the story really begins when bernard (raymart santiago) is killed, leaving his three children without any parent. but he knows that his missing wife is somewhere, and she needs help too.
when bernard, in spirit form, sees his children in danger, he intuitively tries to protect them–accidentally infusing his spirit to the family dog who also wanted to protect the children. so now you have BANTATAY.
the tv show’s title is actually a play on two words: “bantay” which means “to guard” and is also a popular name for dogs here in the philippines, and “tatay” which means “father”.
sure, the man in dog’s body premise has been done before. you have hollywood’s SHAGGY DOG. it’s even been done in reverse, in MAGIC TO WIN 5, where the dog turns into a man to protect the master he loves from her cruel boyfriend. but infused in a family drama targeted to the more impressionable bracket of children, this is a new thing.
especially in philippine television.
admittedly, i am writing about the show with a little bias. i am one of the show’s researcher-slash-brainstormer. but even if i hadn’t been part of the show’s creative team, i would have been writing about this series because it’s something different from the usual soap-opera we see on television.
sure BANTATAY has its own soap elements: the missing mother, the cruel relatives, etcetera. but at the heart of it, it’s about three children trying to get by, with their father in the guise of a dog, doing his best to protect them. it’s a feel-good story about how some people might be out-and-out bad, but there are still those who have inherent good in them.
BANTATAY started airing last september 20, but i wanted to see the show first before i actually wrote about it. after all, reading the script and seeing the final product are two separate things. i know this only too well.
the show airs late weekday afternoons, before gma-7’s telecast of 24 ORAS.