Review: TV5’s Sa Ngalan Ng Ina Uses Stellar Cast For Promising Start

TV5’s first miniseries Sa Ngalan Ng Ina (In the Name of the Mother) is certainly being talked about for many reasons. The biggest of which is it is the official comeback project of Nora Aunor, one of the Philippines’ most lauded actresses ever. She’s also one of the most controversial, but one could say it comes with the territory.

But for an actress regarded as highly as Aunor, all eyes will be on whether or not the project is worthy of her stature.

It is safe to say Sa Ngalan Ng Ina fits the bill.

The series is set to be a four week miniseries (which in itself is rare) about a woman, Elena Deogracias (Aunor), and her family thrust into the spotlight when her husband, the Mayor and a gubernatorial candidate (Bembol Roco) is assassinated at a campaign rally.

Sa Ngalan Ng Ina‘s four week run looks to deliver fast-paced story with plenty of political and familial intrigue. What’s different about the series from other soap operas that throw in politics for the hell of it, is that the political aspect drives the real meat of the story and that is the family drama, centered on Aunor’s character of Elena. The four week run should work in its favor, especially more so than series that are ruined by extensions.

Though it’s hard to gush about the performance of the returning Nora Aunor since she actually had little to do in the premiere. She was pretty much limited to two quiet, understated scenes of grief and two other scenes that included her praying via voice over and a scene with Bembol Roco to open the series. But of course, this is only the first episode and we’ve got 19 more to go where surely she’ll take center stage.

But the real standouts in the premiere were Rosanna Roces, Alwyn Uytingco, Nadine Samonte and Eugene Domingo.

It’s no coincidence that they actually had the most material. Rosanna Roces plays Lucia Ilustre as the typical “woman behind the man”/”scarier than you think” political first lady. The character plays to her strengths as an actress and in the premiere, you see her as a sneaky, adulterous, and dangerous woman. And Roces’ performance style and delivery are well suited for Lucia.

Alwyn Uytingco takes on a new role as Alfonso Deogracias, the middle son of Mayor Amang. While the hot headed, prideful, and dark dealing Alfonso greatly differs from his most well known roles as the gay Pip in the Tanging Ina films and more hero/boy next door roles in Maria Flordeluna and Babaeng Hampaslupa (or way back when in Kay Tagal Kang Hinintay), the character is not outside Alwyn’s limits as an actor. He’s shown that he’s more than capable as an actor with acclaimed performances in several indie films as well. But Alfonso is the kind of role that stretches an actor’s abilities, challenging the actor to keep the character from becoming cartoonish and one-note, but also maintaining humanity and keeping the character believable as a man with power. So far, Uytingco’s done that and there’s no reason to believe he won’t continue to do so.

Nadine Samonte, long underutilized on GMA, finally gets the roles that are worthy of her talent. As the eldest daughter, Andrea Deogracias, Samonte must convey a strong, intelligent, and very ambitious young woman. But also keep a hint of bitterness, greed, and emptiness. Samonte did all that in the premiere. The two scenes, the first of her on stage at a campaign rally for her mayoral candidacy and the second of her confronting her mother (?) Elena, gave a very good picture of where Andrea comes from. Samonte has always had a strong presence that helps give her characters that little bit of heft needed to command the screen. After a strong performance in The Sisters, this role should give Samonte even meatier material especially with such acting heavyweights.

And finally, Eugene Domingo. No question one of the most multi-talented actresses in Philippine entertainment today. Whether it be comedy or drama, hosting or acting, Ms. Eugene Domingo can do it all. She too only had two or three scenes in the premiere, but in both, you can see and fell the sincerity in her performance as Pacita Toribio, Elena’s younger sister. Pacita is humble, a mother, a confidant, a friend. She is there to comfort and console. In her short scenes with daughter Elsa and later with sister Elena (plus a scene with Alfonso seen in the trailer), Domingo is sure to be heart of the series. She was it in the premiere, a shoulder to cry on, a crutch to lean on. Other actresses would keep the character a supporting or even background character. But Domingo’s sincerity in her performance help make the character an essential part of the fabric of the story.

Now again, this was all just from the pilot episode. But it speaks volumes about a pilot episode when you get all this from just that.

