College freshmen who entered colleges and universities in 2015, the year FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano debuted on primetime, would have graduated and joined the workforce by now.
That is how long the Coco Martin-starrer has been on air, dominating the local primetime landscape since its premiere. The action-drama series is set to complete its fourth year on air, on the 28th of September.
Ang Probinsyano made several historic milestones throughout its four years of airing: it has already produced more than 1,200 episodes; never lost in the ratings game according to the ratings provider, Kantar Media; and never had a rating lower than 20%. 505 of its episodes also rated more than 40%, while only 32 episodes posted below 30%.
It has so far gone, head-to-head with 16 programs from rival network, GMA-7, none of which was able to win a single episode in the ratings war.
Originally slated to run only until after just one year of airing, the show went on to continue burying competition, even amid persistent rumors of its conclusion.
However, the current pandemic and the cancellation of ABS-CBN’s broadcast franchise halted the action-drama series’ continued dominance on free television, and is now only being seen via cable television and online streaming.
With a shrunken audience size, it is now difficult to gauge the level of success the show is currently getting, but there are enough indications that the show will persist through this dark phase the Kapamilya network is currently in, as rumors of its return to free television is gradually gaining ground.
Since its debut, FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano has been one of those few programs on local television that dare to tackle social issues and the common day-to-day life of Filipinos, with grit and a sense of reality. It has shed light on socially relevant issues such as corruption in the government and the proliferation of various crimes in the society.
It is also because of its realistic portrayal of societal issues that the show caught the attention of various groups and government agencies. While it received commendations for its role in educating the public about laws and crime prevention, it also received the ire of some government figures, who accused the show of alleged biased representation of law enforcement agencies and personnel.
The show, nevertheless, continues to draw patronage from the masses who follow it for showcasing Filipino values, and for instilling the importance of family, integrity, honor, and courage, among many others.
Now that it is just a few weeks before its 5th anniversary, FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano continues its fight in an entirely new platform. Online, it remains one of the most viewed series in the country, and sustains thousands of concurrent live viewers every night, on iwantTFC－the network’s streaming app－and on YouTube and Facebook, proving audiences’ willingness to follow Cardo Dalisay’s trail, wherever he goes.
With safety protocols and filming guidelines for the whole entertainment industry, showrunners are inevitably faced with never-before-seen limitations. Surprisingly, the adjustments that the writers have introduced to the story, so far, prove to be effective and crucial in keeping the plot sensible and alive. Such adjustments have, in fact, allowed the introduction of new major characters to the plot, which can be further explored and may ensure the show’s continuous run.
There are strong hints that suggest the long-awaited resolution to the current story arc’s plot, which deals with crime and corruption in the government, is just around the corner. Audiences have been anticipating for the day when President Oscar Hidalgo (Rowell Santiago) wakes up from his coma, which will also mean that Cardo Dalisay, and the rest of Task Force Aguila, can now exact their revenge against the villainous First Lady Lily Hidalgo (Lorna Tolentino).
There have been many memorable deaths in the show, most of which marked the end for every villain that Dalisay confronted. Many audience have been itching to see the sunset for John Arcilla’s character, Renato Hipolito, but as previews suggest he may have a connection with new major character, Lito (Richard Gutierrez), they may have to wait a little longer before that day happens. Lito, whose romantic connection with Alyana (Yassi Pressman), is revealed upon his introduction, provides another twist to the show that has long been deprived of serious romance elements. To what extent both characters are willing to go, just to prove their love for Alyana, is also one thing that should keep viewers glued on the show.
Though faced with hurdles to deliver its message to a wider audience, FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano remains a striking mirror of our contemporary society. Cardo Dalisay, remains the honorable and incorruptible cop, ever vigilant to defend the good, and prepared to topple all elements of evil, that will pose threats to his family, and to the country, he is sworn to protect.
At this point, there is practically no telling how much is left in Cardo Dalisay’s journey. His adventures have made us reflect through the current socio-political landscape we are in, and have inspired vigilance and encouraged the common Filipino to take part in calling out incompetent and corrupt politicians.
Truly, the show’s complex plotlines and strong motivations speak volumes of how powerful a television show can be, in turning things around for people, and in shedding light on sectors of our society that seem deprived of proper attention.
As the show that used to reach almost every household in the country, moves to the less accessible and more costly cable and online platforms, FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano, looks poised to sustain its original mission: to prove that the Filipinos are survivors and that his resilience, will make him rise again after every fall.
The show’s journey back to the top of the competition will never be less than symbolic for the embattled tv network, ABS-CBN, whose loyal viewers take Cardo Dalisay’s persistence as enough indication that their beloved tv network can still reclaim its former glory.
FPJ’s ANG PROBINSYANO airs over Kapamilya Channel and Kapamilya Online Live. Episodes are also streamed on the iwantTFC app.