ANATOMY OF A PINOY TELESERYE (Part 2): The Making of GMA-7's Encantadia, Ika-6 Na Utos

by James Patrick Anarcon
Apr 1, 2018
Check out interesting trivia about two of GMA-7's top-rating shows: Encantadia and Ika-6 Na Utos.

and Ika-6 Na Utos are two of GMA-7's most top-rated shows that were aired from 2016 to 2017.

The success of these two GMA teleseryes is evident based on the ratings they registered in their respective timeslots, aside from the fact that the shows often trended on social media.

This became the reason why (Philippine Entertainment Portal) used these two GMA-7 shows as the case studies for this special report titled Anatomy of a Pinoy Teleserye.

The first part of this PEP special report discussed how these Pinoy teleseryes were conceptualized and executed.

This second part reveals interesting trivia about these GMA teleseryes.

Check out these little-known facts about these shows, as disclosed to by GMA Vice President for Drama Productions Redgie A. Magno, who was present during the conceptualization and execution of these two shows.

ENCANTADIA. This fantasy series, considered a remake and sequel of GMA-7's successful 2005 telefantasya, became a much-anticipated TV series when the network announced in December 2015 that it will return to television.

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Aired from July 18, 2016 to May 19, 2017, Encantadia is a retelling of the story featuring the four Sang'gres Pirena (Glaiza de Castro), Amihan (Kylie Padilla), Alena (Gabbi Garcia), and Danaya (Sanya Lopez).

Who came up with the idea about doing an Encantadia "requel?"

What happened to Encantadia when they found out that one of the main cast members was pregnant?

Here are five behind-the-scenes trivia that Encantadiks must know about this Pinoy teleserye:

1. It was GMA CEO Felipe Gozon's idea to make the new Encantadia a requel.

Aside from the show's creators Mark Reyes and Suzette Doctolero, it was also the idea of GMA Network's Chief Executive Officer Felipe L. Gozon (FLG) to make the return of Encantadia a "requel," or a remake and sequel.

Magno recalled, "Actually, parang binanggit 'yan ni FLG, e, na sabi niya, parang if it's just a remake then we will just tell them the same story, sabi niya.

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"So why not parang offer them something different but not totally different because these are the loyal viewers of Encantadia.

"We want to keep the loyal viewers and at the same time, attract new viewers. So how do we keep them loyal to us?

"Yung mga fans ng Encantadia, siyempre meron silang mga familiar na alam na nila yung back stories ng characters, e. So somehow, hahanapin nila yan. Kilalang-kilala na nila, bawat character kilala nila.

"So hindi ka dapat totally different from [the first one], you still keep that back story, those characters, and add a few para at the same time, they will also watch and see a different story but not really abandoning the first Encantadia. That's why you have familiar characters, di ba?

"Pero what's exciting is even those who are already familiar with the story, meron pa rin silang makikitang, 'Uy, merong bagong kwento.'

"And then, pag umingay siya because of the new kwento or pag uusapan, we can attract the non-Encantadia viewers. So yun yung aim namin, na maka-attract pa kami ng new viewers."

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The Sang'gres of Encantadia 2016: Glaiza de Castro (Pirena), Gabbi Garcia (Alena), Sanya Lopez (Danaya), and Kylie Padilla (Amihan).

2. Kylie Padilla was willing to tape for Amihan even though she was already pregnant.

In the previous part, Magno admitted that the production team of Encantadia was shocked when Kylie Padilla became pregnant while doing this GMA teleserye.

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In her own words, she said, "Nagimbal talaga kami."

It was because they already had advanced scripts when they found out about Kylie's delicate condition.

At the time the news broke, Encantadia was already airing for seven months.

Since they had to adjust the script and storyline, tapings became hand to mouth.

"Grabe yun. Dun yun naging cause ng hand-to-mouth kasi kailangang i-rewrite everything, so mangiyak-ngiyak na talaga si Suzette noon at saka yung production kasi paisa-isa yung [script] nila."

Back then, Kylie still expressed her willingness to go on with the show even though she was pregnant.

"Super sorry din naman si Kylie, but then again, willing siya, e, to still go on.

