drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

New Challenger for A Love to Last: My Korean Jagiya

‘A Love to Last’ has a new opponent.

Through 158 episodes (as of August 18, 2017), the ABS-CBN primetime series has overcome all challenges thrown at them. Initially pitted against ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ season 1 (10 episodes from January 9-20), ‘A Love to Last’ has since made mincemeat of fellow romantic comedy series ‘Meant to Be’ (108 episodes from January 23-June 23) and ‘I Heart Davao’ (40 episodes from June 27-August 18).

Now they look to claim another victim starting next week. However, their next opponent is no ordinary romantic comedy.

In the past several years, both GMA and ABS-CBN imported several successful Korean dramas to fill in programming hours. Now GMA takes over Korean cultures and landscapes in the form of ‘My Korean Jagiya’.

Leading the way for ‘My Korean Jagiya’ will be Heart Evangelista. Her character Gia is a Korean grade school tutor and a dedicated K-drama fan girl who was nonetheless teased that she is next in her family to become an old maid.

Gia’s dream is to meet her long-time crush and once-famous Korean superstar Kim Jun-ho, portrayed by top Korean star Alexander Lee. At first, Gia searched for Kim in Korea while on a scholarship training, but wound up returning to Manila to find Kim drunk and beaten by gangsters in a bar, beginning a seemingly fruitful friendship.

‘My Korean Jagiya’ will also star Janice de Belen, Ricky Davao, Iya Villania, Edgar Allan Guzman, Valeen Montenegro, Frances Makil Ignacio, Myke Solomon, Jinri Park, Divine Aucina, and Khane dela Cruz. Korean stars David Kim, Michelle Oh, and Jerry Lee will play special roles in the series as well.

Parts of ‘My Korean Jagiya’ were shot in South Korea, and featured several key spots that were made famous by several iconic Koreanovelas such as ‘Jewel in the Palace’, ‘My Name is Kim Sam Soon’, My Love from the Star’ and ‘Winter Sonata’. The Seoul Film Commission and Seoul Metropolitan Government assisted the series’ producers in the production process.

While ‘My Korean Jagiya’ is a uniquely wonderful series for both Filipinos and Koreans to enjoy, their biggest hurdle to success comes in the form of ‘A Love to Last’. Despite being perceived as ‘boring’ in the minds of critics, ‘A Love to Last’ continues to beat all comers, and this is something that should concern ‘My Korean Jagiya’ a lot.

One can only hope that ‘My Korean Jagiya’ will not be the short-lived drama that befell more recent romcoms ‘My Love from the Star’ and ‘I Heart Davao’. If the series can somehow go beyond 80 episodes, then that should be good enough for their morale.

Directed by Mark Reyes, ‘My Korean Jagiya’ airs weekdays after ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ on GMA Telebabad.

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entertainment, Philippines, reality show, television

Road Trip: Another Short-Term Solution in GMA’s Late Sunday Afternoon Timeslot?

Instability has defined GMA’s late Sunday afternoon slot.

Since ‘Juan Tamad’ ended its 29-episode run in March 2016, five different programs were placed at the 4:45 p.m. slot on Sundays. They are:

  • Alamat – six episodes from May 15 to June 19, 2016.
  • Conan, My Beautician – 13 episodes from June 26 to September 18, 2016.
  • Usapang Real Love – 14 episodes from September 25 to December 18, 2016.
  • People vs. the Stars – 14 episodes from January 15 to April 16, 2017.
  • Follow Your Heart – 13 episodes from April 23 to July 16, 2017.

Talk about running in the short term. With the exception of ‘Alamat’ which was only slated for six episodes, every program that GMA placed in the timeslot was given only 13 to 14 episodes to broadcast.

The fact that late Sunday afternoons are usually the least-watched period on Philippine television may have played a factor on why GMA continues to experiment with short-term programs in this timeslot. And come this Sunday, that experiment is expected to continue when they premiere a travel show called ‘Road Trip’.

