Remembering Maria Flordeluna and a Time When Being a “Kapamilya” Meant Something, an Open Letter to ABS-CBN

So, apparently ABS-CBN Interactive, Inc. flagged one of my 25 clips of the great series Maria Flordeluna and now I have a copyright strike. Only that one video, mind you. The other 25 videos are, well, were still fine. But because I do not want to take a chance that ABS-CBN gets my account shut down for good by knocking out two more videos at separate times for my final 2 strikes, I just decided to delete all the Maria Flordeluna videos (really, just clips of the aborted JC & Annie love story) as well as clips of when Wowowee was the crown jewel of the network; fun clips of Carmen Soo dancing with Pokwang, the emotional first winner of “Cash Bukas” and the epic water gun fight between the genuinely happy and friendly co-hosts of the show.

I decided, why not write a moderately strong worded letter to this ABS-CBN Interactive, Inc. I don’t even know if it’s legit ABS-CBN’s online division making the copyright claim and not just some overzealous Kapamilya fantard. But it’s alright since I also decided to just post the letter here too. It serves as a pseudo-appreciation post for what was a poorly treated, but excellent teleserye and a look back at how different and happier the world was just a few years ago.

date: Fri, Sep 13, 2013 at 2:02 AM
subject: YouTube Copyright – Maria Flordeluna
To Whom It May or May Not Concern,I received the YouTube notification that you have flagged the video “JC & Annie’s Story, Part 2 – Annie and the ‘Bakulaw'” for copyright infringement.It has been five years since the video was uploaded to my YouTube channel and I have not received a single penny or peso from it or any of the other videos of “Maria Flordeluna” on my account. If anything, I was throwing ABS-CBN a few fresh eyes who may not have seen “Maria Flordeluna” before.To be perfectly honest, I had uploaded those edited videos of “JC & Annie’s Story” from “Maria Flordeluna” for a few reasons. First, I was a big fan of the Jill-Alwyn loveteam and wanted their first (and turns out, only) big teleserye project to be shared with everyone.

But more importantly, this was the closest to full episodes of the series that could be uploaded to YouTube. “Maria Flordeluna” was treated like the red-headed stepchild, or maybe more appropriately, the “anak sa labas” of the network at the time. First, it was barely promoted at a time when its fellow primetime occupants “Walang Kapalit” and “Rounin” got the full weight of the Kapamilya hype machine.

The series then got shuffled around the line-up with many ardent Kapamilya fans saying “Maria Flordeluna” didn’t even deserve a primetime slot and should have aired in the afternoon instead. The biggest reason being that the series didn’t even have any big stars on it. (Really.)

But in spite of the lack of support from the network, “Maria Flordeluna” quickly grew into what became a record breaking run and a blockbuster finale. While at the same time, “Walang Kapalit” just as quickly floundered and “Rounin” became the biggest and most expensive flop in Philippine TV history. The original order for “Maria Flordeluna” was even cut, then re-extended when the rest of the primetime line-up collapsed and the little-show-that-could soared.

Even more impressive was that the success of “Maria Flordeluna” came against what had been a powerhouse timeslot competitor in “Asian Treasures” starring Robin Padilla and the unstoppable Angel Locsin. “Maria Flordeluna” ended up being the first ABS-CBN series in years to top a competing GMA program in Mega and Metro Manila, let alone one that starred then-superstar Angel Locsin.

The series’ record breaking ratings and shocking finale were still not enough for ABS-CBN to care apparently. Since while lower rated series got treated to DVD releases and fond farewells on ASAP, “Maria Flordeluna” did not.

So it’s very surprising that after five years, you have suddenly decided to flag one of the videos, but not the others on the same account. But I guess you only have the video files for that one particular episode and have thrown out the rest, making it impossible to match the content on YouTube.

Of course, ABS-CBN programs are readily available all over the internet, especially full episodes, for free while the people who run the aggregate blogs financially benefit through the incessant ads on their sites. Which makes it interesting that my five year old video was suddenly targeted.

Maybe it was an embarrassing reminder of a time when ABS-CBN actually produced good programs; when even the simplest story was more meaningful and relatable than the over-produced and overhyped shows that are on the air today. Today when boasting of high definition (that looks nothing like high definition) and repeated extensions are more important than a good story.

And so, because I don’t want my YouTube account to suddenly get suspended one day when YOU feel like it, I’ll be deleting all ABS-CBN videos from my account. On one hand, it’s a good thing to get rid of reminders of how great ABS-CBN was just a few years ago. But on the other hand, it’s sad to think about a time when millions of people enjoyed shows like “Maria Flordeluna” or clips of the first Cash Bukas millionaire, Carmen Soo learning how to dance from Pokwang, or a water gun fight amongst co-hosts on “Wowowee” (the other ABS-CBN clips on my account).

So I hope everyone can enjoy the YouTube clips and full episode uploads elsewhere of the shows and stars you do aim to build up on your hype machine that are fine to stay online. And I’ll take satisfaction in the memories of a time years ago when being a “Kapamilya” was actually a great thing to call oneself.

Lester Banatao

0 thoughts on “Remembering Maria Flordeluna and a Time When Being a “Kapamilya” Meant Something, an Open Letter to ABS-CBN

  1. Hi, would like to ask what happened to your appeal? Did they replied to your email? I received a similar complaint from them, but the problem is the video they flagged doesn’t even have the alleged copyright video they claim. I made the video myself. I would like to email them and ask to retract their copyright claims, but I’m doubting if they ever replied to such request.

    Hope you can reply to my inquiry. Thanks!

    1. Hi there. Sorry to hear about your video. So I only e-mailed ABS-CBN but I didn’t appeal or contest the video on YouTube. Since your video is your own, you should be able to appeal directly on YouTube. Hope that helps!

  2. I just happened to stumble upon this old post of yours. And i must say. Nadale mo brad!

    To be fair, I loved Rounin. It was the closest to a really imaginative sci-fi story that a local series got. I also knew about it long before the hype machine began (since I had a friend working for the production that time). I guess the problem with that one really was that it was more of a niche series, and sadly not that many viewers in the country appreciate sci-fi. but that’s another topic.

    Onto Maria Flordeluna. Know what? I actually consider this series one of the best shows they have produced. It was one of the best examples of the excellent storytelling they can pull off if they just focused on that more, instead of feeding the egos of their overhyped teenstars and fantards. Sure, Flor seemed to be treated as more of a side character at times, but even thatwas done so excellently, giving a really good insight on all the other characters’ stories, paving the way for her own character development. And, oh boy! that ending was brilliant. It gave me that Gen Urobuchi-esque vibe long before I became a “disciple” of the man.

    Really, I can’t help but be saddened for ABS CBN. 2012 was very much the start of their downturn to lackluster levels. First, they extended Walang Hanggan way beyond the capacity of its story, ending it up a mess. And then there was the Princess and I debacle, which is definitely their biggest embarrassment to date. They botched what could have been another excellent piece of storytelling just to please a certain “teenstar who must not be named” and his noisy fantards. I pity the writers who were sabotaged by the network owners.

    I really wish that they would finally wake up from their celebrity obsessions (I honestly abhor Vice Ganda and his horde) and just gto back to legitimate storytelling.

    1. Yeah, I think Rounin looked great on paper and it was a brave effort, but the Philippines just doesn’t have both the creatives and the resources to pull something like that off, sadly. And yes, it definitely wasn’t a mainstream kind of show. And I don’t think ABS-CBN has taken a risk like that since. Maybe they’re afraid?

      But I also know they are very content with doing what they’ve been doing and you’ve definitely pointed them all out here. hehe

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