Philippine television drama

Philippine television drama, also known as teledrama, Filipino telenovelas or P-drama, is a form of melodramatic, serialized, televised fiction in the Philippines. Teledrama is derived from two Filipino words: "tele", short for "telebisyón" (television) and "drama" (drama series).

Teledramas share characteristics with and have roots similar to soap operas and telenovelas. They have evolved into a genre with unique characteristics, however, and often reflect Filipino social reality. Teledramas are aired in the afternoon and prime time, five days a week. Their audience crosses age and gender lines, and they have the highest advertising rates in the Philippine television industry. Series last from three months to a year or longer, depending on ratings.

Philippine TV dramas also include serials and anthologies, usually shown weekly. These dramas have a finite number of episodes and usually last one season, again depending on ratings.





Soap operas in the Philippines began with Gulong ng Palad (Wheel of Fortune) on radio in 1949, and the genre expanded into television during the early 1960s. The first Philippine TV soap opera was Hiwaga sa Bahay na Bato (Mystery at the Stone House) in 1963, produced by ABS-CBN. Larawan ng Pag-ibig (Picture of Love), Prinsipe Amante (Prince Amante), and a number of others followed.[1]

Gulong ng Palad, co-written by Loida Virina,[2] was the longest-running radio serial and ran until the mid-1980s. Its TV version starred Marianne Dela Riva and Ronald Corveau and introduced young actors, including Romnick Sarmenta. Veteran actress Caridad Sanchez enhanced the series' popularity.

The government closed several networks (including ABS-CBN) during the 1972–1986 martial-law period, leaving RPN and GMA the country's only two commercial television networks. The lack of a diverse media base aided the emergence of nationwide satellite broadcasting, and competition between the two networks spurred afternoon and prime-time sitcoms and serials. Philippine TV schedules resembled those in the U.S., with networks scheduling shows in daily time blocks instead of separate weekday and weekend programming.

RPN produced María Flordeluna, starring Janice de Belén. Its cast also included Dindo Fernando and actress-director Laurice Guillen. GMA produced Anna Liza, starring Julie Vega. Before the introduction of a TV ratings system in the Philippines during the 1990s, the shows were rivals. Anna Liza, canceled in 1985 after Vega's death, had an unfinished storyline and a two-hour special in 1986.



Until the late 1980s, Philippine television dramas were broadcast during the afternoon. ABS-CBN resumed operations after the end of the Marcos dictatorship in 1986, and regained its audience lead by the end of the decade. During the early and mid-1990s, local sitcoms dominated Philippine television with the rise of ABS-CBN's Palibhasa Lalake, Home Along Da Riles, Oki Doki Doc and the political satire Abangan Ang Susunod Na Kabanata and GMA Network's Bubble Gang. International television swept the Philippines, beginning with Mexican telenovelas.

The decade is considered the golden age of Philippine television drama. Most, such as Agila, Anna Luna, Valiente and Mara Clara, were aired on ABS-CBN.

The most popular was the Las Tres Marias trilogy, produced by Televisa and starring Thalía. Marimar and Maria la del Barrio were broadcast in prime time on RPN, and Maria Mercedes was broadcast on ABS-CBN). Major networks began to reschedule Filipino telenovelas in prime time to attract increased advertising revenue. By the mid-1990s, teledramas surpassed sitcoms in Filipino prime-time television.

One of the country's best-known TV series was Mara Clara, which aired from 1992 to 1997. The longest-running teledrama in the post-martial-law era, it had frequent time-slot changes before settling into the standard 7-8:00 pm prime-time block by late 1995. In mid-1997, Mula sa Puso (another ABS-CBN series) saw the rise of Claudine Barretto. Barretto played the heiress Via in the two-year soap; Rico Yan and Diether Ocampo were her leading men, and Princess Punzalan played Selina (the series' most influential character). Mula Sa Puso was the country's first middle-class primetime series, differing from the telenovelas with protagonists from the lower socioeconomic classes.

