I Heart Davao starts airing, beats rival

Nelson C. Bagaforo

KAPUSO Network's latest primetime offering I Heart Davao, topbilled by Carla Abellana, Tom Rodriguez and Benjamin Alves, had its pilot episode last Monday, beating its rival program, ABS-CBN's A Love To Last, topbilled by Bea Alonzo and Ian Veneracion.

Based on AGB Nationwide Urban Television Audience Measurement (Nutam), GMA-7's I Heart Davao got an AGB rating of 7.4 percent as against the competition's 6.2 percent, showing a lead of 1.2 percentage points.

The new show's pilot episode opens with a montage of shots highlighting Davao City's sceneries, particularly the country’s highest peak, Mt. Apo, its forested areas and beaches. The show is 80 percent shot in Davao City, so expect Dabawenyos to get excited, particularly those who have a bit role in this romantic comedy series.

I Heart Davao features the story of Hope (Carla), a heart transplant recipient whose world will be turned upside-down when she goes to Davao to save her family’s chocolate business. Here, she serendipitously and unknowingly meets Ponce (Tom), the proud, brooding, and mysterious ex-boyfriend of her heart donor.

Ponce also happens to be the son of the chocolate haciendero whom Hope eyes to partner with to save her family’s struggling venture. Ponce's "Dabawenyo Dude" pragmatism will constantly offend Hope's "Manila Girl" sensibilities.

As Hope's new life unravels in Davao, she feels a tug from her old self through the constant wooing of her childhood friend Paul (Ben), a brilliant young business executive. All his life, Paul has been in love with Hope that he is willing to temporarily leave his life in Manila to join her in Davao.

I Heart Davao is penned by award-winning film screenwriter and director Chris Martinez, with Lee Briones-Meily as director of photography.

At the helm of this series is highly-acclaimed director Marlon Rivera, who is also known for GMA Public Affairs’ political rom-com series Naku, Boss Ko and the award-winning film Babae sa Septic Tank.

Two of GMA's primetime series -- Mulawin vs. Ravena and My Love from the Star are among the top ten most-buzzed-about new shows worldwide, according to a report posted by PEP in its official website, quoting the Social Wit List for May 2017 released by New York-based WorldScreen.com.

The report said Mulawin vs. Ravena ranked third while My Love From The Star was ranked 5th in the list of top ten new shows with the most number of Facebook and Twitter comments during their premiere across the globe. The two are the only shows in the Philippines that are included in the list.

The other programs are USA's Dirty Dancing, Twin Peaks, Beat Shazam, Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland, World of Dance, France's Emmanuel Macron, Baisers caches, and UK's Three Girls.