Television: Encantadia

"Encantadia"

Eleven years ago, when I was still in college, local network GMA-7 embarked on an ambitious journey to create a fantastical world where magic and monsters exist. And although my initial intention in watching the first episode were less than honorable, I was instantly hooked.

Encantadia was nothing like anything else on television–in the Philippines or abroad. Sure, we had the Lord of the Rings, but that was a cinematic event. On television, Game of Thrones was still six years away, the Shannara Chronicles had ten years more to go. One of the earliest completely fantastical television shows, Legends of the Seeker, began in 2008. And all of those are television programs that aired once a week with a lot of time to prep and produce each episode. Encantadia was a soap opera that aired five days a week.

I’m not saying that to build up an apology for what the program was–mostly, because if you’ve seen the original series, there really isn’t anything to apologize about. Encantadia rolled with the punches and dealt with limitations and restrictions through twists that made the show all the more interesting to watch.

A new generation of viewers were born in the era of Encantadia then. Smart viewers. Viewers who liked to be challenged. Viewers who then dreamed of seeing more programs like Encantadia.

I was one of those viewers. Fast forward to ten years later, and I’m now part of the team that’s shaping the “requel” of the series that got me interested in Philippine television again.

Now, before you ask– “Requel” was a term coined to distance the new Encantadia from the string of remakes being done by the local television networks. From MariMar, to Panday, to Pangako Sa ‘Yo, the series of old soap operas being remade for new viewers was leaving a sour taste in the mouth of their target markets. It’s either the remakes were too similar to the original, or they were too different.

That’s what Encantadia 2016 is striving to avoid.

By re-telling the original story with new twists and new information, new viewers will be able to follow what happened before without boring the viewers who have seen the original run (or has since streamed the original series on iFlix). We’re reshaping the narrative so things that happened originally are told in new and surprising ways. That way, we get to keep the old fans on their toes–while tipping our hat to the fact that they know where things are going.

But all of these retelling serves only one purpose: it’s to get all viewers (old and new) abreast to the ending of the original series. It’s to familiarize everyone again with the characters that were loved before. It’s to set up a new chapter alongside the old ones.

Because a “requel” isn’t just a retelling. It’s a sequel too. And I am telling you: the fan in me? The one that dreamed to write his own fantasy series because of the original Encantadia? He’s very giddy at the plans that are being set up and planted in the first part of Encantadia 2016.

I am promising you: this is going to be one heck of a ride.

Encantadia airs weeknights after 24 Oras, on GMA Network in the Philippines.

Television: Healing Hearts and The Rich Man’s Daughter

Full disclaimer: This post is an advertisement, but I’m not getting paid for this. That’s mostly because I’m writing about two local television programs whose creative teams I am a part of. Both of which will start airing today, May 11, starting with–

"Healing Hearts"

Healing Hearts tells the story of a young woman, Liza (Joyce Ching), who has only one wish in her life: to find true happiness, by finding “something to do, someone to love…and something to live for.” The only words left behind by her late mother, who she never got to know.

In her journey to find this happiness, she meets Jay (Kristoffer Martin), an acerbic young man who wants nothing more than to get back with his old flame: Chloe (Krystal Reyes). Lucky for Jay, Liza already knows Chloe. And he proceeds to set him up, so he could win her back. Unfortunately for Liza, she falls in love with Jay in the process.

And even more unfortunate for Liza? Jay has a stepmother with a complicated past with her own mother. Her mother who was just released from prison for committing a crime of passion. The mother she did know. The mother who is now looking for her.

There’s a belief that you meet people, strangers in your life, for a reason. In Healing Hearts, Liza will meet the people who will lead her back to what she once lost. And to what she is looking for.

Healing Hearts also stars Angelika dela Cruz, Dominic Roco, Ken Chan, Tina Paner, Maureen Larrazabal, Elle Ramirez, and Ms. Mickey Ferriols. It will air weekdays, after Yagit, in GMA-7’s Afternoon Prime block.