GMA retained and popularized its afternoon dramas, such as 1995–1997's Villa Quintana (with Donna Cruz, Keempee de Leon and Isabel Rivas); it was followed by 1997–1998's Ikaw na Sana, with Angelu de Leon and Bobby Andrews. Both were moved to prime time.



Philippine television dramas evolved into teleserye, a portmanteau of the Filipino words telebisyon ("television") and serye ("series"). The term originated with the ABS-CBN drama Pangako Sa 'Yo, airing from 2000 to 2002 and starring Jericho Rosales and Kristine Hermosa, and the rivalry between actresses Eula Valdez and Jean Garcia. Pangako Sa'Yo, the Philippines' first teleserye, was considered a turning point in Philippine television because of its production and fast-paced, multiple-arc plotlines which distinguished it from telenovelas. Broadcast in the Americas, Africa and Asia, it remains the most successful Philippine television series worldwide. At the end of its run in 2002, Pangako Sa 'Yo had the highest-rated series-finale episode of a Philippine show. Kay Tagal Kang Hinintay, which ended in 2003, was the Philippines' first series which was a finalist in the Best Drama Series category of the 2003 International Emmy Awards.

ABS-CBN's 2004 Marina popularized the fantasy of most Filipino teleseryes. GMA Network's political drama Kung Mawawala Ka examined corruption, starring Eddie Garcia; it ran from 2002 to 2003, and received an award from the Philippine Movie Press Club (PMPC).

Sana'y Wala Nang Wakas, aired between 2003 and 2004, was the world's first drama series to allow viewers to choose a story's ending by texting. A contemporary ABS-CBN teleserye, Basta't Kasama Kita, starred Judy Ann Santos and Robin Padilla; notable for its depiction of the National Bureau of Investigation, it was the first Filipino series to broadcast a live series-finale episode in 2004. In 2004, GMA Network overtook ABS-CBN in popularity when it introduced an all-fantaserye prime-time lineup featuring female-lead shows such as Encantadia and Mulawin. GMA gained a ratings foothold with Darna, starring Angel Locsin.

The Philippines emerged as one of the world's largest television-drama-producing nations in the middle of the decade. International hits included ABS-CBN's 2006 Gulong ng Palad, starring Kristine Hermosa and TJ Trinidad, which was carried on TFC. A 2007 remake of Maria Flordeluna, which had aired on RPN-9 during the 1970s and 1980s, starred Eliza Pineda; the 93-episode series received the 2008 PMPC Star Award for Best Television Series.

TV adaptations of films included ABS-CBN's Panday (starring Jericho Rosales and Heart Evangelista), Mga Anghel na Walang Langit and Kampanerang Kuba, starring Anne Curtis. The "sineserye" genre was introduced with Bituing Walang Ningning, starring Sarah Geronimo and Angelika de la Cruz.

2005 marked the start of domination of religious-oriented teleseryes, and trend of airing family-oriented drama series produced by ABS-CBN's Dreamscape Entertainment on series based on Fernando Poe Jr.'s movies with Mga Anghel na Walang Langit which lasted for 210 episodes from May 9, 2005, to February 2006. Religious teleseryes continued to dominate on the following years and decades.

Late in the decade, GMA-7 and ABS-CBN became rivals. GMA aired its 2007 remake of the international telenovela MariMar. Three ABS-CBN series became popular: the remake of the 1977–1985 soap opera Gulong ng Palad, the teleserye Sa Piling Mo and the series Maging Sino Ka Man—the most popular teleserye internationally after Pangako Sa'Yo.

ABS-CBN produced its most expensive series, Lobo, in 2008; it starred Piolo Pascual and Angel Locsin—the first Filipino nominated for an International Emmy for a lead role. I Love Betty La Fea, a Filipino remake of the Colombian telenovela Yo soy Betty, la fea, was broadcast that same year; it was the most successful Philippine remake of a Latin telenovela since GMA Network's Marimar remake the year before.



ABS-CBN and GMA Network both claimed to be the Philippines' most popular network. GMA Network began appealing to viewers in Mega Manila during the mid-2000s; ABS-CBN's prime-time shows attracted viewers in other parts of the country, particularly Visayas and Mindanao. Philippine media experts attributed the trend to ABS-CBN's return to Filipino programming.

