Last Monday, GMA Network unveiled the story of three individuals caught in a bittersweet love story in the primetime series, I Heart Davao, replacing the recently concluded Meant To Be.
Set in the picturesque province of Davao, this GMA Public Affairs romantic comedy series is top-billed by Carla Abellana, Tom Rodriguez, and Benjamin Alves.
It 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 meets serendipitously and unknowingly Ponce (Tom), the proud, brooding, and mysterious ex-boyfriend of her heart donor.
Ponce also happens to be the son of the chocolate hacendero 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. Will they continue opposing each other or will their constant bickering eventually lead to something sweeter than the chocolates Ponce’s farm produce?
As Hope’s new life begins in Davao, she feels a tug in her heart and reminds her of her old self through childhood friend Paul (Ben), a brilliant young business executive, wooing her relentlessly.
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.
On top of this kilig love triangle set-up, this romantic comedy series also highlights the beauty of the “land of promise”. The cast of I Heart Davao even flew to Davao to capture the local flavor, including the dialect, and the sights and sounds of the region. Eighty percent of the series was shot in Davao.
With the province receiving renewed interest from the public, Carla says having Davao as the setting of the story is a good opportunity to show what the province still has to offer. “Napakadaming pwede i-highlight sa Davao and we are grateful that we can feature them in this show,” Carla shares.
One such area is the Malagos Farm, which produces one of the world’s best chocolates. Just recently, the Malagos unsweetened chocolate took home its fifth silver award for the plain hot chocolate category at the coveted Academy of Chocolate Awards 2017.
Tom hopes that the series will further inspire Filipinos to appreciate better the rest of the country. “It will allow not only those from Davao but the whole Visayas and Mindanao to take pride and ownership in this project,” he says.
“We highlight the things that are great in Davao,” adds Ben, who only has good things to say about Dabawenyos. “The people in Davao are very warm,” says the Kapuso actor who has never been to the region before doing the series. “Sobrang bait po nila sa amin sa set. Natutuwa kami na they accepted us warmly,” he adds.
I Heart Davao also sees the return to the small screen of real-life couple Tom and Carla (TomCar) after their successful team up in My Husband’s Lover. “This is a reunion project of the TomCar love team after three years and we are very grateful that we are given a chance to work together,” shares Carla, adding that she hope their fans would appreciate their newest offering. “Handog po namin ito sa mga TomCar fans.”
Joining Carla, Tom, and Ben are Betong Sumaya, Maey Bautista, Ricardo Cepeda, Glenda Garcia, Racquel Villavicencio, Joel Saracho, Geraldine Villamil, Natileigh Sitoy, Kevin Sagra, Philip Lazaro, and Catherine Rem as Aileen—Hope’s heart donor.
I Heart Davao also features members of Davao theater group, Cine Madayaw, providing more authenticity to the series’ characters.