Encantadia is a Filipino fantasy television series (telefantasya) produced by GMA Network. It was dubbed as the grandest, most ambitious, and most expensive production for Philippine television.
The series garnered both popular and critical recognition at home and abroad, including winning the 2005 Teleserye (Television Series) of the Year at the Los Angeles-based Gawad Amerika Awards. The pilot episode was aired on May 2, 2005. Its last episode was aired on December 9 of the same year to give way to its second book, Etheria. This series aired its pilot episode on December 12, and its last episode on February 18, 2006. The third and latest installment of the Encantadia saga, entitled Encantadia: Pag-ibig Hanggang Wakas, aired its pilot on February 20, 2006.
Encantadia can be considered a spin-off of Mulawin, another successful GMA telefantasya wherein the Diwatas of Lireo first appeared as allies of the Mulawins. However, it seems that the timelines between the two shows do not connect together even though they share some characters and some story elements. The writer mentioned that Encantadia has its own story and is not related to the storyline of Mulawin.
Encantadia was first mentioned in Mulawin as a separate dimension where the encantados (enchanted beings) and diwatas live. In Mulawin, only few Encantadians were introduced and the whole world of Encantadia was not yet known but in this television series, the world of the Encantadia was expanded into four kingdoms and several new creatures and characters were introduced. Also, in Mulawin, it appears that only Diwatas can create a portal between Encantadia and the human world but in this series the Tree of Asnamon serves as a portal between the two worlds to anyone who holds the magical medallion.
Encantadia is a term coined from the Filipino words "enkanto", "enkanta", "enkantada", or "enkantado" (which were in turn derived from the Spanish term "encantado") which means enchanted beings endowed with supernatural powers.
In the show, Encantadia is a vast enchanted realm comprising of four divided kingdoms where different mythical entities thrive. These four kingdoms bear the four precious stones that holds the land's balance. The kingdom of Adamya, Sapiro, Lireo, and Hathoria. The tranquility and future of Encantadia rests on the four gemstones of water, earth, air and fire; each being carefully kept by the bearers from each kingdom.
But when the Hathors, from the kingdom of Hathoria threatened to accumulate all the gems from the other bearers, hostility and war swept over the realm. It is a battle of three kingdoms against one.
The story unfolds in Lireo, the kingdom where Ynang Reyna (Queen Mother) Minea lives with her daughters Amihan, Alena, Danaya, and Pirena. The four Sangg'res are tasked to be the new keepers of the gemstones. Their skills in war and their powers as the royalty of the diwatas are believed to be the strength of Lireo. As long as the gemstones are kept properly, the balance of nature in Encantadia remains. But this story tells viewers that powers can also break precious relationships as Pirena had plotted the downfall of her own sister Amihan, who won the competition for the Lirean crown, and the other Sangg'res Danaya and Alena took Amihan's side.
With this situation, Lira, the long-lost daughter of Amihan returned to Encantadia and tried to fulfill her mission of mending the broken relationships of the strong-willed gemstone keepers.
The main protagonists
The story revolves around the four Sang'gres of Lireo, the center of worship in Encantadia - Amihan, Alena, Danaya and Pirena. Amihan, the enthroned Queen of Lireo, is the keeper of the Jewel of Air and the mother of Lira whom she had with Ybarro, also known as Prince Ybrahim, the heir to the fallen kingdom of Sapiro. Amihan sits on the throne of Lireo as queen with the wisdom and kindness of her mother and the skills of swordsmanship and strong arms of her father Raquim.
Alena is the third among the four daughters of Queen Mine-a and the keeper of the Jewel of Water. Alena is also the lover of Ybarro and mother of Kahlil.
Pirena, the eldest among the Sang'gres, is the keeper of the Jewel of Fire. She used it to defeat her mother, Queen Mine-a, who favored Amihan to take the crown in her place. Pirena will realize that she's very special and finds the love remaining inside deep in her heart. She is the smartest and most skillful among the Sang'gres.
Danaya is the fearless and most lawful one among the Sang'gres. She possesses the Jewel of Earth and receives the care and affection of Aquil, the chief of the Lirean soldiers.
Because of Pirena's anger toward Amihan, she replaced baby Lira with her own daughter Mira and had left the former in a dirty place in the world of the human beings. There she grew up and fell in love with a rich youth named Anthony, whom Mira also fell in love with.
