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Philippine drama, notably called teleserye and/or teledrama in television is a form of melodramatic serialized fiction produced and aired in the Philippines. It rooted from two words "tele", short for television, and "serye", a Tagalog term for series. Teleserye, is now used as the generic term for most Filipino soap operas on television, although the term officially came into existence in 2000 when ABS CBN aired its first official form of teleserye, Pangako sa 'Yo. Prior to this, Filipino soap operas were called either telenovelas (and still is referred to as such) and soap operas.

Teleseryes share some characteristics and similar roots with soap operas and telenovelas,yet teleserye has evolved into a genre with its own unique characteristics usually relfecting social realism of Filipinos. Teleserye are aired in prime-time five days a week, and replays during weekends, attract a broad audience across age and gender lines, and command the highest advertising rates. They last about three months to a year or more depending on its rating and come to a climactic close.

Teleseryes are produced by the two main Philippine TV networks ABS-CBN, which is Philippine's largest producer and exporter of Teleseryes and, GMA Network, by the independent company TAPE Inc. and by the movie producer VIVA Entertainment.



Soap operas in the Philippines originated in radio, then it expanded into television in early 1960's. The first Filipino TV Soap Opera was "Hiwaga sa Bahay na Bato" in 1963 produced by ABS-CBN.

Soap operas in the Philippines were usually shown during daytime. Among the most popular daytime soap operas then were, Gulong ng Palad, Flor de Luna, Mara Clara, Annaliza, Aguila and Valiente. But in 1996, soap opera programmimg was move to primetime due to the popularity gained by mexican Telenovela, Marimar, aired on RPN 9. This is the start of telenovela craze in the Philippines. Major networks ABS-CBN and GMA Network followed the trend by having foreign telenovelas in their timeslot.

The GMA Network-Viva TV co-production "Villa Quintana" was the first credited local primetime daily teleserye. It had toppled the unbeatable rival show "TV Patrol" in the ratings game.

Because of this, ABS CBN was troubled and in 1996, shifted the timeslot of Mara Clara from its daytime programmimg to primetime slot. Also, ABS-CBN come up with a soap similar to "Villa Quintana" entitled "Familia Zaragosa."

In 2000, ABS CBN, made a milestone in Philippine Telenovelas when it introduced "Pangako sa 'Yo", which was known to be the first official teleserye, and Kay Tagal Kang Hinintay". These teleseryes set the standard of present teleserye productions in the Philippines which also became a big hit in the Philippines and likewise to other countries. Because of this, subsequent soap operas shown on television are now referred to as teleseryes. ABS CBN's biggest rival network, GMA, has also followed, producing their own term of teleseryes under the term, teledrama.

Again, in Early 2004 ABS-CBN introduced a new variation of teleserye which mixes soap opera, fantasy, myth, magic and enchantment.This genre was called Fantaserye. The first official fantaserye that was shown on primetime TV was Marina. Marina undoubtfully set a benchmark for fantaseryes on television when it garnered consistent high ratings during its entire run. The ratings and audience share of the said fantaserye were even higher than the usual more established teleseryes during primetime.

In Mid 2004, GMA Network, embarked on its own term of fantaserye which are called telefantasya. GMA produced Marinara and Mulawin, the latter becoming more successful which eventually started the GMA telefantasya craze. On the other hand, ABS CBN focuses on airing teleseryes for its primetime slots although it sometimes produces fantaseryes as well. It was this year that started further variations of the teleserye genre under the terms, superserye, sineserye and cinenovela.



A popular plot of a teleserye is a love story between two different individuals, a rich guy fell in-love with a poor girl or a handsome guy attracted to a very ugly girl. Their romances is then contradicted by the mother of the guy because of their differences in life.

Another popular storyline of teleseryes is the search of a girl to her family members, usually the mother is being searched. The story goes, the girl was separated from her family at birth due to some circumtances, maybe by a bus accident or because the villain in the story wants a revenge to the parents of the protagonist-the villain will either exchange the baby with other mother and let the baby protagonist live a poor life, or the villain just simply take the child from the mother and let it live a very miserable life.

Teleseryes usually focus on love, betrayal, jealousy, social status and revenge between characters, usually their family history and relationships affecting the later generation.

The storyline of most teleseryes are similar, although both ABS CBN and GMA have diverged into different storylines which started the variations of the genre.


Among the most common twist in the romance between couples is that they will find out that they were brothers and sisters, but in the end they will also find out that they were not siblings because one of them is an adopted child.

Teleseryes are notorious for adding new characters to an already convoluted plot which adds more twist in the story. Usually the girl will meet a new guy which will eventually be her new love-interest in the story.

Sometimes teleseryes play with its viewers that makes another twist in the plot. For example a character which was known to be killed or died in the story will eventually appear in the latter part of the story. The usual reasons of this situations is that he or she was saved in the accident or maybe the person buried was not him or her.

The Villains

Villains are created to make the life of the protagonist especially miserable. Old Filipino Soap operas had very rude, violent, greedy, almost sociopathatic villains.

