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

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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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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comedy, drama, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television

D’Originals Enters Final Week

It is indeed ‘Ang Huling Resbak’, as GMA called it.

This week will mark the final five episodes of the GMA Public Affairs-produced comedy-drama series ‘D’Originals’. The series features a story of three married women and their doting husbands, whose quiet lives were thrown into chaos thanks to three young ladies.

Led by Jaclyn Jose, Katrina Halili, Jestoni Alarcon, LJ Reyes, Mark Herras, Lovely Abella, Kim Domingo, Archie Alemania and Meg Imperial, ‘D’Originals’ became a different form of what is derisively called a ‘kabitserye’. The shift to a more humorous tone while maintaining an intensely dramatic approach made the series stand out.

The premiere of ‘D’Originals’ took place on April 17, 2017. The series initially faced ‘The Greatest Love’ during the latter’s final week, but its strong performance in the ratings was too much for ‘D’Originals’ to handle.

Following the conclusion of ‘The Greatest Love’, ABS-CBN made an unexpected timeslot change. Rather than facing a new drama in ‘Pusong Ligaw’, ‘D’Originals’ had to contend with another ‘kabitserye’ in ‘The Better Half’, a series that had been raking in impressive ratings within two months of its tenure.

Although ‘D’Originals’ managed to improve their ratings performance as the weeks progressed, it was not enough to overcome ‘The Better Half’. In the end, GMA decided to cancel ‘D’Originals’ following its 60th episode this Friday.

The short and uninspiring run of ‘D’Originals’ marked the latest in a series of missteps for the GMA Public Affairs team. It is obvious that the department’s foray into entertainment shows is destroying its reputation, but considering the many question marks surrounding GMA’s entertainment division, they had no choice but to step in.

Nevertheless, the story of ‘D’Originals’ is not bad as many perceived. It is just too unfortunate to be up against a pair of dramas that are more compelling.

Come this Friday, it is indeed ‘Ang Huling Resbak’ for ‘D’Originals’. But it remains to be seen if they will leave a final impression on the viewers.

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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

Tadhana: Another GMA Public Affairs’ Intervention to Entertainment

Another drama anthology will hit GMA screens this Saturday afternoon.

This time, the focus of this up-and-coming series will be on the lives of OFWs whose trials and tribulations abroad are well-documented. Their struggles to fit in another country and bring a better life to both country and family will be told every week on ‘Tadhana’, presented by Marian Rivera.

As is customary to all drama anthologies, celebrity guests will portray a particular subject(s) week after week. For the premiere of ‘Tadhana’, Kris Bernal will portray Elvie, a former Saudi Arabia-based OFW who was constantly abused by her employer, played by Ms. Cherie Gil.

Unsurprisingly, GMA Public Affairs will be responsible for the production of ‘Tadhana’. Considering their recent dabbing into non-news programming, this bit of news should once again add insult to injury to Lilybeth Rasonable and GMA’s Entertainment group.

So what challenge awaits ‘Tadhana’? For starters, this drama should pose another obstacle to ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ and ‘SOCO’ when it comes to performance.

Not only that, GMA also hopes to see a carry-over in ratings from ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ to ‘Tadhana’. With the former enjoying impressive ratings since its extension to Saturdays, the network now banks on the latter to maintain the momentum, something that ‘Karelasyon’ was not able to do.

However, expect a lot of alienation from more traditional viewers who view ‘Tadhana’ as another cowardly attempt by GMA Entertainment to get bailed out by the news division. It’s a shame, since Rasonable and company have done nothing right to salvage whatever pride they have left.

If this is indeed a production of GMA Public Affairs, ‘Tadhana’ should have been a docu-drama instead, with one of GMA News’ reporters presenting the show plus reenactments from various no-name actors and interviews from the subject involved. That said, their decision to use Marian Rivera and bring to life a story by using Kapuso actors leave a bitter taste in one’s mouth.

For now, the verdict is on ‘Tadhana’ to defy all prognosticators. Come this Saturday, this show should experience a baptism of fire.

‘Tadhana’ airs every Saturday after ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ on GMA.

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