"Kasi naman, mapupuyat, mas more ang ano namin, yung concern namin doon sa artist.

"Kung tutuusin, pwede, dadayain mo lang yung shot. Pero kailangan niyang magtaping hanggang madaling araw, e papaano, first baby niya yun.

"Tapos kung ano mangyari sa taping sa kanya.

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"So ang ginawa namin, inayos namin yung script para unti-unti siyang ma-ease out."

This was Kylie Padilla's look as Amihan when she was turned into a ivtre or a soul. This story arc happened when Amihan had to be killed in the series because of Kylie's pregnancy.

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3. Encantadia executives and creators wished that Karylle and Iza Calzado also appeared in the requel.

Magno was delighted to say that they did not have a hard time negotiating with former Encantadia cast members who agreed to do special roles in the requel.

This included Sunshine Dizon, Diana Zubiri, Alfred Vargas, and Dingdong Dantes among others.

"Lahat naman ng nagperform sa [original] Encantadia, they were also all excited that we are doing Encantadia 2. So lahat naging excited naman, that's why when we called them for a cameo role or a guest role, willing naman sila to appear."

If she had her way, Magno wished that Karylle and Iza Calzado, who played Sang'gres in the original Encantadia, also had cameo roles in the Pinoy teleserye.

Karylle and Iza are currently under contract with ABS-CBN.

At the time of the requel, Iza was busy taping for her prime-time series A Love To Last.

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Magno said, "Kung tutuusin nga kung pwede lang si Iza at saka si Karylle, ipapasok namin, e. Kaso nasa kabila na.

"Kasi hinahanap din noong fans, may mga fans ang Enca na, 'Kailan papasok si ganyan, kailan ganun ganun.'

"Kung talaga lang na available sila at that time, pwede rin namin sana sila mapasok to do a cameo or let's say, a guest appearance that will run for one to two weeks.

"We could have done that kung available lang sila kaya lang, hindi sila available."

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The Sang'gres of Encantadia 2005: Karylle (Alena), Iza Calzado (Amihan), Sunshine Dizon (Pirena), and Diana Zubiri (Danaya).

4. GMA-7's in-house post-production team did all the computer graphics for Encantadia.

During the original Encantadia, GMA hired computer graphics [CGI] supplier Riot, Inc for the special effects.

However, in the requel, the network hired its own post-production editing team.

"Actually, ang gumawa ng CGI ng Enca is GMA post, video graphics. Our in-house post production team who does special effects.

"Meron kaming grupo talaga, e. Noong una, noong Enca 1, Riot ang gumagawa noon. Noong ito na, nagform ang group ang aming post ng GMA, in-house and they're very very good.

"Talagang naimpress kami kaya lang of course, siyempre, ang CGI naman, you have to give them lead time to be able to come out with a very, very nice product na special effects."

Since the show required a lot of visual effects, tapings had to be done in advance.

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Magno explained, "Hindi mo pwedeng ora-orada kasi huwag kang mag-expect ng pulidong trabaho kung minadali kasi yun lang ang nirerequire nila.

"We sat down with them tapos diniscuss and then nagbigay sila ng sample treatment sa CGI nila. And sobra kaming naimpress talaga."

Since their CGI supplier is already in-house, it became more convenient for the production team.

"Actually, noong naging in-house nga, mas parang convenient for us kasi unang-una, nandiyan na tapos yung communication mas madali. Number two, alam din nila yung production constraints kasi hindi katulad kapag independent ka, ang interes nila yung sa kanila lang, e, di ba.

"Tapos we talk, we meet kung ano yung kailangan nila, ano yung kailangan namin. Open yung communication, that's what's important, e, most important thing is the communication is open.

"Kung hindi malinaw, kailangan malinaw ang usapan para kung ano man yung ide-deliver, magkakaintindihan sila kasi ang CGI, it requires lead time so marami rin yang time na ire-render, rendering.

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"So kung merong hindi maayos kayong pag-intindi, maapektuhan yung iyong visual.

"So there has to be a clear communication between production and post.

