Pinoy shows are popular in China and Africa

By Jeffrey O. Valisno – While Filipino-dubbed Mexican telenovelas and Korean drama series are captivating local audiences, a number of Filipino TV series are making a big splash abroad, with shows produced by Lopez-led ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. finding fans in China and Africa.

Reena de Guzman Garingan, head for international sales of ABS-CBN Global, said Filipino drama series like Pangako Sa ’Yo, and more recently, local TV hits like Lobo and Tayong Dalawa, were bought by foreign broadcasters for airing abroad.

“ABS-CBN shows are subtitled and dubbed in several languages, including English, Turkish, Khmer, Mandarin and French,” Ms. Garingan told reporters last week.

Ms. Garingan said Pangako Sa ’ Yo has been dubbed in English and has been airing in China’s national television channel under the title The Promise. The show rated second overall local and foreign programs airing in the country.

“Ten years after Filipinos became attached to the Kristine Hermosa-Jericho Rosales tandem, the classic teleserye still appealed to the Chinese audience and even hit the Top 30 list in the national weekly ranking, covering over 2,000 channels and capturing 1.3 billion viewers,” Ms. Garingan said. She said Pangako Sa ’Yo is aired three times a day, daily in China.

Before becoming a favorite in China, the love story of a wealthy political scion and a poor lass from the province mesmerized audiences in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia and even Africa, making Pangako Sa ’Yo the most successful Filipino series adapted for international broadcast.

“The teleserye, shown in Cambodia with Khmer dubbing, was so popular that many Cambodian babies are named Angelo [after Mr. Rosales’ character],” Ms. Garingan said.

Ms. Garingan quoted a Zambian newspaper article as saying, “The series has become a topic of discussion among families, friends and even neighbors who daily ponder on how the show would end.”

Ms. Garingan said an African TV commentator said that he always hears the question, “When is Pangako sa ’Yo coming back?”

“I wish I could get a dollar each time I get that question. From teenager to grandma, from household organizers to tax consultant — it gripped people across all genders,” the TV anchor continued.

Aside from Pangako Sa ’Yo, several other homegrown programs have found a broader global audience through the pioneering efforts of ABS-CBN Global, who has been pitching Filipino shows to foreign broadcasters for the past 15 years.

Carried by the biggest state TV broadcaster in mainland China, Ikaw ang Lahat sa Akin (a.k.a. Only You) aired on prime time alongside Pangako Sa ’Yo. Sana Maulit Muli (Chances), Maging Sino Ka Man (More Than Love), and Gulong ng Palad (Stand for Love) have already been bought by Chinese broadcasters for airing starting this year.

Also earning international recognition worldwide is the Angel Locsin-Piolo Pascual drama series Lobo, which aired locally two years ago. With its international title She-Wolf: The Last Sentinel, the show is currently enjoying wide viewership in Brunei, and is scheduled for release in Indonesia, China and Africa this year.

ABS-CBN shows like Kay Tagal Kang Hinintay are dubbed in French and English (renamed La Longue Attente and The Long Wait), and aired in the African countries of Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria, Seychelles, Mauritius, Cameroon, Namibia and South Africa.

“ABS-CBN programs sell so well because they resonate with the African audience. Our writers, directors and actors are able to capture real-life experiences on screen. Our stories show pain and suffering, but in the end, give viewers a glimpse of hope. As we demonstrate that obstacles and fear may be overcome, we help mend the broken African spirit,” Ms. Garingan said.

“ABS-CBN shows have become so popular among non-Filipinos that ABS-CBN is considered a market mover in the field of broadcasting in Africa,” Ms. Garingan said.

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