But Lira has a higher calling as a Sang'gre. She is hailed by Mine-a as the savior of Encantadia. Her goal is to reunite the four Sang'gres who have, at the course of the story, hated each other because of situations willed by Bathala.
Like the history of Encantadia itself, the four Sangg'gres also have a similar story because Pirena symbolizes Hathoria which is the enemy of the other three sisters of earth, air and water. But as the story goes by, Amihan, Alena and Danaya realize that their love for their evil sister still remains strong and realize that she was never the enemy but the Hathors.
The world of Encantadia was created when the three major bathaluman (deities) Arde, his brother Emre and Ether were cast out of the heavens (not to be mistaken for the "heaven" of Judeo-Christian canon) for remaining neutral during the first civil war.
They arrived in a strange, uninhabited land and claimed it for themselves. The three bathaluman decided to name the new world Encantadia.
Working together, the three deities transformed the barren land into a paradise, populating it with both offspring and creations like the many creatures that inhabit the Encantadian wilds to ease the pain of their exile.
Relations between the three masters of Encantadia were genial at first and the beings of Encantadia lived in harmony and unity devoid of malice, until Ether and Arde fell in love. Enraged at the two for succumbing to their baser instincts and violating the terms of their exile, Emre cursed them by turning Ether into a giant snake. Arde was banished to limbo, transformed into a dragon tasked to forever safeguard the boundaries between the world of the living and Devas, the world of the dead. Emre likewise left Encantadia, leaving Ether to fend for herself.
Abandoned and cursed, Ether raged for many days. Because of her horrific and feral form, most of the citizens of Encantadia grew to fear Ether and shunned her. Others, in awe of her new power and pity of her plight, came to worship the bathaluman, who in turn granted them her power and protection. They became the first citizens of Etheria.
With the creation of Etheria, other kingdoms were soon established, namely Sapiro, Adamya and Hathoria. Lireo as a separate, sovereign nation would not be established until after Etheria's fall several centuries later.
- Sunshine Dizon as Pirena
- Iza Calzado as Amihan
- Karylle as Alena
- Diana Zubiri as Danaya
- Dingdong Dantes as Ybarro/Ybrahim
- Jennylyn Mercado as Lira/Milagros
- Yasmien Kurdi as Mira/Lira
- Mark Herras as Anthony
- Pen Medina as Hagorn
- Polo Ravales as Hitano
- Alfred Vargas as Aquil
- Cindy Kurleto as Cassiopeia
- Ian Veneracion as Armeo
- John Regala as Apitong
- Noel Urbano as the voice of Imaw
- Jake Cuenca as Kahlil
- Bobby Andrews as Asval
- Michael Roy Jornales as Apek
- Marky Lopez as Wantuk
- Arthur Solinap as Muros
- Nancy Castiglione as Muyak
- Richard Gomez as Raquim
- Dawn Zulueta as Mine-a
- Girlie Sevilla as Gurna
- Leila Kuzma as Agane
- Brad Turvey as Axilom
- Gerard Pizzaras as Bandok
- Benjie Paras as Wahid
- Juliana Palermo as Lavanea
- Romnick Sarmenta as Avilan
- Antonio Aquitania as Alipato
- Sunshine Garcia as Agua
- Geneva Cruz as Sari-a
- Margaret Wilson as Aera
- Cheska Garcia as Aure
- Buchao as Aser
- Lloyd Barredo as Abog
- Pinky Amador as Carmen
- Vangie Labalan as Manang Rosing
- Jay Aquitania as Banjo
- Gayle Valencia as Dinna
- Irma Adlawan as Amanda
- Ehra Madrigal as Gigi
- Dino Guevarra as Carlos
- Denise Laurel as Marge
- Allan Paule as Dado
- Darwin Aguilar as Adama
- Rigil Miciano as Arollo
- Jaime Fabregas as Emre
- Paolo Paraiso as Mercurio
- Eddie Gutierrez as Dakila
- Zoren Legaspi as Bagwis
Production and reception
The series was originally intended as GMA Films' entry to the 2004 Metro Manila Film Festival but they later decided to make Encantadia a daily fantasy soap opera.
According to Mark Reyes, the sets of Encantadia are located in various places in the Philippines.
- The Adamya set is located at Calatagan, Batangas.
- The cave set of Hathoria is located at the Kalinawan Cave in Tanay, Rizal.