"Yun, pinapakita nila kahit hindi pa final, pinapakita nila, tama ba itong ginagawa namin kay Direk Mark [Reyes]. So siyempre, of course, merong mga input si Direk Mark at saka iba ang mind noon, very creative yun at saka sobrang nasa kanyang dugo na yata yan, Enca."

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One scene that used computer graphics was when Cassiopea (Solenn Heussaff) held the four gems of Encantadia.

5. Rainy season prompted the production team of Encantadia to construct a man-made forest inside the studio.

The rainy season became a production constraint for Encantadia, especially since they had to do some outdoor scenes set in cliffs, mountains, and forests.

"Actually, ang pinakaproblema noon ng Enca, kasi there were scenes na we have to shoot sa remote locations di ba?

"E, ang tagal ng rainy season at that time. So we had to... meron na kaming existing studio.

"Pero kasi, yung mga studio na meron kami, yung mga set namin sa studio, para lang yun sa mga interior ng palace."

This became the reason why the production decided to rent another studio and construct a man-made forest.

"We had to create a forest inside the studio kasi nga, ayun ang nangyayari, hindi namin maa-afford ang pack-up kasi we have to submit the materials early sa post, especially those with CGI.

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"E, habang tumatagal noon ang Enca, mas dumadami ang CGI. Siyempre, nagpoprogress ka, lumelevel up ka, e.

"So we have to construct a forest inside the studio na 50, physical na set, meron kang combination ng CGI, na akala mo ang background mo, ang lawak lawak na forest, CGI na yon.

"Ang nangyari noon, nagrent pa kami ng additional na studio. Kasi dati isang studio lang e. Ni-rentan pa namin yung isang studio kasi dun kami nag-create ng forest.

"But, noong nangyari yun, mas madali naman ang taping namin kasi contained na lahat. Kaya lang may konting delay kasi sometimes we have to dismantle, unlike yung nakaset up ka na.

"So if there are other locations, mga independent locations na kunyari, cliff o whatever, dun na lang, aayusin na lang namin sa studio yun para hindi magmukhang studio.

"But after that, everything was smooth sailing because contained na lahat inside sa studio."

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Here is one scene in Encantadia which was located in the man-made forest inside the show's studio.

IKA-6 NA UTOS. This GMA-7 Afternoon Prime series became one of the surprise hits of the Kapuso Network, registering high ratings in its timeslot.

Originally intended to run for only six weeks, the show aired its pilot episode on December 5, 2016, it was awarded with several extensions and ended just last March 19, 2018.

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The story isn't actually new: Emma (Sunshine Dizon) sought revenge after her husband Rome (Gabby Concepcion) cheated on her with her friend Georgia (Ryza Cenon).

This Pinoy teleserye became known for its campy yet entertaining fight scenes that became sources of funny memes and tweets from netizens.

But more than these viral scenes, there are other interesting information that weren't disclosed to viewers.

Why were Ryza Cenon and Gabby Concepcion chosen as co-stars of Sunshine Dizon?

How did the creative team brainstorm for the viral scenes of this GMA teleserye?

These questions are answered by these behind-the-scenes trivia from the show:

1. Sunshine Dizon had to be pulled out of Encantadia to prioritize Ika-6 Na Utos.

In the first part of PEP's special report, Magno revealed that the story of Ika-6 Na Utos wasn't really written for Sunshine.

It may be recalled that the Kapuso actress had marital woes at the time she was cast in this show.

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Before she was cast in this show, Sunshine was a part of Encantadia when her character was suddenly killed.

It turned out that she would play the lead character Emma in Ika-6 Na Utos.

Magno said, "Matagal na naming pinaplano yun na gumawa [ng ganito] kasi almost lahat naman ng kwento, di ba, may ganyan? Yung mga kabitan-kabitan?

"Nagkataon lang, tumiming na ginagawa namin yun, tamang-tama na si Sunshine, may problema."

It was a good thing that the actress accepted the offer.

Magno recalled Sunshine's reaction, "Na-excite siya na parang sabi niya, 'Are you serious?' Akala niya joke. Kasi that time, parang inaayos pa yata yung kaso niya.