Produced by no less than GMA News and Public Affairs, ‘Road Trip’ is a one-hour show that will feature celebrities and their friends and family going on a field trip to some of the country’s most breathtaking destinations. The program’s premiere episode will see Carmina Villaroel, Zoren Legaspi, and twins Mavy and Cassy go to Batanes.

Future episodes of ‘Road Trip’ will also feature the likes of Rochelle Pangilinan, Max Collins, Andrea Torres, Kris Bernal, Arny Ross, Jinri Park and Meg Imperial. So while news of celebrities going on vacation are a regular sight in tabloids and entertainment websites, GMA is now using it as a tool to create a reality series in ‘Road Trip’.

Now here is a very crucial question. Can ‘Road Trip’ survive past the 13th or the 14th episode?

On a normal basis, Filipino travel shows tend to last for only a few episodes. Case in point: ABS-CBN’s ‘G Diaries’ and TV5’s ‘Lakbai’, which lasted 13 and eight episodes respectively.

That said, it will not be a surprise to see ‘Road Trip’ conclude after only 13 or 14 episodes. But if this program manages to survive past those numbers, then it will be a huge morale boost for GMA.

‘Road Trip’ airs starting this Sunday at 4:45 p.m. on GMA.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

The Better Half’s Next Challenger: Haplos

Hot or cold is the description of ‘The Better Half’s ratings of late.

The ongoing ABS-CBN afternoon drama consistently won the battle against the soon-to-be short-lived series ‘D’Originals’ since moving to the late afternoon slot. Despite that, the show’s ratings have fluctuated between 11% and 15%.

Still, a win is a win, and ABS-CBN is somewhat pleased with the way ‘The Better Half’ has performed. Come this Monday, however, a new challenger awaits.

Enter ‘Haplos’, GMA’s latest offering on the Afternoon Prime block. This upcoming series will be headlined by Sanya Lopez, Rocco Nacino, Thea Tolentino and Pancho Magno.

In ‘Haplos’, Sanya is Angela, a physical therapy undergraduate with a quiet and peaceful upbringing. She is in love with Gerald (Rocco), but unknown to her, she has a special gift that, when she is touched, can heal illnesses and emotional wounds.

Angela also caught the attention of Benedict (Pancho), a fitness instructor whose goal is to become a successful businessman with a trophy wife. But the biggest rival in her life turned out to be her half-sister Lucille (Thea), whose gift of darkness is used in an attempt to jeopardize Angela’s career and personal life.

‘Haplos’ also stars Patricia Javier, Emilio Garcia, Francine Prieto, Diva Montealba and Ms. Celia Rodriguez. The series will be directed by Gil Tejada Jr.

If the unpredictable ratings of ‘The Better Half’ is any indication, then GMA hopes that ‘Haplos’ will perform much better than ‘D’Originals’ did. However, a mere 11-12% or less in the ratings will not satisfy both the network and its viewers.

It will be interesting to see how the up-and-coming quartet of Sanya Lopez, Rocco Nacino, Thea Tolentino and Pancho Magno will perform in a leading role. Going up against ‘The Better Half”s veteran quartet of Shaina Magdayao, Carlo Aquino, Denise Laurel and JC de Vera will be a challenge, but if ‘Haplos’ provides a serious challenge, then it should bode well for them.

‘Haplos’ airs weekdays after ‘Impostora’ on GMA Afternoon Prime.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

New Version of Impostora to Air This Monday on GMA

A new version of ‘Impostora’ awaits viewers of GMA’s Afternoon Prime.

The upcoming series is loosely based on the original ‘Impostora’ that aired on the Kapuso network back in 2007. In that particular series, Iza Calzado and Sunshine Dizon played dual roles (Iza as twins Lara and the deformed Sara, and Sunshine as the wicked cousin Nessa and a surgically repaired version of Sara).