Production value is high, but a sort of quiet, understated visual, much like the performances of Nora Aunor and Christopher De Leon. It’s isn’t loud, nor is it cheap. A realistic, down to earth production style that makes the series accessible even if about rich, political families of the Philippines. You feel that this is indeed the probinsya, that we’re in the countryside of the Philippines.

Though I could certainly do without the allusions to the Marcos-Aquino feud nonsense (perpetuated by the ever-astute Philippine “press”), Sa Ngalan Ng Ina nonetheless has a very promising story and a stellar cast that will surely elevate the already solid writing and directing.

0 thoughts on “Review: TV5’s Sa Ngalan Ng Ina Uses Stellar Cast For Promising Start

  1. I have been following the series myself and I can say that this is one for the Filipinos. For the longest time, the major networks have been fooling the viewing public with stupid teleseryes and dubbed Mexican and korean soaps. For the longest time, these network giants think that the Filipinos are dumb they won’t notice their TV shows are dumb and useless. TV5 stepped out of the plate and challenged this old network paradigm. Instead of wooing viewers to their standard fares, they formed a team of the most gifted creators in Philippine movie and TV to come up with a honest-to-goodness depiction of the political landscape in the country. From the actors, to the set, to the music, to the screenplay — all the aspects were checked and considered well because TV5 believes the Filipino public deserves more than the trash they have been watching every night.

    1. How come they “formed the most gifted creators in Philippine movie and tv” kung wala man lang magtagal na Series nila aside from Babaeng Hampaslupa. “The Sisters” sabi nila ito ang susunod sa BH at gigimbal sa Mundo ng Telebesyon pero bakit tila sila pa ang nagimbal sa feedback ng tao dito at natsugi agad, Hindi ba’t dahil na rin sa “Poor Acting Skills” nung (mga) “Bida”? “Challenging Role” binigay daw sa kanya mukha ngang nachallenge sya at hindi nya kinaya.

      “TV5 believes the Filipino public deserves more than the trash they have been watching every night.”. so ibig sabihin nito TV5 ang pianapanuod nila dahil sa mga trashes nha palabas na galing sa Network na to.

      Bago mo sabihing “TV5 stepped out of the plate and challenged this old network paradigm.” i-asses mo muna ang performance ng Network na ito bago mo i-compare ang TV5 to ABS-CBN and GMA.

      1. This is how constructive criticism should be. Not some old mumbo-jumbo bashing. Leave it to those people with keen eyes and an educated standpoint, Eugene.

        1. On a sidenote Critics Eye, maybe TV5 is still on the verge of breaking the paradigm by experimenting with different formats and content to shell out something different and to cater to a different market. They are are very bold, and courageous. I give them that. And with a seemingly large sum of money to back them up with their programs (MVP), TV5 is probably the only station that could afford to risk their expenses to find a great niche in the Filipino viewing audience. Risk worth taking? Maybe? Maybe not? 🙂 I do respect your opinion however.

          1. You’ve said it already K-la “Risk worth taking? Maybe? Maybe not?”, dapat ito ay isa sa mga ino obserbahan nila, Bakit hindi muna sila maki “Fit-in” sa kung anu ang uso ngayon at kung anu ang nakasanayan ng mga manunuod and if they Already Established their foundation then that’s the time to “Break the Paradigm by experimenting with different formats and contents.

            Sometimes being “very bold, and courageous” are not just enough to bet the TWO giants and paved the attention to them.

            (I’m here for a Healthy Conversation BTW).

        1. The Length of the Run of a Series is very important and it is the Basis of it’s success. Why? Simply Because the Longer it is extended the more people are interested with the story, the plot and how the Series is being take good the network.

          (I’m here for a Healthy Conversation BTW).

          1. That is not true. Look no further than Agua Bendita, Tayong Dalawa, and especially Mara Clara for recent examples of when extensions absolutely kill a series creatively. They started as excellent series and finished their runs by overstaying their welcome and diving into a heap of hot garbage.

