These are the characters and cast members who has the best development/biggest improvements in terms of narrative, performance and characterization:
1. Alena (Gabbi Garcia)- her character definitely has the biggest development throughout the entire series. Her development was probably the slowest I must say yet it was so, so worth the wait! I was disappointed at how bad her characterization was in the first book (plus Gabbi’s pabebe acting that time), but like I mentioned earlier, Book one was all about perfect timing. By the time Alena chose to let go I was like, “FINALLY!” at laaast! Encantadia did not stick to the norms of the first love never dies rule of the Filipino romance genre. Her character continued to shine for the rest of the series and I couldn’t be more proud especially at Gabbi who was my least favorite cast member of the first book. Compared to the rest of the cast, Gabbi’s performance isn’t up there, but for a lesser experienced actress like her, it was more than enough to impress me, I have seen her evolve from a pabebe actress to a more mature, serious performer. One of the few things I would rave about the show’s 10-month run is Alena being crowned as queen of Lireo. Her original counterpart’s narrative focused on romance but, I love how they changed Alena’s story in the most drastic yet exciting way possible and they turned her into a strong, independent, confidently beautiful woman with a heart. She is the perfect queen for Lireo, very much like Mine-a I must say. And yes, surprise surprise, despite of me being an Amihan fanatic, Alena is my top pick in this category.
2. Amihan (Kylie Padilla)- if you have been following the 4R’s series I have mentioned so many times before how disappointed I was at Kylie for literally bringing my favorite sang’gre down. But just like Alena, Kylie’s Amihan had her own time to shine. And ever since the Amihan’s fall arc, Kylie has been nailing her character scene after scene after scene. Never in my whole fan girl existence did I imagine that she would nail a character such as Amihan, a mother, a queen, a warrior, a woman. She and Gabbi were clearly the dark horses of the show. What I really love about Amihan’s narrative and Kylie’s portrayal was that, they made me look deeper into Amihan not just as a character but as a woman in general which is why I appreciated Amihan more than ever now. I guess my only disappointment is Kylie leaving the show because of her pregnancy but still, until her last scene, Kylie has proven that even though she can no longer be a part of the show anymore, she is and will always be Amihan 2016.
3. Ybarro/Ybrahim (Ruru Madrid)- when I first saw him, my first impression was: “hm…he’s cute, but he’s too young to play the character.” BUT, I ate every word I said. For me, Ruru and his character has one of the most beautiful transition from being Ybarro, a childish mandirigma to Ybrahim, Rehav and eventually Rama of Sapiro. I must say, his team up with Kylie really helped him become more mature and serious actor (same goes for Kylie). His closeness with Mikee helped him nail his role as a father which again, I never thought he’d nail. And I became more drawn to his character and appreciate Ruru as an actor for being consistently excellent with his performance despite of his ridiculous character narrative in book 2. Sad that his story did not focus more on him being a King of Sapiro and what will he do to rebuild his kingdom, he was ripped into pieces when his daughter died but you know, there was no clear development on how the pain of losing his loved ones turned him into a wiser and stronger persona like Alena. He became too dependent in Lireo and he babied Lira way too much and while I understand that she is his everything, I never saw his development from being an overly protective dad to a more understanding type—understanding enough to realize that Lira is no longer a little girl (pff! As if Lira matured 🙄), I wish they added some sort of conflict between father and daughter that will pave way to the maturity of both characters. Anyhoo, this guy deserves an award, this guy deserves more projects, this guy deserves to be praised. He maybe young, but when I look at Ruru, I always forget that he’s only 19 years old, I see Ybrahim, King of Sapiro, Lira and Kahlil’s dad, and Amihan’s beloved. For that, I already consider him in line with the country’s elite actors like John Lloyd Cruz, Dingdong Dantes, Piolo Pascual and so much more.
Rating: 10 out of 10💎s
Characters who has the most complex personality and interesting narrative. Cast Members who were consistently excellent in terms of performance.
1. Pirena (Glaiza de Castro)- it’s no surprise that Glaiza is my top pick in this category, from the moment I saw that promotional photo on the internet, I knew Glaiza was the perfect choice for Pirena. From her very first appearance up to the finale, she was consistent, and that’s extremely important for me when I am rooting for a character and an actress. She nailed every side of Pirena, every aspect of her character. Pirena is one of the most complex character and very difficult to portray, but Glaiza was just so freakin’ effortless, I saw her passion for acting and Pirena’s fiery character beautifully synced in one persona, she was so snappy at shifting from one emotion to another, and for that, kudos to Glaiza for being one of the first few actors to give justice to such an iconic character like Pirena. Narrative-wise, there is a little bit rant about the part of her story with Azulan but I don’t really mind that much because I know that the second book is rushed and AzPiren’s relationship didn’t have the chance to blossom and develop like YbraMihan, but still Glaiza and Marx nailed their team up.
