MANILA -- "Be Careful With My Heart," the hit "kilig-serye" starring Jodi Sta. Maria and Richard Yap, is now the first local TV series to air for more than a year since 2010.
The ABS-CBN daytime program first aired on July 9, 2012 to feature what was then dubbed the "experimental" team-up of the 31-year-old actress and the 46-year-old showbiz newcomer.
"Ako, honestly, halu-halo 'yung nararamdaman ko. Masaya ako na excited parin," Sta. Maria told ABS-CBN News at the sidelines of a thanksgiving celebration held Tuesday afternoon for the program's first anniversary.
"At the same time, natatakot, ganyan. Pero sympre mas nangingibabaw 'yung saya, kasi sa panahon ngayon talagang bibihira narin 'yung mga show na nagtatagal nang ganito katagal, and isa kami sa mga shows na nabibiyayaan. Blessed kami dahil humaba kami ng 12 months," she said.
"And we're still doing well," Yap added. "People are still loving the show, so we're very, very thankful to those who have supported the show. It's a real blessing for us. And sabi ng ibang tao, it's also a blessing to them."
The last local TV series to stay on air beyond one year was 2010's "May Bukas Pa," the inspirational series starring child star Zaijan Jaranilla.
Unlike in the late '90s and the early 2000, when TV dramas ran for 2 to 4 years, a trend favoring brevity in local series has been observed in recent years, with a typical time on air being three to nine months.
Directed by Jeffrey Jeturian and Mervyn Brondial, "Be Careful With My Heart" debuted at No. 1 in its 11:15 a.m. timeslot, and was already among the Top 10 programs in the country then.
With a steady increase in its nationwide viewership over the last year, the series now consistently ranks on the Philippines' Top 5 programs to become the only daytime series to achieve the feat, according to data from Kantar Media.
The series now airs during ABS-CBN's "PrimeTanghali" block at 11:45 a.m.
Originally slated for a one-season run, "Be Careful With My Heart" centers on the love story of Maya (Sta. Maria), a barrio lass with big dreams, and Richard Lim (Yap), a widowed businessman with three children.
Due to the series' popularity, it has been extended numerous times, with several "milestones" in the relationship of the nanny-turned-flight attendant and her former employer marking highlights throughout the program's run.
In the latest episodes of "Be Careful With My Heart," Maya and her boyfriend she endearingly calls "Sir Chief" overcome the hurdle of his children being against their relationship.
"Ngayon, talagang level na 'yung relationship ni Sir Chief tsaka ni Maya," Sta. Maria said on Tuesday. "Kumbaga, alam narin ng mga bata. Ngayon naman nasa susunod na tayo, nasa meet the parents na."
"Syempre medyo may kaba at takot pa sa side ni Maya, 'diba, dahil first time niyang makikilala... well na-meet na niya 'yung parents ni Sir Chief, pero nung panahon na yaya pa siya," the actress said.
The movie version of the series, which will compete in this year's Metro Manila Film Festival, will continue the story as broadcast on TV, according to Yap.
But the lead stars of the soap on Tuesday said they have yet to start work on the film, as the script is still underway.
"We're still waiting for the schedule, for the script. Hindi pa umaabot sa amin. Pero we're trying to prepare ourselves physically," said Yap, referring to the possibility that shooting for both the film and TV series will be done alternately.
Sta. Maria added: "Kasi, 'yung mga days na hindi kami nagte-taping, for sure nagsu-shoot kami. Ako, ngayon, hindi pa masyado talaga nagsi-sink in na gagawin na talagang film 'yung 'Be Careful With My Heart.'"
As for details about the plot of the film, being a continuation of the series, Sta. Maria said, "Hindi pa kasi kami talaga pwedeng magbigay ng detalye, pero darating din naman 'yung time. Sa story conference, ire-reveal namin kung paano 'yung tatakbuhin ng istorya, kung paano 'yung magiging dynamics."
'Still Jodi, still Richard'
Having worked on "Be Careful With My Heart" for more than a year now, Yap and Sta. Maria said they are still overwhelmed by the show's massive success -- which has so far spanned an official line of merchandise, a gold-status official soundtrack album, a nomination in the New York Festivals, and an international show tour with the latest stop being Singapore on July 28.
"Personally we're still the same people we are," Yap said, when asked what's changed since the series shot to popularity.
"But as a cast we've gotten closer. Parang sa ibang scenes, alam na namin 'yung characters namin, naging second nature narin samin. But aside from that, we're still just Jodi and Richard," the actor said.
Echoing her leading man's sentiments, Sta. Maria said, "Kami parin naman 'to, pero ngayon mas busy lang. Pero kung paano naman kami dati, 'yun parin namin kami. Kung paano kami nakilala ng mga kaibigan at pamilya namin, kami parin 'yun."
Also starring Mutya Orquia, Janella Salvador, Jerome Ponce, Aiza Seguerra, Sylvia Sanchez, Gloria Sevilla, Divina Valencia, Tart Carlos and Vivieka Ravanes, "Be Careful With My Heart" airs weekdays after "Minute To Win It."
ABS-CBNnews.com is the news website of ABS-CBN Corp.