3 presidents, 3 Maja series: What happened during 'Probinsyano's' 7 years on air

Miguel Dumaual, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 09 2022 08:28 PM | Updated as of Aug 12 2022 12:36 PM

(Left) Hidilyn Diaz reacts to her Olymic gold, (middle) Coco Martin poses with Maja Salvador, (right) and then-candidate Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. campaigns for the Philippine presidency. Vicenzo Pinto, AFP/ ABS-CBN/ Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

The late Benigno Aquino III was still president when Cardo was re-introduced to a new generation of Filipino viewers via “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano” in 2015. Two more presidents later, the hero cop portrayed by Coco Martin has become a pop culture icon, whose nearing exit from television is seen as the end of an era.

That the ABS-CBN teleserye spanned an entire president’s term (Rodrigo Duterte) and overlapped with the preceding (Aquino) and succeeding ones (Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.) — totaling seven years on air — has been the foremost testament to its enduring popularity.

The numbers also speak for themselves. According to Kantar Media, “Ang Probinsyano” was the Philippines’ undisputed No. 1 TV program for five years until mid-2020, when ABS-CBN was forced off free television.

Migrating to digital platforms after the network’s broadcast shutdown, the series steadily regained its wide viewership. Over the last two years, “Ang Probinsyano” led ABS-CBN titles in marking successive audience milestones on Kapamilya Online Live. As recently as August 5, in its penultimate week, the program logged a new record of 360,000 concurrent live viewers on YouTube alone.

That’s a lot of people who, by now, have witnessed many changes in Cardo’s life over some 1,700 episodes since September 2015. In that span of time, the real world underwent many changes, too — primarily with the coronavirus pandemic ushering in the new normal.

More tangible facts — such as “Ang Probinsyano’s” run reaching a third sitting Philippine president in June 2022 — certainly put in perspective its duration as the country’s longest-running teleserye.

Leading up to the August 12 finale of “Ang Probinsyano,” here are other facts and trivia that show just how much can change in a span of seven years, from politics, to sports, and showbiz:

1. Coco Martin had four leading ladies as Cardo/Ador.

What happened during 'Probinsyano's' 7 years on air
Coco Martin and Julia Montes pose together during an event announcing the latter’s addition to the cast of ‘FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano’ in July 2021. ABS-CBN

Julia Montes’ Mara is Cardo’s latest leading lady, following the deaths of Alyana (Yassi Pressman) and Carmen (Bela Padilla), and the departure of Glen (Maja Salvador). Mara’s fate remains unclear after she was ordered killed in a May 2022 episode.

2. Maja Salvador starred in 3 teleseryes that aired in the same block as ‘Ang Probinsyano.’

What happened during 'Probinsyano's' 7 years on air
Maja Salvador and Coco Martin pose for promotional images of ‘FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano’ in 2015. ABS-CBN

Salvador, one of the original leading ladies of “Ang Probinsyano,” starred in “Wildflower” in 2017 and then “The Killer Bride” in 2019 — both also “Primetime Bida” offerings of ABS-CBN. She made her TV5 series debut in 2021 via “Niña Niño,” which was also aired on primetime.

3. There have been at least 10 Kapuso-turned-Kapamilya stars since ‘Ang Probinsyano’ went on air.

What happened during 'Probinsyano's' 7 years on air

The latest of whom is “Flower of Evil” star Lovi Poe, who signed with ABS-CBN in September 2021, following the likes of Janine Gutierrez and Regine Velasquez. Here’s the timeline of transferees, tracing back to September 2015.

4. Six ‘Pinoy Big Brother’ winners have been named since Cardo started his anti-crime crusade.

What happened during 'Probinsyano's' 7 years on air
Anji Salvacion reacts to winning ‘Pinoy Big Brother’ in May 2022. Michael Bagtas, ABS-CBN News

Miho Nishida and Jimboy Martin were the victors of the “737” edition in November 2015. Maymay Entrata was named “Big Winner” of the “Lucky” season in March 2017, Yamyam Gucong won the “Otso” edition in August 2019, while “Connect’s” Liofer Pinatacan clinched the title in March 2021. The most recent winner is Anji Salvacion of the “Kumunity” season, which concluded in May 2022.

