Telenovelas...they are addicting
By Mila Glodava
After more than 15 years of resisting subscribing to the Filipino channel, I finally relented -- sirit na -- and enjoying it --especially the telenovelas. Now I understand why the world seems to be at a stand still in the Philippines when favorite telenovelas are on. In fact, the activities of the day revolves around these shows. I remember during several visits to the Philippines, how you can't talked to anyone when the show is on. The telenovela fans were so engrossed in, even to the point of tears and actually bowling, because of a particular episode.
Now I find, they are addicting. You just have to follow the story until it ends. And the good thing is it ends after a few months.
Having left the Philippines nearly four decades ago and lived in the United States that long, I have forgotten some of our culture, good and bad. The telenovelas brought back a lot of memories for me. Let me share with you some.
Language: Some of the words I have not used often or completely forgotten are: itsapuwera, tse, sirit na, campante, neknek, kopong-kopongg or sumablay. Except for the last one, I know the meaning of most of the above words.
The rich: They really are portrayed rather badly. They don't seem to have any qualms about killing anyone, or how easy it is to insult someone below their status. And they yell at, or pull the hair of, someone often. This is a Filipino characteristic that I'm glad I never let my children see when they were growing up. It's so demeaning.
Television stars Although the movie and television screens still feature such greats as Susan Roces and Gloria Romero, there's no question that the Eurasians, Filipino-Americans, Filipino-Japanese, and many hyphenated stars have invaded the entertainment world. The stars may look like Filipinos -- the color of their skin or the facial features, but they speak with an accent. And they sound funny at times! And many of them really are very beautiful stars. Of course star dynasties still prevail as children of stars of long ago follow the steps of many loved entertainers and stars. Eddie Gutierez and Annabelle Rama certainly have made a solid contribution to the entertainment world with their twins Richard and Raymond and beauty queen and TV host Ruffa. So did Ramon Revilla, with son Senator Bong Revilla, with his recent award-winning role as "Panday." and grandson, Jolo, who is currenlty leading the cast in Pepeng Agimat.
Fashion: Filipinos definitely know fashion, and many television stars are true fashionistas. Office workers are often seen wearing bare shoulder dresses. That would be a no-no in many companies in the United States. I remember a time when office workers used to wear uniforms, with different color and style assigned for daily wear. One thing I could not understand, nor could my husband, is why men usually wear coat and tie, with the heat and all.
U.S. style houses. No matter how much the Philippines is known as among the poorest of the poor countries, you won't know that by looking at the houses, in fact, mansion-like settings of the rich. And of course, most of the rich have maids and guards, in their uniform.
Food: I noticed that whether rich or poor, the breakfast of the stars seems to be mini-hot dogs and white bread. I very seldom see pan de sal or chocolate. And there's always a fruit tray full of bananas, mangoes nd even apples. And the drink of the stars in the shows: orange juice!
Violence: Killing of people seems to be done with impunity. It seems like criminals are above the law. Bribery and corruption are very much depicted in many of the shows. Although I admire the creativity of some of the writers, I question some of their treatment of stories especially regarding crimes and its investigation. If I may suggest to Filipino screenwriters, I'd like to see more entertaining shows rather dark story lines with too much violence.
I have to admit though that Filipinos still show some delicadeza regarding bed scenes. I also really enjoy the moral stories depicted by one of the shows, "May Bukas Pa," and the light-heated story of "Full House." I also enjoy some of the fantasy shows such as Darna, Dyosa, Kambal sa Uma and Gagambino. Sometimes the story line is corny, but they are entertaining. .
This is all for now. I'll add some more later. If you have any comments about this. Please let me know.