            On the other hand, you look at a series like Maria Flordeluna that had a shorter run (thanks to palakasan and politicking inside the network), but helped turned ABS-CBN’s ratings around in Manila and is still one of the highest rated series ever, nationwide. Recently, you have Magkaribal which was extended a couple of weeks, but maintained its writing quality throughout.

      2. Hi Critic Eye.
        I did not follow the sisters nor watched hampaslupa. I can say that The Sisters is bad production based on some 1 or 2 nights I accidentally saw it. I am talking of Sa Ngalan ng Ina. Even only on its 3rd or 4th drama show, TV already jumped a million miles ahead of ABS CBN and GMA. I have a friend in GMA 7 and during one of our drinking sessions I frankly told her “Irma, bakit naman ang panget panget ng mga shows ninyo? Wala ka bang kontrol sa mga shows na yan? Sayang naman pagka UP mo.” Sagot ni Irma “Nat, pera e pera pera talaga ang shows. Kung ano ang patok ayun”. Even without an insider to provide that info, I am so aware that the problem is MONEYYYYYYY….Get cheap directors, get cheap writers, pay JohnLloyd this amount papatok na tayo papasok ang commercials. PInagisipan ba ang kuwnto? NAg research ba mabuti/ Magaling ba ang actors? Nahasa ba talaga?
        This is my observation, to compensate for ill-equipped mediocre lead stars like Marriane, Christine and KC, the networks will throw in the able supports of veterans like Cheriie Pie, Jaclyn Jose, Gina Alajar, Tirso Cruz. But again, the lead stars should lead the acting.
        Sa Ngalan ng Ina is special because the actors are all acting well and the story is past faced, the scripts are realistic and crisp and the scenes are well-crafted to describe the story not just to tittilate or draw tears. Maganda ang foundation ng istorya.
        I have been longing for this kind of redemption in Philippine TV and thanks TV5, you’ve done it.

        1. TV5 is not yet perfect believe me. WilTime BIgtime is a mess and an insult to the public but with Sa Ngalan ng Ina, it;s like TV5 telling ABSCBN and GMA 7 – “hey giant networks, I am willing to do good TV drama. How about you?”
          Goodness, we deserve more than the recycling of Mexican and Korean telenovelas and an extension of Gulong ng Palad.
          We deserve more as a nation, as a TV viewing nation
          Sa Ngalan ng Ina is a good start and even this show, I am watching it closely because it should show violence as it is. Philippine politics is violent and if censhorship stops Mario O hara from showing real violence then sad for Sa NGalan ng Ina. Dapat ipakita ng Sa Ngalan ng Ina ang totoo.
          Kung ang character ni Nora dito na si Elena Deogracias ay parang santa hanggang dulo ng kwento pero nasa politka siya ——-sorry pati sila babagsak sa panlasa ko.

          1. Because in my view, walang malinis sa mundo ng politics. Dapat hindi santuhin ng Sa Ngalan ng ina ang character ni Nora Aunor dito or else. Waley. Basura din ito. Although I must say the first 2 nights are really fantastic TV viewing. Pang HBO.

          2. I know one reason why we all have the same concept on TV shows and series, as what i remember i heard that Miss Armida Seguion Reyna(pardon me if I spelled it wrong) I qoute “Kailangan ng alisin ang censorship sa ating tv programs kasi parepareho ang concept nito, kaya nga ako nawawalan ako ng ganang panuorin ang mga ito.” ito ung sense nung sinabi nya nung na inteerview sya, I think it was aired at TV Patrol i dont know what date is that.

            Joanthan I will not argue with you that yes Censorship blocks the opportunity of great minds to show their crafts that tackles and shows what really happening in our community, even reality shows are bounded and it all beacuse of CENSORSHIP.

        2. Yes I agree with you in terms of money. But did you ever think Big Networks are using their what-so-called “Flag Bearers” to bring Money to the Networks and used that money for their “Future Big Projects”?.

          “Get cheap directors, get cheap writers…PInagisipan ba ang kuwnto? NAg research ba mabuti/ Magaling ba ang actors? Nahasa ba talaga?” i will not argue about this specially because this is what GMA are always doing, Telefantasya and putting Artist with no guts to play a lead role. While ABS-CBN on the other hand are the exact opposite of GMA, they have list of great Directors, Writers, Well researched Story, Actors? well they are always undergoing the-so-called “Work shops”, they’ve been a rival for over a years and no wonder they’re playing the same card.

