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10 Filipino Character Tropes That We Need To *Say Goodbye To*

Make it stop.
PHOTO: istockphoto, (SCREENSHOT) Bakit Di Ka Crush Ng Crush Mo/Star Cinema

As one of Asia's oldest film industries, Filipino cinema has occupied a place in the international scene for 100 years. Filipino media has only grown since then, and even more so with the introduction of the television in 1953. From the early nationalistic films to more artistic projects, the industry has expanded dramatically over time.

Somewhere along the way, however, these award-winning films and were dominated by the formulaic movies and television series that we see in mainstream media today. If we listed down every overused trope in Filipino media, we probably would end up with a 30 volume book. (Don't get us started with all the climaxes that take place in abandoned warehouses.) So, to start, here's a list of the character tropes that need to die a fiery warehouse death.

1. The Holy Child

It's a fact: Filipinos love a good child actor. Which is why it comes as no surprise that the holy child is one of the most popular tropes in the Philippines. It peaked in the late '80s and early '90s, but has experienced a resurgence in recent years. More often than not, these characters spoke in a tiny cutesy voice and were wise beyond their years. Plus points if they were righteous most of the time and acted as the voice of reason of adults. Some actors that come to mind are Niño Muhlach, Serena Dalrymple, L.A. Lopez, and of course, Zaijan Jaranilla.


2. The Nice Girl

The nice girl trope is so standard, it's practically not even a trope anymore. At this point, it's more of a prerequisite. The nice girl is oftentimes a provincial girl that just happens to be extremely fair at the same time. She lives a simple life, but gains the interest of the richest and most eligible bachelor in town. It's the role casting directors give to up-and-coming actresses. Kristine Hermosa and Liza Soberano are just some of the most well-known to be typecast.

3. The Gay Best Friend

With a nice girl, comes a best friend. And if movies and television are to be believed, it's always a gay best friend. The gay best friend is chockful of boy-related wisdom that's delivered in a boisterous manner. They wear pink baby tees and encrusted headbands and only exist to give advice and provide comedic relief when needed. This isn't always the case though. When the gay best friend becomes too obvious, sometimes they throw in someone that's the opposite of the nice girl. In the view of the producers, this usually means a girl that doesn't pose a threat to the nice girl: a loud-mouthed, tan skin, curly-haired sidekick.

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4. The Ugly Duckling

The nice girl isn't always feminine, fragile, and dainty. She starts as one of the bros until one of the protagonists ends up falling for her. At the same time, she gets an overnight puberty-like makeover where she sheds her masculine hobbies and turns into the nice girl albeit a little sillier and relatable. Suddenly, she knows how to expertly put on makeup and walk in heels and also starts to wear extremely feminine outfits. Like she somehow didn't grow up in overalls, sneakers, and a baseball cap in the first place.

5. The Brooding Boy

Nice guys do exist in these movies and shows. They just don't warrant an in-depth examination as a trope since they're always tossed aside for the brooding boy. In lieu of the nice guy, the nice girl ends up falling for the brooding boy despite starting on the wrong foot (an accidental meeting). Brooding boy turns out to be connected to the nice girl in some way. And while initially hating each other, they end up spending a lot of time together until it's revealed that he actually has a golden heart.


6. The Rich People

Brooding boy always comes from a rich family. And the two embark on a rich boy, poor girl type of romance. But rich people as a trope is much much deeper than that. There's the rich and evil mom or aunt, the wealthy executive dad, and the spoiled (step-)sister, to name a few. Rich people activities include speaking combined Tagalog and English, having breakfast as a family every single day, swimming in the pool at night, sipping wine on the terrace, and if they're evil, having hired hitmen to kill the protagonist.

7. The Ugly Guy And The Hot Wife

The duo trope of an ugly guy, hot wife is extremely common in sitcom-type shows. And we have so many questions. Is this intentional? Or are these just the comedians we have? How it plays out is the guy is a complete average joe with a blue-collar job while the wife is a supermodel-level woman who lives to serve her husband.


8. The Amnesiac Hero

Amnesia as a storyline needs to introduction. From the villain to the love interest, practically every character trope than can exist has probably had amnesia. The amount of time the hero has amnesia, however, takes the cake. Unlike in other countries, Filipino characters have amnesia during the middle of the show's run. It usually happens after the character finds something out that's detrimental to his storyline. What's even more puzzling is how it happens. Depending on the budget, amnesia can result from a simple hit to the head or a big explosion or car crash where the character survives unscathed.

9. The Long-Lost Relative

It seems the protagonist can't ever have a complete family. They usually have a long-lost relative that is revealed at a later time. For some reason, the audience always knows it too and the whole movie or show just builds up to that moment. The long-lost relative trope also plays out in a separated-at-birth type of way where the two characters meet each other and become at odds. Then, at the last moment, everything is revealed and they share a tear-jerking scene.


10. The Bad Boss

The bad boss isn't just a boss in the Philippines. The hero usually clashes with a boss who then turns out to be his or her love interest's relative. The bad boss then finds out and makes the hero's life a living hell. There are rare times when the bad boss starts as someone good and kind-hearted, but experiences a lot of misfortunes only to turn into a protagonist that may or may not have another change of heart.