drama, entertainment, Philippines, suspense, television

The Last Stand of La Luna Sangre

The most physically demanding series in the careers of Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla will come to an end this week.

After 185 episodes, ‘La Luna Sangre’ officially closes its curtain Friday night. The third series in the ‘Lobo’ trilogy, ‘La Luna Sangre’ saw Kathryn and Daniel (as Malia and Tristan respectively) grow up from being mere mortals to full-fledged vampires while enduring some of the toughest challenges that proved their worth.

But KathNiel was not the only main attraction. The series also marked a comeback of sorts for Richard Gutierrez, who as the villainous Sandrino, tried to convince Malia to join the dark side.

The original duo of ‘Imortal’ in Angel Locsin and John Lloyd Cruz likewise made a cameo earlier on as Lia and Mateo respectively, though Angel returned midway through the series as Jacintha. The duo’s presence helped connect the story of ‘La Luna Sangre’ to its predecessor.

Throughout its lengthy run, ‘La Luna Sangre’ provided an avenue for new talent to shine. The series would mark the acting debut of another rising love team in MayWard (Maymay Entrata and Edward Barber), as well as former ‘Pinoy Boyband Superstar’ participant Tony Labrusca.

Not to be outdone are industry veterans who were also part of ‘La Luna Sangre’, namely Randy Santiago, Gelli de Belen, Maricar Reyes and Albert Martinez. Overall, an estimate of over 50 actors, whether in a supporting or cameo role, were included in ‘La Luna Sangre’.

As far as its performance is concerned, ‘La Luna Sangre’ far and away made a huge impression. The series constantly earned ratings in the 30s while it dispatched its GMA rivals in ‘My Love from the Star’, ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ season 2 and ‘Kambal Karibal’.

That said, the high ratings and the long run of ‘La Luna Sangre’ are further proof of KathNiel’s wide commercial appeal. But more than just KathNiel’s brilliance is the fact that both Angel Locsin and Richard Gutierrez rekindled some huge memories of past GMA projects, albeit not as a love team of years past.

It will be an interesting final five episodes for this thrilling ABS-CBN primetime series. Best of luck to ‘La Luna Sangre’ on making its last stand.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, suspense, television

Kambal Karibal Starts Tonight, Seeks to Topple La Luna Sangre

KathNiel, meet BiGuel.

It seems like nothing can stop ABS-CBN’s ‘La Luna Sangre’. After all, since it premiered last June it became the second most-watched teleserye in the Philippines behind only ‘Ang Probinsyano’.

Three times GMA has tried to curb the dominance of ‘La Luna Sangre’, and three times they miserably failed. After striking out with ‘My Love from the Star’, ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ and ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ season 2, they decided to go fire with fire by going with a supernatural theme and a love team.

Their response is a teleserye titled ‘Kambal Karibal’, starring Bianca Umali and Miguel Tanfelix. In the series, twin sisters Crisanta and Criselda (Bianca) battle for the love of both her family and Diego (Miguel), with the already dead Criselda consumed by Crisanta’s increasing affection for Diego and her mother.

The story begins with the death of Criselda from a rare disease, leaving her spirit behind that only appears to Crisanta. But after Crisanta gains the favor of Diego and her mother, Criselda decides to inhabit another person’s body in an attempt to stop Crisanta from getting the love that she deserves.

‘Kambal Karibal’ also stars Jean Garcia, Marvin Agustin, Alfred Vargas, Carmina Villarroel, Gloria Romero, Christopher De Leon, Jeric Gonzales, Pauline Mendoza, Rafa Siguion Reyna, Sheree, Racquel Montessa, and Kyline Alcantara. Katrina Halili and Gardo Versoza will also play special roles in the series.

If ‘La Luna Sangre”s ratings of over 30% and a disparity of over 15% are any indication, then ‘Kambal Karibal’ is in for a rude awakening. The powerhouse cast of ‘La Luna Sangre’, led by Kathryn Bernardo, Daniel Padilla and Kapuso castoffs Angel Locsin and Richard Gutierrez, continues to wreak havoc, and it will be very difficult for BiGuel to overcome KathNiel.

Nevertheless, the battle between ‘La Luna Sangre’ and ‘Kambal Karibal’ should be an interesting one. Not only will this be a competition between love teams, it will also be a fight between vengeful vampires and possessed spirits.

Directed by Don Michael Perez, ‘Kambal Karibal’ airs weeknights after ‘Super Ma’am’ on GMA Telebabad.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

No More Extension: My Love from the Star Ends Friday

This week will be the last hurrah for ‘My Love from the Star’.

On Friday, August 11, GMA will give viewers one final glimpse into the love story of Steffi and Matteo. Since its premiere on May 29, the unlikely pairing of Jennylyn Mercado and Gil Cuerva breathed new life into the characters originally portrayed by Korean stars Jun Ji-hyun and Kim Soo-hyun, and people who watched the original series looked in awe at the performance of the duo.

Notwithstanding the story and the actors involved, it is very surprising to see ‘My Love from the Star’ run for only a short period of time. Clocking at only 55 episodes, this series joined a dubious list of Filipino teleseryes that did not last at least 80 episodes (this included its predecessor ‘Destined to Be Yours’ which ran for only 63 episodes).

But unlike AlDub’s ill-fated debut series, the brief run of ‘My Love from the Star’ has nothing to do with the ratings (the series regularly fell victim to ‘My Dear Heart’ and ‘La Luna Sangre’ throughout its tenure). In fact, GMA planned it to run for only a short period of time in order to remain faithful to the original Korean series.

It was a shame that ‘My Love from the Star’ had to air for only a few months. The brief tenure of the show did not allow enough time for veteran Jennylyn Mercado and newcomer Gil Cuerva to develop their much-needed chemistry.

Still, as far as GMA is concerned, the pairing between Jennylyn and Gil is only temporary. Unless GMA plans to give the duo another series to work with in the future, all signs point for this on-screen duo to move on and focus on other opportunities.

In short, Jennylyn Mercado and Gil Cuerva together is like a one-off project. But if GMA is satisfied with their performance, perhaps another, longer series could be in the offing for the two.

The final five episodes of ‘My Love from the Star’ should be a great one. This will be the final opportunity to see how Steffi (Jennylyn) and Matteo (Gil) forge their love for each other.

P.S.: The final week of ‘My Love from the Star’ will be dedicated to former cast member Spanky Manikan, who unexpectedly left the show due to health reasons (it was later revealed that the actor is suffering from Stage 4 lung cancer).

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