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TV REVIEW: ‘Sahaya’ is equally entertaining, enlightening and culturally significant

  • Sahaya is GMA Network’s latest epic drama series.
  • Bianca Umali is in the title role with Miguel Tanfelix and Migo Adecer.
  • Here’s a viewer’s perspective on the latest series from the network’s Telebabad line-up.

GMA Network has recently unveiled its latest epic drama series, Sahaya. In the said show, Bianca Umali is in the title role as a young Sama-Bajau who is blessed with a gift in connection with the water.

The series debuted on March 18 on the Network’s Telebabad line-up as it replacied Onanay. It is under the direction of Zig Dulay, and also features an ensemble cast composed of Miguel Tanfelix, Migo Adecer, Mylene Dizon, Eric Quizon, Zoren Legaspi, Pen Medina, Ana Roces, Ashley Ortega and Snooky Serna.

The pilot week of the series focused mostly on the origins of Sahaya, and it told her mother’s plight that brought them to their fate.

Sahaya is the daughter of Manisan (played by guest star Jasmine Curtis-Smith as the younger version), a Sama-Bajau who fell in love with a Christian named Harold (Gil Cuerva as the younger version). Sahaya, who is being courted by another Bajau named Aratu (Benjamin Alves), but wanted to marry her secret lover, Harold instead.

Unfortunately, Harold is not ready to marry her yet so he left her to pursue his studies. Little did they know that she was already pregnant at that time. She ended up being bethroned to Aratu, but after they found out that she got pregnant prior to being married, they disowned her.

Disgraced and hurt, she left her family and ran away. A series of events led her back to her family, where she gave birth to Sahaya, who is born with the ability to communicate with the sea and to heal any living creature.

GMA Network deserves some kudos for creating a series like Sahaya.

This one-of-a-kind epic drama is considered as among the original stories in local television as it features the culture of an ethnic group called Sama-Bajau. The series delves deep into the lives of the Bajau people, giving its viewers more insights to group’s beliefs and lifestyle.

Stories about indigenous groups are quite rare on Philippine television, and are usually not taken very seriously but with Sahaya, GMA Network was able to create a serious drama that is equally entertaining and informative, too.

Aside from the solid direction of Zig Dulay, the series benefits a lot from its talented cast. Even though she only appeared during the pilot week, Jasmine Curtis proved her acting skills as she played the young Manisan. Karl Medina was also good as he played the young Arali, Manisan’s father, Snooky Serna as an one of the effective antagonists, Salida. However, after years have passed, I felt that her character has not changed much unlike the characters of Manisan, Harold and Alari who all had younger and older versions.

Mylene Dizon was a great addition to the cast as she played the mother of Sahaya in the present time. And of course, Umali is the perfect choice for the titular role. In addition to her amazing portrayal of the character, she also has good chemistry with her co-star Miguel Tanfelix that will obviously please their fans.

The series is also one of the most visually-stunning locally-produced show in Philippine television right now. It features some breathtaking locations, along with the colorful lifestyle of the Sama-Bajau community. The only thing that I’ve noticed would be some bad audio during the first few episodes and it ended up affecting the way one could hear the character’s dialogues.

But aside from that particular technical issue, the other aspects of the show is satisfying.

To sum it up, I encourage viewers to check out and give a chance to GMA Network’s Sahaya. It’s a show that is equally entertaining and enlightening.

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