drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Onanay: A New GMA Series with a ‘Little’ Twist

‘Bagani’ now has a ‘little’ problem, literally.

The ongoing ABS-CBN teleserye will face a new challenger starting Monday, but this is not an ordinary drama series. Instead, GMA’s ‘Onanay’ will be led by an actress who may be physically short as an adult but is big in potential.

The actress in question is Jo Berry, who suffers from dwarfism which causes her to remain short in height as an adult. In ‘Onanay’, Jo is Onay, a mother of two born with Achondroplasia which is a bone growth disorder that impeded her growth.

Her two daughters Maila (Mikee Quintos) and Natalie (Kate Valdez) has contrasting personalities. While Maila is cheerful, obedient and respectful of her mother, Natalie is spoiled, arrogant and ashamed of her mother’s condition.

The series will also feature a special appearance from Ms. Nora Aunor, who will portray Onay’s mother Nelia. In addition, Ms. Cherie Gil will play Helena, Onay’s mother-in-law and a wealthy owner of a fashion magazine, who is determined to give Onay and Nelia’s life a living hell.

‘Onanay”s other cast members include Gardo Versoza, Wendell Ramos, Rochelle Pangilinan, Vaness del Moral, Enrico Cuenca, and Adrian Alandy. The series will be directed by Gina Alajar.

Talk about starting small and dreaming big. For someone as little as Jo Berry, getting into show business takes a little luck and determination, but GMA did not find her short stature as a detriment to conquering the entertainment world.

However, ‘Onanay’ should have a lot to worry about moving forward. While it has the potential to become a critically inspiring drama, it will only depend on how viewers will be able to relate to this series.

And considering that ‘Bagani’ is still dominant in its timeslot, ‘Onanay’ may have a hard time keeping up with the duo of Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil. Regardless, not all are LizQuen fans, and ‘Onanay’ can only hope that they can turn these doubters into believers.

It will be interesting to see how a midget can rise to the occasion and become a bonafide star. This is what ‘Onanay’ will look forward to as they get underway.

‘Onanay’ airs weeknights after ‘Victor Magtanggol’ on GMA Telebabad.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

AIDS-Themed Series Hindi Ko Kayang Iwan Ka to Premiere Monday

A new GMA series that focuses on AIDS will enter the fray this Monday.

‘Hindi Ko Kayang Iwan Ka’, which GMA dubbed as an ‘advoca-serye’, will take a look at one of mankind’s deadliest diseases. The series will be led by Yasmien Kurdi, Martin del Rosario, Jackie Rice and Mike Tan.

Yasmien, as Thea, is a simple probinsyana with a promising career as a public accountant. She falls in love and marries a handsome and charming lad named Marco (Mike) (against the latter’s mother’s wishes), and is later blessed with fraternal twins.

However, Thea’s life soon changed upon testing positive for the HIV virus. After Marco filed for legal separation and takes the two kids with him, Thea loses her will to live as the HIV worsens, until an unexpected meeting with her daughter convinces Thea to fight not only the disease but also herself.

While Thea and Marco endures this struggle to live together, two other characters will also play big roles. Lawrence (Martin) is Jackie’s college friend and an AIDS victim, while Ava (Jackie) is Marco’s ex-girlfriend who, despite going in and out of the U.S., is still determined to settle with him.

‘Hindi Ko Kayang Iwan Ka’ also stars Gina Alajar, Shamaine Buencamino, Charee Pineda, Ina Feleo, Mike “Pekto” Nacua, Catherine Rem, Caprice Cayetano and Seth dela Cruz. The series will be directed by Roy Iglesias.

This is not the first time that a particular Filipino drama series featured a storyline involving AIDS. Back in 2013, TV5 (now T5N) aired the weekly drama series ‘Positive’ starring Martin Escudero and it also focuses on AIDS.

However, in the case of ‘Hindi Ko Kayang Iwan Ka’, it will be a five-times-a-week drama that will delve deeper into one person’s struggles to deal with AIDS. Viewers who know all too well about this deadly disease and the consequences of an afflicted person’s actions should relate to this series as well.

Despite the unique premise of this series, it remains to be seen if it will be able to pick up from where ‘Haplos’ left off. That said, the pressure is now on ‘Hindi Ko Kayang Iwan Ka’ to deliver and inspire viewers with a one-of-a-kind story that would make them cry.

‘Hindi Ko Kayang Iwan Ka’ airs weekdays after ‘The Stepdaughters’ on GMA Afternoon Prime.

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drama, entertainment, news, Philippines, television

Alaala on GMA This Sunday

Martial Law in the Marcos era is still a relevant topic in Philippine history.

Which is why on the 45th anniversary week of this dreaded event, GMA will rekindled harsh memories of the era through the two-hour made-for-TV film ‘Alaala: A Martial Law Special’. The special will star Alden Richards, Rocco Nacino, Gina Alajar and Bianca Umali, and is directed by Adolf Alix Jr.

In ‘Alaala’, Alden and Rocco will bring life to Martial Law activists Boni Ilagan and Pete Lacaba respectively. The special will take a look at the two activists’ hardships and trials during one of the darkest chapters in Philippine politics.

It will also take a look at Martial Law in both a positive and negative light. Overall, ‘Alaala’ should be a series worth watching for history enthusiasts and Martial Law victims alike.

Not surprisingly, the special will be under the helm of GMA Public Affairs, the same group that brought the likes of ‘Titser’, ‘Katipunan’ and ‘Ilustrado’ to the small screen. With a reputation for bringing award-winning (albeit oft-criticized) docu-dramas to the limelight, expect GMA Public Affairs to bring that same fire on ‘Alaala’.