5. Tawag ng Tanghalan has produced five champions through its regular editions in the past seven years.

What happened during 'Probinsyano's' 7 years on air
‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ grand champion Reiven Umali performs on the ‘It’s Showtime’ stage. Twitter: @itsshowtimena

The latest champion, Reiven Umali, won in September 2021. He follows in the footsteps of Noven Belleza (2017), Janine Berdin (2018), Elaine Duran (2019), and JM Yosures (February 2021).

6. P-pop groups BGYO and BINI entered as trainees and graduated from Star Hunt Academy within a fraction of Cardo’s seven-year run.

 What happened during 'Probinsyano's' 7 years on air
Privé Alliance/ Metro.Style

The fast-rising music acts trained for two years under Star Hunt Academy. BGYO debuted as an official group in January 2021, while BINI was launched in June of the same year.

7. The Philippines has produced two Miss Universe winners since 2015.

What happened during 'Probinsyano's' 7 years on air
Instagram: @catriona_gray

Pia Wurtzbach became the third Miss Universe from the Philippines in December 2015. Catriona Gray, meanwhile, was crowned in December 2018.

8. Two Filipinos were crowned Miss Earth in the last seven years.

What happened during 'Probinsyano's' 7 years on air
Karen Ibasco of the Philippines competes in the Miss Earth 2017 pageant. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

Angelia Ong and Karen Ibasco won the advocacy-driven pageant in December 2015 and November 2017, respectively.

9. Manny Pacquiao had seven boxing matches within the seven-year run of ‘Ang Probinsyano.’

What happened during 'Probinsyano's' 7 years on air
Manny Pacquiao fights against Yordenis Ugas of Cuba during the WBA Welterweight Championship in Las Vegas, Nevada in August 2021. Patrick T. Fallon, AFP

The defeated presidential aspirant fought Floyd Mayweather, Jr. in May 2015, four months before “Ang Probinsyano” premiered, so that match is not counted. After that defeat, the boxing champ recorded five wins, most recently over Keith Turman in 2019, and two losses, most recently to Yordenis Ugas in August 2021. He announced his retirement from boxing a month later in September.

10. Hidilyn Diaz won 10 medals from international weightlifting events, including the Philippines’ first Olympic gold, within the duration of ‘Ang Probinsyano.’

What happened during 'Probinsyano's' 7 years on air
Hidilyn Diaz reacts after placing first in the women’s 55kg weightlifting competition during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in July 2021. Vincenzo Pinto, AFP

That count excludes Diaz’s gold from the Asian Championships in 2015, which happened weeks before the primetime series debuted. She brought home the Olympic gold in July 2021. Her most recent gold is from the 2022 Southeast Asian Games, which happened in May.

11. Cardo saw three sitting Philippine presidents.

What happened during 'Probinsyano's' 7 years on air
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. delivers his inaugural address at the National Museum in Manila on June 30, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

Marcos, Jr. succeeded Duterte on June 30, 2022, while the former Davao City mayor succeeded Aquino in 2016. Aquino passed away in June 2021.

12. There have been three national elections since ‘Ang Probinsyano’ premiered.

What happened during 'Probinsyano's' 7 years on air
Ballot boxes are inspected for the 2016 national elections in this file photo. ABS-CBN News/File

Duterte was elected president in 2016, while a new set of officials were voted into office in 2019. Marcos Jr., the third president within “Ang Probinsyano’s” duration, won the May 2022 elections.

13. ABS-CBN fully migrated to digital after being forced off free television, due to its franchise denial by a congressional panel.

What happened during 'Probinsyano's' 7 years on air
Coco Martin joins a rally calling for ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal in February 2020. Alec Corpuz, ABS-CBN News

With ABS-CBN’s free-TV channel being shuttered by government in July 2020, “Ang Probinsyano” along with the Kapamilya network’s programs were made available on several platforms. The final week of the action-drama series can be watched via Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, A2Z Channel 11, TV5, CineMo, iWant TFC, and TFC.

14. The world transitioned to a new normal amid a pandemic.

What happened during 'Probinsyano's' 7 years on air
The MRT-3 accommodates passengers with physical distancing measures, as a safety protocol against COVID-19, in September 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

For “Ang Probinsyano,” and the film and TV industry at large, that meant shifting to quarantined or “bubble” productions, where strict safety protocols are observed.

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