The 2010s featured two successful teleseryes (Dahil May Isang Ikaw and May Bukas Pa). Dahil May Isang Ikaw began during the previous decade and ended on January 15, 2010. Religious teleseryes continued dominating television from the late 2000s since the premiere of Mga Anghel na Walang Langit on May 9, 2005. Among these religious teleseryes aired during the 2010s include May Bukas Pa, Agua Bendita, Momay, 100 Days to Heaven, Ikaw ay Pag-Ibig, Dahil sa Pag-ibig, Juan dela Cruz, My Little Juan, Oh My G!, and Nathaniel, all of which were aired on ABS-CBN.

With the earlier success of the 2007 remake of Maria Flordeluna and the 2010 remake of Mara Clara (which introduced Julia Montes and Kathryn Bernardo), ABS-CBN popularized the revival of teen-themed telenovelas. Mara Clara's success inspired a remake of 1997's Mula sa Puso. In 2011, a number of actors moved between ABS-CBN and GMA Network. Both networks' hold on prime-time television was challenged by TV5's teleserye Babaeng Hampaslupa.

Teleseryes began to include storylines reflecting contemporary Philippine controversy. ABS-CBN's 2012 Walang Hanggan addressed adultery, while the network's 2012–2013 series Ina, Kapatid, Anak explored surrogate motherhood.

GMA Network premiered the big-budget historical drama series Amaya, starring Marian Rivera; Rivera also appeared in Temptation Of Wife, the Filipino version of a popular Korean series, with Dennis Trillo. Trillo later appeared in the 2013 teleserye My Husband's Lover, the Philippines' first gay-themed prime-time series.

ABS-CBN's 2014 series, The Legal Wife, was followed by the 2015 remake of Pangako Sa'Yo, starring Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla. The 2015 teleseryes Bridges of Love was broadcast as Puentes de Amor; the first Philippine drama aired in Latin America, it premiered on April 25, 2016, on Panamericana Televisión in Peru. The 2017–2018 series Wildflower was the first Philippine prime-time teleserye to explore nepotism, human rights abuses and mental illness.

The decade marked the renewed popularity of long-running dramas after the early 2000s. May Bukas Pa, which premiered in the previous 2000s decade on February 2, 2009 and ended in the 2010s decade on February 5, 2010, ran for 1 year and 3 days. Be Careful With My Heart aired for 2 years from 2012 to 2014. from 2014 to 2016, GMA broadcast The Half Sisters. ABS-CBN's afternoon teleserye Doble Kara ran between 2015 and 2017. Ang Probinsyano, starred by Coco Martin, attracted national attention for depicting the Philippine Drug War and the Philippine National Police despite renewed MTRCB censorship, ran for 7 years from September 28, 2015 and ended in the 2020s decade on August 12, 2022, and currently holds the title for being the country's longest-running drama series since July 7, 2020 which surpassed the five-year run 1992–1997's Mara Clara. GMA Network dominated the late afternoon between 2016 and 2018 with its teleserye Ika-6 na Utos. Kadenang Ginto, also aired on ABS-CBN, premiered on October 8, 2018, and ended in the next decade on February 7, 2020.

Live teleserye finales returned for the first time since GMA's 2007 remake of Marimar. ABS-CBN's On the Wings of Love starred James Reid and Nadine Lustre. Born for You was the first musical teleserye since ABS-CBN's 2006 TV version of Bituing Walang Ningning.

ABS-CBN's series 2019 military drama The General's Daughter was replaced by The Killer Bride, which has been praised for depicting the Duterte administration.[3]



Teleserye production was suspended In 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Interest in boys' love series developed after the Thai series 2gether: The series aired on ABS-CBN's Kapamilya Channel and blocktime agreement with ZOE Broadcasting Network through A2Z.[4][5]

On July 10, 2020, the action drama series Ang Probinsyano surpassed the 1992–1997 series Mara Clara upon airing its 1,176th episode, with the former now the longest-running drama series on ABS-CBN and on Philippine television since the said date.

