GMA-7 shows that became famous abroad

by Kaye Koo
May 21, 2019
Marian Rivera worked with Alden Richards in Carmela (left frame) and she top-billed the telefantasya Dyesebel (right frame). Both teleseryes are among the GMA-7 shows that became famous abroad.

Sikat na talaga siya, kasi kilala na siya sa (insert name of country).

Pinoys tend to amplify a local celebrity's fame the moment other countries start to recognize them too.

Interestingly, the love for Pinoy celebrities extends to foreigners, often inspiring them to learn Tagalog along the way.

Chat with locals in one of our closest neighboring countries, like Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia and you'll discover them to be fans of Marian Rivera (for Marimar and Darna) and how they learned to speak Filipino because of our teleseryes that were broadcast there.

This got us curious to see which teleseryes from GMA-7 made their marks abroad, allowing Pinoy celebrities to shine bright like diamonds beyond our 7,000-plus islands.

Disclaimer: While some titles were acquired in more countries than what we included here, we only listed down the ones where the shows really became famous in those countries.

PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) asked the Kapuso network to identify which Pinoy TV series became famous abroad.

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1. Marimar


Original Pinoy TV Series Title: Marimar in 2007

Philippine TV Network: GMA Network

Translation: With local subtitles in Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Indonesia, USA (Hawaii and California), Canada, and China. With English-dubbed versions in Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, and Kenya.

Became Famous in: 14 countries.

Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes became famous all over Southeast Asia all thanks to Marimar, itself a local adaptation of the huge Latin American telenovela by the same name.

Ten years after Marimar made Marian Rivera famous, Esquire Indonesia hailed the Philippine Queen of Primetime TV (who married her Marimar co-star Dingdong Dantes in 2014 and gave birth to adorable Zia in 2015) as one of the 7 hottest women in Asia.

She placed second on their list, which included Hollywood-famous names like Fan Bingbing of X-Men: Days of Future Past and Tao Okamoto of The Wolverine.

The Prime Minister of Cambodia, Hun Sen, asked to meet Marian and Dingdong on his visit to the Philippines for the 2017 ASEAN Summit, as a way to please her still-large fan base in Cambodia. When Filipino tourists travel around the ASEAN, locals will usually sing the Marimar theme song to them as a way of identifying with them.

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BONUS:

Amaya

Amaya, another Marian Rivera-led show with elements of history and fantasy, became a hit in Cambodia as well. When it aired in Cambodia in 2013 via CTN-MyTV, the only channel airing Filipino dramas, residents of Phnom Penh would rush to switch on their TV sets at 12 noon to catch Amaya. This Kapuso show likewise became a hit in Malaysia, Vietnam, and South Korea.

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2. My Destiny

Original Pinoy TV Series Title: My Destiny in 2014

Philippine TV Network: GMA Network

Translation: With local subtitles in Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Thailand, USA (Hawaii and California) and Kazakhstan. With English-dubbed versions in Nigeria, Kenya, Zambia, and Papua New Guinea.

The romance-family drama starred present-day real-life couple Tom Rodriguez and Carla Abellana together with Rhian Ramos and Sid Lucero. Coming from two previous team-ups (teleserye My Husband's Lover and romantic comedy movie So It's You), the realistic and electrifying chemistry between the two Kapuso stars made them loved both here and abroad.

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Local format: Mexico bought the rights to the format in 2016 (a format buy results in shows like the Korean versions of Suits or CSI).

Became Famous in: 13 countries. Carla Abellana, lead star of My Destiny, was embraced by the Vietnamese wholeheartedly as they even named her their Face of The Year in 2016.

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3. Impostora

Original Pinoy TV Series Title: Impostora in 2007

International Title: Impostors

Philippine TV Network: GMA Network

Translation: With local subtitles in Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, USA (Hawaii and California), South Korea, and Romania. With English-dubbed versions in Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, and Zambia.

Became Famous in: 12 countries. CTN Cambodia remade it to Impostors, becoming the first GMA-7 drama to be sold as a format. Aired in 2013, it became a big hit in Cambodia. The cast included Pen Sophanny, Ngeht Sovanlita, Sin Samneang, Heng Norakakada, and Houng Sambremsak in a local adaptation of a TV show that had a huge impact on the careers of Sunshine Dizon and Iza Calzado.

Impostora is a story loosely based on the 1994 film Sa Isang Sulok ng mga Pangarap (translated to A Corner of Dreams).

