drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Postscript: Hindi Ko Kayang Iwan Ka; Preview: My Special Tatay

From one advoca-serye to another.

Friday marked the final episode of ‘Hindi Ko Kayang Iwan Ka’, an AIDS-themed drama that starred Yasmien Kurdi, Martin del Rosario, Jackie Rice and Mike Tan. The series ran for 132 episodes and posted decent ratings despite airing against ‘Hanggang Saan’ and ‘Araw Gabi’.

Even though ‘Hindi Ko Kayang Iwan Ka’ had a rather up-and-down run, its 132 episodes suggest that it was a success. The show fulfilled its purpose of showing one’s struggles of living with AIDS, a deadly disease that remains virtually incurable.

Still, with that kind of inconsistency in the ratings it is clear that GMA is still finding a cure for its afternoon mood swings. Which leads to the next series that will replace ‘Hindi Ko Kayang Iwan Ka’.

‘My Special Tatay’, to be led by Ken Chan, will focus on mental illnesses. As the intellectually challenged father Boyet, Ken will portray a man who suffers from Mild Intellectual Disability with Mild Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Despite his mental shortcomings and other people’s doubts, Boyet grew up as a kind-hearted man with a positive outlook. However, his life would turn upside down once he finds out that he has a child.

Also part of ‘My Special Tatay’ are Jestoni Alarcon, Teresa Loyzaga, Carmen Soriano, Lilet, Candy Pangilinan, Arra San Agustin, Rita Daniela, Jillian Ward, Bruno Gabriel, and JK Giducos. Initial episodes of the series will feature special guest appearances from Matt Evans, Empress Schuck, Valeen Montenegro, and Ashley Rivera.

Once again, GMA will use the power of advocacy as a weapon to send a message to its viewers. This time, the focus is on mental health problems and ‘My Special Tatay’ will take a look at how a person deals with intellectual disabilities.

However, it remains to be seen if ‘My Special Tatay’ will be more consistent in overcoming ‘Araw Gabi’. While GMA is working on a good cause, high viewer support remains a must and unless ‘My Special Tatay’ proves a point their hard work will go for nothing.

Directed by LA Madridejos and Conrado Peru, ‘My Special Tatay’ airs weekdays after ‘The Stepdaughters’ on GMA Afternoon Prime.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Hanggang Saan Nears Finale

Two different sides of the story.

Indeed, the long run of ‘Hanggang Saan’ can be divided into two parts. One part featured a series that struggled right out of the gate, and the other part featured a series that became a winner in the viewers’ book.

‘Hanggang Saan’ first aired on November 27, 2017 amid a slump in Kapamilya Gold’s fortunes. When it began its run, rival GMA series ‘Haplos’ was still ruling its timeslot, and it also helped that its success was bolstered by its lead-in shows ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ and ‘Impostora’.

The fact that ABS-CBN received some criticism for overemphasizing ‘kabitseryes’ in the afternoon weighed heavily on ‘Hanggang Saan’. At the time, it seemed like the series was on the verge of immediate cancellation with the way it performed from the start.

But when ‘Haplos’ was replaced by ‘Hindi Ko Kayang Iwan Ka’, ‘Hanggang Saan”s fortunes soon turned for the better. After scoring an average of only 12% in the ratings to ‘Haplos” 14%, ‘Hanggang Saan’ raised its mark to 14% whereas ‘Hindi Ko Kayang Iwan Ka’ fell to 10%.

In a similar manner as ‘Haplos’, ‘Hanggang Saan’ benefited from the success of ‘Asintado’, which replaced ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ as the Philippines’ top-rating afternoon series by late March. That, of course, helped save the series from the guillotine and assured that ‘Hanggang Saan’ would end on its own terms.

Overall, ‘Hanggang Saan’ will have a total of 108 episodes once it reaches its finale this Friday. While it didn’t come close to reaching the heights of Sylvia Sanchez’s previous series ‘The Greatest Love’, ‘Hanggang Saan’ still enjoyed a respectable performance on its own right.

That said, ‘Hanggang Saan”s successful run only added to Sylvia’s growing legend as a top-billing actress in her 50s. It may be a case of late blooming, but it was still good to see a career supporting actress turn into a bankable star at this point in her career.

The series also provided a boost to the careers of emerging stars Arjo Atayde (Sylvia’s real-life son) and Sue Ramirez. Both should be primed for greater roles in future projects.

On Friday afternoon, ‘Hanggang Saan’ will air its last episode. Notwithstanding the slow start, the most important thing here is the finish, and that is how this series will be remembered for it.

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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, Philippines, television

Haplos Down to Final Week, But GMA Doesn’t Care

There is something wrong about ‘Haplos’ lately.

Despite the fact that the GMA afternoon series is performing well in the ratings, the network chose not to promote its impending finale on TV or in any of its social media outlets. Instead, GMA decided to take a look at its successor series ‘Hindi Ko Kayang Iwan Ka’ (more on that later this week).

The only announcement that viewers got is this post that declares ‘Haplos” final three weeks. After that, GMA shut itself up.

This is not the first time that ‘Haplos’ got screwed by GMA management. On the day of the State of the Nation Address, GMA continued to air its afternoon dramas (‘Haplos’ included), and once President Rodrigo Duterte entered the Batasan Pambansa, ‘Haplos’ was inexplicably cut short.

That unfinished episode of ‘Haplos’ was never shown in its entirety again and GMA moved on with a new episode without any explanation whatsoever. Much like the characters of Sanya Lopez (as Angela) and Thea Tolentino (as Lucille), that episode of ‘Haplos’ ended up becoming a curse to the network for a while.

As a result, ‘Haplos’ will only have 164 completed episodes once it finishes this Friday. Counting the unfinished episode last July 24, the series will only have 164 1/3 episodes in total.

The only positive coming out of ‘Haplos’ was its constant success in the ratings. Since August, the series averaged around 14-15% and on most episodes defeated ABS-CBN counterparts ‘The Better Half’, ‘The Promise of Forever’ and ‘Hanggang Saan’ in that order.

Still, GMA’s mistreatment of ‘Haplos’ is very baffling to say the least. The series has an intriguing storyline that borders towards the supernatural and has two promising actresses in Sanya Lopez and Thea Tolentino, yet even with all the victories it accumulated, GMA screwed things up by not only leaving one episode unfinished, but also not promote its finale at all.

It will be interesting to see how a lack of hype will affect the last five episodes of ‘Haplos’. The series may have been a rousing hit, but it could end in a thud if GMA does not take the promotion of ‘Haplos’ very seriously.

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