drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

Curtains Close on Mulawin vs. Ravena

‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ will air its final episode this Friday, concluding a brief 85-episode run. (Photo courtesy of GMA Network)

Who would have thought this will end so soon.

After 85 episodes and a timeslot change, the end is drawing near for the GMA fantaserye ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’. The series that began as a follow-up to the successful (as far as GMA is concerned) fantaserye ‘Encantadia’ had high expectations from the start, only to fizzle amid intense competition from ABS-CBN’s ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘La Luna Sangre’.

‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ was the sequel to the highly successful mid-2000s fantaserye ‘Mulawin’. The series was headlined by Dennis Trillo, Heart Evangelista, Carla Abellana, Tom Rodriguez, Lovi Poe and Regine Velasquez among others.

First aired on May 22, ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ was initially pitted against the long-running ABS-CBN action series ‘Ang Probinsyano’. But while ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ gained a substantial audience, it was not enough to withstand the dominance of Cardo (Coco Martin) and company.

On August 14, GMA made a bold move by moving ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ to the second slot in exchange for the second season of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’. This meant new competition for the former as it went up against ‘La Luna Sangre’, which ironically featured former ‘Mulawin’ lead stars Richard Gutierrez and Angel Locsin.

GMA even went as far as bringing some of the Sang’gres of ‘Encantadia’ to ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’, thus connecting the two series together. But not even the presence of Pirena (Glaiza de Castro) and Lira (Mikee Quintos) saved the series, and as a result, GMA decided to end ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ following its final episode this Friday.

Considering GMA’s high standards for their fantaseryes, it was disappointing to see ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ run for only a short period of time. After all, production of such series is not easy to begin with as logistics, finances, props, talents and special effects factor in alongside overall performance.

Still, for the viewers who have tuned in to ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ from the beginning, the story was not that bad. GMA may have had its shortcomings, but at least they gave their 100% effort in bringing the tale of ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ to life.

Come this Friday, it will be one last stand for the Mulawin and the Ravena tribes. It may not be a graceful exit, but as far as ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ is concerned, it will be one hell of an ending.

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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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action, drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

Mulawin vs. Ravena Premiere Means New Characters for Ang Probinsyano

The threat is indeed real.

With the premiere of GMA fantaserye ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ later tonight, long-running ABS-CBN action series ‘Ang Probinsyano’ introduced a new slate of supporting actors that will add more color to an already endless story. They are:

  • John Arcilla
  • Angel Aquino
  • Ejay Falcon
  • Jhong Hilario
  • Lito Lapid
  • Mark Lapid
  • Sid Lucero
  • Long Mejia
  • Pokwang
  • Mitch Valdes

These actors will join the main cast that features Coco Martin, Ms. Susan Roces, Yassi Pressman and Awra Briguela, among others. Ironically, John Arcilla was last seen in the just-concluded GMA fantaserye (and ‘Ang Probinsyano”s archrival) ‘Encantadia’, where he was cast as Hagorn.

Another chapter soon. #FPJAP

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The addition of new actors indicate that another fresh storyline for ‘Ang Probinsyano’ is about to take shape. After all, a new rival in ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ will come into play and the best way for the former to maintain viewer interest is to introduce new characters and plots to keep up with its latest adversary.

Speaking of ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’, the sequel to the popular early 2000s fantaserye ‘Mulawin’ is 12 years in the making. The original series (led by Richard Gutierrez and Angel Locsin) became a huge hit when it first aired, and with the creation of the sequel, the bar is raised even higher.

‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ will feature stars such as:

  • Dennis Trillo (as Gabriel)
  • Heart Evangelista (as Alwina)
  • Carla Abellana  (as Aviona)
  • Tom Rodriguez (as Rodrigo)
  • Lovi Poe (as Magindara)
  • Regine Velasquez (as Sandawa)
  • Bianca Umali (as Lawiswis)
  • Derrick Monasterio (as Almiro)
  • Bea Binene (as Anya)
  • Miguel Tanfelix (as Pagaspas)
  • Ariel Rivera (as Panabon)
  • Chynna Ortaleza (as Reyna Rashana)
  • David Licauco (as Malik)
  • Dion Ignacio (as Siklab)
  • Valerie Concepcion (as Tuka)
  • Roi Vinzon (as Daragit)
  • JC Tiuseco (as Tangos)
  • Winwyn Marquez (as Ribery)
  • TJ Trinidad (as Greco)
  • Angelu de Leon (as Lourdes)
  • Bobby Andrews (as Dionisio)
  • Charee Pineda (as Savanna)
  • Joko Diaz (as Antonio)
  • Martin del Rosario (as Aramis)
  • Kiko Estrada (as Rafael)
  • Nova Villa (as Lola Elo)

Directors Dominic Zapata and Don Michael Perez will once again breathe life into ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’, just as they did with the original ‘Mulawin’.

Heading into tonight, the challenge for ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ is a daunting one. ‘Ang Probinsyano’ has been a ratings juggernaut for nearly two years now and not even the efforts of its predecessor ‘Encantadia’ was enough to topple the former.

That said, the best chance for ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ might come from viewers who are becoming disenchanted with ‘Ang Probinsyano”s endlessly dragging storyline. With the latter’s new characters coming into play, this may be an opportunity for some to switch channels and watch something different and pleasing.

Still, with too many loyal viewers siding with ‘Ang Probinsyano’, the task will not be an easy one. So, good luck to GMA in their efforts to sway the momentum away from Coco Martin and company.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

A Not-so Happy Ending for Juan Happy Love Story

Tomorrow night will be the end of a tale for ‘Juan Happy Love Story’.

The GMA Telebabad series, starring Heart Evangelista, Dennis Trillo and Kim Domingo, will air its finale September 2. It will mark the last of the comedy-infused teleseryes that GMA produced in the last several months, as it will revert back to a more serious tone on ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’.

‘Juan Happy Love Story’ first premiered on May 16, replacing another comedy-infused drama in ‘Because of You’. The series failed to captivate viewers from the start, as it lost to the Kim Chiu and Xian Lim-starred ‘The Story of Us’ on a consistent basis.

Things did not improve for ‘Juan Happy Love Story’ once ‘Born for You’ entered the picture. The latter series, which starred former Kapuso star Elmo Magalona and rising ABS-CBN talent Janella Salvador, scored victory after victory over their more veteran counterparts in the national ratings.

Overall, ‘Juan Happy Love Story’ will have aired for 80 episodes, a norm for GMA dramas these days. Still, despite the decent amount of episodes produced, it was clear that GMA failed to win back their viewers by using a more comedic approach to their teleseryes.

It also did not help that GMA cast a pair of veterans in Dennis Trillo and Heart Evangelista to star in ‘Juan Happy Love Story’. And to make matters worse, GMA did not actively promote the series (via upcoming episode trailers) after the second week, as was the norm in more recent teleseryes.

That said, the flaws in GMA’s talent development, storytelling and programming promotion are once again on display. The Kapuso network’s lack of improvement in these aspects have been a constant issue for Lilybeth Rasonable, and it continued with this series.

Come this Friday, a ‘happy ending’ may be in store for ‘Juan Happy Love Story’ story-wise, but not in terms of performance. Nothing will be expected here, just relief that this comedy-styled approach will mercifully end tomorrow night.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Elmo, Janella Team Up in Born for You

The most talked-about Kapamilya series in recent memory is hitting the small screen this Monday.

Enter ‘Born for You’, the upcoming ABS-CBN teleserye that will be headlined by two of the country’s up-and-coming young stars. The series will mark the Kapamilya debut of Elmo Magalona, as well as Primetime Bida’s introduction to Janella Salvador.

Named after a hit song by David Pomeranz (his own rendition is prominently featured in this series), ‘Born for You’ is a story of two individuals who share a common bond for music. Sam (Janella) is an upcoming Filipino singer who grew up in Japan, while Kevin (Elmo) is a teen hearthrob and the son of an OPM icon.

