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‘Indio’ is the new ‘Engcantadia’

Anyone who has a heart for fantasy series will contend that GMA Networks’s “Engcantadia” is the best fantaserye that ever graced the Philippine television.

Bong Revilla is Indio

Senator Bong Revilla plays the role of “Indio.”

But that may change in the days to come.

The creators of ‘Engcantadia‘ is bound to make another history happen in the local TV scene with “Indio” that will air on GMA-7 Telebabad starting Monday, January 14.

ElysPlanet.Com was among the members of the press and online writers who watched its first episodes during a special advanced screening attended by its cast on January 9 at SM Megamall.

It is too early to tell but Indio‘s opening episodes showcase a strong story, awesome effects, and top caliber executions that could surpass Engcantadia‘s.

It’s not surprising though for they definitely have integrated the use of new technology, and gained new styles that work since the creation of the 2005 hit and well-loved fantasy series.

‘Telemovie’

Dubbed as ‘telemovie’ for its movie-like production value, GMA network said ‘Indio‘ is the most expensive and the biggest production they ever produced for TV.

Yes, it maybe is expensive but what makes ‘Indio’ relevant for Filipinos of this generation?

“Though staged in pre-colonial setting, the value of Indio’s beautiful story traverses through generations, as its theme of earning dignity through selfless sacrifice for loved ones resonates strongly even for audiences of today,” the network contested.

Let’s close a closer look at the series.

There’s no exact term for ‘Indio’ but in essence, it is ‘Filipino’ should we decide to trace the Philippine history, which account states that ‘Indio’ is a Spanish racial term for the native Austronesian people in the country between the 16th and 19th centuries. Though ‘Indio’ also refers to the natives of the Americas, the series title pertains to the Spanish term.

Engcantadia‘s elements of success are there: the ultimate hero, the Diwatas (goddesses), the kid stars, the matinee idols, the love interests, the special effects, and more. What’s more interesting in ‘Indio‘ though is the story itself that’s strongly related to the Philippine history.

Filipinos are nationalistic in nature. The success of GMA-7′s Marian Rivera-starrer ‘Amaya‘ is a strong testimony that viewers could not only tolerate a history-based series on prime time TV but they are willing to love it as long as created with sensitivity and quality. So add to that ‘success’ formulas our love for fantasy stories and superheroes, you get ‘Indio.

Making Miracles Happen

Being star-studded alone is a major ‘come on’ but people could expect for more – and not just seeing those beautiful faces, the likes of Sam Pinto, Solenn Heussaf, Ellen Adarna, and Ehra Madrigal, Bea Binene, Princess Snell, among others or indulging in the charm and machismo of Fabio Ide, Alden Richards, Will Devaugn, Steven Silva, and newcomer Lucho Ayala to name a few. The first and the succeeding episodes showcase an acting ensemble that could make the series last for months — in possibly high viewers’ ratings. You can count newcomer Dominic Roco and powerful actors Bobby Andrews, Ronnie Lazaro, Ping Medina, Robert Arevalo, Dante Rivero, Daria Ramirez, Agot Isidro and Michael de Mesa on that.

Lead actor, Senator Bong Revilla does not appear in the first episodes. But should he make his acting different from his performance in his ‘Agimat’ film series, Revilla could continuously pose as a hero the way his movies positioned him to be.

The actor said he has again undergone acting workshops for his role. That should help the series get going especially that most Filipino TV viewers are either pro-RH bill Catholic, same with his unpopular position about the issue, or do not care about the controversial bill at all.

Jennylyn Mercado does not appear in the first episodes as well but trailers showcase her unique beauty in a Spanish fashion people will definitely love. Mercado’s acting is above average so people could just sit back and relax that this lady will be excellent in the series.

If we are to mention major stand outs, it would be the networks’ most controversial stars Rhian Ramos and Sarah Lahbati who play major roles. Ramos is most beautiful in her being Dian Magayon, goddess of flying animals in the series. Lahbati’s short performance as Ynaguiguinid, a war goddess who gave birth to ‘Malaya’ is enough to leave a mark on the audience, as she’s now in a controversial conflict with the network.

The first episodes, which in most cases are the most boring part of any series for they usually try very hard to capture viewers’ interest without realizing that overdoing them could actually lost viewers’ attention, are more than just entertaining but oozing with both glamour and sense in ‘Indio.’

Should having almost all poignant characters introduced in just a few frames a wish for miracles, ‘Indio‘ did not wish but made miracles happen.

Between action-filled scenes and touching narratives, the first few scenes provided enough background information about the series and at the same time tickled people’s interests to check out for more.

Watching the first episodes alone is not enough to personally guarantee that Indio will take you to the full ride of a great TV viewing experience as only the producers could promise that (though we can always demand). However, those fantastic effects plus the great cinematography will be enough for every viewer to be glued on TV every night once more.

Should it be shown in ASEAN the way Encantadia is being shown (Fox) right now, you will be very proud enough to say, it is Filipino-produced. And that you were once called ‘Indio.’

Written by Suzette Doctolero (the same writer who wrote the Engcantadia saga and Amaya) and directed by Dondon Santos, Indio’s primer airs Sunday night after ‘Imbestigador’ while pilot episode will air Monday night replacing, “Aso Ni San Roque.”

Is ‘Indio‘ enough to quench the thirst of ‘Engcantadia‘ lovers who have been waiting for the fourth book of the 258-episode fantaserye? Are Filipino viewers still as welcoming like seven years ago? Willing to accept another fantaseries after the successful, critically-acclaimed ‘Amaya‘?

We care to know your thoughts. Let us know what you think of ‘Indio‘ in the comments.

*Erratum: The correct spelling is ‘Engcantadia’ not ‘Engkantadia’ as previously used in this post. My apologies.

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Ely Valendez

Ely Valendez is an award-winning blogger-journalist based in the Philippines. He handles several social media marketing projects for various brands in his home country as well as for MacMall.com, one of the top Apple resellers in the US. He also sits as member of the Board of Directors of the Philippines Communication Society and serves as Web Manager of the Philippine Press Institute.

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