‘Encantadia,’ ‘OTWOL’ and other iconic Pinoy TV shows return

Your big, big shows are back. COVID-19 has disrupted the production of TV projects, so ABS-CBN and GMA have announced that they are pushing the pause button on their teleseryes and other shows to ensure the safety of their talents and crews. As a result, the networks will stop airing current top-raters such as ABS-CBN’s record-setting “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano” and GMA’s hit Korean-inspired “Descendants of the Sun: The Philippine Adaptation.” Instead, the two have started re-airing some of the most iconic shows in modern Philippine TV history. All right! This is the prime of Pinoy primetime, the brightest of daytime, shows which defined careers and established beloved love teams. Go, go, go and catch them all while you can: The networks will most likely cut the airings once they can get their regular programming back on the air. So please check the daily schedules for the exact air times. Start humming the theme songs. Here are some of the shows that have returned:

“100 Days to Heaven” (ABS-CBN, 2011)

Weekdays, 5:45 p.m.

Coney Reyes is the selfish businesswoman Anna Manalastas who, after being killed in a car explosion, is given 100 days to redeem herself and be allowed into Heaven. The catch? She has to do so in the body of a child (Xyriel Manabat). In one of the best performances by a child actress ever (and some fancy camera trickery), Manabat essentially does a hilarious series-long impersonation of Reyes. Also starring Jodi Sta. Maria, Joel Torre and Dominic Ochoa.

“Alyas Robin Hood” (GMA, 2016)

Weekdays, 4:05 p.m.

The cause of early controversy because of comparisons to the CW’s “Arrow” show (Stephen Amell himself weighed in), “Alyas Robin Hood” took the English vigilante legend and transposed it to a modern Philippine urban setting with Dingdong Dantes in the title role as Pepe trying to clear his name from a crime he didn’t commit. It lasted two seasons and also starred Andrea Torres, Megan Young, Cherie Gil, Jaclyn Jose and Christopher de Leon.

“Bayani” (ABS-CBN, 1995)

Saturdays, part of the 8:30 -10 a.m. block

Two students Ana and Noli discover a cave were an old man (National Artist for Literature Rolando Tinio) presents the magical “Aklat ng Kasaysayan,” which allows them to travel back in time and bring back important artifacts. Through each journey, the students witness the heroics and achievements of the Philippines’ greatest heroes on a show created by ABS-CBN and the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS, today’s Department of Education).

“Encantadia” (GMA, 2016)
Weeknights, 7:45 p.m.

This is the 2016 reboot—or “requel”—of the 2005 original fantasy drama, a ground-breaking, audience-winning achievement from Mark A. Reyes. This epic depicts how the four sisters—the Sang’gres Pirena (Glaiza de Castro), Amihan (Kylie Padilla), Alena (Gabbi Garcia) and Danaya (Sanya Lopez)—use their magical powers to defend the gems of Encantadia and found themselves at odds because their mother the Queen Mine-a (Marian Rivera) fears Pirena’s royal aspirations. Boasting one of the largest casts—if not the largest cast—in TV (it brought back many previous cast members in new roles) as well as costumes from designer Francis Libiran, it even featured a cameo by “Game of Thrones” actor Conan Stevens.

“Got to Believe” (ABS-CBN, 2013)

Weekdays, 4:15 p.m.

Not enough KathNiel in your life? Then “Got To Believe” presents this love team (still going strong now) at its breakthrough moment. Cathy Garcia-Molina brings her magic to the small screen showing how Joaquin (Daniel Padilla) and Chichay (Kathryn Bernardo) overcome their own dissimilarities as well those of their families and circumstances because, after all, love is magic. Notable for giving Liza Soberano her big break, it also starred Manilyn Reynes, Ian Veneracion and Carmina Villaroel.

“Hiraya Manawari” (ABS-CBN, 1995)

Saturdays, part of the 8:30-10 a.m. block

Featuring a different cast every episode, the colorful “Hiraya Manawari” had a two-fold mission: Retell Filipino legends, mythology and folklore as well as impart Filipino values and virtues in a manner very accessible to schoolchildren.

“Ika-6 Na Utos” (GMA, 2016)

Weekdays, 2:30 p.m.

The 6th commandment is “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” so the title is as self-explanatory as the show is soapy. The Fuentebellas, Jerome (Gabby Concepcion) and Emma (Sunshine Dizon) are having marital problems—and everything comes to a head when Jerome finds a mistress in Georgia (Ryza Cenon). “Ika-6 Na Utos” is directed by Laurice Guillen; everybody has a story.

“The Legal Wife” (ABS-CBN, 2014)

Weekdays, 3:25 p.m.