This GMA-7 show is the riveting, oftentimes complicated tale of conjoined twins Sara (played by Sunshine Dizon) and Lara (played by Iza Calzado). Their lives become complicated because of their cousin Vanessa (later played by Sunshine).

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When Sara and Lara are successfully separated at the age of eight, unfortunate events lead to them being given up for adoption. An incident changes the face of one of the twins, resulting in Sara later on being found by Luis Alandy's plastic surgeon character Leandro, who has an illicit affair with Vanessa.

Vanessa was already planning to leave her husband Nicholas and steal his money. For this reason, Vanessa had Leandro transform Sara’s face into hers. Vanessa then sends Sara to Nicholas’s house to pretend as her.

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4. Una Kang Naging Akin

Original Pinoy TV Series Title: Una Kang Naging Akin in 2008

International Title: When You Were Mine

Philippine TV Network: GMA Network

Translation: With local subtitles in Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Thailand, USA (Hawaii and California), and South Korea. With English-dubbed versions in Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, and Zambia.

Became Famous in: 12 countries.

This teleserye was based on a 1991 movie by the same name starring Sharon Cuneta, Gabby Concepcion, and Dawn Zulueta. The TV version starred Wendell Ramos, playing the man torn between two lovers, played by Angelika dela Cruz and Maxene Magalona.

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5. Dyesebel

Original Pinoy TV Series Title: Dyesebel in 2008

Philippine TV Network: GMA Network

Translation: With local subtitles in Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, China, and South Korea. With English-dubbed versions in Nigeria, Kenya, and Zambia.

Became Famous in: 11 countries.

Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera, the stars of Dyesebel, were invited by the Malaysians to promote Dyesebel through a series of appearances on their local TV in 2009. Nirzam Sani, Astro Prima channel airing the show in Malaysia, said at the time that Dyesebel was the first of many more Filipino teleseryes coming in and that the classic tale of a love against all odds would be something Malaysians would appreciate.

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6. Kung Aagawin Mo ang Langit

Original Pinoy TV Series Title: Kung Aagawin Mo ang Langit in 2011

International Title: Losing Heaven

Philippine TV Network: GMA Network

Translation: With local subtitles in Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Thailand, Hawaii, and South Korea. With English-dubbed versions in Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, and Zambia.

Became Famous in: 13 countries.

The format was acquired by IMC Vietnam for a remake. Carla Abellana is a popular choice among the Vietnamese and she joined Michelle Madrigal as they promoted their show there in 2013.

Playing a character who is unassuming and kindhearted, Carla's character goes up against the ambitious, self-assertive character played by Michelle. The two women battle it out for the love of the happy, go-lucky character played by Mike Tan in a revenge drama of two former best friends.

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7. Carmela


Original Pinoy TV Series Title: Carmela: Ang pinakamagandang babae sa mundong ibabaw in 2014

Philippine TV Network: GMA Network

Translation: With local subtitles in Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Brunei, and Thailand. With English-dubbed versions in Nigeria, Uganda, Ghana, Kenya, Zambia, and Papua New Guinea.

Became Famous in: 12 countries.

Additionally, it was broadcast in Ukraine (1+1), Panama (TVMax), Puerto Rico (WIPR-TV), and Slovenia (POP TV). Alden Richards, one of the lead stars of Carmela was invited by JKN Global Media to promote the show in Thailand in 2017.

Alden played one of his most mature roles to date opposite Marian Rivera who is older than him in real life. Alden's character named Iago enters into a relationship with Marian's titular character Carmela.

Iago happens to be the grandson of the man who tried to rape Carmela's mother (played by Agot Isidro). Iago is insecure and looking for love and his story arc changes once he meets Carmela, who proceeds on an arc of revenge against those who abused and hurt her and her family.

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8. Rhodora X

Original Pinoy TV Series Title: Rhodora X in 2014

Philippine TV Network: GMA Network

Translation: With local subtitles in Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Thailand, and Canada. With English-dubbed versions in Papua New Guinea.

Became Famous in: 9 countries.

This dark, psychological drama thriller starred Jennylyn Mercado playing someone with Dissociative Identity Disorder or DID, Mark Herras as the love interest and reason for the rivalry and jealousy between Jennylyn and Yasmien's characters, Yasmien Kurdi as the sister struggling with Jennylyn's character, and Mark Anthony Fernandez as the fiance of Yasmien's character.

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Marian Rivera worked with Alden Richards in Carmela (left frame) and she top-billed the telefantasya Dyesebel (right frame). Both teleseryes are among the GMA-7 shows that became famous abroad.
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