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Ang Tunay na Bida: The Philippine Teleseryes

One of the staples in Philippine television is the teleserye. Coming from two words ‘tele,’ which is short for ‘television’ and ‘serye,’ which is the Tagalog translation of ‘series,’ a teleserye is a serialized television show. The term found its way to household-term status in 2000, with the teleserye Pangako Sa ‘Yo. Before that, it had been known by other names such as telenovela, teledrama, and soap opera. Storylines run for as long as several years, such as Mara Clara in the 1990s to a few months, such as the recently shown Marimar. Teleseryes are mainly melodramatic, although there are also elements of action, fantasy, adventure, and even comedy in some.

The earliest teleserye was Hiwaga sa Bahay na Bato in 1963 (“Philippine Drama”). Many teleseryes followed suit, with broadcasting networks fighting for the higher viewer ratings. ABS-CBN’s roster includes Esperanza in 1997; Sa Dulo ng Walang Hanggan in 2001; Marina in 2004; and Iisa Pa Lamang in 2008. On the other hand, GMA produced such teleseryes as Villa Quintana in 1996; Ikaw Lang ang Mamahalin in 2001; Marinara in 2004; and Mga Mata ni Anghelita in 2008. RPN-9 has also produced some of the biggest hits, including Flor De Luna and Gulong ng Palad; while IBC-13 is credited with Ula, Ang Batang Gubat.

Teleseryes are known for themes of hope, justice, honor and love. These run through impressionable characters whose role in the show is easy to determine. The protagonist is beautiful, kind-hearted, soft-spoken and perseverant, if not self-sacrificing; while the antagonist has a sharp-looking face, is cunning, vengeful, vile, and of course, has an evil laugh. Plotlines are usually rags to riches, and are sprinkled with familiar twists. These include the downtrodden protagonist being the ultimate heiress of the richest man in the land; a love triangle involving the protagonist and antagonist; a bad guy taking a change of heart; one character meeting by chance another character which turns out to be important to solving some mystery; and forbidden love. Stories always end positively, with the antagonist either dead or changed in repentance and the protagonist alive and with the promise of a happy life.

Not all Filipinos are fans of teleseryes. In fact, it has received criticism for recycling the same material for its viewers. However, its survival in Philippine televisions for more than four decades attest to its already being part of Philippine culture and tradition. Masses of viewers still await the latest teleserye of their show; teleserye events and characters still find their way into normal and day-to-day conversations; and teleseryes still gather the highest ratings and teleserye actors the highest popularity.

Why watch teleseryes? With all the problems that the country is experiencing, why does everyone indulge in these fictional stories whose twists and turns are predictable anyway? They may not be intellectually stimulating, politically significant, or even artistically innovative; and yet, they capture the fatalist imagination of the Filipino. Whether or not they can relate to the characters they see on the television, they believe that, as the teleseryes promise, everything will turn out alright in the end.

If you are not yet one of the millions of Filipinos who are teleserye fanatics or you failed to watch some episodes of your favorite teleseryes , why not try them on DVD. KabayanCentral has the complete and updated teleserye releases in dvd format. You can choose from the wide selection such as Lobo and Dyesebel. Now, there’s no more reason why you are not updated of the latest twists of the popular teleseryes on Philippine television. Visit our Teleseryes area to see our latest collection.

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