drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Long Overdue: JoshLia Stars in Ngayon at Kailanman

Call it an ‘I wish they should have done this a long time ago’ moment.

The love team of Joshua Garcia and Julia Barretto have been in the headlines for as long as fans can remember. But while they made some noise in films like ‘Unexpectedly Yours’, ‘Vince and Kath and James’ and ‘Love You to the Stars and Back’, their chemistry has yet to be tested on television.

To their credit, Joshua and Julia already starred in a few teleseryes individually (most recently Julia was included in ‘A Love to Last’ while Joshua last appeared in ‘The Good Son’). However, the incoming teleserye ‘Ngayon at Kailanman’ will mark the first series in which the two are on the same script.

Via ABS-CBN PR:

“Ngayon at Kailanman” is an ode to classic Filipino teleseryes about star-crossed lovers, who must fight the odds to be together. It stars Joshua as Inno, an heir of the powerful Cortes clan, and Julia as Eva, a streetwise girl who grew up in the slums.

Though they are from different worlds, destiny will bring them together but also tear them apart. While their love will be tested by the Cortes family and the mystery surrounding the identity of Eva, it is up to them to decide what they are willing to risk for their love.

‘Ngayon at Kailanman’ will also mark the return of legendary actress Rosemarie Gil on the small screen as the matriarch to the Cortes clan. Completing the entire cast are Rio Locsin, Iza Calzado, Christian Vasquez, Alice Dixon, Ina Raymundo, Dominic Ocha, TJ Trinidad, Jameson Blake and Joao Constancia.

For all their success in film, Joshua and Julia will have their hands full connecting with the ever-demanding world of primetime television. After all, ‘Ngayon at Kailanman”s predecessor ‘Bagani’ failed to make an impact in spite of its impressive ratings, which only puts great pressure on JoshLia to succeed.

That said, the expectations to excel will be of huge importance to ‘Ngayon at Kailanman’. The series should be more than satisfied in reaching 30% ratings or better during its run, but if it goes below that on a regular basis, then it will be trouble for ABS-CBN.

Directed by Mae Cruz-Alviar and Elfren Vibar, ‘Ngayon at Kailanman’ airs after ‘Ang Probinsyano’ on ABS-CBN Primetime Bida.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

The Good Son: One Last Time

‘Who killed Victor?’

For several months, ‘The Good Son’ has been trying to solve the mystery behind the gruesome murder of Victor, played by Albert Martinez. Now it has come down to which one of Victor’s four sons and their immediate family will be proven innocent of the crime.

Since its premiere on September 25, 2017, ABS-CBN’s ‘The Good Son’ became one of the network’s top-rated programs. During its run, the series averaged around 20% in the ratings, besting more light-hearted competition in GMA’s ‘My Korean Jagiya’ and ‘The One That Got Away’.

The return to a more serious formula and the emphasis towards young stars have helped ‘The Good Son’ achieve tremendous success throughout its run. In past years, lighter dramas dominated Primetime Bida’s fourth slot, but after ‘On the Wings of Love’ the approach wore thin.

Reverting back to a darker atmosphere reminiscent of series such as ‘The Legal Wife’ may have been the most daring decision that ABS-CBN ever did, but ‘The Good Son”s unexpected surge has brought new life to Primetime Bida’s fourth slot. However, this was not the only reason behind its popularity.

Continuing ABS-CBN’s commitment towards youth, the series gave rising artists Nash Aguas, Jerome Ponce, Joshua Garcia, McCoy de Leon, Loisa Andallo, Alexa Ilacad and Elisse Joson the green light to show their acting prowess. It was a formula that somehow worked to ‘The Good Son”s favor, helping the series outpace its GMA counterparts who continued to rely on older stars.

More importantly, these artists gained a new legion of followers, both on television and on social media. For Joshua Garcia, starring in a series without frequent on-screen partner Julia Barretto may be a risky choice, but it proved to be a blessing in disguise as he was able to thrive alongside his contemporaries.

