MANILA — A Philippine president’s entire term in office: that’s how long “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano” has been running, with enduring popularity that has cemented the primetime series as a pop culture force.
In that process, the Coco Martin starrer has also beaten what seemed to be insurmountable odds, from the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, to losing its free-TV broadcast with the franchise denial of ABS-CBN.
Today, September 28, marks the sixth year since “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano” premiered, making it the Philippines’ longest-running weekday drama series, surpassing the original “Mara Clara,” also of ABS-CBN.
That’s a long, long crusade against crime and corruption, with Martin’s well-loved Cardo navigating numerous life-changing events and surviving countless near-deaths.
To put that duration in perspective, here’s a list of facts that show just how much can change in a span of six years, from politics, to sports, and showbiz:
1. Coco Martin has had four leading ladies as Cardo since 2015.
Julia Montes’ Mara is Cardo’s current love interest, following the deaths of Alyana (Yassi Pressman) and Carmen (Bela Padilla), and the departure of Glen (Maja Salvador).
2. Iza Calzado has starred in three primetime series that aired in the same block as ‘Ang Probinsyano.’
Calzado, who was a guest star in the first year of “Ang Probinsyano,” joined the main cast of “A Love to Last” in 2017 and “Ngayon at Kailanman” in 2018, and became the lead star of “Ang Sa Iyo Ay Akin,” along with Jodi Sta. Maria, in 2020.
3. There have been 10 Kapuso-turned-Kapamilya stars since ‘Ang Probinsyano’ went on air.
The latest of whom is Lovi Poe, who signed with ABS-CBN this month, following the likes of Janine Gutierrez and Regine Velasquez. Here’s the timeline of transferees, tracing back to September 2015.
4. Five ‘Pinoy Big Brother’ winners have been named since Cardo started his anti-crime crusade.
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, while Yamyam Gucong won the “Otso” edition in August 2019. The most recent winner is Liofer Pinatacan of the “Connect” season, which concluded in March 2021.
5. Tawag ng Tanghalan has produced five champions through its regular editions in the past six years.
The latest champion, Reiven Umali, just won this month. 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 six-year run.
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.
7. The Philippines has produced two Miss Universe winners since 2015.
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 six years.
Angelia Ong and Karen Ibasco respectively won the international Miss Earth pageant in December 2015 and November 2017.
9. Manny Pacquiao has had seven boxing matches since Cardo’s introduction.
The 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.
10. Hidilyn Diaz won nine medals from international weightlifting events, including the Philippines’ first Olympic gold, within the duration of ‘Ang Probinsyano.’
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.
11. Cardo has seen two sitting Philippine presidents, so far.
Rodrigo Duterte succeeded Benigno Aquino III on June 30, 2016. Aquino passed away in June 2021.
12. There have been two national elections since ‘Ang Probinsyano’ premiered.
Duterte was elected president in 2016, while a new set of officials were voted into office in 2019. It remains to be seen whether Cardo will see a third national election, which is only months away, in May 2022.
13. ABS-CBN fully migrated to digital after being forced off free television, due to its franchise denial by a congressional panel.
With ABS-CBN’s free-TV channel being shuttered by government in July 2020, “Ang Probinsyano” along with the Kapamilya network’s current programs were made available on several platforms. Currently, the action-drama series is accessible via Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, A2Z Channel 11, TV5, CineMo, iWant TFC, TFC, WeTV, and iflix.
14. The world transitioned to a new normal amid a still-raging pandemic.
For “Ang Probinsyano,” and the film and TV industry at large, that has meant shifting to quarantined or “bubble” filming, where strict safety protocols are observed.