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Why 'teleserye' is so me.

After a seasonal dose of the sublime and the profound (concertos, arias and theater), I've found myself glued to TV and, miracle of miracles, enjoying every frame of a teleserye about a matriarch with a complicated love life and equally complicated children.

Yes, I allow myself moments of 'silliness' to enjoy the stations of the cross of this mother who can't do anything right in the eyes of her grownup children. One has accused her of favoritism, another thought she betrayed their late father, and still another believes her good side was nothing but a 'front' to hide something dubious about her past.

In fairness to the heroine, she acts very well; when I watch, I could feel her getting all the attention on Facebook.

I have not seen a real martyr mother in a long time, read a comment that came with an array of emoticons.

So hard to stay away from this teleserye, agreed an entertainment editor who closed his pages for the day with eyes glued to the family confrontation scenes on TV.

Art imitating life

Teleseryes have a wide array of storylines dug up from endless brainstorming, and when at last a feasible project rolls out and taping begins, you see art imitating life.

The reason I enjoy this afternoon teleserye is that the scenes feel real, and when they unfold on TV with good actors, you forget it is just one of those forms of emotional blackmail teleseryes are capable of gently inflicting on their viewers.

After all, not all tales of passionate love and gross injustices are concocted for the benefit of gullible teleserye audiences. They do happen in real life and, more often than not, scriptwriters who have witnessed such scenes or moments are just waiting for the creative director to approve their new storyline.

High-school crush

Now, speaking of kilig movies: I chuckle when I recall that, early this year, I represented my late brother in a high-school reunion and saw a high-school crush with her daughter in tow.

Naturally, I couldn't take my eyes off her. Memories come back of her attending flag ceremony in school uniform, looking every inch like a beautiful image from 'Wuthering Heights.'

Her daughter must have noticed. She discreetly called her mother's attention. She pretended she didn't hear but when our eyes met, the moment became another scene from one of those youthful crushes that happen in your high-school life. She quickly turned to a classmate and pretended to resume conversation.

I recall this unlikely turn of events in one's senior years when I watch movies and teleserye full of kilig moments.

I recall secretly following another high-school crush whose modest abode was just behind the island public market. I just kept looking at the window hoping she would show up. When you are young and vulnerable, even a brief glimpse of your crush meant untold happiness.

But then, not even her shadow materialized by the window, and so I moved on and found myself in front of her house. It was then that I saw her doing laundry in the backyard. When she saw me, I thought I saw a furious face. I left hoping she would forget that incident once she was back in school the next day.

Out the window

Some five decades later, I saw her board a ferry boat and head toward the row of seats where I was partly dozing off. When I realized it was her, I pretended to be asleep and covered my face with my jacket.

She carried an expensive travel bag and luggage and talked to someone from behind expensive sunglasses. She said she had ended up in this ferry boat because a direct flight to the island was fully booked.

When she realized the kind of food served on the still-docked ferry boat (mostly noodles and soft drinks), she ordered food by phone from a nearby fast-food chain. It was then that I thought I was watching another character from an afternoon teleserye.

She chastised the delivery boy for getting all her orders wrong. 'I did not order this and that. What's wrong with you?' she wailed for the passengers to hear. When she realized the ferry boat was about to leave, she made the effort to just pay for the 'wrong' orders-yes, after making a scene.

When we finally arrived on the island, I pretended to just wake up and then greeted her: 'Is that you, Sofia (not her real name)?'

'Oh, it's you. I didn't realize we were seated together. You must be pretty tired from a long trip,' she said.

I took one more look at her face. She remained pretty and fair, but recalling the scene she made on the ferry boat, my love just flew out the window, so to speak, and right into the sea. It was like the youthful Susan Roces on your mind turning into Bella Flores in her prime (God bless her soul).


Years of attending movie presscons and premiere nights convinced me that the stories on TV and film are no mere products of the writers' imagination. They happen in real life, and are just given new twists and new endings in new projects by the latest blockbuster stars. Art taken from real life, in other words.

At the latest movie presscon I attended, media people were asked, 'Can you still be friends with a past love?'

As expected, the consensus was that it depended on how you broke up.

In my case, the teenage crushes didn't evolve into love. Truth to tell, I like the mystery of teenage crushes, when you gave someone special attributes that later on would vanish into thin air.

That's when your favorite White Swan, angelic and ethereal in your high-school years, turns into a Black Swan with her Prada and Louis Vuitton bags.
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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Nov 26, 2017
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