Richard Yap, Jodi Sta. Maria, Be Careful With My Heart. File Photo
SHAH ALAM, Malaysia - The love story of Maya and Sir Chief has captured the hearts of many Malaysians.
Many Malaysians are glued to their TV sets at 3 p.m. from Monday to Thursday to watch "Be Careful With My Heart" on Malaysian network TV3.
Saad "Daniel" Mahsah, a product development manager for Selangor Tourism, said he and his mother are fans of "Be Careful With My Heart" which is aired in Filipino with Malaysian subtitles. It is said to be one of the most popular foreign dramas on Malaysian TV right now.
The ABS-CBN teleserye stars Jodi Sta. Maria as nanny Maya who falls in love with her employer Sir Chief, played by Richard Yap.
Daniel said watching the TV drama makes him feel closer to Filipinos.
"For me, it's very good because we can watch a different story. We can see Filipino traditions through TV. You can also learn new words and see similarities (in our cultures).... It makes Manila much closer to Kuala Lumpur," he said.
He also related how his friend, who works as a policeman in Sarawak, also loves "Be Careful."
"I have a friend who is a policeman in Sarawak and he is the last person I would think would watch dramas. But when I called him up, he says he's watching the drama at the police station with everyone," Daniel laughed.
ABS-CBNnews.com met another fan of "Be Careful With My Heart," this time in a rural farming village Sungai Sireh in Selangor state.
Maria, who runs a homestay, admitted she watches the show every day with her five daughters.
"I like it very much... (Sir Chief) is very handsome," she said.
Like many Malaysians, Maria and Daniel still can't forget the popular ABS-CBN teleserye "Pangako Sa Yo," which starred Jericho Rosales and Kristine Hermosa. It is considered one of the hit foreign dramas in Malaysia.
"We can still sing the song, 'Pangako sa yo'," Daniel said.
Philippine embassy officials are glad that Filipino TV dramas are helping bridge the cultural gap between the Philipipnes and Malaysia.
"It does help improve the image (of the Philippines)... In the same way, Hollywood promotes American culture outside of America... Yes, it helps. After all, our telenovelas have Asian values, similar to Malaysian values like family, hard work... They're positive values," Consul General Medardo Macaraig said.
Macaraig noted that Filipino dramas such as "Be Careful With My Heart" and "Pangako Sa Yo" have also piqued Malaysians' interest in the Philippines as a tourism destination.
"It does help encourage tourism. A lot of the inquiries that we have received is because of watching these telenovelas. Malaking bagay din ang It's More Fun in the Philippines, our tourism campaign, which has ads appearing on CNN," he said.
ABS-CBNnews.com is the news website of ABS-CBN Corp.