In one of the rare moments of GMA’s recent history, they will air a made-for-TV film in the dreaded Sunday night slot. Considering the many times that Sunday Night Box Office brought in old Tagalized foreign films for nostalgia’s sake, ‘Alaala’ is definitely a change from the norm, and it’s a good thing to see regardless of how it fares in the ratings.

Come this Sunday, history will be relived. Anyone who suffered under the wrath of Martial Law, and those who still don’t understand its consequences, should watch ‘Alaala’ in order to look back at the people’s suffering, pain and misery during this dark age in Philippine history.

‘Alaala’ will air this Sunday on GMA’s Sunday Night Box Office.

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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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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Big Challenge for Magkaibang Mundo

It’s been a rough 2016 for GMA’s Afternoon Prime.

Since the start of the year, ratings for the said block have gradually plummeted, while ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold enjoyed a renaissance of sorts. The ratings were so bad that by early April, GMA decided to cease producing any further episode teasers in an effort to save money.

But rather than admit defeat, they continued to produce new dramas, and today, they will have a new teleserye coming up. The upcoming series, ‘Magkaibang Mundo’, will mark the on-screen return of Louise delos Reyes for the first time since ‘Kambal Sirena’, and she will be paired with Juancho Triviño for this unusual drama.

In ‘Magkaibang Mundo’, Louise is Princess, the heiress of a couple (played by Assunta de Rossi and Gabby Eigenmann) who owns a shoe business. She was orphaned when her father died and her mother was forcibly separated from her, and from then on, she was harshly treated by her aunt and step-cousins.

Initially, she found comfort in Jeffrey (Dion Ignacio), but Princess soon realized that she already harbored her true feeling to a dwarf named Elfino (Juancho). Both were close since they were children, and while growing up, Princess again turned to Elfino for solace and hope, which eventually led to a relationship between the two.

Joining them in ‘Magkaibang Mundo’ are Rez Cortez, Gina Alajar, Maricar de Mesa, Isabelle de Leon, Mike ‘Pekto’ Nacua, Liezl Lopez, and Marika Sasaki. The viewers will also be introduced to YouTube sensation Balang, who will play one of Elfino’s friends.

While ‘Magkaibang Mundo’ has been promoted heavily leading up to its premiere, there are still two big obstacles facing the series. One is its ability to keep up with the final 30 minutes of ‘It’s Showtime’ and the first 10 of ‘Doble Kara’, and two, GMA’s recent decision to stop airing episode teasers of their dramas.

These two challenges will not be easy for ‘Magkaibang Mundo’. Still, if they can overcome these dwarfing obstacles, then it should help spike the series’ ratings in the long run.

Hopefully GMA can commit to this series for a long time. After all, with so much frustration over the poor ratings of their dramas, all they need now is some victories to right the ship, along with some badly-needed promotion.

Directed by Mark Sicat de la Cruz, ‘Magkaibang Mundo’ airs weekdays after ‘Eat Bulaga’ on GMA’s Afternoon Prime.

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drama, entertainment, news, Philippines, public affairs, television

News TV Continues Fall From Grace with Amaya Rerun

‘Amaya’ returned to the airwaves, this time on GMA News TV last Monday. (Photo credit: GMA Network)

It doesn’t get any worse for GMA News TV.

After defying the logic of a news channel with classic movies and reruns from their previous incarnation QTV, News TV took it one step further by re-airing an old teleserye from their parent channel. And it was led by no less than the network’s so-called ‘Queen of Primetime’.

‘Amaya’, the 2011 ‘epicserye’, started re-airing on Channel 11 last Monday. The said series, which took place in 16th century Visayas, starred Marian Rivera, with supporting roles from Rochelle Pangilinan, Glaiza de Castro, Sid Lucero, Mikael Daez, Aljur Abrenica, Diana Zubiri, Gardo Versoza, Raymond Bagatsing, Lani Mercado, Gina Alajar and Ayen Munji-Laurel.

The series originally aired on GMA from May 30, 2011 to January 13, 2012. ‘Amaya”s run coincided with the gradual decline in the network’s performance during the current decade, as ABS-CBN’s counterparts began to dominate the ratings.

Nevertheless, ‘Amaya’ received citations from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines and the Department of Education for its culturally significant story.

But that is not the real story behind News TV’s decision to re-air ‘Amaya’. Having exhausted all of their programming material to air, and having lacked the drive and the resources to produce more news programs, News TV resorted to another desperate manuever: re-airing older teleseryes from the parent Channel 7.

News TV is no stranger to airing historical and socially-significant dramas. After all, they aired GMA News-produced mini-series such as ‘Titser’, ‘Katipunan’ and ‘Bayan Ko’ to critical success, and they even re-aired the equally costly but less popular drama ‘Ilustrado’ at one point.

But ‘Amaya’ is a different animal. After all, it was a ‘true’ teleserye that GMA produced, and not a mere mini-series like the aforementioned ‘Ilustrado’.

And while ‘Amaya’ shares a similar historical significance as the other dramas, the fact that it had over 150 episodes to boot makes it an exhausting series to watch and remember. That said, re-airing ‘Amaya’ is a waste of time and space for GMA News TV.

So what’s next for the suddenly teleserye-friendly News TV? Will they re-air a Koreanovela remake like ‘Endless Love’, a fantaserye like ‘Encantadia’, or a more mature drama like ‘My Husband’s Lover’? We’ll never know, but one thing’s for sure: the worst is yet to come for GMA’s troubled little sister.

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