- Lireo's forest is located at Daranak Falls and Batlag Falls in Rizal.
- A 1,900 square meter warehouse in Pasig serves as an indoor set with an improvised pond. This warehouse is also a setting change for Lireo, Sapiro, Hera Andal, Hera Sensa and others.
- The Sapiro set is located inside the historic walled city of Intramuros (Old Manila) in the heart of Manila.
In July 2005, according to AGB Nielsen Media Research, Encantadia topped primetime ratings by earning 22.6% in total individual charts and a chunk rating of 40%, overtaking Darna, Sugo and Kampanerang Kuba.Encantadia was only beaten by Darna on June. It never lost in the ratings game after that span of time, in December of that same year GMA's Rival network launched Panday to pit against Encantadia and Sugo but Panday failed to dent the ratings of both Encantadia and Sugo thus it was axed after a few weeks of airing. Among all soap operas in the Philippines has the highest ratings of 45% average (usually 40% above) according to AGB, a local media research firm.
- Pilot Week - 21.8%
- Average - 26%
- Final Episode - 27.6%
Awards and nominations
- Encantadia was nominated in the 2005 Asian TV Awards for Best Original Music Score and was awarded as "Highly Commended"
- Won in the 2nd Golden Screen Entertainment TV Awards of Empress for Outstanding Drama Series (Encantadia), Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (Sunshine Dizon for her role as Pirena) and Outstanding Director for a Drama Series (Directors Mark Reyes & Gil Tejada). Other nominations are Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Dawn Zulueta for her role as Queen Minea), and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Pen Medina for his role as Hagorn and Alfred Vargas for his role as Aquil)
- Finalist, Best Lighting Category in the 2006 New York Festivals for TV Programming & Promotion
- Won in the 3rd Gawad America Awards held in Los Angeles, California as Best TV Series/Soap Opera, Best Actress (Sunshine Dizon for her role as Pirena) and Best Director (Mark Reyes)
- Won in the 2nd USTV Student's Choice Awards of the University of Santo Tomas as Student's Choice of Drama Series (Encantadia). Iza Calzado won as Student's Choice of Best Actress for her role as Amihan.
- Awarded by the Guillermo Mendoza Memorial Scholarship Foundation as Most Popular TV Program (Encantadia) and Most Popular TV Directors (Mark Reyes & Gil Tejada) in the annual (36th) Box-Office Entertainment Awards.
- Karylle & Jerome John Hughes won Best Duet Performance for the series' theme song "Mahiwagang Puso" in 2006 iFM 93.9 Music Awards.
- On November 2005, Mister Donut in the Philippines offered free pillows with pictures of Pirena, Amihan, Alena and Danaya after purchasing a dozen doughnuts.
- An Encantadia board game was sold in various bookstores in the Philippines.
- Other merchandise such as coin banks, notebooks, etc. were also sold.
- On March 4, 2008, GMA7 released Encantadia DVDs under GMA Records. The DVDs are also available in the United States in stores such as Borders.
Portrayal in film and television
- Bubble Gang, GMA Network's highly-rated gag show, created a spoof of Encantadia named Pinkantadia. The names of the cast were spoofed as: Ynang Mother (Ynang Reyna, a reference to the Tagalog for mother, "ina"), Amoyhan (Amihan, "amoy" being "smell"), Dinaya (Danaya, literally "cheated"), Alyena (Alena, "Alyena" is a play with the word Balyena, meaning Whale) and Irena (Pirena). Other characters include Jalathors (Hathors), Limaw (Imaw), Niño Muyak (Muyak), Kabarro (Ybarro), Bruha (Gurna), Muta (Cassiopea/Mata), and Hadagorn (Hagorn). During Bubble Gang's 10th anniversary, the actual characters of Encantadia appeared and portrayed a comical face-off with the Pinkantadia characters.
- Some of the characters of the series appeared in Mulawin the Movie, said to be the film sequel to the Mulawin television series. Those characters include Ybarro, portrayed by Dingdong Dantes, Amihan, portrayed by Iza Calzado, Pirena, portrayed by Sunshine Dizon, Alena, portrayed by Karylle, Danaya, portrayed by Valerie Concepcion (instead of Diana Zubiri) and Muros, portrayed by Arthur Solinap. The movie was released on December 25, 2005, and produced by Regal Films and GMA Films in the Philippines. It is also an entry to the 31st Metro Manila Film Festival.