2. Hagorn (John Arcilla)- it was a close fight between him and Glaiza but what made him second is not his performance but his story. I’m so bummed that his character was never redeemed in this version in contrast to his original counterpart, his narrative was so good in the first book but it deteriorated at the second half of the show’s long run. There wasn’t even a closure between him, Pirena and Lila Sari for goodness’ sake! John Arcilla is no doubt a good actor, it’s like every word of compliment I use to describe him is an understatement, he’s beyond excellent and he never failed to wow me every single time he appears on TV.
3. Mira (Kate Valdez)- now this girl is definitely one of the biggest surprise in this show, this Hathorian heiress sure inherited her skills from mommy Piry and grandpa Haggy. Opposite to the original Mira, I am glad that her character played a role during the final war and contributed a lot to the development of the story especially in book 1, although I wish her role was more pivotal in the second book. I still hate the fact that she and Lira didn’t have their moment to shine and will now be forever remembered as Pirena’s baby (just like Lira), there was no transition from being a diwani to a sang’gre level kind of diwata which I am disappointed since they promised character developments for the super twins, and she never had the chance to meet her bio-dad. Still—great job bes!
4. Danaya (Sanya Lopez)- Sanya! How to be you po? Another newbie has proven that she can keep up with the likes of Glaiza and John my ghad! I am glad that the writers made us see Dany’s softer and vulnerable side, I love Sanya’s Danaya, ang chaka nga lang that they did not elaborate the DanQuil love story more, although I am happy that they made us see her struggles as queen, I would have appreciated it more if there was this balance between Danaya’s narrative as Hara and her narrative as a woman. In this version, it was more on Hara Danaya.
5. Cassiopeia (Solenn Heussaff)- She was the perfect choice for the character, I love how Solenn really made it seem like En-Chan is her mother tongue, and it’s really hard to act without talking, for me she has the most difficult role, being the only one who doesn’t talk by mouth most of the time, but I am very proud of Solenn for giving justice to Cassiopeia. BTW, I ship CassRe 😂
6. Gurna (Vaness Del Moral)- One of the most effective villains in the show! I have to say, Vaness will forever be remembered by her acting prowess, I hope she will be given more projects in the future. GMA 7 DO NOT WASTE THIS PRECIOUS GEM! She deserves to be recognized as one of the network’s A-list actresses.
7. Agane (Rochelle Pangilinan)- Ah, another rave-worthy actress! I remember my grade school self watching her dancing with the Sex Bomb girls in my favorite EB segment Laban o Bawi. Look at her now, still shining in her own way, I love how Agane’s not all baddie and also has her own story to tell which was something new. Hands down to Rochelle for being so freakin’ GOOD, her performance as Agane is EVERYTHING.
8. Ether (Janice Hung)- the queen of wushu, I personally don’t like her voice and I would have liked it if she just used her own voice and maybe add some sort of special effects on it to make her sound like a goddess bitch, but wow, just wow. Her martial arts skills is on fire, her portrayal of the character is so good, she’s very effective as a villain, and I hope to see more of her.
Rating: 10 out of 10 💎s
Characters with badly written narratives yet were “saved” by the actors with their impressive performances.
1. Lira (Mikee Quintos)- Disappointed that they did not tell her story in such a way that she will be remembered as Encantadia’s hero/savior, it’s a total bummer how she was reduced from being a highly respected princess to being the captain of the YA and DanQuil ship, now don’t get me wrong, I ship both YA and DQ, it’s just that I believe Lira can give so much more if they just gave her and Mira a chance. And Mikee, kudos to this girl for saving Lira’s character.
2. Avria (Eula Valdes)- Despite of me knowing the story of Avria (based on the original Etheria), I would have appreciated it if they wrote her character the way they wrote Hagorn’s. She was an all out baddie but they never narrated why, remember, a baddie will never be a baddie if they didn’t have some shitty past right? They can’t be just some psycho who wants a diwata overkill for no reason, heck even murderers have their own dark past that triggered them to do such thing.
3. Andora (Rochelle Pangilinan)- Ugh, Rochelle what will Andora do without you? They just turned her into a pawn aka Mashna when she is a Heran, HERAN! She’s supposed to play a pivotal role in this book but…sigh.
4. Emre (Zoren Legaspi)- I just feel so bad that Zoren had to work extra hard to make Emre a loveable character when clearly he’s not, his story just had too many plot holes that I just can’t appreciate it. And although it’s interesting to see a powerless Emre, it was such a failure for me.
5. Aquil (Rocco Nacino)- Man! Mas gusto ko pa ‘yung na tegi nalang si Aquil, it’s another bummer that Rocco didn’t really have the chance to contribute more to the story’s progress despite the fact that he is considered as one of the major characters in the story, he was downgraded into a love sick guy who’s all about Danaya. Dude, what about patriotism? Camaraderie? That is so unlikely of Aquil.
6. Asval (Neil Ryan Sese)- Such a waste character, there was nothing special about him, he is the most stereotype among all the villains. At least the original Asval had the chance to redeem himself in the final war unlike this shit. Thank God Neil Ryan played the character, otherwise, Asval would have been one of my biggest disappointments in the show.