          1. You said ABS-CBN are exact opposit of GMA, think again? They had/have the same trashy materials making viewers “tanga”. And you said well researched story? u must me kidding, think again before saying that. I hope u know what your saying!!!

    1. Wow! Very good analysis Eugene. Eugene’s probably gonna end up working in some run-down steel mill factory because he can’t even provide good analysis on a television series without bashing the writer or without believing that he speaks for hundreds or thousands of people who has the same opinion as he does. Tsk. Such a pity to have uneducated people troll around the Social Media. I’m sorry Eugene, but you need to stop looking at other people’s mishaps or wrongdoings and start caring about what’s important in your life. Oh.. Wait… I think that spreading stupidity around the web is the only thing important in your life… I think that I have just offended a troll.. My apologies. 🙂

      1. Agree.K-La. People (or should I say animals) like Eugene do not deserve the advancement of the web because they use it to bring humanity back to the Stone Age. TV5 gives us an intelligent alternative and here’s one animal who only knows nothing but to say kadiri to the Superstar. Shame on you Eugene.

    2. oo kasi sa mga bobong shows ka na lang haha. go. ako sa sopranos, west wing, la law, er, desperate housewives and sa ngalan ng ina. ikaw doon ka sa mg basurang shows na gusto niyo. kaya hindi umaasensor pilipinas sa mga tulad niyong mga panlasa haha

    3. You are such a mediocre minded creature who doesn’t want quality shows and instead be trapped with senseless and commercial shows.Nora is an icon and a great artist that deserve respect from everyone!!!

  2. yes, we should look into the regular pinoy tv fare these days… and yes, we are currently being fed with recycled telenovelas from Mexico and Korea and the networks should think and offer something Filipino… and we should thank TV5’s effort in trying to come up with something like this… hope Filipinos will try to give our own product a chance…

  3. well, basing on your comments..siguro maganda nga yung Sa ngalan ng ina kahit di q pa yan napapanood! But to say na walang kwenta at hindi maganda ang mga ginagawa ng ibang station, well..dyan aq di boto because they are also giving their efforts to make our primetime experience better..lalo na sa Kapamilya station..Few of the new teleseryes in ABS na masasabi kung ‘they have changed the quality and lanscape of a pinoy teleserye” ay yung Tayong dalawa, minsan lang kita iibigin, 100 days to heaven at padating pa yung BUGOY, in which the main stars are also good in acting. In technical aspect naman, cguro di na alam na natin ang kakayanan ng abs, they are the best in this aspect!! well, congrats to TV5! sana ipagpatuloy nyo yan!!

    1. you have a sensible view, nice, this move of TV5 will benefit the viewers, becoz’ this will surely motivate the bigger networks to look for original Filipino stories and strive to have better productions…

  4. for now we really can’t tell if this ‘sa ngalan ng ina’ will really change the face of TV5…giant networks like gma and abs are sa totoo lang hard to kill for now..and it took them years,decade even para marating ang kung anumang tagumpay ang narating nila…and i don’t think this overly hyped sa ngalan will end up beating abs cbns teleserye..maybe for now kase parang wala pang sumodon na dikalibreng serye after imortal and magkaribal..pero i;m sure nakahanda na rin sila..

    i don’t know pero para sa akin abs pa rin ang terms of getting good directors,cinematography and casting..and they see to it na di lang yung bidang artista ang magaling umarte..they hone their actresses and actors..

    onother thing my number one problem with tv5 is cristy fermin and her show juicy…they get so annoying most of the time…i know that juicy is suppose to be a showbiz talk show pero napaka cheap. dahil wala na silang ginawa kundi ang pag awayin ang mga artista..and it is so obvious that shes making comments na very personal from artistas na galing abs and gma…


  6. nuon pa man,, yang cristy ferminna yan kung anu ano na ang pinagsasasabi sa mga artista.. kaya nademanda yan e.. dapat nga alisin yan sa tv5.. ipalit dyan si edu manzano o si German Moreno na. goodbye cristy fermin….

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