Sam believed in a red string of fate, a concept which connects two people that are destined to meet each other wherever they are in the world. It is that string which helped link both Sam and Kevin, but their parents’ shocking musical past might also break it all up.

‘Born for You’ will also star Ariel Rivera, Vina Morales, Ayen Laurel, Bernard Palanca, Gina Pareño, Freddie Webb, Jimboy Martin, Joj Agpangan, Francis Magundayao, Smokey Manaloto, Ogie Diaz, Katya Santos, DJ Durano, Alfred Labatos, Kyline Alcantara, Paulo O’Hara, Neil Coleta, and Young JV. It will be directed by Onat Diaz and Jon Villarin.

In the weeks leading up to the premiere of ‘Born for You’, a lot is said about its promising story and the hype brought on by the fresh pairing of Elmo and Janella. That, coupled by the viewers’ overall excitement over the series, helped ‘Born for You’ become an immediate trending topic on social media.

With so much anticipation surrounding ‘Born for You’, this could spell trouble for its opponent, GMA’s ‘Juan Happy Love Story’. The comedy-drama starring Dennis Trillo and Heart Evangelista has not fared well from the beginning, and it could get worse against a younger love team like Elmo and Janella.

As ‘Born for You’ premieres this Monday, expect no less than a first impression. It is now up to Elmo Magalona and Janella Salvador to take them to ratings heaven.

‘Born for You’ airs weeknights starting this Monday after ‘Dolce Amore’ on ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida.

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Juan Happy Love Story Debuts Tonight, To Face The Story of Us

GMA continues to have fun with romantic comedies.

Their latest, ‘Juan Happy Love Story’, takes it even further with the addition of a more daring and naughty approach. Premiering tonight on GMA Telebabad, the series stars Dennis Trillo and Heart Evangelista as two lovers with differing views in both romance and life.

In ‘Juan Happy Love Story’, Juan (Dennis), a responsible businessman and a ‘chick boy’, and Happy (Heart), a feisty family-oriented woman who relied on signs to find her true love, were two individuals with contrasting perspectives. Still, they fell in love and tied the knot, but unfortunately, they cannot bear a child of their own.

Instead, they found a bubbly six-year-old orphan named Katkat (Leanne Bautista), but marital problems intervened and they separated. Nevertheless, Happy allowed Juan to live with her in hopes of legally adopting Katkat, however, their relationship was put to the test with the entry of Bob (Joross Gamboa) and Agatha (Kim Domingo).

Bob, a childhood friend of Happy, and Agatha, a business partner of Juan, attempted to court the two individually. With their relationship in doubt, it is up to Juan and Happy to put their differences aside and reconcile anew, hoping to finally live a normal life with their adopted daughter.

Joining the extended cast of ‘Juan Happy Love Story’ are Gloria Romero, Nick Lizaso, Gardo Versoza, Lotlot de Leon, Erika Padilla, Dominic Roco, Vincent Magbanua, Rob Moya, Arianne Bautista, Koreen Medina, and Vince Gamad. The series is directed by Lord Alvin Madridejos.

‘Juan Happy Love Story’ should have an uphill battle to begin with. Its opponent, ABS-CBN’s ‘The Story of Us’, has been on a roll, and with the love team of Kim Chiu and Xian Lim already well-established to the viewing public, it’s going to be a daunting task for both Dennis Trillo and Heart Evangelista to find a niche early on.

This is a light-hearted romantic series that GMA cannot afford to lose. After failing to hit paydirt with ‘Because of You’ and ‘That’s My Amboy’, their last ray of hope now rests on ‘Juan Happy Love Story’, whose success will depend on how viewers will welcome this new mix of comedy and raunchiness.

‘Juan Happy Love Story’ airs weeknights at 9:15 p.m. after ‘Once Again’ on GMA Telebabad.

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