"So sabi namin, kakayanin mo ba? Kasi, of course, may mga scenes dun that would be similar to what is happening to her di ba.

"E, alam mo naman si Sunshine, artista naman yun, di ba?

"Sabi niya, 'Ay, hindi, mahihiwalay ko naman yung trabaho.'

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"But sobra siyang parang na-excite doon sa project tapos yun nga, it turned out, okay naman."

Sunshine Dizon as Adhara in Encantadia. Her character had to be killed in the telefantasya for her to prioritize Ika-6 Na Utos.

2. Just like Sunshine, Gabby Concepcion and Ryza Cenon were also handpicked to do their roles in this Pinoy teleserye.

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After Sunshine was tapped to play the lead, GMA executives cast Gabby Concepcion as Rome, the husband of Emma who will have an affair with another woman.

Of this, Magno remarked, "Kasi kukuha ka ng actor, yung talaga namang pag-aawayan ng dalawang babae, di ba?

"Yung kapani-paniwala talagang magpapakamatay ka para makuha yung lalaki!"

The show also served as the biggest TV break of Ryza Cenon, who was named StarStruck 2 Ultimate Female Survivor in 2005.

How was she chosen for the role of Georgia?

Magno answered, "Si Ryza naman kasi, binibigyan na namin siya noon ng kontrabida.

"So sabi namin, parang good break din sa kanya ito and at the same time, yung huli niyang ginawang kontrabida, we were impressed naman.

"Pero this time, itong Ika-6, hinigitan pa niya yung performance sa lahat ng nagawa niya, e. Kasi convincing siya."

Magno believes that the show will work if the protagonist and antagonist have chemistry.

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"Sabi ko nga for it to work, for the bida to work, actually, dapat mahusay ang kontrabida. Kasi hindi mo makikita, hindi mo kakaawan yung aktor kapag yung kumokontrabida sa 'yo, e, wala lang.

"E, Sunshine pa ito na halimaw umarte, so parang na-pull off naman ni Ryza kaya we're happy for her.

"Noong una medyo, kaya kaya ni Ryza si Sunshine?

"Tapos hindi ko alam kung nag-reading sila, e, parang nag-reading ata sila, tapos noong una, actually si Sunshine din naman, binibigyan niya rin ng support [si Ryza].

"Nag-uusap sila, kunyari may eksenang sampalan or whatever, nag-uusap sila and of course, si Laurice Guillen ang director, ang laking tulong ni Direk Laurice, huhusay ka talagang umarte doon!"

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Gabby Concepcion and Ryza Cenon played the two other main characters in Ika-6 Na Utos.

3. The Saturday extension of Ika-6 Na Utos was not originally part of management's plan.

According to Magno, there were times when Ika-6 Na Utos would rate higher than some of their prime-time shows.

"So tamang-tama nga, noong nagkaroon ng opening sa timeslot na yun, we thought of extending it to Saturday. It was not the original intention, original plan."

It was in March 2017 when Ika-6 Na Utos first aired its Saturday episode, a first among GMA soap operas after many years.

Of this, Magno said, "Sobrang taas ng rating niya na malapit na siya mag-double digit, minsan, mataas pa siya sa shows ng prime-time.

"So sabi namin, kahit saang araw mo ito ilagay, papatok din ito. Tapos afternoon din yun, so more or less, they have the same viewers, di ba?

"So ayun naman, super successful din yung Saturday."

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It proved to be a good strategy since most of the time, the show's Saturday episodes rated higher than the weekday run.

"Sa totoo lang, ang Saturday niya ang pinakamataas pa doon sa Monday to Friday na ratings niya, kaya naki-keep niya yung viewers niya."

When this GMA teleserye started airing six times a week, adjustments had to be made.

"Definitely, nadagdagan ng taping days, nagdagdag rin ng sequences for one week kasi dati ang in-e-air mo lang five days, may Day 6 na.

"So may adjustment, nagdagdag ng number of sequences per script and number of taping days."

They also did not rely on spillovers, or excess scenes and sequences that did not fit the running time of a previous week or episode.