Monica (Angel Locsin) has left behind a very troubled family past to settle into a loving relationship with husband Adrian (Jericho Rosales) and a solid friendship with bestie Nicole (Maja Salvador). All this falls apart when Adrian and Nicole start having an affair. Also starring: Christopher de Leon, Rio Locsin and JC de Vera.

“Kambal, Karibal” (GMA, 2017)

Weeknights, 8:35 p.m.

Now this is a teleserye premise if ever there was one: Twins Crisanta (Bianca Umali) and Criselda (Pauline Mendoza) are separated early when Criselda dies to a rare illness but Crisanta’s spirit still accompanies her sister, visible only to Crisanta. This is fine, until the ethereal and corporeal sisters fall in love with the same man, Diego (Miguel Tanfelix). This gets further complicated when a determined Criselda posseses the body of Cheska (Kyline Alcantara) in an attempt to win the love of both Diego and their mother Geraldine (Carmina Villaroel).

“May Bukas Pa” (ABS-CBN, 2009)

Weeknights, 7:45 p.m.

Talking about impressive child actors, Zaijan Jaranilla is the very embodiment of Santino, the boy who could talk to Jesus (Santino called Him “Bro”) while changing people and lifting up the lives of the townspeople of Bagong Pagasa. This inspiring show featured a large ensemble cast including Albert Martinez, Dina Bonevieve, Tonton Gutierrez and Precious Lara Quigaman.

“My Husband’s Lover” (GMA, 2013)

Weeknights, 9:20 p.m.

The single most controversial show on this list, “My Husband’s Lover” ignited a mainstream debate about LGBTQ+ romance that burnished the dramatic bonafides of one lead (Dennis Trillo) and introduced that of another (Tom Rodriguez). Rodriguez’s Vincent had settled down with wife Lally (Carla Abellana) when Trillo’s Eric comes back into his life—and Lally eventually finds out. The show eventually even led a bill being filled in Congress named after it that sought to make the crime of adultery applicable to same-sex unions as well.

“On The Wings of Love” (ABS-CBN, 2015)

Weeknights, 8:30 p.m.

This teleserye gave us two nicknames “OTWOL” for the show and “JaDine” for the love team of James Reid and Nadine Lustre as well as their fandom. Leah (Lustre) goes TNT in the U.S. and has a marriage of convenience with Clark (Reid) but soon discover it’s more complicated—and cute. Antoinette Jadaone’s first TV project brought both romance and realism—and JaDine became known as “Team Real” when they became a couple, something announced on the show. This was the “kilig” that happened on screen and off almost in real time. They broke up in 2020, so “OTWOL” is as good as it gets for JaDines. Also starring: Joel Torre, Cherry Pie Picache, Paulo Avelino, Albie Casino and Bianca Manalo.

“Sine’skwela” (ABS-CBN, 1994)

Saturdays, part of the 8:30-10 a.m. block

The best educational TV show since the original, seminal “Batibot,” “Sine’skwela” was a collaborative creation by ABS-CBN, the Department of Science and Technology and today’s Department of Education. It was literally a science classroom on air that students were required to watch weekly. It also had the catchiest theme song of all time from National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab: “Tayo na/Sa Sine’skwela…” Starring: Christine Bersola-Babao, Winnie Cordero.

“Walang Hanggan” (ABS-CBN, 2012)

Weekdays, 2:30 p.m.

If you want to remember Coco Martin before he was Cardo, this is the show for you. It was based on the 1991 movie “Hihintayin Kita sa Langit” (which was in turn based on the Emily Bronte classic “Wuthering Heights”), and thus, in a nod to the movie, had Richard Gomez and Dawn Zulueta in the cast. One classic love team deserves another as Martin is paired with Julia Montes; as Daniel and Katerina, they must overcome oh so much to be together in this lifetime—or the next. Also starring: Everyone you can think of.

“Wildflower” (ABS-CBN, 2017)

Weeknights, 9:05 p.m.

Perhaps the most over-the-top show on this list, “Wildflower’s” sudsy, twisty plot—all four seasons of it—would take up the whole pace. In a burning nutshell: Lily Cruz (Maja Salvador in a, well, wild performance that won her Best Actress awards here and abroad) survives an attempt to eradicate her family and is trained by a benefactor to exact her revenge. Lily is resurrected as Ivy Aguas who would do everything to find vengeance on the powerful Ardientes, but none more than the woman who ordered her family’s downfall. Governor Emilia Ardiente-Torillo (Aiko Melendez). Trust us, you won’t be ready for the crazy turns, betrayals and deaths on this show (wait for the flame thrower).

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