Throwback: ABS-CBN shows that changed the teleserye game

Alexa Villano

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Throwback: ABS-CBN shows that changed the teleserye game
Which show was the most iconic?

MANILA, Philippines – Teleseryes are an integral part of Filipinos life and, for sure, several that have aired on ABS-CBN make for the most iconic. Some of these shows have even gone on to become hits overseas as well.  

1. Mara Clara (1992). Mara Clara, which starred Judy Ann Santos and Gladys Reyes, ran from 1992 to 1997, making it one of ABS-CBN’s longest-running shows on air. The show, created by Emil Cruz Jr, is about two babies switched at birth, with Mara going to a poor family and Clara to a rich family. 

The show launched the careers of Judy Ann and Gladys, and sparked the romance of Gladys and Christopher Roxas, who played Erris on the show. The teleserye was later made into a movie by Star Cinema.


A remake of the show hit the airwaves in 2010, launching the careers of Kathryn Bernardo and Julia Montes.

2. Mula sa Puso (1997). Mula sa Puso is remembered as the late director Wenn Deramas’ first try at television. It also launched Princess Punzalan’s career as a kontrabida (villain) onscreen. It was the show that launched the tandem of Claudine Barretto and the late actor Rico Yan.

The story follows Via (Claudine). Her aunt Selena (Punzalan) wants her killed so she can have the family’s money. When she’s kidnapped, Gabriel (Rico) saves her life. She later discovers that the mother she grew up with is not her biological mother.

The original ran from 1997 to 1999. A remake aired in 2010 starring Lauren Young, JM de Guzman, and Enrique Gil. A movie version was also produced by Star Cinema in 1999.



3. Pangako Sa’Yo (2000). Pangako Sa’Yo was one of the first ABS-CBN teleseryes to reach an international audience. The show, which starred Jericho Rosales and Kristine Hermosa, was exported to Malaysia, Singapore and parts of Africa, making the two household names in those markets. (READ: 7 PH soap operas that made waves in Southeast Asia)

The story revolves around Yna (Kristine) and Angelo (Jericho), whose love persist despite social and economic barriers. Yna later discovers that she is actually the daughter of protagonist Amor Powers (Eula Valdes).

The show was revived in 2015, this time starring Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla as the star-crossed lovers. Jodi Sta Maria, Ian Veneracion, and Angelica Panganiban played Amor Powers, Eduardo Buenavista, and Claudia Buenavista, respectively. 

Cambodia adapted the show. The Promise aired in 2013 to 2014. 


4. Esperanza (1997). Esperanza, which starred Judy Ann Santos, aired from 1997 to 1999. The story follows the titular character’s search for her parents and siblings. 

The show was followed by a movie released in 1999.


Be Careful with My Heart (2012). Be Careful with My Heart was a daytime teleserye that first aired in 2012. It starred Jodi Sta Maria and Richard Yap.

It told the story of aspiring flight attendant Maya (Jodi), who is employed by the family of Sir Richard “Sir Chief” Lim (Richard). She helps improve Sir Chief’s relationship with his 3 children. Of course, the two fall in love and they start their own family.

The show catapulted Richard Yap’s star, paved the way for the Marlo Mortel-Janella Salvador tandem, and became one of Jodi Sta Maria’s biggest shows in ABS-CBN.


6. Kokey (2007). Kokey is a children’s show, which was adapted from the movie of the same name. It tells the story of an alien who befriends a child named Bong (Joshua Cadeliña) and his family. Bong tries to help him get back to his planet while trying to dodge Kokey’s enemy Korokoy, who wants the crystal Kokey values the most.

A sequel, Kokey@Ako, was aired in 2009 starring Toni Gonzaga and Vhong Navarro.




7. Lobo (2008). Lobo starred Angel Locsin and Piolo Pascual and first aired in 2008. It tells the story of Lyka (Angel) and Noah (Piolo). Lyka, an aspiring fashion designer, is unaware that she is a werewolf who has not transformed, while Noah has hatred for werewolves because his father died in the hands of an unknown werewolf. The two fall in love despite the odds.

Lobo is the first of a trilogy which later included Imortal (2010) starring Angel and John Lloyd Cruz, and La Luna Sangre (2017) starring Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla.


8. FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano (2015). Adapted from the Fernando Poe Jr. movie of the same title, the show follows Ricardo “Cardo” Dalisay (Coco Martin) who discovers he has a twin brother named Dominador, a cop who was killed on a mission. He then takes over his brother’s identity and duties to fighting drug syndicates and villains while protecting his family from danger.

The show, which is on its 4th year, has gone through various storylines. It’s also weathered controversies, including a case in 2018 when the Department of Interior and Local Government called the show out for the portrayal of police officers in a supposed negative light. 


9. Marina (2004). Marina starred Claudine Barretto as Cristina, who was cursed by Victoria (Cherie Gil) after Elias (Joel Torre) rejected her love to marry Cristina’s mother Esther. When Cristina turned 7, Victoria’s curse – for her to become a mermaid came – comes true. Elias leaves Esther and Cristina and fearing for her daughter’s safety, Esther releases Cristina to the sea. She later adopts the name Marina and lives in the sea, but dreams of wanting to be on land again. She then meets Rodge (Rafael Rossell) and they fall in love.


10. On The Wings of Love (OTWOL) (2015). The show stars Nadine Lustre and James Reid in their first teleserye for ABS-CBN. It follows Leah (Nadine) who goes to the US to work and save money for her family. With her visa about to expire, she crosses paths with Clark (James), who recently got his American citizenship. Leah decides to marry Clark, who happens to be the cousin of her real boyfriend. Although married only on paper, the two get close to each other and fall in love.

Although they had been paired up in movies, OTWOL became memorable for JaDine fans – the two grew close in real life, eventually turning into a real-life couple.


11.  Maging Sino Ka Man (2006). Maging Sino Ka Man aired in 2006 and starred John Lloyd Cruz, Bea Alonzo, Anne Curtis, and Sam Milby. The story revolves around Eli, Jackie, Celine, and JB. 

The show had a sequel, Maging Sino Ka Man: Ang Pagbabalik, in 2007 with Toni Gonzaga, Angelica Panganiban, and Derek Ramsay as part of the cast.


12. Saan Ka Man Naroroon (1999). The show follows triplets Rosemarie, Rosario, and Rosenda, who were separated at birth. As the 3 reunite, they end up as rivals, overcome obstacles, and uncover secrets about their families.

Claudine Barretto played the triplets. 


13. Kadenang Ginto (2018). Kadenang Ginto has become one of ABS-CBN’s most popular afternoon shows. It tells the story of Romina Mondragon (Beauty Gonzalez) and her bitter relatonship with stepdaughter Daniela Mondragon (Dimples Romana). The animosity is passed on to their daughters Cassie and Marga, who compete for attention and love.

In 2020, it was confirmed that the show would have a Indonesian remake called Putri Mahkota.


14. Forevermore (2014). Set in Benguet and Baguio, it tells the story of Xander and Agnes. Rich boy Xander is forced to work at a strawberry farm in Sitio La Presa where Agnes is from to pay for damages he caused. The immersion opens his eyes to the situation of the people of Sitio La Presa and he becomes closer to Agnes.

Forevermore was Enrique Gil and Liza Soberano’s first television project and jumpstarted the tandem. 


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Alexa Villano

Alexa is one of Rappler's Lifestyle and Entertainment reporters, covering local entertainment news to a wide range of topics from beauty pageants to reality shows.