Domination of religious-oriented drama series continued throughout the 2020s decade, with teleseryes belonging to this genre that aired in the 2020s are Huwag Kang Mangamba topbilled by The Gold Squad (Andrea Brillantes, Seth Fedelin, Kyle Echarri, and Francine Diaz of Kadenang Ginto and ASAP Natin 'To!) and Maria Clara at Ibarra.

After almost 7 years of airing, Ang Probinsyano ended on August 12, 2022, with 1,696 episodes and was replaced with the 2022 version of Darna, marking the change in ABS-CBN's primetime slot after its news program TV Patrol that was not seen since the start of airing of the said action drama series on September 28, 2015.

In 2024, the medical drama series Abot-Kamay na Pangarap became the longest-running drama on GMA Network on the 21st century.



Philippine TV drama became popular during the early 2000s in Asia, Africa and Filipino communities in North America. Teleseryes have evolved from the telenovelas on which they were based. Philippine teleseryes have also attracted audiences in Indonesia, Malaysia and China. Often dubbed into local languages, they are sometimes shown with English and other foreign subtitles.

ABS-CBN and GMA were among the first Asian television producers to export dramas with a universal message, reflecting the reality of Filipino and other Asian societies. Pangako Sa 'Yo is the Philippines' most successful TV series worldwide. Before leading the Chinese television ratings during the mid-2000s, the series was seen by over one billion viewers in Southeast Asia and Africa. ABS-CBN introduced its International Sales website,[6] providing access to its shows. The network shows Sana Maulit Muli (Taiwan), Lobo (dubbed as She-Wolf: The Last Sentinel), Tayong Dalawa, Dahil May Isang Ikaw, Kahit Isang Saglit, Katorse, Mara Clara, Magkaribal, Be Careful With My Heart (Vietnam) and Walang Hanggan were exported. They were followed by Ina, Kapatid, Anak, May Bukas Pa, Forevermore, Till I Met You, Wildflower and Ang Probinsyano.

GMA Network has the highest-rated pilot episodes with Darna and Encantadia in 2005, and made fantaserye a popular genre. The network produced Boys Next Door, a teen melodrama which was the first Philippine television series aired in South Korea. The 2007 Philippine adaptation of MariMar, GMA's most successful domestic television series, was also aired in Thailand, Malaysia, China, Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Hawaii. Other GMA shows, such as Habang Kapiling Ka, Kahit Kailan, Bakekang, Muli, Impostora, Mga Mata ni Anghelita, Dyesebel and Encantadia, are still broadcast elsewhere in Asia and Africa.

Ang Probinsyano has had a wide-ranging effect on Philippine pop culture and society. Called the Pambansang Teleserye,[7] the series has been nominated for and received a number of awards[8] The show is widely regarded for tackling timely issues,[9] and has generated controversy for its negative portrayal of the government and its agencies.[8] It was defended, with viewers saying that the government should take heed.[10][11][12] The series has been considered a kingmaker, with a high endorsement value in the 2019 midterm elections,[13] and is a desirable platform for actors wishing to run for public office.[14][15] A party list with the show's name, endorsed by series leads Coco Martin and Yassi Pressman, finished fifth in 2019 and won a seat in the House of Representatives.[16] The series' lead character, Cardo Dalisay, has been called "steadfast and incorruptible".[17][18][19] Ang Probinsyano is popular,[20] and has been credited with reviving the action genre in film and television.[21] Netflix streams the show under its international title, Brothers.[22]



Philippine television dramas have spawned adaptations in other Asian countries:[23]

