comedy, drama, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television

Inday Will Always Love You to Conclude Friday

Longer than expected.

For ‘Inday Will Always Love You’, airing 100 episodes is a surprising accomplishment considering it was produced by GMA Public Affairs, an outfit notorious for short-term but quality-laden dramas. But viewers embraced this series particularly well, even if the results say otherwise.

First aired on May 21, 2018, ‘Inday Will Always Love You’ starred Barbie Forteza and Derrick Monasterio and is set in Cebu. While the series is generally a romantic comedy, it did not shy away from showcasing some elements of seriousness seen in more mature teleseryes.

‘Inday Will Always Love You’ first aired opposite ‘Since I Found You’, ABS-CBN’s own romantic comedy. While it gave the latter a hard time in the ratings (at one point the margin was close to 1%), in the end ‘Inday Will Always Love You’ still fell short.

Next came ‘Halik’, a more seriously toned adversary. This time, it was a more lopsided affair, as ‘Inday Will Always Love You’ could not close the gap to 4% against ‘Halik’.

Despite these shortcomings, ‘Inday Will Always Love You’ was still good enough that it was extended on a few occasions. By the time it airs its finale Friday, it will have 100 episodes, a new high for a GMA Public Affairs-produced series.

With all things considered, ‘Inday Will Always Love You’ will go down as GMA Public Affairs’ most successful non-news series, both in terms of popularity and duration. Still, being produced by GMA’s news division had its fair share of doubters, and ‘Inday Will Always Love You’ did not quite receive its well-earned respect.

But as far as Cebuanos are concerned, ‘Inday Will Always Love You”s focus on the Visayan island’s culture is more than enough to make them proud. In many ways, the series was a showcase of sorts to witness the uniqueness and beauty of Cebu, an island that only rivals Manila in terms of population and cultural impact.

The focus of ‘Inday Will Always Love You”s final week centers on Happylou’s (Barbie) escalating feud with Amanda (Gladys Reyes) and Ericka (Kim Rodriguez). One can only hope that the climax will end just like Happylou’s name: a happy one.

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comedy, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Inday Will Always Love You to Give Since I Found You a Run for Its Money

Talk about a lethargic follow-up.

After a strong premiere week, harsh reality hits the ABS-CBN primetime romantic comedy series ‘Since I Found You’. From averaging in the 20s its first week, its ratings are now down to around 18%.

To make matters worse, its closest competitor (in this instance GMA’s ‘The One That Got Away’) made an inspiring rally to pull to within 3%. Although it may not be enough to overcome the deficit by the time the series ends tonight, it should give ABS-CBN plenty of concern when it comes to the fourth teleserye in Primetime Bida’s lineup.

Starting Monday night, a new headache for ‘Since I Found You’ will come in the form of Barbie Forteza and Derrick Monasterio. Their new series ‘Inday Will Always Love You’ is set in Cebu and will feature the culture and the sights and sounds of this popular Visayan city.

In ‘Inday Will Always Love You’, Happylou (Barbie) is a Manileña lechon store assistant who decides to return to Cebu in search of her father and to help her impoverished family who lives near the train tracks. Encountering the rich and kind Sir Philip (Ricky Davao), she begins to take care of him after the latter suffered a heart attack, and in turn, he helps Happylou search for her father.

Sir Philip also introduces Happylou to Patrick (Derrick), his nephew, and the two begin to forge a healthy relationship. But Patrick’s mother Amanda (Gladys Reyes) and his girlfriend Ericka (Kim Rodriguez) will look to put a wrench in their plans, and when Sir Philip dies, they look to make Happylou’s life a living hell.

Also part of the cast are Juancho Trivino, Manilyn Reynes, Nova Villa, Tina Paner, Super Tekla, the “Lumen Twins” Charisse and Charlotte Hermoso, Kimpoy Feliciano, Buboy Villar and Fliptop artists Mzhayt and Price Tagg. It will be directed by Monti Parungao and Rember Gelera.

If the premise of ‘Inday Will Always Love You’ sounds familiar, then one should remember another locally-themed romantic comedy in ‘I Heart Davao’. Both series were produced by GMA Public Affairs and the setting was based on a popular tourist destination in the Philippines.

But if ‘I Heart Davao”s brief run is any indication, then ‘Inday Will Always Love You’ is in for a reality check. Still, with its incoming competitor ‘Since I Found You’ not doing exactly well in spite of its ratings, one can expect ‘Inday Will Always Love You’ will enjoy a longer tenure and perhaps steal some victories from its rival.

It will be interesting to see how ‘Inday Will Always Love You’ can change the primetime romcom arms race. With that, best of luck to this series.

‘Inday Will Always Love You’ airs weeknights after ‘Kambal Karibal’ on GMA Telebabad.

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drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

Thoughts on Sirkus

GMA’s new weekly fantaserye ‘Sirkus’ premiered last January 21 and has had a mixed performance since. (Logo courtesy of GMA Network)

A fantaserye on a Sunday night?

This is exactly what GMA delivered when it premiered ‘Sirkus’ last January 21. But in contrast to the network’s other fantaseryes, ‘Sirkus’ is a production of the GMA Public Affairs group (notorious for bringing non-news programs to the network) and it only airs once a week.

The premise of ‘Sirkus’ is that of two fraternal twins Mia (Mikee Quintos) and Miko (Mikoy Morales) finding themselves in the company of a traveling circus in order to escape from the clutches of an evil villainess. Throughout their quest, the motive behind the villainess’ obsession to catch them will be revealed and their true identities will also be discovered.

Also part of the cast of ‘Sirkus’ are Andre Paras, Chariz Solomon, Sef Cadayona, Klea Pineda, Gardo Versoza, Ms. Cherie Gil, Divine Tetay, Gerald Acao, Zoren Legaspi and Angelu de Leon. The director is Zig Dulay.

When the series was first introduced to the public in late December, many thought that ‘Sirkus’ would replace ‘Daig Kayo ng Lola Ko’ as the opponent of the long-running fantasy anthology ‘Wansapanatym’. However, GMA had other plans in mind.

Not only did the network keep ‘Daig Kayo ng Lola Ko’, it also made significant changes to the late afternoon-early evening Sunday timeslots. As a result, ‘Sirkus’, which replaced the travel series ‘Road Trip’, was assigned to the 6:30 p.m. timeslot and ’24 Oras Weekend’ was bumped to an earlier time.

Through two episodes, ‘Sirkus’ has had mixed results in the ratings. Its debut episode barely defeated ‘Goin’ Bulilit’ by 0.4%, but the following week saw ‘Sirkus’ slump by 4% to its opponent.

Given the often volatile financial situation of GMA, it was a better idea for them to just produce a weekly fantaserye instead of one that airs on weeknights. But to be produced by GMA Public Affairs instead of GMA Entertainment is once again a desperate act altogether.

Whatever the case, one can only hope that ‘Sirkus’ will be the start of many elaborate once-a-week projects that GMA embarks. Such series is for the better of the network at this point because they need all the money in the world to focus on technological improvements that will make them more viable in the age of digitization.

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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

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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