She reasoned out, "Baka maapektuhan yung Saturday namin kasi ano yun, e, that's additional day talaga, e. So kung hindi mo dadagdagan yung material mo, kukulangin tapos luluwag.

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"Magda-drag kasi pipilitin mo siyang i-stretch hanggang Saturday, so maaapektuhan yung storytelling mo, definitely.

"So it's an additional day, it's just right we have additional scenes and additional taping days, siyempre naman kawawa naman yung mga artista.

"Successful nga yung show, hirap na hirap naman yung mga tao, hindi naman pwede 'yon."

4. There were instances where writers had to adjust the story because of ratings.

In the previous report, Magno mentioned that there were times where they had to remove or change plot points when a show does not perform well in the ratings.

However, she also revealed that there were times that they do it in Ika-6 Na Utos, when ratings seem to drop.

She elaborated, "Kasi may mga characters na sobrang minahal na ng viewers na kapag nawala, hinahanap nila. Si Loleng [Odette Khan] in fairness, na-endear na rin ang mga tao sa kanya.

"Meron kaming mga bali na sa original plan, paglalayuin mo si Emma at si Rome pero medyo parang hindi gusto ng tao, kasi mararamdaman mo naman sa ratings yun, e. We look at the ratings everyday.

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"So bali yun, pagdidikitin mo ulit sila. Papalo na naman! May mga ganun.

"Medyo may mga weeks na malamlam yung away ni Georgia at Emma, tumatamlay din yung ratings, so ingay na naman."

The network believes that high-strung drama shows cater to the liking of the afternoon audience, which explains the intense catfight scenes of the lead characters.

"Kasi in the afternoon, siyempre yung mga tao, patulog yan. Kailangan ang kwento mo, maingay. Yung talagang kumbaga gigisingin ka ng kwento.

"It doesn't have to be naman yung literally, sigawan ng sigawan na ganyan, no naman.

"Pero yung kwento niya is so engaging that you would want to watch rather than sleep."

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Here is one of the many fight scenes of Sunshine Dizon and Ryza Cenon in Ika-6 Na Utos.

5. The production team comes up with creative fight scenes for the lead characters.

Definitely, one of the trademarks of Ika-6 Na Utos is its use of campy yet entertaining fight scenes.

Magno pointed out, "Kasi yung kwento naman, papunta sa ganoon tapos siguro yung mga asawa, nakakarelate na gusto rin nilang saktan yung mga mistress, parang yung mga fight scenes, needed sa story.

"Hindi lang siya kumbaga inisip lang para magkaroon ng eventful na ano pero kailangan yun. Kunyari may nasabi, may na-provoke yung isa.

"Those fight scenes are parang important din to move the story forward. It's not just para lang mag set-up ng fight."

This is the reason why it took a lot of time for the creative team to brainstorm about these scenes.

"Minsan din, mayroong mga times na, 'Naku, gagawin mo ba 'yan?'

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"Pero minsan, nag-uusap sila, kapag nagbe-brainstorming sila, 'Naku, ang mistress kahit ano gagawin!'

"Nakakatuwa sila kapag napapakinggan ko sila magbrainstorm, e. Talagang kumakawala sila, na-inspire din sila siyempre because of the good performance of the show."

One of the viral scenes in Ika-6 Na Utos was when Emma (Sunshine Dizon) plunged Georgia (Ryza Cenon) and Geneva's (Angelika dela Cruz) faces in an aquarium filled with lobsters and crabs.

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Maria Regina "Redgie" Magno is GMA-7's Vice President for Drama Productions. She was the executive producer of the drama anthology program Lovingly Yours, Helen. In 1997, Magno became executive producer of GMA-produced shows such as Di Ba't Ikaw (1999), Idol Ko Si Kap (2000-2005), and GMA Mini Series: Tuwing Kapiling Ka (2000). She then became program manager to shows such as Darna (2005) and Joaquin Bordado (2008). Magno was promoted to Vice President for Drama in 2013.

To know more about how these two shows were created for television, read Part 1 of PEP's special report:


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Check out interesting trivia about two of GMA-7's top-rating shows: Encantadia and Ika-6 Na Utos.
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