In turn, that 2007 version was based on the 1994 movie ‘Sa Isang Sulok ng mga Pangarap’, starring Alice Dixson. In each case, the protagonist was portrayed as an ugly duckling that was transformed into a vengeful beauty through facial reconstruction surgery.

For the 2017 version of ‘Impostora’, Kris Bernal will breathe life into two different individuals. At first, Kris will play the ugly street vendor Nimfa, but through plastic surgery, she will be transformed into the beautiful and rich woman named Rosette who seeks to escape from her husband Homer, played by Rafael Rosell.

‘Impostora’ will also star Ryan Eigenmann, Assunta de Rossi, Elizabeth Oropesa, Aicelle Santos, Vaness del Moral, Rita Daniela, Leandro Baldemor, Sinon Loresca, Yuan Francisco, Dayara Shane, and James Blanco. The series will be directed by Albert Langitan.

Initially, GMA announced that ‘Impostora’ was to begin on June 19, replacing ‘Legally Blind’. But the latter’s last-minute extension and change of ending forced the network to move its premiere to July 3.

Now that its run is about to begin, ‘Impostora’ is sure to face a very serious challenge. ABS-CBN afternoon series ‘Pusong Ligaw’ has enjoyed ratings of 16-17% in more recent episodes, and ‘Impostora’ has a daunting task of closing in, if not surpassing the former’s marks.

Come this Monday, it will be interesting to see how playing two characters of differing personalities will elevate the career of Kris Bernal. ‘Impostora’ may be her most serious series yet, but it could also be the one that she needs to become relevant again.

‘Impostora’ airs weekdays after ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ on GMA Afternoon Prime.

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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

An Untimely Entrance for My Love from the Star

Heart has a new opponent, albeit for a short time.

Beginning Monday, GMA will premiere the Philippine remake of the hit Korean drama ‘My Love from the Star’. The adaptation will be led by Jennylyn Mercado, who will portray Jun Ji-hyun’s role as Steffi, and Gil Cuerva, who takes on Kim Soo-hyun’s role as Matteo.

The original version of ‘My Love from the Star’ first made waves in the Philippines back in 2014, as it became a top-rating Koreanovela on GMA’s late afternoon slot. GMA then re-aired the Koreanovela during early 2015, but failed to rekindle its past success.

Despite that, GMA decided to push through with the Filipino adaptation of ‘My Love from the Star’. While Jennylyn Mercado was confirmed to play Steffi, the role of Matteo remained a mystery for several months until little-known Gil Cuerva got the nod.

Completing the cast of ‘My Love from the Star’ are Gabby Eigenmann, Christian Bautista, Glydel Mercado, Renz Fernandez, Jackie Rice, Migo Adecer, Melissa Mendez, Spanky Manikan, Nar Cabico, Analyn Barro, Valentin, Moi Marcampo and Pauline Mendoza. Director Joyce Bernal will be at the helm of the series, plus Rhian Ramos will have a special role as Steffi’s rival.

The premiere of ‘My Love from the Star’ comes at a not-so fortunate time. ABS-CBN recently announced that ‘My Dear Heart’ is nearing its conclusion, with the finale of the series to take place around June.

This means that Jennylyn, Gil and company will not have enough time to prove themselves against ‘My Dear Heart”s quintet of Heart Ramos, Bela Padilla, Zanjoe Marudo, Coney Reyes and Ria Atayde. However, with ‘La Luna Sangre’ expected to replace ‘My Dear Heart’ once it ends, ‘My Love from the Star’ should have a big headstart against KathNiel this early.

It remains to be seen if the Filipino remake of ‘My Love from the Star’ can either equal or exceed the success of the original Korean series. With plenty of expectations from both Koreanovela and Kapuso fans, the series can only hope that they will deliver even if the odds are against them.

‘My Love from the Star’ airs weeknights after ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ on GMA Telebabad.

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