This November, GMA-7's drama anthology Magpakailanman is celebrating its second run’s fifth year on television with two heartwarming stories, which aired the past two Saturdays.
It can be remembered that the first run of the GMA show aired from 2002 to 2007.
After taking a four-year break, Magpakailanman was re-launched in November 2012, bringing back the first run’s host, broadcast journalist Mel Tiangco.
At the press conference for the anniversary special held on November 14 at the GMA compound, Mel Tiangco shared her thoughts on the longevity and consistent good ratings of the Kapuso show that airs every Saturday at 8:30 p.m.
She says that the secret to the show’s success are the stories themselves: “Alam mo kung bakit? Dahil totoong kuwento ng mga totoong tao. Nakikita niyo naman ’yong tao, di ba? Nakikita niyo ’yong subject because I interview them. Di ba? Hindi made up, hindi fiction ’yong kuwento. Nandoon talaga ’yong tao, so not only do we enjoy na maganda ’yong production, magagaling ang mga artista, maganda ’yong story, lalo’t higit, totoong kuwento. Hindi ka namin niloloko pag pinresenta namin sa ’yo. Totoong kuwento.”
Since Magpakailanman is a show that banks on the collection of affecting stories, it is not a wonder why it has always been compared with the longer running ABS-CBN drama anthology Maalaala Mo Kaya.
When asked about this comparison, Tiangco says it’s a matter of accepting the reality of the industry.
She explains, “Comparisons? Well, it depends how we are compared to them, but siyempre pag maganda gusto mo...
"Pero alam mo, hindi naman puwedeng sabihing it doesn’t bother me because that’s, you know, masama naman ’yon: that means nawawalan na ng kuwenta ’yong aking programa.
"Pero I guess it’s just part of this industry. Di ba? It’s part of this industry that you have competition. And when you have competition, you will be compared, di ba? So, I accept, I accept the comparison because I accept that there is competition.”
The ratings battle, too, is always part of her thoughts: “Oh, yes, every week kami [tumitingin ng ratings]. Siyempre we live on the ratings, e. Di ba? And we have very good ratings. I’m very happy to say that. So, all the more, you welcome competition and comparison.”
5TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION. To celebrate this milestone, Magpakailanman is slated to air four special stories this November. The first two stories aired on November 4 and 11.
For this Saturday, November 18, the show will feature the story of Azramie “Ramram” Cabugatan, a boy who was taken away from his parents, but reunited with his biological mother after seven years. Gina Alajar will direct the show, which will star Yasmien Kurdi and Sharmaine Arnaiz.
Ending the month-long celebration on November 25 is the story of a courageous soldier who was assigned in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, after it was sieged by terrorists in May 2017.
Under the direction of Mark dela Cruz, the story will be brought to life by Alden Richards who volunteered to play a role in the show. The actor’s gesture is much appreciated according to Tiangco.
She says, “Alden kasi really has a soft spot for service, public service. He has a soft spot for doing things that help others. Gano’n si Alden. Hindi lang ’yong arte-arte lang, hindi. ’Yon talaga nasa puso niya. Kaya tingnan mo, sa kanya nanggaling ’yong kanaisan na gumanap bilang isang sundalo. Gusto niyang bigyang pugay ang mga kasundaluhan natin. Kaya niya ginawa ’yon. So napakalaking pagkakataon para sa Magpakailanman na siya ang gaganap dito sa sundalong ito.”
Magpakailanman has been a venue for real people and Kapuso artists to tell their stories that aim to inspire, inform, or instigate a conversation.
But if we were to live in a world, where there were no barriers, and she could feature anyone’s life on the show—anyone in the world that interests her—Tiangco says, after much thought, that she would tell the story of Melania Trump.
The Kapuso broadcaster explains, “Colorful. Parang lang ha. I really don’t know her life story, pero mukhang maraming makikuwento si Melania Trump sa buhay niya, lalo’t first lady siya ng President of the United States [Donald Trump].”