Filipino teleseryes—a local slang and portmanteau of “television” and “series”—have long earned the reputation of being “unnecessarily long” or “too melodramatic” over the years. “Formulaic” often comes to mind as well in describing all too common plots such as babies switched at birth, a beautiful woman’s rags-to-riches rise, and of course, the ever present love-triangle.
It is therefore but natural when viewers come across a show that brea
ks the typical Filipino teleserye mold, they quickly become avid fans of the series and all too happy to point out why they are glued to the box anew.
Such is the case of ABS-CBN’s ongoing afternoon teleserye “Hanggang Saan,” which has successfully drawn the Filipino viewer to a familial story with a new approach and plot development.
Starring the real life mother-and-son tandem of multi-awarded actress Sylvia Sanchez and the promising Arjo Atayde, Hanggang Saan follows the story of Sonya Alipio (Sanchez)—a low-income single mother of two boys, Paco (Atayde) and Domeng (Yves Flores)—whose dire situation forces her to do the unthinkable.
Sonya learns that one of her sons has a rare condition and needs a substantial amount of money to save his life.
On the eve of her deadline to pay the hospital, she finds herself assisting in the suicide of a problematic businessman who promises to give her a prized watch that could cover her son’s hospital expenses. Coming to her senses, Sonya changes her mind and struggles for the gun. The trigger goes off and the businessman dies.
Unknown to Sonya, however, someone else close by had actually shot the businessman—a rival of his—so that years later, when she is finally consumed by guilt she confesses to the crime and is thrown behind bars.
Her son Paco, already a lawyer at this crossroads, finds out the truth and sets off to prove her mother’s innocence in court.
From its premiere in November 2017, Hanggang Saan became a fixture on social media’s trending topics, and has since sustained its huge following as a smart crime and mystery drama with a unique style of storytelling.
As Twitter user @nurseP13 wrote, “Exciting ang ganap sa #HanggangSaan. I love how the drama is fast paced. Katamad mag-watch sa traditional Pinoy series pag dragging masyado.
User @KhayriRRW also posted, “#HanggangSaan is underrated. The plot solely being moved by female characters deserved praise. The all-lady investigation circle is a gem. Romance subplot is non-toxic and doesn’t rely on fan service. Ariel Rivera is a capable villain.”
User @minethemgold6, meanwhile, likened the show to the legal thrillers of a best selling author: “Sobrang ganda ng #HanggangSaan. Every episode ka-abang abang… It kind of gives me the same excitement with that of my favorite male author, John Grisham’s suspense novels… Sobrang ganda!”
User @iam_maYAN’s comment summarizes the series’ positive points with, “Hanggang Saan na ang isa sa pinaka matalinong teleserye na sinubaybayan ko… Medyo mabilis ang pacing but it makes the story more kaabang abang every day—yung hindi pwedeng may ma-miss kang eksena!”
Still a family series
While the show breaks down barriers with its technique and pacing that is likened to Western soap operas, and noted too for its new approach in tackling morality, Hanggang Saan’s creators still maintain that it is first and foremost a series about family.
They make sure that the mother-child tandems of Sonya and Paco, Jean (Teresa Loyzaga) and Anna (Sue Ramirez), portray classic Filipino values and traditions.
Sonya is the perfect representation of a mother who is willing to do anything—even at times risk her own life—for the sake of her family.
Jean—the wife of the slain businessman (Ariel Rivera)—on the other hand, may be portrayed as the vengeful nemesis of Sonya, but just like the latter, her decisions are anchored for the good of her daughter.
Meanwhile, Paco is a typical Filipino child who voluntarily gives back and takes care of his family once he reaches his goal and finds success.
Finally, as feisty and liberated as Anna is, she is just like any daughter who will be her mother’s protector in the latter’s most trying times.
As the story continues to unfold, Hanggang Saan promises to keep the audience at the edge of their seats while staying true to its two-fold goal of providing quality entertainment while upholding the most important among the Filipino values that are anchored on the family.