"The Rich Man's Daughter"

In The Rich Man’s Daughter, we have the story of a very conservative Chinese family whose world gets rocked by the secrets that they’ve all been keeping. Secrets that begin to spill out when Jade (Rhian Ramos), the youngest and most favorite Tanchingco, realizes she’s in love with someone other than the man she was supposed to marry. And much to her family’s chagrin, that someone else is of the same sex.

And so begins what is being touted as the most provocative drama on Philippine television.

The Rich Man’s Daughter also stars Glaiza de Castro, Luis Alandy, Mike Tan, TJ Trinidad, Katrina Halili, Chynna Ortaleza, and Ms. Gloria Romero. The cast also includes Pauleen Luna, Sheena Halili, Paolo Contis, Charee Pineda, Tony Mabesa, Al Tantay, Glydel Mercado, Bing Davao, Mosang, and Bryan Benedict. It will air weeknights, after Let the Love Begin, as part of GMA Telebabad.

Mythology Class makes a comeback this November at Komikon!

"The Mythology Class Relaunch"

After bringing back Arnold Arre’s Trip to Tagaytay for a new generation of readers to enjoy, Nautilus Comics is at it again! This time, they’re reviving another much loved graphic novel from Arnold Arre: The Mythology Class! And you can get the new edition this coming November 15, at Komikon!

The second edition of The Mythology Class will come out with three all-new cover variants, with each variant being exclusively available at specific outlets. The one you see in the headline? That’s the convention variant, which will be first made available on Komikon, and will be available in other special events.

If you order from now until November 13 though, you can pre-order all three variant covers for the special Komikon price of 450 pesos! Find out how through this event page.

And as for where to find the other two variants after this promo, do check out Nautilus’s Facebook fan page!

In other Nautilus news, Issue #12 of Cast has another variant cover released–this time from Stephen Segovia. This is the variant cover you will find with Filbar’s at SM North EDSA, SM Megamall, SM Fairview, Festival Mall, at the Ayala Fairview Terraces, and at Comic Odyssey Robisons Galleria.

If you’re looking for the other variants; Jhomar Soriano’s cover is available at Fully Booked branches, while Harvey Tolibao’s will once again be available on Komikon, this coming November 15.

Now, if you’re looking for new stories from Cast creator Jamie Bautista, do check out Date Works–which has been nominated for Best Webcomic at this year’s Komikon Awards! If you haven’t voted, you can vote ‘here.’ But I am not obliging you to vote for Date Works.

Before I end this; Trip to Tagaytay is also still available in the mentioned Filbar branches, at Fully Booked, and at comic conventions where Nautilus Comics will next appear.

Oh, and Arnold Arre will be at Nautilus’s booth this Komikon too. So if you want anything signed…

This is not a paid advertisement, I am genuinely supporting Nautilus Comics.

I am supporting the Filipino Readers Convention too, even if I can’t be a part of it this year. If you have the time, do drop by on November 14, at the Bayanihan Center, and find out what the pressing issues with today’s generation of readers are!

Television: Ang Dalawang Mrs Real

"Ang Dalawang Mrs Real"

Are films and television programs about a philandering husband and the drama it entails about to reach its saturation point? We’ve gone from No Other Woman to My Neighbor’s Wife, from The Temptation of Wife to The Legal Wife. Are there any more ways to tell the same story?

There is. Actually.

My Husband’s Lover changed the landscape of how a soap opera can be told, with its quiet confrontations instead of screaming matches. And GMA Network is hoping to do the same with its newest offering: Ang Dalawang Mrs Real (trans: The Two Mrs Real). But it’s also hoping to do more.

In Ang Dalawang Mrs Real, the man in question isn’t a philanderer. Anthony Real (Dingdong Dantes) is a good man. A little too proud, a little too hard-headed, but he has a heart that bleeds for the oppressed. So how does a ‘good’ man get into bed with two women? How does a ‘good’ man end up married to two women who know nothing about the existence of the other?

That is not the story of Ang Dalawang Mrs Real–but the answers to those questions will set up the changes that will affect all the characters in the show. No one will be left unscathed.

