August 12, 2022 marked the end of an era — at least for the millions of viewers of “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano.”
On Friday night, the series united a slew of Filipinos who tuned in to their TV, smartphones, and tablets for the nearly 2-hour finale, a fitting send-off for the pop culture touchstone after its almost 7-year run.
On YouTube alone, “Ang Probinsyano” pulled more than 500,000 concurrent viewers, a new all-time high record for the show.
“I feel like Ang Probinsyano might be the last teleserye to serve its purpose: to bring us all together. And that’s how other shows should be. Truly the end of an era,” a social media user tweeted.
In Barangay Lias in Marilao, Bulacan, amid a downpour, several tricycle drivers headed to their TODA to watch the finale.
According to Junior Mustasa, watching the show either at the terminal with other drivers or on his smartphone when he has to work, has become a nightly routine. More than the series’ thrilling plot, Mustasa said he pursues the story as he often learns from it.
“Maganda impluwenysa sa'min, malalaman namin mga tama at mali ng gobyerno. ’Yung nangyayare sa gobyerno, nakakalaban din police,” he said.
“Mas napamahal ako maging Pilipino. Kalayaan para sa Pilipino.”
Similarly, in a nearby terminal swamped in ankle-deep flood, Wilbert Bural told ABS-CBN News the series rekindled his love for the country.
“Sa totoo lang, sa realidad bihira ganong tao — ’yung mapagmahal sa bayan, sa buhay. Bihira sa isang tao gano'n,” he said.
Bural added that the action flick had also become a safe haven for him and his family amid the pandemic that battered the nation.
“Kasi na nasa bahay lang nakakanood ako pang iba din. Lalo na anak ko nanunood din. Parang family sila, parang pilipinas. Bonding. Tungkol sa buhay, sa bansa,” he elaborated.
Meanwhile, Nanay Evelyn Sultan, an avid viewer, said the show moved her to choose better leaders.
“Dapat 'yung eleksyon, di sila maengganyo sa kapangyarihan. Naging mas mapili,” she confessed.
According to Sultan, she anticipated “Ang Probinsyano” every night and is glum it was down to the last episode. She shared that the run helped her cope with the fallout of the new coronavirus.
“Inaabangan ko talaga. Malungkot," she said, “kapag nanunood ng 'Probinsyano', medyo nawawala.”
Sultan has religiously tuned in to the show from Day 1. When ABS-CBN was forced to go off-air in 2020, she immensely feared the show would be canceled.
“Sabi namin, 'Paano na nakakanood ng ang 'Probinsyano'?' Kailangan ko subaybayan kasi di mo alam mangyayare,” she recalled.
The series eventually went back to screens but initially, with limited reach. Unable to watch the show on her television, Sultan said she learned how to use a smartphone.
“Pero nakakanood pa din sa cp. para lang manood ng celphone,” she confessed.
Rololy Esperida, a delivery truck driver who delayed his shift for a few hours so he could witness the teleserye’s finale with his family, agreed that the shift to the digital landscape was of great help, especially during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Malaki rin nagkaroon ng digital. Pag nasa planta kasi na kami pinapaalis ginagawa namin pang oa tangal antok. Siyempre Tapos na? Yung Mga dati replay. Papanoorin namin sa cellphone,” he stated.
He continued: “Sa cellphone, nga kasama ko sa trabaho lagi ganon. Nag hihintay kami ng tawag sa amin. Inaabangan namin.”
Even when the stringent health protocols were lifted, Esperida shared he continued to follow the story.
“Araw-araw ko inaabangan bago pumasok… Papasok na sana ako Pero inantay ko talaga matapos,” he said. “Nalulungkot siyempre pero masaya ka kasi hanggang sa katapusan napanood mo…Pag sinimulan mo pangit pag di mo natapos.”
The driver also explained that the series helped form his children’s values.
“Maganda. Pinapakita niya na di nangingibabaw yung hindi magandang gawain. Panalo pa rin ang tama…Kahit sa una nagingibabaw kasamahan yung mabuti din,” he reasoned.
Although the final episode undoubtedly closed an era, for some, its lasting impact sparked new beginnings.
According to Lorraine Lumpas Gala, her 6-year-old son, who grew up watching “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano,” is determined to be a cop.
“Kasing tanda niya probinsyano. Ever since kasi nagka isip na siya yun lagi napapanood niya. Pati outfits niya and sombrero. I-inidolize niya si Cardo, Dumating sa point gusto niya maging police,” she explained.
Gala also shared that her son copied Cardo Dalisay, which helped mold her child’s character.
“For him kasi, Ang nakikita niya lahat positive. Andun yung malakas loob ni cardo. Tapos mabait, mapagmahal sa lola,” she said.
Nanay ko, lola niya kakamatay lang 2 Months ago, lagi sila nanunood sa Cardo. Parang nakikita niya, mapagmahal na apo. Diba si Cardo super lambing sa lola,’ she added.
While “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano,” was pivotal for many individuals and families, the iconic show on the other hand, was a paramount homage for Sen. Grace Poe, the daughter of Susan Roces, who played well-loved Lola Flora and Fernando Poe Jr., the original Cardo Dalisay.
“We are grateful for the careful stewardship of FPJ’s legacy,” Poe wrote in a text message.
“Ang Probinsyano has kept FPJ’s story relevant in these changing times.
“ABS-CBN and Coco have done a wonderful job in growing the FPJ brand and capturing the imagination of the next generation. It’s heartwarming to see how FPJ’s stories inspire old fans and new fans alike.”
“It’s not just the story but the values FPJ stood for like courage, patriotism, justice, integrity, and helping those who are in need that really resonated with the fans of the series. 'FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano' is proof that the timeless tale of a simple Filipino standing up for what is right will always be a classic,” Poe added.