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#ONE: The main characters, Serena and Tenten, were portrayed by the love team who look and act world-class.

Serena Marchesa and Simon Vicente Ibarra (Tenten) were two beautifully rounded characters whose shoes most perfectly fit Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil (Quen) respectively. They gave life to The Italian Bella and Boy Raketero from Tondo the way no one else could. With Liza’s physical attributes and wit, she carried out the role remarkably. Her Italian sounded very legit. Quen’s characterization of Simon was also superb. His transformations from book 1 to book 3 captivated many, especially the dashing Simon Ibarra Dubois. As many would say, “Pang Hollywood level ang kagandahan at kagwapuhan nila.”

In Dolce Amore, they once again proved that they’re more than just good looks. Their dedication and passion in the field of acting were evident throughout the series. Their undeniable chemistry as a love team came out naturally as always—effortless, as people would say. Sweet, simple gestures like holding of hands, looking into each other’s eyes, and hugging brought viewers to cloud nine. Oxygen tanks were in high demand during kyondian scenes. That’s how powerful the kilig LizQuen could bring to the audience. The (even tricked) kissing scenes heightened everyone’s emotions even more that netizens admitted to be “tweeting from the grave” because of kilig overdose. Oftentimes, it was hard to distinguish whether Liza and Quen were still in their Dolce characters or not. Indeed, 50% REEL and 50% REAL.

One of the great things about LizQuen is that pure romance is not what they could only offer. They have showcased their versatility in acting by how they managed to give justice to versions 1.0-3.0 of Simon and Serena. It’s amazing how they were able to give unique and different attacks to each. Their confrontation scenes with The Ms. Cherie Gil were very praiseworthy. Magaling sila makipagsabayan sa mga veteran na artista. The way they handled the heavy scenes proved their acting prowess. Their eyes and body language spoke so much that lines were no longer necessary to show their characters’ emotions. Everyone felt the sincerity in them. Both are very promising in the showbiz industry. Acting awards surely await them. With their humble hearts and extraordinary talents, they both deserve to be blessed.

#TWO: The plot’s unpredictability gave the viewers an unforgettable roller coaster experience.

Not knowing what would happen in the next episode, the viewers patiently waited for answers to their hanging questions. In one episode, one would feel extreme kilig and happiness, and on the next, suspense and pain. No wonder why a lot got into bipolar mode. Many got disappointed with Serena’s amnesia claiming it to be cliché. However, it was a good technique for the story to keep its pace. It would have been more difficult to resolve the conflict in book 1 if that did not happen. Papa Roberto’s state of comatose was another brilliant way of keeping Serena away from anyone who could help her remember everything. The fact that she fell in love with the same man all over again without her memories of the past gave sole credit to her heart, and proved that “what the mind forgets, the heart remembers.”

Plot twists added spice to the story, and further puzzled the viewers. Who would have thought that Kuya Binggoy would die when everyone was looking forward to a happy ending for BinGel? The appearance of Vivian Dubois claiming to be Simon’s real mother temporarily dismissed everyone’s prediction of Luciana’s connection to Simon.  The viewers’ attention got diverted, but they still did not let go of the possibility of Luciana being Simon’s real mother. The revelation of the connivance between Vivian and Luciana initially surprised everyone, but confirmed their gut feel at the beginning. The resurrection of Favio in the near end of the story startled the viewers, and led them to doubt about “The Most Beautiful Finale” promised to them.

After the long and winding journey of Serena and Tenten, the finale episode was indeed the most beautiful one. The last scene was explicitly charming and creative as the writers gave the impression that what happens next after SerTen’s honeymoon was up to the viewers’ imaginative minds.


#THREE: The writers superbly showcased their brilliance and wit by creating dialogues that had underlying profundity and significance.

How the script was written is really impressive. They used literary devices that made the characters’ lines extraordinary. Luciana’s line, “You can find a de Luca in every circle of Dante’s hell…” and the references made to the characters in Naruto are examples of allusion. Wedding vows (Serena-GC and Serena-Tenten) were so beautifully written as well. They also used foreshadowing through their script. An example is Kuya Binggoy’s lines before he died.


