Filipinos have always been fans of telenovelas. From the late Julie Vega’s Anna Liza to Judie Ann Santos’ Mara Clara and Claudine Barretto’s Mula sa Puso; pinoy tv viewers then upgraded to mexicanovelas with the arrival of Thalia and Eduardo Capetellio in Marimar.
However, in the early 2000s there came a boom in asianovelas, particularly Korean and Taiwan produced tv series. With the Taiwanese version of Meteor Garden, bringing along the still well-loved F4 boys of Jerry Yan, Vic Zhou, Vaness Wu and Ken Chu.
Meteor Garden is an adaptation of the popular Japanese manga series “Boys Over Flowers” (Hana Yori Dango) which in 2005 was also made into a Japanese tv series and was shown in Philippine tv after.
Second generation asianovela fans enjoyed stories like Summer Scent, Endless Love, Attic Cat, What Happened in Bali, Winter Sonata, All About Eve, All In among others. When most of the actors from these series entered their mandatory military service, these so-called second gen fans also took a break.
Or so we thought! The influx of well-written and conceptualized asianovelas just keep on coming. Enter the third gen millennial fans wherein stories and characters are not just about far-fetch ideas, but somehow mirror the daily lives of ordinary people.
Stories are relatable, characters are more in-tuned with reality, and not to mention, the actors/actresses playing the roles are all eye-candy.
Local tv is well-aware of how popular these teleseryes are and therefore ABS-CBN, GMA7 and other tv networks started incorporating these series (dubbed in tagalog) in their primetime block. Even though fans can watch them on cable tv and or the internet, the tagalized versions still get high ratings in the ratings’ game.
Then came the CoVid19 pandemic wherein everything seemed to have been put to a halt. People were forced to stay indoors, and local mainstream tv was affected with the two-month lockdown.
Enter Thailand’s BL (Brother Love) series. BL series are mostly romantic-comedy stories revolving around two male characters; it is considered a genre in Thailand entertainment industry as their culture is more accepting of the LGBTQ community.
When the pandemic happened, Filipino fans started watching and went gaga over #2gethertheseries, produced by GMMTV. The series stars Bright Vachirawit as Sarawat and Win Metawin as Tine. The story is about Tine considered a chick magnet but is also trying to avoid his gay stalker (Green), sought the help of Sarawat to be his fake boyfriend. However, Tine didn’t know that Sarawat was already in love with him ever since he saw him in a Scrubb concert. Ok, I won’t be revealing the whole story as most of you already saw the whole series and have read the novel by JittiRain.
The series is so popular that ABS-CBN via DreamScape acquired its rights to air it locally. The announcement came a few days ago coinciding with the launch of the Kapamilya channel.
However, this isn’t the first time that a BL series became popular in the Philippines. In fact, Thai BL series has a steady-cult fanbase in the country. Proof to that is the fact that some popular BL couples have been to the country for their fan meet; Only last year, we had the pleasure of meeting Krist and Singto from Sotus and Sotus S series, Tay and New from Dark Blue Kiss, Gulf Kanawut of TharnType series was also here, and earlier this year, Mew Suppasit also held his solo fan meet. The cast of TharnType series was scheduled for a fan meet in March but was later postponed because of the increasing pandemic scare.
With the new-found popularity of BL series in the country, some fans expressed their apprehension because our culture remains conservative especially on the issue of homosexuality. The BL series are mostly stories of coming out and accepting one’s true sexual preference; and some viewers may find this a sensitive matter.
However, it is still refreshing that local tv is moving forward by banking on this genre. #2gethertheseries is also the best choice for the first-ever BL series to be aired locally because of its light storyline and has already gained massive fame thanks to social media.
Maybe, just like how much we embrace our other favorite asianovelas, the BL series will also find a niche in our hearts and we’ll get to know and appreciate other BL stories in the future.