You’re surrounded, Cardo! Give up! NOW!
Ever wonder why we rarely see people roaming around the streets at 8:00 PM? You go out for a walk around this time to buy some snacks or cigarettes over at your local store and suddenly you see a sign written on a slab of cardboard saying, “Sarado, dahil Cardo na.” (Store’s closed because Cardo’s on TV.)
The whole country comes to a complete halt when this show comes on. I have never talked to anyone who doesn’t know the series, “Ang Probinsyano”.
(Ang Probinsyano: The Man from the Province)
When ‘Ang Probinsyano’ first aired 3 years ago, it was on the late night spot. It became such a big hit in a short span of time, that other shows were pushed back to put this on the primetime spot. Now it does get you thinking sometimes, what the heck does this show have that they had to move 2 or 3 shows back just and give the primetime throne to this ‘Teleserye’?(Television Series)
The story mainly revolves around an ex-military turned policeman, turned vigilante; went undercover as a drag queen, turned in as a prisoner, escaped and branded a rebel, went back to be a policeman again, retired as a jeepney driver, reinstated as a military man, and went back to being a vigilante leader. Say, WHAAAAAT??? That’s Ricardo Dalisay for you. Talk about a whole lot of plot twists, eh?
The show is spearheaded by the famous prime time king, Coco Martin (from the Mang Inasal commercial). ‘Ang Probinsyano’ became a household name; and with the success of the series, it cemented the actor’s place in the hearts of the Filipinos.
It’s actually been a while since a show like this stayed in the primetime slot for three years straight. Back in 2012, Pinoys were glued to their sets watching an afternoon show called, ‘Be Careful with my Heart’, which showcased an ordinary house helper become the romantic interest of the father of the house. This show was in the primetime spot and ran for 2 years and 4 months straight!
Now going back, let’s talk about how did “Ang Probinsyano” become such a hit with Pinoys.
In love with Cinderella
Filipinos have always been in love with Cinderella plots. In fact, they and had a ton of these shows which were playing in the prime time slot since the ’80s. It’s either about a man or woman coming from a rich family, losing everything because of an unfortunate incident; and then getting everything back piece by piece. Either that, or a rich child gets kidnapped, the parents die, and the hero/heroine is left on his/her own to find his destiny; and by some strange twist of fate, gets to work for the antagonists who had his/her parents killed. WOW! This same plot has been played on repeat on all television channels. These types of shows have been rehashed tons of times, that the ordinary Pinoy can predict the next scenario, and even guess what the characters are going to say next.
Exit, Anna Liza and Flordeluna
The action teleserye was like a breath of fresh air to most Filipinos; but in this case, the air was filled with cordite, gun powder and man-sweat. With a hint of comedy and a whole lot of relatable situations mixed in this ‘Chopsuey’ type of show, it appealed to all ages and both genders and immediately gained popularity. The station even did a weekend re-run for people who couldn’t watch the show’s prime time schedule. A little overkill, but it works!
It placed the viewers into a whole new different experience of primetime television. If you remember sitting down at 8:00 PM and see the TV filled with a bunch of crying women over someone who died and shouting that they want revenge; or seeing the stations’ famous love teams wooing each other and overcoming the odds of one side being poor and the other being rich, didn’t it make you do a huge eyeroll, or maybe itch a little? These are the just a few reasons why the Real Pinoys love the show. At the first sound of gunshot on their pilot episodes, men and women broke stride from their humdrum life and became curious to see what the show was about.T
Let’s not forget the stellar cast! The pilot episodes featured TV’s finest actors and actresses. It was spearheaded by Coco Martin as the protagonist Ricardo Dalisay. Coco performs alongside veteran actors, Albert Martinez aka Tomas Tuazon (business tycoon by day, drugs and arms dealer by night). Then there’s also Arjo Atayde aka Joaquin Tuazon, the son of Tomas Tuazon (soon-to-be heir to the family business who is also a cop who works alongside Ricardo Dalisay.) Who in the Philippines does not know Eddie Garcia? He’s the famous and un-killable antagonist (so far), Don Emilio. Susan Roces is the ever so supportive grandmother of the Cardo Dalisay, Flora Borja-De Leon. The cast’s wide age range technically bridged the gap between the 50s fans, the ‘Boomers’, and the ‘Millennials’.
Le back story
This might be the most essential factor that made the show a hit and landed them the primetime spot. Behind the show’s stellar cast, is a great heart from the people running the show. It has been reviving stars careers that are already dimming. Actors like, Lito Lapid, Jeric Raval, Mystica, etc., have joined the roster and been thankful to both the persons behind the camera, and the support from its fans. This is largely due to Coco Martin, who now directs the hit TV series.
As he said in one interview, “Hindi naman pera lang ang binigay ng Ang Probinsyano sa akin kung hindi oportunidad. Kaya yun din ang ibibigay natin sa kanila.” (The show did not just give money but it provided me an opportunity to pay it forward. And that’s what the show is giving to them as well.)
I personally commend this show for diving into something different with the risk of showing a different genre of drama to the viewers.
Now that’s just keeping it REAL.