Robin Hood’ did have a highly publicized scene with the bikini showdown involving Sarri (Megan Young) and Venus (Andrea Torres), which should soften the blow of its controversial start.

The 25th Anniversary of Maalaala Mo Kaya

The first episode of ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ was aired on May 15, 1991. Twenty-five years later, the program continues to touch the lives of others thanks to a letter read by Charo Santos-Concio, and scenes that can make people shed tears with each episode.

This year, as part of its silver anniversary celebration, ABS-CBN launched a commemorative website for ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’, a nationwide and worldwide tour, and an initiative for people to send in their life stories via a letter or a short-form video. As for the show’s ratings this year, it continues to thwart the challenges of its long-running rival, GMA’s ‘Magpakailanman’.

One can only hope that ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ will continue to air beyond this year, as its legacy and enduring success stands the test of time.

Ang Probinsyano and Doble Kara Celebrate Their First Anniversary

But perhaps the biggest headline of 2016 belongs to both Coco Martin and Julia Montes. Their respective shows, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘Doble Kara’, reached the one-year milestone within a month of each other.

Both ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘Doble Kara’ continue to lead the way in their respective timeslots. The former is currently the most-watched primetime show in the country, while the latter is the most-watched post-noontime show.

How much longer will they stay on the air remains to be seen, but as they proceed into 2017, expect ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘Doble Kara’ to remain a dominant force in the primetime and afternoon slots respectively.

Honorable Mentions

  1. ‘The World Tonight’ celebrates its 50th year.
  2. Power Duo wins ‘Pilipinas Got Talent’ season 5.
  3. Joshua Oliveros wins ‘The Voice Kids’ season 3.
  4. ‘Naku Boss Ko’ mini-series and PiliPinas Debates leading up to the 2016 Philippine Presidential Elections.
  5. ANC and DZMM’s respective 20th and 30th anniversaries.

It was indeed an eventful 2016 in the world of Philippine media. Expect bigger things to come this 2017 as From the Tube continues to document the latest events in television and radio in the Philippines.

Until then, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

MMK Turns 25

The longest-running drama anthology on Philippine television gets the silver treatment.

For older viewers, it is still known as ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’, but for the younger generation, it is now simply known as ‘MMK’. Regardless, the program that touched the lives of Filipinos here and around the world is still going strong, and just recently, it celebrated its 25th anniversary.

The very first episode of ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ was aired on May 15, 1991. The first episode, ‘Rubber Shoes’, starred Romnick Sarmenta, Vina Morales, Robert Arevalo, Hero Bautista and Ray Ventura, and it launched a tradition of reading letters through Charo Santos-Concio and naming episode titles after various objects, people or places.

From there, ‘MMK’ took off. The anthology became popular, earning numerous awards here and abroad, and it inspired more Filipinos to write stories of their own, each depicting their trials and tribulations in life.

In 1994, Star Cinema decided to produce a movie based on ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’. Released as one of the entries in that year’s Metro Manila Film Festival, it starred Richard Gomez, Aiko Melendez, Chin-Chin Gutierrez and Caridad Sanchez, among others.

In 2007, a radio program also based on ‘MMK’ began airing on DZMM, and earned similar praise as its television counterpart. Five years later, a rerun of classic ‘MMK’ episodes (titled ‘MMK Klasik’) also began to air on The Filipino Channel and on DZMM TeleRadyo.

Even though ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ has been on a roll since its first episode in 1991, rivals have tried to keep up with this long-running anthology. The most notable of these rivals was GMA’s ‘Magpakailanman’, which first aired in 2002 and has continued to air since (other than a four-year hiatus from 2008 to 2012).

Nevertheless, there is no doubt that ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ remains an iconic program to many Filipinos. And as it turned 25, more stories are about to unfold, with each of them maintaining a tradition of inspiration and dedication to all Filipinos.

Hosted by Charo Santos-Concio, ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ airs every Saturday at 8:15 p.m*. on ABS-CBN.

*‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ has been airing every Saturday night since 2008. The show originally aired every Wednesday, Thursday and then Friday night.

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comedy, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television

GMA Tries Something New with Dear Uge

A comedy version of ‘Magpakailanman’ and ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ is about to unfold.

On Sunday, GMA will launch ‘Dear Uge’, said to be the first-ever comedy anthology series on Philippine television. The program will be hosted by Eugene Domingo, with Divine Grace Aucina as her sidekick.