In many ways, ‘The Good Son’ became a series that ABS-CBN should be proud of. More than just the young stars that thrived in a starring role, it was the series’ themes of innocence, guilt and doubt that helped ‘The Good Son’ become a top-ten program in the country.

Friday will mark ‘The Good Son”s 143rd and final episode. On its last night, the innocent one will be revealed, but who will be rightfully called ‘The Good Son?’

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

A Love to Last, For the Last Time

The curtains finally fall on the Andeng-Anton saga.

On Friday, September 22, ‘A Love to Last’ will air its final episode. The ABS-CBN primetime drama series has been on the air since January 9, and for the most part, it was a ratings success.

Initially, ‘A Love to Last’ replaced ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’ on Primetime Bida’s fourth slot. While the series defeated GMA’s ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ in its first two weeks, ABS-CBN quickly realized that ‘A Love to Last’ was not a good fit for the fourth slot.

On January 23, ‘A Love to Last’ was moved to the fifth slot replacing the JaDine-starred ‘Till I Met You’, and would stay that way for the remainder of its run. Despite criticisms that the show was a ‘snoozefest’ (one commenter even labeled it as an ‘antok-serye’), ‘A Love to Last’ was able to thrive in its new timeslot.

Along the way, ‘A Love to Last’ surged past ‘Meant to Be’ (which premiered on the same day as ‘A Love to Last’), ‘I Heart Davao’ and ‘My Korean Jagiya’ in the ratings game. The series was also popular on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Overall, ‘A Love to Last’ will have a total of 183 episodes when it was all said and done. That total alone is quite impressive considering that the series was assigned to the fifth slot where viewership is less than those of the first four slots.

For viewers who have tuned in to ‘A Love to Last’ from the beginning, the love story between Anton (Ian Veneracion) and Andeng (Bea Alonzo) was a thrill to watch. The duo showed remarkable chemistry despite the fact that it was the first time that they were paired together.

It also helped that Iza Calzado, as Andeng’s rival Grace, showed some poise and character in her first foray as a villain. Her portrayal of Grace proved that Iza is just as effective playing the bad girl as she was playing the good girl.

Finally, the supporting cast of ‘A Love to Last’ should be commended for adding plenty of flavor to the series. Throughout its run, Julia Barretto, JK Labajo, Ronnie Alonte and Enchong Dee have had their moments to shine, and the success of ‘A Love to Last’ only added to their growing reputations as stars on the rise.

Come this Friday, the love story of Anton and Andeng is about to end. But for the viewers of ‘A Love to Last’, the series’ memories will last a lifetime.

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comedy, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

A Love to Last and Meant to Be: Primetime’s Opening Salvos This 2017

Two new teleseryes get their baptism of fire in the second week of 2017.

On ABS-CBN, Bea Alonzo and Ian Veneracion star in the upcoming series ‘A Love to Last’. A family drama, ‘A Love to Last’ tells the story of Andeng (Bea) and Anton (Ian), two individuals whose fates intertwined thanks to the crumbling relationships with their significant others.

Andeng, a breadwinner and a successful events organizer, was about to get married when she caught her fiancé cheating with another woman. Anton, on the other hand, was a company president and CEO, married to Grace (Iza Calzado) and had three children, only to see her leave and file for annulment.

Both eventually found love with each other in the most unexpected of ways. However, Andeng must first deal with Anton’s marital problems in hopes of gaining his acceptance.

‘A Love to Last’ also stars Enchong Dee, Julia Barretto, Ronnie Alonte, JK Labajo and Hannah Vito. It is directed by Jerry Lopez Sineneng and Richard Arellano.

Fresh from the successful-but-not-quite-impressive run of ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’, ABS-CBN is pinning its hopes on ‘A Love to Last’ to reverse a downward trend of sub-30% ratings in recent months. But as Bea and Ian were already industry veterans with nothing left to prove, it remains to be seen if viewers can still accept them as a force in primetime.

