Ang Yaman ni Amaya

Photo courtesy of GMA Network.
"Jewel in the Palace" and "Jumong" are two Korean productions that I enjoyed watching. Through those productions, Korean TV was able to showcase its rich culture and traditions. Viewers outside Korea were able to appreciate the cultural history of Korea.

I asked myself what culture can Filipinos boast of. Why is the Philippines not known for its cultural history and heritage?

Filipino soap is all about mistresses, revenge, tragedy, bitchy women, and sadist men. If a soap does not contain these ingredients, it won't rate. Rarely that Filipino soap presents redeeming values that audience can learn from.

A soap doesn't have to be corny to impart good values. That is the challenge to Filipino writers. These values can be subliminally presented if being corny is what writers are trying to avoid.

When GMA Network aired Encantadia in 2005, Filipino audience enjoyed a different recipe of a good soap. Even men who were not fond of watching soap were glued to their seats. Since then, no soap ever surpassed the expensive and creative production of Encantadia until now.

This year, GMA Network started airing Amaya - an epic inspired by the pre-colonial cultural history of the Filipinos. Amaya is rich in substance and content as shown by its story, production design, and script. It's a telescopic view of the past when the country was not even called the Philippines. Amaya re-opened the Filipino vocabulary that for the first time Filipino viewers heard ancestral words like binukot, banwa, and uripon.

Amaya is the second best thing that happened to TV soap after Encantadia. Filipinos who loved "Jewel in the Palace" and "Jumong" do have now something to be proud of.

Amaya is about a prophecy that a woman warrior is to be born to kill the Rajah (similar to a king.) Those times women were not made warriors. Marian Rivera plays the role of Amaya, a binukot or a princess who was never allowed to set her feet on the ground.

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