Character of villains in teleseryes have changed from the old soap operas to the present teleseryes. In old soap operas villains were very violent and usually used power and money to make the protagonist miserable. Oftentimes, they aim to full-out kill the protagonist.

Villains in present teleseryes are less violent compared to the old ones. They no longer murder a character in the story to take revenge, except that they are still evil and cause the protagonist to suffer.


The story usually ends with the villains meeting spectacularly violent, gruesome, painful and gory end. Most complications will reach a resolution and the protagonists will end up getting married and with a child, sometimes, even twins.

However, the predictability of teleserye endings have become an issue and audience sometimes complain that the plot and ending of teleseryes are becoming repetitive, predictable and tiresome. Because of this, scriptwrites have endevoured to change the ending of some teleseryes to provide additional twist and originality.

Highest Rated Teleseryes

Mega Manila

In history of AGB-Nielsen Media Research Philippines, here are the top rating Teleseryes in Mega Manila (with 40% rating and above) based from the overnight ratings tabulation of AGB Nielsen Philippines (established in 1992) in Mega Manila. Take note that the ratings are from a single highest recorded episode of the show (in the case of the TV series) and it is not the average over-all ratings for the whole season.<ref>AGB NIELSEN: HIGHEST RATING TV PROGRAMS IN MEGA MANILA. January 2012). Retrieved on 3 May 2013.</ref>

Rank Network Program Year Highest Rating
1 ABS-CBN Esperanza 1997 63.5%
2 ABS-CBN Pangako Sa 'Yo 2002 62.1%
3 GMA-7 Darna 2005 54.3%
4 ABS-CBN Mula Sa Puso 1997 53.7%
5 GMA-7 Marimar (Philippine Version) 2007 52.6%
6 ABS-CBN Basta't Kasama Kita 2003 52.5%
7 GMA-7 Encantadia 2005 51.7%
8 ABS-CBN Marina 2004 50.8%
9 ABS-CBN Sana'y Wala Nang Wakas 2003 49.3%
10 ABS-CBN Bituin 2003 48.7%
11 GMA-7 Mulawin 2005 48.6%
12 ABS-CBN Saan Ka Man Naroroon 1999 46.8%
13 ABS-CBN Mara Clara 1994 45.1%
14 GMA-7 Dyesebel 2008 44.9%
15 GMA-7 Darna (2009) 2009 44.1%
16 GMA-7 Captain Barbell 2006 43.7%
17 GMA-7 Kamandag 2008 43.6%
18 GMA-7 Sugo 2005 43.2%
19 ABS-CBN Krystala 2004 43.1%
20 ABS-CBN Sa Puso Ko Iingatan Ka 2003 42.7%
21 GMA-7 Joaquin Bordado 2008 42.2%
22 GMA-7 Asian Treasures 2007 41.8%
23 GMA-7 Codename: Asero 2008 40.1%

Since 2009, the top 2 networks (ABS-CBN, and GMA Network) are in tight competition in Mega Manila. TV5's audience share is also improving which puts all TV shows to a strong test. 40 percent rating is already difficult to achieve in this region.

May Bukas Pa was the last programs that almost made it to the list.




Fantaserye (or Telefantasya) is the first form of variation in teleseryes.These are soap operas mixed with myth and fantasy. The very first of its kind was "Darating ang Umaga" produced by ABS CBN,however this wasn't oficially called as fantaserye.The first official fantaserye was "Marina", introduced in 2003, also by ABS CBN. Fantaserye is used by ABS CBN and TAPE Inc., and Telefantasya is used by GMA Network.


These are movies serialized for television.The first Cinenovela was "Ang Iibigin Ay Ikaw", introduced by GMA Network. However, this cinenovela wasn't based from a movie. It was called as cinenovela because the producers incorporate the elements of movie-making into television. The first movie immortalized into television was "Bituin Walang Ningning" by ABS CBN. On 2007 GMA Network again revived its own cine-novela.

Sineserye is used by ABS CBN. Cinenovela is used by GMA Network.

  • Action-serye is an action type soap opera produced by ABS CBN. (e.g. Basta't Kasama Kita)
  • Music-serye is a musical type of soap opera produced by ABS CBN. (e.g. Bituin)
  • Super-serye is a type of soap opera who's main characters is a fictional super-hero battling many different enemies. This genre was introduced by ABS CBN in 2004 for "Krystala".
  • Teen-serye is a youth oriented type of soap opera. (e.g. Sarah, The Teen Princess)
  • Comedy-serye/Kwelanovela are soap opera mixed with comedy. Comedy-Serye is used by ABS CBN (e.g.Labs Ko Si Babes) while Kwelanovela is used by GMA Network (e.g. Marinara)


Produced by ABS-CBN









Produced by GMA Network









Produced by TAPE Inc.

Teleserye's produced by TAPE Inc. are shown on GMA Network under Dramarama Block.







Produced by RPN-9 and IBC-13

Produced by Viva Entertainment

Teleserye's produced by VIVA Entertainment were shown on GMA-7, RPN-9, and IBC-13.

See also


Original Source

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