GMA Network’s Magandang Dilag has come to an end. And its 99 episodes have been a fun, enjoyable ride. Though the series featured some familiar themes and scenarios as many Filipino teleseryes, it was able to set itself apart in many ways. It was able to blend in comedy and humor with the heavy drama. And as a revenge story, Magandang Dilag was unrelenting in dishing out sweet karma to the series’ antagonists. But perhaps the biggest outcome from the series is how it was able to showcase Herlene Budol as a lead actress.
Magandang Dilag of course enjoyed dependable performances from its experienced supporting cast including Sandy Andolong, Chanda Romero, Adrian Alandy, Benjamin Alves and Bianca Manalo. Talented newcomers Maxine Medina, Rob Gomez, Muriel Lomadilla and Angela Alarcon brought some fresh energy to the series as well.
But two specific aspects were definitely the highlights of the series.
First is that aforementioned unrelenting delivery of karma and revenge. The title character Magandang Dilag herself, Gigi Robles (played by Herlene Budol) with the help of her family and friends, was able to dish out the deserved comeuppance against the villains who made her and her mother’s life a living hell. Not only that, she was able to achieve justice for themselves and others who were victims of the antagonists’ evil actions.
After a well-developed first few weeks that laid out Gigi and her mother’s suffering, the series proceeded full speed through her plans. Being able to deliver satisfying scenes of the “Elite Squad” being shamed and embarrassed, week after week, was so refreshing. And that made the series easy and fun to watch.
It wasn’t like how teleseryes often depict vengeance with feigning morality or even trying to redeem villains. Nope. Magandang Dilag wanted to punish its villains. And that it did. Repeatedly and very satisfyingly. The fast-paced story help keep viewers engaged with the series. Even with an extension, the series never wasted time with pointless filler. Or have its story go in circles.
Viewers responded to that very well. Especially when, again, this kind of regular and steady satisfaction is not necessarily common on teleseryes. Regardless of genre.
The second refreshing aspect is of course Herlene Budol herself. It has been such a treat having followed her career since first being a contestant on Wowowin. From being a host to getting various TV guestings and now successfully wrapping up her first teleserye as the title character; Herlene Budol has had a very fairtytale-like ascent to now certified teleserye leading lady.
She is such an endearing personality and that shines through in her performance. You cannot help but get carried away by her, especially in emotional scenes. Many of the series’ highlights are when Herlene has to deliver the most emotionally charged scenes.
Some of the best examples are her performances in Episode 26:
And the climactic Episode 72:
Which I raved about when the episode first aired.
The way Herlene is able to balance that perfect comedic timing with legitimately affecting dramatic performances is something you can’t easily teach someone. It really does come naturally. And for someone like Herlene without that kind of extensive training and workshops, the performance she delivered in Magandang Dilag is quite an accomplishment. And she can only improve even more from here. She showed that she deserved this opportunity and more.
Overall, this is the kind of guilty pleasure series that really shouldn’t make you feel guilty at all. Magandang Dilag was simply a great series. A fun, exciting and enjoyable series that took familiar concepts and offered up refreshing twists to its approach and execution.