Rating: 8 out of 10💎s
Underrated characters and actors yet so deserving to be recognized
1. Muros (Carlo Gonzales)- Come on! The dude deserves to be recognized and he deserves to be happy!
2. Hitano (Pancho Magno)- I said this once and I’ll say it again, I love Hitano. He’s the kind of guy who will do anything for his beloved and will remain faithful to you until the end, too bad Alena and Lila Sari failed to see how incredible this guy is. Well maybe he’s just too good for them.
3. Muyak (Klea Pineda)- I am so annoyed that she died just like that, but I think Klea did a really good job at playing Muyak, her story was insipiring, too bad they focused on “plot twists” way too much that there was no character build up for her.
4. Manik (Joross Gamboa)- One of the most promising villains ever! If the Ybriana romance worked, I would have rooted for a duel between Ybrahim and Manik.
5. Wantuk (Buboy Villar)- My happy pill, never failed to make me laugh despite of him being a recurring character instead of being Ybrahim’s confidante and adviser.
Rating: 8 out of 10💎s
The Raspberry Awardees
Characters with the worst narrative and cast members with the face-palming performances.
1. Ariana (Arra San Agustin)- WORST NARRATIVE. WORST PERFORMANCE. She will always be my biggest disappointment and I will forever hate the team for choosing her to play the character. But in all fairness naman, she did pretty well in the finale, I wish she showed more of that in the previous episodes, maybe I won’t be hating on her so much, and people would have appreciated her efforts to continue Amihan’s story. It was because of her that the YA love story fucked up big time.
2. Pao Pao (Phytos Ramirez)- Narrative wise, come on, Pao was Amihan’s protégé and he was turned into a completely useless kid? Dude!
3. Deshna (Inah de Belen)- Her story would have been rave worthy, sigh, why the hell did y’all focused on the sarkosi plot?!
4. Juvila (Jinri Park)- I can’t take her seriously as a villain, she clearly struggles at speaking Tagalog and En-Chan that she always sounded like she’s reading the script. Am I the only one who thinks the baddies all have one emotion and that’s hatred? No variety or play of emotions, no story that would make people understand why they act the way the do, writers seriously!
5. Odessa (Sheree)- “Who the hell is she again?” that’s how unmemorable she is
6. Haliyah (Valeen Montenegro)- most useless character ever.
7. Memfes (Lance Serrano)- ARC FILLERRRRRRR!
Runner-up for Rasberry Awardee: Kahlil (Avery Paraiso)- was expecting so much from him but like Lira and Mira he wasn’t never given a chance (in Book 2)
Rating: Do I even have to rate this? Okay fine, 4 out of 10💎s
The Chicano Collection / La Colección Chicana Documentary Film
Melissa Richardson Banks (Marketing & Project Manager, The Chicano Collection)
In this documentary film, Cheech Marin reveals his passion for collecting Chicano art and shares his life’s mission to elevate public consciousness of it throughout the nation and the world. It features interviews with many of today’s top Chicano/a artists, including Chaz Bojorquez, David Botello, Melesio Casas, Gaspar Enriquez, Margaret Garcia, Rupert Garcia, Carmen Lomas Garza, Raul Guerrero, Roberto Gutierrez, Wayne Alaniz Healy, Adan Hernandez, Ester Hernandez, Leo Limon, Jose Lozano, Gilbert “Magu” Lujan, Cesar Martinez, Frank Romero, Alex Rubio, Marta Sanchez, Eloy Torrez, Jesse Trevino, John Valadez, Patssi Valdez, Vincent Valdez, and George Yepes. It also features discussions of work by Carlos Almaraz, Richard S. Duardo, and Artemio Rodriguez. Interviews also include those by Raul Pacheco of Ozomatli, David Hidalgo and Cesar Rojas of Los Lobos, museum professionals, gallery owners, art dealers, and project team members and supporters.
Produced to accompany “The Chicano Collection,” an archival print project by Richard S. Duardo of Modern Multiples in partnership with Cheech Marin and Melissa Richardson Banks (as well as a subsequent traveling exhibition produced and managed by Melissa Richardson Banks), the film describes the personal journeys and viewpoints of the 26 featured artists and their struggle for acceptance by American art museums. Overall, this collection of stories demonstrates how Chicano art evolved from a political movement begun in the late 1960s and emerged as a legitimate art school after breaking down the walls in the fine art world to get the work seen and respected. Directed and written by Tamara Hernandez. Executive Producers: Cheech Marin, Richard S. Duardo, and Melissa Richardson Banks. Produced by Tamara Hernandez, Melissa Richardson Banks, and Heather Flores. Music by Timoteo Aaron. Cinematography by Richard Briglia, Kristoffer Carrillo, and Tarina Reed. Editor: Garth Grinde. Motion Graphics Designer & Editor: Dan Prussmann. Sound Design: Sunny Basham. Released on November 8, 2005. Running time: 53:05 minutes. Details on IMDB at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1846767/