Over on GMA, a much lighter story will take place in the upcoming series ‘Meant to Be’, starring Barbie Forteza, Ken Chan, Jak Roberto, Addy Raj and Ivan Dorschner. It will be Barbie’s first primetime series since the not-so successful team-up with Andre Paras in ‘That’s My Amboy’ last year.

Joining them in this complicated love story are the ‘Triplets’ of ‘That’s Entertainment’ in Sheryl Cruz, Tina Paner and Manilyn Reynes, along with Keempee de Leon, Sef Cadayona, Mika dela Cruz, Stephanie Sol, Zymic Jaranilla and Ms. Gloria Romero. It will be directed by LA Madridejos.

In ‘Meant to Be’, Billie (Barbie) is an independent millenial whose life would soon revolve among the four men who will try to woo her heart; namely Fil-Brit Ethan (Ivan), Fil-Indian Jai (Addy), pure-blooded Filipino Macoy (Jak), and Fil-Chinese Yuan (Ken). But choosing the only guy that will fill her heart is not the only problem for Billie.

Billie will also deal with the crumbling relationship of her parents Wilton (Keempee) and Amelia (Manilyn), and the unemployment of her brother Bats (Sef). In addition, a sub-plot about Billie’s friendship with Mariko (Mika), and the once-formidable bond between Amelia, Suzy (Tina) and Beatriz (Sheryl) as a girl group will also be explored.

‘Meant to Be”s premiere will come at a not-so opportune time, as the JaDine-starred ‘Till I Met You’ reaches its final two weeks. With only a few episodes to prove themselves, it will be a huge challenge for this rom-com to make a first impression to Kapuso viewers.

Either way, both ‘A Love to Last’ and ‘Meant to Be’ are worth the wait for those who anticipate it. Good luck to both shows.

‘A Love to Last’ airs weeknights after ‘Ang Probinsyano’ on ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida, while ‘Meant to Be’ airs weeknights after ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ on GMA Telebabad.

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entertainment, movies, Philippines, television

MMFF in Challenging Position With Emphasis on Quality

MMFF mainstays such as 'Enteng Kabisote' are a thing of the past as organizers emphasize more on quality than commercial success in this year's filmfest. (Photo credit: Cebu Daily News)

Without blockbuster franchises and stars such as Vic Sotto’s ‘Enteng Kabisote’ series, the new-look MMFF faces an uphill battle this year. (Photo credit: Cebu Daily News)

This is a From the Tube special report. The views and opinions expressed in this article are that of the author and do not reflect those of the Metro Manila Film Festival.

This year’s Metro Manila Film Festival will be a different experience for moviegoers and viewers alike.

Gone are the top drawers, big-spending production outfits and movie franchises that made the MMFF an annual Christmas tradition. Instead, the eight official full-length films will feature mostly independent productions, some of which were previously screened in other film festivals around the world.

The eight entries are:

  • Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 2: #ForeverIsNotEnough – directed by Marlon Rivera; stars Eugene Domingo, Jericho Rosales, Kean Cipriano, Khalil Ramos, and Cai Cortez
  • Die Beautiful – directed by Jun Robles Lana; stars Paolo Ballesteros, Joel Torre, Gladys Reyes, Luis Alandy, Albie Casiño, and Iza Calzado
  • Kabisera – directed by Arturo San Agustin and Real Florido; stars Ms. Nora Aunor, Ricky Davao, JC De Vera, Luis Alandy, Jason Abalos, and RJ Agustin
  • Oro – directed by Alvin Yapan; stars Irma Adlawan, Mercedes Cabral, and Joem Bascon
  • Saving Sally – directed by Avid Liongoren; stars Rhian Ramos, and Enzo Marcos
  • Seklusyon – directed by Erik Matti; stars Rhed Bustamante, Phoebe Walker, Elora Espano, Neil Ryan Sese, Ronnie Alonte, Lou Veloso, Dominique Roque, John Vic De Guzman, and JR Versales
  • Sunday Beauty Queen – directed by Babyruth Villarama Gutierrez; stars Hazel Perdido, Cherrie Mae Bretana, Mylyn Jacobo, Leo Selomenio, and Rudelyn Acosta
  • Vince & Kath & James – directed by Ted Boborol; stars Julia Barretto, Joshua Garcia, and Ronnie Alonte