#FOUR: The characters were round, not flat and boring.

Among all the characters in the story, these were the ones who manifested drastic changes: 1) Simon – He transformed from being the Boy Raketero from Tondo that has a lisp to becoming a songwriter and eventually to a cold-hearted businessman. 2) Serena – She evolved from being a princess locked up in her own castle to becoming a stronger and wiser woman who learned to decide on her own to becoming free and contented in living a simple life. 3) Gian Carlo – He changed from being a sweet and kind best friend to becoming a competitive suitor to a monster consumed by his greed. 4) Luciana – She exhibited changes from being a strong-willed, highly sophisticated, and selfish mother (to Serena) to becoming a loving and selfless mother (to Simon and Serena).


#FIVE: Symbolic figures, parallelisms, and flashbacks were used.

What makes storytelling more interesting is the usage of these three elements. DA brilliantly used these to engage the viewers to think and understand the characters and events. Samples of symbolic figures used are: 1) Alitaptap – symbolized the undying light of hope in the midst of obscure darkness. 2) Serena’s clothing color in the early scenes of book 2 (black) – represented her as being lost, withdrawn, and wanting to hide her vulnerability, fears, and pain. Later in the same book, she wore white which signified a new beginning. She then started to wear colorful clothes after she and Tenten got back together. 3) Simon’s clothing color in book 3 (blue and gray) – blue symbolized coldness. According to color psychology, blue is nostalgic. It is a color that is said to live in the past. It relates everything in the present and the future to experiences in the past. Meanwhile, color gray is a color of detachment, indecision, and compromise. All of these speak so much of SID’s character in book 3. 4) The kubo – symbolized Tenten’s heart which was locked up for the longest time and Serena is the holder of the key.DA used parallelism on Luciana as the mother between Serena and Simon. The “out with the old, in with the new” showed another parallelism between Villa Marchesa and Simon Dubois. As the story continued to unfold, flashbacks were used to fill in the gaps, and emphasized the connection between the past and present happenings.


#SIX: The minor characters were given their own spotlight.

Yaya Melds, Tatay Cardo, Roger, Leo, Connie, Tingting, Tiny, Miko, Jeijei, and Kulot played small roles, but were essential to the story as a whole. Their presence lightened heavy scenes, and balanced the mood. They were not taken for granted, but rather they were given the chance to own a moment. River Cruz and Hannah Conde, although hated, were also important in untying the knots. River was the key to the crumbling of the high walls SID built around his heart, preventing Serena from penetrating it. Hannah was the instrument Favio used to get even with Luciana, and to divulge the truth about Binggoy’s death and Luciana’s real connection to Simon.


#SEVEN: It was composed of multi-layered conflicts.

One of the things that set Dolce Amore apart from the rest of the Filipino teleseryes nowadays is its beautiful complexity. The plot revolved around several major conflicts with each having sub-conflicts. The show illustrated the following kinds of conflict: 1) Man vs. Man 2) Man vs. Self 3) Man vs. Fate 4) Man vs. Society. I would have loved to elaborate each further and cite examples, but there are too many conflicts to mention. There were so many knots tangled one after another, but each was seamlessly untied in the progression of the story. All the loops intently belonged to one single thread.


#EIGHT: It was multi-themed.

With love as its central theme, the show encompassed a wide scope of love’s different forms and capabilities, thus tapping other kinds of theme. It is first best to identify and define the different forms of love illustrated throughout the show to have a clear understanding of what love really is. Here are the following forms:

1: “Storge” or Familiar Love – a natural form of affection that is related to kinship (family), parents-children and vice versa.

2: “Agape” or Selfless Unconditional Love – overlooks someone’s flaws and imperfections, and accepts him for who he is.

3: “Philia” or Affectionate Love – this exists among friends who have endured hard times together.

4: “Pragma” or Enduring Love – this is the kind of love that has matured and developed overtime. This is found in married couples who’ve been together for a long time, or in friendships hat have endured for decades.

5: “Eros” or Erotic Love – form of love that arouses romantic and sexual feelings.

6: “Ludus” or Playful Love – found in the early stages of falling in love (e.g. heart-fluttering, flirting, and feelings of euphoria.)