See also



  1. ^ "60 Years of Philippine Soap Operas". YouTube. Archived from the original on June 3, 2016. Retrieved November 26, 2016.
  2. ^ Salud, Erick C; Pobocan, Jerome; Amigo, Reggie; Hermosa, Kristine; Gil, Cherie; Locsin, Rio; Torre, Joel; Rosario, Andrea del; Alandy, Luis (2006), Gulong ng palad. Vol. 3 Vol. 3, Diliman, Q.C., Philippines: Star Recording, OCLC 150473643, retrieved May 12, 2022
  3. ^ Malasig, Jeline (October 1, 2019). "Some clips of ABS-CBN primetime show 'The Killer Bride' are going viral. Here's why". Interaksyon. Archived from the original on January 24, 2020. Retrieved March 7, 2020.
  4. ^ Matthew Escosia (July 9, 2020). "A running list of Filipino BL series you can watch". Film Geek Guy. Archived from the original on July 20, 2020. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  5. ^ "Bright and Win of '2gether' series coming soon on Kapamilya Channel". ABS-CBN News. June 8, 2020. Retrieved May 29, 2022.
  6. ^ "". Archived from the original on January 3, 2010. Retrieved October 21, 2009.
  7. ^ "FPJ's Ang Probinsyano Anniversary Special: Xiao Chua & Josephine Placido". ABS-CBN Entertainment. October 4, 2016. Archived from the original on July 11, 2020. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  8. ^ a b "What you need to know about 'FPJ's Ang Probinsyano'". Rappler. November 18, 2018. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  9. ^ Raslan, Karim (March 18, 2019). "Coco Martin: Hope in the time of need". ABS-CBN News. Archived from the original on April 7, 2020. Retrieved April 22, 2020.
  10. ^ "Sen. Grace Poe defends 'Ang Probinsyano'". ABS-CBN News. November 15, 2018. Archived from the original on February 4, 2020. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  11. ^ "Artists' group: PNP, DILG have no right to meddle in 'Ang Probinsyano'". Rappler. November 17, 2018. Archived from the original on February 4, 2020. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  12. ^ "PNP, DILG chiefs urged to look in the mirror, not 'Ang Probinsyano'". ABS-CBN News. November 18, 2018. Archived from the original on February 4, 2020. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  13. ^ Vibar, Ivy Jean (November 29, 2018). "Coco Martin has highest 'endorsement value' among NCR voters—study". ABS-CBN News. Archived from the original on July 10, 2020. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  14. ^ Lo, Ricky (October 19, 2018). "Probinsyano helping Lito Lapid". The Philippine Star. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  15. ^ "LIST: How former 'Probinsyano' stars fared in #Halalan2019". ABS-CBN News. May 15, 2019. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  16. ^ de Guzman, Luchi (May 14, 2019). "Party-lists backed by Bro. Eddie Villanueva, Coco Martin lead partial election tally". CNN Philippines. Archived from the original on July 9, 2020. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  17. ^ Torre, Nestor U. (August 8, 2017). "Cool TV action-drama cat has proverbial nine lives". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Archived from the original on July 9, 2020. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  18. ^ Cepeda, Cody (July 11, 2018). "Coco Martin's 'death' scene in 'Ang Probinsyano' triggers funny reactions from fans". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Archived from the original on July 11, 2020. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  19. ^ "WATCH: After latest episode, netizens ask — 'Did Cardo just die?'". ABS-CBN News. July 16, 2019. Archived from the original on July 9, 2020. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  20. ^ "Ratings: Cardo leaps to highest so far in 2019". ABS-CBN News. March 29, 2019. Archived from the original on January 26, 2020. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  21. ^ Wang, Nickie (February 11, 2019). "Reviving action genre". Manila Standard. Archived from the original on April 28, 2021. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  22. ^ "You can now binge watch 'Ang Probinsyano' on Netflix". CNN Philippines. May 10, 2019. Archived from the original on November 7, 2020. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  23. ^ "7 Filipino shows with TV Adaptations in other Countries". MSN. August 1, 2021. Retrieved August 27, 2021.
  24. ^ "First Look: 'Vermem Seni Ellere' on ATV (Cast + Plot Summary)". Retrieved May 13, 2023.
  25. ^ "PH Embassy Attends Press Launch of Myanmar's Adaptation of Filipino Hit TV Drama "My Dear Heart"". Department of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved November 24, 2023.