The selections were based on the following criteria: story, audience appeal and overall impact (40%); cinematic attributes or technical expertise (40%); global appeal (10%); and Filipino sensibility (10%). In essence, the MMFF organizers wanted to feature a greater emphasis on quality rather than commercialism alone.

Even though the change in approach is crucial in providing a more even playing field, promoting these films could pose a challenge. Many of the films were produced by independent companies, while a majority of them feature second or third-tier actors, some of whom are relative unknowns.

Let’s face it, while Eugene Domingo has box-office potential (‘Ang Babae sa Septic Tank’ raked in millions during its initial run), she is no Vic Sotto or Vice Ganda. And while Julia Barretto and Joshua Garcia are not a bad tandem, they are no AlDub or KathNiel in the appeal department.

The major television networks such as ABS-CBN and GMA, once major players in the MMFF, are in a similar predicament. In previous years, both played a big role in the success of MMFF entries, but with this year’s field, they may not be a factor at all.

This does not mean that all eight films are bad, however. They are still worth watching as far as moviegoers go, but it will be up to them to become seriously interested with these entries.

Come Christmas Day, all eyes will be on the eight Metro Manila Film Festival entries. Still, it remains to be seen if this year’s filmfest will be a blockbuster or a flop.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Destiny Rose, And I Love You So End Tomorrow

Another ‘Battle of the Finales’ takes place tomorrow afternoon.

ABS-CBN’s ‘And I Love You So’ and GMA’s ‘Destiny Rose’ will officially conclude after their respective runs of 70 and 130 episodes. The two series have been on a collision course since December of last year, with both shows exchanging ratings victories on numerous occasions.

‘Destiny Rose’ premiered on September 14, 2015, and was the latest GMA series to tackle LGBT issues (similar to ‘My Husband’s Lover’ and ‘The Rich Man’s Daughter’). The series starred Ken Chan as a transwoman, and was joined by Fabio Ide, Katrina Halili, Manilyn Reynes, Michael de Mesa and Joko Diaz, among others.

Replacing ‘Healing Hearts’ on Afternoon Prime, ‘Destiny Rose’ initially struggled in the ratings when it premiered, but soon managed to win the hearts of viewers with the transformation of Ken’s character into a woman. Like the two prior LGBT-themed GMA series, its story received numerous praise from critics.

‘And I Love You So’, on the other hand, premiered on December 7, 2015, and it starred Julia Barretto and Miles Ocampo as rivals turned stepsisters. They were joined by Dimples Romana, Tonton Gutierrez and Angel Aquino, among others.

Premiering as a replacement to the short-lived Kapamilya series ‘Walang Iwanan’, ‘And I Love You So’ proved that it can keep up with ‘Destiny Rose’ in the ratings. But unlike their fellow Kapamilya Gold dramas ‘Doble Kara’, ‘All of Me’ and ‘Tubig at Langis’, ‘And I Love You So’ was unable to dominate, which should bother the cast given the potential of both Julia and Miles.

In any event, this should be an exciting ‘Battle of the Finales’. For ‘And I Love You So’ and ‘Destiny Rose’, it’s all about finishing on a right note, and tomorrow afternoon, viewers will find out how their stories conclude.

Meanwhile, ABS-CBN and GMA have announced replacements for the two series. The Kapamilya network will go back to airing Koreanovelas with ‘My Love Donna’, while the Kapuso network will counter with ‘The Millionaire’s Wife’.

More on that in upcoming articles.

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