Of Filipino TV Series and Malaysians' Craziness Over Them...

The setting: Another Saturday, another Man United game, the same Chinese mamak shop.

Sitting together with a Sabahan friend of mine, who brought a few of his friends to watch the game and the conversation somehow diverted into the subject of Filipino tele-novellas and hot actresses (do you seriously expect the subject of women won't come to topic?)

Whenever someone finds out that I am half-Filipino, one of the questions that I am always asked is about Filipino women and the abundance of beauty amongst them.

Seriously, how do you answer such questions? Like any other countries, the Filipino women come in various shapes and forms; some are gorgeous, some are not... However, unlike many countries, the Philippines is indeed blessed with lots of beautiful women.

Maybe it's because of the mixed blood; after all, no other country in Asia had been colonized the way the Philippines was. Think about it... For over 400 hundred years since its 'discovery', the Philippines was a colony; first by the Spaniards and then by the Americans. I think because of these colonializations, generations after generations of mixed-blood offspring were produced.

And it is only recently that the general Malaysian populace saw a different sight of Filipino women. Before this, the perception of how a Filipina generally looks was taken from what could be seen here and because of the influx of domestic helpers from the Philippines; it doesn't paint the real picture.

Thanks to tele-novellas such as 'Pangako Sa'yo" and "Sana'y Wala ng Wakas" et al, Malaysians managed to see the kind of beauty the Filipino women possessed.

Anyways, one of my friend's friends asked me if I watch Filipino shows like the aforementioned. While I do not follow them religiously like many Malaysians I know, of course I do watch Filipino movies and TV series once in a while. The other friend asked if I have a favorite Filipina actress and this put a smile to my face.

In the Philippines or you're a Filipino (or half or whatever) anywhere in the world, you are bound to have a favorite actress and I am no exception. Even if I hardly watch a Filipino movie or TV Series, I still have a favorite actress...

And my favorite has always been Caludine Barretto. She may not be known in Malaysia like Kristine Hermosa and/or Heart Evangelista but she is the undisputed queen of Philippine Cinema!

She may also not be the most beautiful but believe you me; no one can carry a character like Claudine does. She is by far the best actress of her generation, bar none! She is a multi-award winning actress and at her relatively young age, she has won each and every acting award in the Philippines.

When I mentioned this to the dude who asked me, she followed up with another question: ‘what’s so special about this Claudine chick lah?”


I seriously don't know!

I just find her to be absolutely captivating in every aspect.

But if I were to be pressed to name one quality, it would be her 'normalcy', I guess. She looks like your average girl who had her share of her ups and downs in life.

More often than not, actresses - at least in countries where they really matter - are bigger than reality, they're just that kind of people. They are looked up to or fantasized about by the people that patronize their respective local movie industries.

But Claudine doesn't have that persona. She is like your average girls who live in the realities of life. Of course, this may not necessarily be true but she does project that kind of persona. She makes you think and believe that she is no different from the girls you know personally.

I guess, to me at least, that's the allure Claudine has.


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