7: “Mania” or Obsessive Love – possessive and desperate.

8: “Philautia” or Self-Love – loving oneself in a positive way.

At the beginning of the story, we’ve seen Serena and Tenten doing everything for their respective families (1). We’ve also observed their relationship with their friends (3). As the story progressed, SerTen found themselves to be experiencing the signs of true love, and eventually admitting their feelings for each other (5 and 6). Their love was pushed to its limit by circumstances and time when Gian Carlo got consumed by his desperate desire to have Serena (7). A brother’s life was sacrificed along the way (1-3). Despite all that they’ve been through, their love conquered everything (4). In the end, they chose to give themselves the chance to do what they want – and that is to not live by fate, but of freewill (8).

Dolce Amore taught its viewers so many lessons about love and to what extent it can do. Love speaks of and entails friendship, sacrifice, change, pain, redemption, betrayal, acceptance, fear, and happiness. Fall in love, fight for your love, and always choose love.


#NINE: Cinematography was perfectly executed.

Cinematography is defined as the art of making motion pictures. It deals with lighting, camera movement, shots, framing, angle, and other technicalities in the production. For countless times, Dolce Amore exceptionally exhibited magnificent ways of telling the story with the use of cinematography.The use of panning and aerial shots gave the audience beautiful shots of sights in Italy and in the Philippines. Close-up shots of the characters’ facial expressions and body language captured their emotions, and conveyed clear images to the audience. Framing was also well executed. An example of this is the scene where Serena, Tenten, and Kulot were inside the heart frame in Bakasyunan. The camera movements also added effect to the storytelling. A perfect illustration of this is the confrontation scene between Serena and Tenten, where the former sincerely apologized for leaving him in the altar on their wedding day. The camera moved slowly towards them, and eventually ended with a close-up shot of their facial expressions.

Excellent lighting was shown in scenes where SerTen were surrounded with alitaptap (fireflies). The lighting made the scenes more magical and spectacular. It impeccably supplemented the romantic mood. This show is not only worthy of acting awards for its cast, but also for their production.


#TEN: The artists in the story remarkably breathed into their respective characters that they made the viewers feel they exist in real life.

For instance, when Kuya Binggoy (Kean Cipriano) died, everyone grieved over the loss of a great brother. Words of condolences for the Ibarra family poured over social media. Everyone was deeply affected of his unexpected demise. I cried watching the episode where he sacrificed his life to save SerTen. It was too painful to witness such tragedy.Matteo Guidicelli’s characterization of Gian Carlo de Luca was also very commendable. From being a sweet and kind best friend of Serena to becoming a competitive suitor, and eventually into a monster swallowed by his own greed to own the Italian Bella, he portrayed his role very well. Everyone hated him to the fullest. I even wished on my birthday that he and his Uncle Favio would die in the most excruciating way possible. My wish got granted. He died the day after my birthday. Unlike Kuya Binggoy’s end, there was no single tweet to sympathize with the de Luca’s loss of their next generation. The whole world rejoiced over the fact that the detested third wheel finally met his end, and that SerTen’s happy ending have become possible again.

This great impact Dolce Amore had on people only indicates their success. Congratulations, not only to Kean Cipriano and Matteo Guidicelli, but also to the rest of the cast who have built homes in our hearts.


#ELEVEN: It showcased Filipino and Italian culture, traditions, and traits.

The Ibarras and the Urtolas represented the typical Filipino household, while the Marchesas and the de Lucas exemplified the Italian lifestyle. Nanay Taps and Tatay Dodoy taught good values that Filipinos should live by. Filipino traditions were also illustrated in Bohol episodes in book 1 and 2.


#TWELVE: It stirred the viewers’ critical thinking, and compelled them to analyze the events with depth.

The story really had profundity. People shouldn’t have bothered in weaving and understanding the events if there was nothing to be delved into.  They shared their point of views, and discussed every episode. Ms. Mae Quason, a regular viewer of the show, said, “DA is one show that endlessly tickles your emotions as well as your intellect, thus offering us entertainment, and at the same time, making us thinking viewers as well.” True enough, the show has driven its audience to ponder by not spoon-feeding them every detail.