In other programs, the confrontation of the problem usually happens in the middle of the story, with the momentum from the revelations propelling to show to a happy ending. But what if there’s no possible happy ending for any of the characters?

Ang Dalawang Mrs Real aims to share a story that’s realistic of today’s struggles and values. The revelations isn’t a far-off idea that viewers will be forced to wait for. They will, instead, serve as catalysts for the real stories to begin. Stories that are usually avoided. Stories that are now going to be told. On GMA Telebabad.

Ang Dalawang Mrs Real also stars Ms. Maricel Soriano, Lovi Poe, Alessandra de Rossi, Rodjun Cruz, Marc Abaya, Dominic Roco, Jaime Fabregas, Robert Arevalo, theater actress and folk singer Celeste Legaspi, Tommy Abuel, Susan Africa, Diva Montelaba, Robert Sena, Marco Alcaraz, and returning after two decades to the Kapuso Network: Ms. Coney Reyes. The soap opera will be directed by Andoy Ranay (One True Love, Mundo Mo’y Akin), with the creative team of Suzette Doctolero (Encantadia, Amaya, My Husband’s Lover) and Geng delos Reyes-Delgado.

Press Release: Introducing Buqo – the all-new premier Filipino digital bookstore app

"Buqo"

Don’t worry, I’m not turning into a press release portal. I just kind of ran out of queued blog posts, and the press releases (that I want to post) came in, and I didn’t want to space them out just because I don’t have any original content yet.

Anyway, here’s a press release from Summit Media about Buqo–the all-new premier Filipino digital bookstore app:

Reading a book is cool, but reading a book on your device is awesome. Why? Well, for one, you can carry around an entire library of e-books and digital magazines in your tablet as opposed to lugging two or three thick paperbacks when you go on trips. Imagine this: With just a swipe or a tap of your finger, you can enjoy your favorite books and magazines anytime, anywhere.

All that is now possible through Buqo—the premier Filipino digital bookstore!

Buqo what?

Buqo is a digital bookstore, newsstand and reader in one app. It carries a wide selection of Filipino reads that caters to various interests. Whether you’re into romance, fiction, teen literature or motivational materials, buqo has the perfect offering suited for you.  Its catalog is also brimming with specialty titles sure to whet your appetite—from travel, food and leisure to cars, fitness and entertainment.

To date, Buqo has over 500 books and magazines and counting, with familiar names such as Pol Medina’s Pugad Baboy, Bo Sanchez’s Shepherd’s Voice, Precious Hearts Romances, Summit Media, and Adarna Children’s Books, already in the fold.

Easy and convenient

If you are a tech newbie, fret not. Buqo is absolutely easy to use and navigate. Its intuitive design makes purchasing, downloading and reading on your device fun and easy. Once you have fully downloaded the content you want, you can enjoy reading your book or magazine offline. One of the best features of Buqo is that you can access your entire library on all your device—whether iOS or Android—with just one account. All you need to do is create a Buqo account and you can enjoy reading on up to 7 of your devices.

Just think about it, isn’t it great to indulge in some fun light reading while riding the MRT on your way to work or while you’re stuck in traffic somewhere in the metro? You can even read while on a long ride to the province.  Anywhere you are, you can count on Buqo to keep you company.

Get Free Magazines

Downloading Buqo now is a great idea for two reasons. First, you get freebies! And you won’t be getting just any item; you’ll be getting bestselling magazine titles from Summit Media. Second, the promo is only for a limited period. Once you download the app, you get to try out all of Buqo’s fantastic features and you get to enjoy bestselling magazines, too!

Wide Selection

Buqo offers a wide selection of different publications that will suit any taste. You may even discover new books and magazines that you previously haven’t seen. You could find yourself snickering while reading Chico, Delamar and Gino’s Top 10 Book, Manix Abrera’s hilarious Kiko Machine Komiks or Pol Medina’s Pugad Baboy Series. You could also follow the “resurgence” of Pinoy comics with well-crafted titles from MythSpace, Pinoy Old School Komiks (the reincarnation of the 90’s cult favorite Funny Komiks) and the highly acclaimed Trese Comics.