In ‘Dear Uge’, Eugene will play the role of Urbana Genoveva Esperanza (or Uge), a sari-sari store owner and host and narrator of her own web show, also titled ‘Dear Uge’. Her character is an obvious parody of both Mel Tiangco and Charo Santos-Concio, hosts of ‘Magpakailanman’ and ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ respectively.

Aside from hosting the program, Eugene will also make cameo appearances in each episode. The stories featured on ‘Dear Uge’ will be different every week, but the premise of making people laugh will always be a major emphasis.

‘Dear Uge’ will take over the timeslot of ‘Wowowin’ (with ‘GMA Blockbusters’ taking over on an interim basis), who recently found a new home on weeknights. Considering how unpredictable the early Sunday afternoon slots are of late, ‘Dear Uge’ should expect a tough challenge early on.

Still, curiosity over the program’s new approach should help its viewership. That said, ‘Dear Uge’ is a must-watch for those who want something different and funny for a change.

‘Dear Uge’ airs every Sunday after ‘Sunday PinaSaya’ on GMA.

Breaking News: Speaking of ‘Wowowin’, GMA has announced that due to insistent public demand, the show will now air at 5:00 p.m., thus adding 30 minutes to its airtime. The News and Public Affairs block (‘Alisto’, ‘Tunay na Buhay’, ‘Power House’, ‘Reporters’ Notebook’ and ‘Love Hotline’) will likely be moved after ‘Saksi’.

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entertainment, Philippines, television

What If TV5’s Untold Stories Remained on the Air?

Had TV5’s ‘Untold Stories’ remained on the air, it would have been a clear three-way ratings race between ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’, ‘Magpakailanman’, and this program.

Every Saturday night we watch the story of a particular individual and their struggles to cope up with their lives on ABS-CBN’sMaalaala Mo Kaya‘ and GMA’sMagpakailanman‘. The two programs have been rivals for several years now and ratings leadership in the primetime slot have gone back and forth between them. However, there was one program that would have rivaled the success of MMK and ‘Magpakailanman’, had it continued to air.

Untold Stories Mula sa Face to Face‘, or ‘Untold Stories’ in short, once aired on TV5 every Saturday nights. The program’s premise is to retell a particular conflict that aired on the tabloid talk show ‘Face to Face’, with hidden details of the conflict revealed along the way. The show began to air in 2010, but was pulled midway in 2012, just as GMA was planning to revive ‘Magpakailanman’.

Just imagine a three-way rivalry between the three programs had ‘Untold Stories’ remained on the air. It would have given the television audience an option to choose between three aspects of drama anthology: the confrontational in ‘Untold Stories’, the inspiring in ‘Magpakailanman’, and the anecdotal in ‘MMK’. However, for the most part ‘Untold Stories’ suffered from several shortcomings, hence its short television run.

Audiences never liked the presentation style of ‘Untold Stories’ host Amy Perez, whose approach seems more relative to hosting a documentary or a public affairs program, in contrast to the apparent calm and slow-it-down style of Mel Tiangco and Charo Santos-Concio. ‘Untold Stories’ would have served its purpose if the host came from the news or executive department, namely News5 head Luchi Cruz-Valdes, and not a showbiz personality like Amy Perez.

The use of footage from ‘Face to Face’ likewise did not serve ‘Untold Stories’ well. Had TV5 decided to let the actors do the acting instead of splicing footage from ‘Face to Face’, it would have gained a sizable audience. In addition, the use of violence was more rampant on the program than on its rivals, making it harmful and unhealthy for younger children.

So what if TV5 never cancelled ‘Untold Stories’ and kept it on the air? Would the viewers remain interested on the violence and extensive confrontation scenes? Absolutely not. Would a three-way race on Saturday nights become a reality? I don’t think so. The way I see it, even if they were to continue running the program, it would fall way behind its competitors by a wide margin, because the high amount of violence in the program is just enough to turn away advertisers and audiences. For now TV5 shied away from creating drama anthologies to focus on gag shows, game shows and even talk and variety shows on weekends, an approach they dubbed ‘Weekend Do It Better’.

With the way TV5’s weekend lineup is performing, it is unclear whether the drama anthology will return to the Kapatid network. Perhaps in the near future, but not now in the midst of a philosophical shift. ‘Untold Stories’ may be history, but it will not be forgotten.

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