Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Teleseryes - Ang Tunay na Bida ng Telebisyon

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 of your favorite teleseryes. You can choose from a wide selection recent teleseryes such as Lobo and Dyesebel. Or classics like John en Marsha, the longest-running and most memorable comedy series ever to hit Philippine television!

Now, there’s no more reason why you are not updated of the latest twists of the popular teleseryes on Philippine television. Get your Teleseryes from
KabayanCentral.com - The World's Filipino Movie Store.

Pinoy Bands Making Waves in the Philippine Music Industry

In the 1990s, Philippines bands have surged through the music scene, gaining support from Filipinos at a scale they have yet to enjoy. The influx of pinoy bands at such time, including but not limited to the Eraserheads, Rivermaya, Wolfgang, Fatal Posporos, Keltscross, Color it Red, Sugar Hiccup, and Put3ska as well as the flourishing number of venues for live gigs such as Club Dredd and Mayric’s were accurate indicators that OPM songs as delivered by these rock bands have found a steady, sturdy following.

This was a natural consequence after the rise of the Original Pinoy Music of the 1970s. Filipino musicians finally gained the support from fellow Filipinos usually reserved for the likes of Madonna or Michael Jackson. Filipino music became closer to the real and modern Filipino experience than earlier musicians.

For a time, however, the scene was engulfed again by the international music scene with the advent of foreign boy bands with clear skins and shrill melodies and girl groups with matching sexually provocative outfits and coordinated names have reigned over music channels, radio airplays, record sales and the dreams of the youth, most tragically.

But this affection for foreign talent prove to be short-lived as Filipino listeners grew ready for real music closer to their reality as much as musicians have gone daring with their creativity.

By 2003, record sales in the Philippines tipped in favor of local artists, with estimates reaching 70% of the total Filipino music market. Mere observations also become evidence of this maturity as local songs ruled the airwaves, adopted as official soundtrack of local and international movies, computer games, TV series, and even sports events; and as local artists are continuously featured by music channels here and abroad, compete and win several international competitions.

Pinoy band were featured in local and international magazines. Truly,
Filipino Music is not only for the local market but also for the international community (encouraged by 10 million Filipinos the world over!).

Who at this time hasn’t heard or known about bands such as Chicosci, Queso, Pupil, Greyhoundz, Sandwich, Imago, or Parokya Ni Edgar? Who didn't rave about the Eraserheads a few years back, and about the Eraserheads reunion?

Musical events and awards shows, whether sponsored by radio stations, universities, organizations or those regularly held in clubs and bars, kept the music scene alive and kicking. More and more musicians are coming out of their regional turf and sharing their craft with the rest of the country.

Yet another proof of how self-sustaining the Philippines is, we simply never run out of more Filipino artists with more to share. The Typecast from Laguna; Urbandub from Cebu; and Gayuma from Batangas.

What is more interesting and positive is the unity among bands in the country amidst the diversity in their sounds and styles and backgrounds. Indeed, there is kapatiran among these bands that lie behind compilation albums, tribute concerts, song collaborations, project bands, and the featuring of up-and-coming bands with the veterans. In the past years up to the present, albums such as Silver Shiny Jeepney, Doobie Nights, Ultraelectromagneticjam, T-Shirt Day, Mga Gitarista and Music Max Bicol have been released. The variety of and within these albums speaks of the levels that local
Filipino artists have reached and are ready to explore both music-wise and in terms of their creative relationships. Such send the signal that there is more to come and that there is room for more.

Get copies of the
music cd’s and albums released by these Filipino artists from the World's Filipino Music Store.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Blazing the Trail with Indie Films

The Filipino moviegoer has always been easy to please. When he goes to the cinema or rents CDs and DVDs, he is simply looking for a good story, preferably one he can relate to. Filmmakers realized this a long time ago, and serving proof to such connection is the existence of what seems to be a formula for making a Filipino movie. There’s the rags-to-riches story, the vengeance-is-mine plot, the you-and-me-against-the-world theme, and the being-poor-can-be -funny portrayal. These are familiar stories that awaken Filipino sentiments as they carry the Filipino cultural experience. But as that experience changes, so should the perspectives and approaches that represent them.

There are always newer, fresher and more relevant portrayals of the Filipino culture, which filmmakers with braver perspectives and directives other than citing the dough have been raising the Filipino flag with. Free from the constraints of corporate media, independent filmmakers show what authenticity is made of.

One of these is Lagusan, a film about the lives of an abortionist and her son who did not know of his true identity. Lagusan earned the award of Best Drama Feature Film at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival in 2004. There is also Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros, which features an adolescent boy who faces the challenges of growing up a homosexual in a poor and conservative family and society. This has earned for itself several local and international exhibitions, nominations and awards, including the Montreal World Film Festival, Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival and the Sundance Film Festival all in 2005. Kubrador, depicting the twists and turns of the life of an ordinary bet collector of jueteng, has won four awards and 16 nominations from international film festivals, within 2006, including the Moscow International Film Festival for Best Picture, the Osian-Cinefan International Film Festival, and the Vancouver International Film Festival. Donsol, a story involving the whale sharks in Sorsogon known as the butanding and two people whose lives became intertwined with the migration seasons of the fish, have won in the Asian Marine Film Festival and Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival in 2006, as well as earned was the official selection for other film festivals including the Cairo International Film Festival and the Asian Festival of 1st Films.

This year in May, Serbis by Brillante Mendoza and Now Showing by Raya Martin have been accepted as entries in the 61st Cannes Film Festival. This is first time in more than 20 years that the Philippines had been able to enter such prestigious festival, succeeding only to Lino Brocka’s Jaguar in 1980 and Kapit sa Patalim in 1984. Serbis tells the story of how a family in Pampanga survives by operating an old movie house disguised as one that provides for sex and sexual favors. Now Showing, on the other hand, depicts the life of the most familiar girl selling pirated CDs and DVDs in the busy streets of Manila. Lav Diaz, another indie filmmaker also added to the Filipino pride with his winning for the second time in the Venice International Film Festival this year. His film was entitled Melancholia, one that seeks an answer to why there is “so much sadness and so much madness” in life; but the eight-hour film provides no answer in the end.

Throughout the decade, there have been numerous independent or ‘indie’ films that have blazed the trail to making Tagalog movies. It is about time that the Filipino experience is more accurately, sincerely and creatively pursued and captured visually. It’s about time Filipino movies make their viewers think as much as they feel and are entertained.

* This article is by Armin Santiaguel II, webmaster of KabayanCentral.com

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