If you are more of the serious reader type, we have books for you, too. Buqo has academic, investigative journalism and non-fiction genres. Get books from the likes of DLSU Press, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Rappler & Colayco Foundation.

How about books for becoming a better you? Get that much needed boost from Buqo’s self-help & business/finance collections that cover areas of health, career, relationships, parenting, business, and finance. Here you’ll find titles such as OMF Literature’s Ang Pera na Hindi Bitin, Faye Valencia’s 77 Way to Move On, and Larry Gamboa’s Grow Rich Pinoy.

Buqo is also the way to go if you’re looking for inspirational and spiritual reads. Dig in to a host of bestselling books from OMF Literature and Shepherd’s Voice such as Bo Sanchez’s 8 Habits of a Happy Millionaire. There is also a wide array of children’s books from Lampara & Adarna that the kids will surely love.

And of course, in Buqo, you’ll find love—love stories that is! We have lots of heartwarming, kilig-inducing titles to choose from. You’ll find the likes of Mina Esguerra’s That Kind of Guy, Pop Fiction’s She’s Dating a Gangster (soon-to-be a movie) and Summit Book’s Vince’s Life series. You’ll be delighted to know that Buqo also carries the coolest tagalog romance novels. Tagalog romance books from Precious Hearts Romances (whose works have been adapted on TV) as well as Bookware Publishing’s My Precious Valentine.

Aside from books, Buqo also has the best local magazines in the land. Here, you can get the current issues up to several years’ worth of back issues. We have cool magazines for everyone. For men, we have FHM Philippines, Entrepreneur, Top Gear, and Esquire Philippines. Women get to enjoy their favorites like YES!, Cosmopolitan Philippines, Preview, Good Housekeeping and Smart Parenting.

Foodies would really get a kick out of F & B World & Yummy Magazine. The design buffs can get their fix from Real Living, Space Design + Travel and Elle Decoration Philippines. Fitness enthusiasts can get their copies of Men’s Health, Women’s Health, and Runner’s World. The young ones also get their fair share of magazines. In Buqo, they can get K-Zone, Candy, Total Girl & Sparkling.

Being a registered Buqo user also has its perks. You get to be part of the Buqo newsletter, giving you first dibs on new content and the latest promos. Best of all, you get to participate in exclusive Buqo special offers.

Download Buqo now and be on your way to reading your favorite Pinoy books on the go, now available on the AppStore for Apple users and Google Play Store for Android users. Follow this link to download Buqo.

For more updates, log on to http://www.buqo.ph, become a fan on Facebook via http://www.facebook.com/buqoapp, and follow Buqo on Twitter via @Buqo.

I’ve actually read some of the books mentioned, so I added links to those too–if in case you’re interested to read my thoughts on them before buying them through Buqo. But yeah, Buqo.

Note: This is not a paid advertisement. They sent me the press release, and I like the idea–even if I’m not e-reader myself, I know a lot of people who are. So this one’s for you, guys.

Press Release: First Pop Fiction Festival brings authors and fans together

"1st Pop Fiction Festival"

The following is a press release from Summit Books about their recent event: the first Pop Fiction Festival:

Summit Books, National Book Store, and Market! Market! held a grand gathering that was truly one for the books as the first-ever Pop Fiction Festival conquered the Market! Market Activity Center on February 8, 2014.

It was the first time that the authors of Pop Fiction, Summit Books’ fast-growing online chick lit imprint, gathered in full force to meet with their readers. Present at the Pop Fiction Festival were Bianca Bernardino (SGWannabe), Jade Margarette Pitogo (Girlinlove), Kimberly Joy Villanueva (Ilurvbooks), Leng de Chavez (Shirlengtearjerky), Ariesa Jane Domingo(Beeyotch), Jessamine Verzosa (Peachxvision), Louisse Carreon (Fallenbabybubu), and Jhing Bautista (Kwento Ni Jhingness), who all met with and signed copies of their books for fans.

Celebrity appearances hiked up the fun at the Pop Fiction Festival, with young stars Myrtle Sarrosa and Alexander Diaz doing hosting duties and teen heartthrobs Jerome Ponce and The Perkins Twins serenading the crowd.

