|Aso Ni San Roque|
|Also known as||San Roque's Pet|
|Created by||Jun Lana|
|Developed by||Denoy Navarro Punio|
|Directed by||Don Michael Perez|
|Starring||Mona Louise Rey|
|Opening theme||"Itatawid Mo Sa Landas" by Rocco Nacino|
|Country of origin||Philippines|
|No. of episodes||90|
|Cinematography||Carlo S. Montano, Jr.|
|Camera setup||Multiple-camera setup|
|Running time||30-45 minutes|
|Production||GMA Entertainment TV|
|Original network||GMA Network|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
|Original release||September 10, 2012- January 11, 2013|
Aso ni San Roque (International title: San Roque's Pet / lit. Dog of San Roque) is a Philippine television drama fantasy series broadcast by GMA Network. Directed by Don Michael Perez, it stars Mona Louise Rey. It premiered on September 10, 2012 on the network's Telebabad line up replacing Makapiling Kang Muli and worldwide on September 12, 2012 on GMA Pinoy TV. The series concluded on January 11, 2013 with a total of 90 episodes. It was replaced by Indio on its timeslot.
Separated from her birth parents at a very young age, Fatima grows up under the protective wing of Mother Ben, an old gay man who happens to be under the control of a criminal syndicate. Since then, Mother Ben became the sole protector of the poor child. He uses Fatima's disability to help her escape all the hardships and mischief brought about by cruel syndicate members.
But aside from having a pure, good heart, a dark secret lies upon Fatima's persona. She is the daughter of a mortal man and a manananggal. Behind her persona is a prophecy that is said to end the life of all evil beings on earth.
Originally created/conceptualized by writer and director, Jun Lana for GMA Network, Aso ni San Roque is a drama-fantasy-adventure serial lies in the old "battle between good and evil" plot. Contrary to the first report published in entertainment news website, PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal), the series is not based from Lana's 2012 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival entry, Bwakaw. Lana clarifies that the series is actually inspired from San Roque and his canine's moving story. San Roque, also known as Saint Roch or Saint Rocco, is the saint usually depicted in statue form in Catholic churches as the one with a walking stick on the left hand, while the other hand is pointing on to a wound on one of his knees with a dog sitting by his side. The Catholic Church named him patron of dogs, plague, pestilence and AIDS. He is also the patron saint of invalids. In the series, San Roque brought his dog come to life to save and be a guide to Fatima, the blessed child who prophesied to be the one who will end the existence of evil entities on earth. Using a saint as part of a drama series is actually not new for the network, as they already used the same formula/format [miracle, apparition] in their previous TV series like in 2007 television adaptation of the hit 80's movie, Mga Mata ni Anghelita (lit. Angelita's Eyes) and in 2010 fantasy-dramedy series Magic Palayok (lit. The Magic Clay Pot).
The series also highlights Pinoy mythology by putting aswang, manananggal, tikbalang, bruha and sirena as part [villains] of the story. Series' director, Don Michael Perez stated that, the network is aiming to enrich Filipinos [especially the young ones] knowledge of the country's rich culture, beliefs and mythology by using this kind of concept, just like what the network did in their past television series, in the likes of Darna, Dyesebel, Joaquin Bordado and Luna Mystika. In the story, the aswangs are divided into four classes: Aswang ng Hangin, most commonly known as the manananggals or the winged-vampires. It headed by the dreadful Kanlaon which played by Gardo Versoza; the Aswang ng Lupa or the land-based evil entities, who ruled by Sento, played by Paolo Contis, the heartless half-human, half-horse creature popularly known as the tikbalang; Aswang ng Tubig or the sea-based evil creatures. It headed by Queen Anaira, an evil mermaid which portrayed by Gwen Zamora; and the Aswang ng Apoy or the fire-powered witches ruled by Bulan, played by Angelika dela Cruz.
The whole cast were first presented during the series' story conference held on August 2, 2012 at GMA Network Center. Mona Louise Rey was chosen to play the role of Fatima, the protagonist. Rey, who rose in stardom after the successful drama seriesMunting Heredera, felt overwhelmed with the network's support for her career and at the same time, excited for the role assigned on her.
Meanwhile, after given a starring role in Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival 2012 entry, Bwakaw, Princess, a two-year-old half Golden Retriever and half Cocker Spaniel, was chosen to be part of the series as Anghel, San Roque's dog who defend and guide the main character through her adventures. Princess, who was a former bomb-sniffing dog, can do several tricks like roll over, play dead, sit and dance. Director, Don Michael Perez is all praise for the dog, "Princess, is definitely born to be a star," he says. The dog's trainer Ergie Estrella said that he did not encounter difficulty in training the star dog, saying that all it takes is positive reinforcement.
TJ Trinidad and LJ Reyes shared equally important roles in the series. Reyes considered this series as her biggest break ever. After being typecast in villain characters [she's associated in her villainous roles in Time of My Life and The Good Daughter], the network assigned her to play one of the main characters in the series, as birthmother of Mona Louise Rey's character. In one of her interviews, Reyes said that it's her first time to play a mother role on TV but she doesn't mind doing it as long as the story is good and the character, as well. Meanwhile, Trinidad is all praise for his screen partner, said that Reyes is nice and very committed. "And I think, it's gonna be a good partnership for the show and, you know, with the whole cast, story, and the script, it's so exciting. Very fast-paced", he added.
The dark forces or the main antagonists of the story are portrayed by Angelika dela Cruz, Gardo Versoza, Gwen Zamora and Paolo Contis. Dela Cruz was cast as Bulan, an evil witch and the leader of the syndicate; Versoza playing Kanlaon, the king of the manananggals; Zamora playing the role of Anaira, an evil mermaid; while Contis playing the role of Sento, the leader of the tikbalangs.
Pen Medina was cast as mother Ben, an elderly gay and the adoptive parent to the lead character. Originally, the role was offered to Eddie Garcia but due to health concern, Garcia later requested the producers to give him less time-demanding character. He portrayed the role of Supremo, instead.
The production began on August 24, 2012, with series' creator Jun Lana and director, Don Michael Perez; creative team headed by Jake Tordesillas [for primetime]; creative consultant Dode Cruz; developer Denoy Navarro Punio and writers Jules Katanyag, Des Garbes-Severino and Rona Sales and brainstormers, John Kenneth de Leon, Borgy Danao and Jason Lim. The series is executive produced by Winnie Hollis Reyes with Helen Rose Sese as the program manager and Lilybeth Rasonable as the overall in-charge of the production. Different locations are used for both provincial and urban backdrops.