#THIRTEEN: It brought out the creativity of the viewers.

Because of its unique and creative way of storytelling, Dolce Amore inspired a lot of people to write poems, paint and sketch artworks, and compose original songs. No Filipino drama series have influenced the audience to that extent.


#FOURTEEN: It is the ONLY teleserye so far that has traumatized its viewers on imagination sequences.

People have developed a trust-mistrust issue. When a scene was too-good-to-be-true, a lot said, “Imagination lang yan”, fearing that their high expectations would get dumped again. But deep inside them was hope, “Sana totoo.”The only imagination sequence that everyone certainly didn’t want to be real was when Tingting narrated on how Tenten would come out as a hero after being shot by Favio. That was truly breathtaking! Hate tweets came after that part was shown. Some wanted to find where he lives, and kill him for playing with everyone’s emotions. This technique was and always will be a trademark of the show.


#FIFTEEN: In its 6.5 months of airing, it remained undefeated in the national TV ratings.

The opposed network aired 3 shows with the goal to defeat Dolce Amore, but the latter remained unbeatable until the end. Dolce Amore’s national ratings were consistently high all throughout.        


#SIXTEEN: Every episode was really talked about in social media that more than a million tweets were delivered by netizens, and it became a top trending topic many times.

This attests how it ignited blazing enthusiasm and interest among viewers. People loved to talk about the characters, noteworthy lines, remarkable scenes, and anything that pertained to the current episode.


#SEVENTEEN: It has drawn audience from all walks of life.

Students, working professionals, OFW’s, famous personalities, full-time parents, young and old—apparently everyone united, and got so hooked with it. DA has greatly affected people’s normal daily schedules and personal lives (And I don’t exempt myself from that. My “15 Confessions of a Dolce Amore-holic” says it all).While I was reading tweets, I saw how the show’s influence has reached even in the construction of test papers. The instruction for the test was “Write DOLCE if the statement is false and AMORE if the statement is true”. It’s really hilarious.

When it was announced that DA was about to end in 3 weeks, laments flooded over social media expressing their sad sentiments. Everyone felt like breaking up with someone very special. It’s been 2 weeks since the show had its most beautiful finale, but the Dolce Amore Hangover lives on.


#EIGHTEEN: It made its viewers to rush home from school and work so that they won’t be late.

Everyone was always in a hurry to come home early to catch up in watching the show. Many felt the agony of not being able to watch on time. Even the “Ang Nakaraan” was not something to be missed. If an episode was missed, efforts were exerted to watch its replay.


#NINETEEN: It started the traditional Kyondian/Pasabog Thursdays which viewers looked forward to each week.

Thursday episodes were always the best for Dolce Amore’s avid viewers. It’s expected that bunch of SerTen kyondian scenes would happen, and bombs would explode, causing pivotal changes in the story. Ratings often peaked on Thursdays because of everyone’s anticipation to watch.


#TWENTY: Its impact has reached the international audience.

Although it was still airing in the Philippines, Dolce Amore started to air in Kazakhstan. It is also said to show in Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Africa soon. This telserye definitely deserves to be showcased worldwide as it has created a huge effect on its Filipino audience here and abroad.

 

Conclusion

Dolce Amore has set the benchmark for Filipino teleseryes. They have proven how Filipino drama series can step-up in the international level of storytelling. From its powerhouse cast to the brilliant writers, exceptional directors, and passionate production team, everyone did an excellent job. The impact the show has created to people is incredible. Congratulations! 🙂

 

References:

Sol, Matteo. 8 Different Types of Love According to the Ancient Greek. http://lonerwolf.com/different-types-of-love/. 08 September 2016

The Color Psychology of Black. http://www.empower-yourself-with-color-psychology.com/color-black.html, 08 September 2016

The Colof Psychology of Blue. http://www.empower-yourself-with-color-psychology.com/color-blue.html. 08 September 2016

The Color Psychology of Gray. http://www.empower-yourself-with-color-psychology.com/color-gray.html 08 September 2016.

 

Special Credit: Thank you, Ms. Mae Quason for sharing your thoughts and giving me the permission to use some of them for this write-up. 🙂

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