The event also served as the book launch of Three Words Eight Letters: If I Say It, Will I Be Yours?, the sequel to Jade Margarette Pitogo’s Three Words, Eight Letters, Say It, and I’m Yours and Pop Fiction’s first sequel offering to date. The lucky festival attendees got their hands on the first copies of the new release, which were sold at the National Book Store booth.

Fans also got to complete their Pop Fiction collections at the event, take home freebies such as exclusive buttons and bookmarks, and have their picture taken with the authors and their life-sized avatar standees—rounding out an unforgettable experience for the readers and writers alike.

For more photos from the Pop Fiction Festival, click here. For updates on Summit Books and Pop Fiction, like on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SummitBooks and http://www.facebook.com/PopFictionBooks, and follow us on Twitter via @SummitMedia_PH for more Summit Books updates.

I really must commend Summit Book’s passion in engaging a new generation of readers. Personally though, I would’ve loved for Summit Books to have also included their own roster of authors (the non-Pop Fiction ones) to introduce these (relatively) new readers to.

Maybe next year?

Press Release: LitFest turns folk, pop!

"Poptastik!"

Hey, y’all! You guys already know about the 3rd Filipino ReaderCon that’s happening this coming November 9, but there’s another book-related event that’s also coming out way this November!

The Ayala Museum has teamed up with the National Book Development Board and the Filipino Heritage Library to bring us POPtastik Pinoy!: a Celebration of Pinoy Pop Culture in Literature, Film, and Komiks! To find out more about the event, check out the press release that the Ayala Foundation had sent out:

Filipino writers will discuss folk and popular literature as shown in komiks, TV, and film as the National Book Development Board (NBDB), Filipinas Heritage Library (FHL), and Ayala Museum hold POPtastik Pinoy! this November.

The event is part of the 4th Philippine International Literary Festival. Titled Text and the City, the LitFest will take place in the major universities in Metro Manila from November 11-14 and culminating at the Ayala Museum on November 15, from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Promotional activities will also be held at the Makati Ayala Malls from November 17 to 24.

The November 15 event is a whole day series of talks which will cover the following topics: “Folklore in Pop Literature (komiks, graphic novels, novels, short stories, and TV);” “Kuwentuhan on Komiks;” and “Writing in Different Genres.” Among the panel discussants and moderators are comic artists Manix Abrera, Noel Pascual, AJ Bernardo, Karen Francisco, and Budjette Tan; novelists Eros Atalia, Luna Sicat Cleto, and Edgar Samar; scriptwriter Suzette Doctolero; fictionists Sarge Lacuesta and Yvette Tan; journalists Ruel de Vera and Kristine Fonacier; and Prof. Patrick Campos.

Celebrated writers Tony Perez and Rolando Tolentino will open the POPtastik Pinoy! program of activities with talks of writing and the city. Korean-American writer Krys Lee will then discuss her short story compilation Drifting House. Lee will be joined by Sarge Lacuesta, Andrea Pasion-Flores, and Kristine Fonacier for a flash fiction writing masterclass, “City Fiction 100,” while other pocket lectures are being held in the Ayala Museum function rooms.

From 5:00 pm, writer and educator Isagani R. Cruz will hold another seminar on “How to write a book” for professional and amateur writers. Garitony Nicolas will also share his experience of publishing his own books with the help of Central Books, the first publisher-on-demand in the Philippines.

The LitFest will stretch to the following week at the Ayala Malls. On November 17, a marathon of GMA films will be held at the New Glorietta Activity Center, along with a mini fair for indie komiks creators and sellers and small or independent publishers. The public can also view GMA 7 telefantasya costumes at Ground Floor Greenbelt 3 from November 18 to 24.

POPtastik Pinoy! is supported by Ayala Malls, GMA Network, Brother Philippines Inc., Intercontinental Hotel, the Book Development Association of the Philippines (BDAP), the Korea Copyright Commission (KCC), Fully Booked, and McDonald’s.