Carlo J. Caparas's Kamandag
|Created by||Carlo J. Caparas|
|Directed by||Mark A. Reyes
Mark Anthony Fernandez
|Theme music composer||Eric Torralba|
sung by First Circle
|Country of origin||Philippines|
|Original language(s)||Filipino, Tagalog, English|
|No. of episodes||113 + 1 special|
|Executive producer(s)||Carol Reyes
|Producer(s)||GMA Entertainment TV Group|
|Running time||30-45 minutes|
|Original channel||GMA Network|
|Picture format||480i SDTV|
|Original run||November 19, 2007 – April 25, 2008|
Kamandag or Venom (International title) is a fantasy Philippine drama that aired on GMA Network from November 19, 2007 to April 25, 2008. Based from the graphic novel of Carlo J. Caparas, it starred Richard Gutierrez.
This is also a come-back for veteran actor Johnny Delgado who moved to the rival network for a some time. And also for young actress Maxene Magalona who took a break from acting after turning down the role of Alwina in the hit series Mulawin, which eventually made Angel Locsin a big star, to focus on her studies in 2004.
Senator Bong Revilla, Jr. was offered the role of Haring Saban, a Snake King, but couldn't take it because of his busy schedule with politics and his sci-fi film Resiklo. The role then went to Gardo Versoza.
The series earned positive reviews from the viewers taking in 42.7% rating on its pilot episode on November 19.
The special premiere of the series titled "Ang Bagsik ni Kamandag" garnered a very high 29.0% rating for its non-primetime time-slot.
Kamandag is a story about a creature that is half snake and half human. Kamandag begins deep down in a cave called the Ambograw, a place where
different sorts of half human and half creature beings called Ambogs live. Its kingdom has six tribes: Hasbaya, snake tribe ruled by Haring Saban (Gardo Versoza); Lobobaya, wolf tribe ruled by Haring Gulag (Zoren Legaspi); Pusbaya, cat tribe ruled by Reyna Kuran (Francine Prieto); Goybaya, monkey tribe ruled by Haring Dinggol (Benjie Paras); Orobaya, bull tribe ruled by Haring Budol (played by Johnny Delgado) and Rapaya, a long lost reptile tribe ruled by Reyna Ragona (Sunshine Dizon).
Haring Saban, who is the King of the half human and half snake people (Hasbaya Tribe) and his regular human wife Alicia (Eula Valdez) (the regular humans in the Ambograw are supposed to be caught and turned into slaves, although Saban fell in love with Alicia) and they had a baby. The baby was destined to be killed because he looked like a regular human instead of an Ambog. Haring Gulag, Saban's enemy and King of Lobobaya Tribe, invited Saban to a battle between the two for the ruler of all Ambograw, but Reyna Kuran, queen of Pusbaya Tribe, interfered and set them on fire. Saban died later. Meanwhile, Ikoy (Rainier Castillo) and his sister brought the baby into the human world for his safety.
Domeng (Emilio Garcia) and Elena (Melissa Mendez) found a baby and named him Vergel (Richard Gutierrez). Vergel later discovers his snake powers and his destiny to be a hero. Vergel names himself Kamandag, the savior of all beings. Haring Budol gives Vergel a mysterious bracelet, which was left by his father Haring Saban. His bracelet makes Vergel transform into his armor. His mission is to bring down all kinds of evil, like his enemies Gulag, Kuran and especially Talim.
Lucero (Mark Anthony Fernandez), Vergel's close friend and later enemy, becomes another half-snake half-human and becomes Kamandag's mortal enemy, who names himself as Talim. Kamandag and Talim fights for their love and glory.
Cast and characters
- Richard Gutierrez as Vergel / Kamandag: The son of the Hasbayan King, Vergel is brought to the world of the mortals to escape his fate in Ambog. He is taken in by a kind couple who adopts him as their own, and Vergel grows up to become a compassionate man who decides to use his emerging powers for the good of everyone. Ten years after the defeat of his enemies, he meets Doro, Lily and Jenny. He chooses Jenny, then he actually tries to save Lily from the three kidnappers.
- Mark Anthony Fernandez as Lucero Serrano / Talim†: Lucero was initially Vergel's best friend, but because of different upbringing and because they uphold different values, they become mortal enemies. Lucero shares the same powers as Vergel, but he would rather use his for personal gains. He joins Kamandag to save Jenny but he betrays him so Kamandag stabs him. He dies in an explosive blast which was set by the dying Abdon to sacrifice his life for Jenny and Kamandag.
- Jewel Mische as Jenny: Jenny is a Manila girl who becomes the woman Vergel and Lucero will fight for. But the city girl hides a secret about her identity. She is the woman to fight for between Kamandag (Richard Gutierrez) and Talim (Mark Anthony Fernandez), a good best friend to Afie (Afi Africa) and Bea (Rhea Nakpil). Ten years later, she kisses Vergel but she sees Lily kidnapped by three men so she orders Vergel to save her
- Maxene Magalona  as Lily: Lily hides a secret love for her childhood best friend Vergel. She's also the lost daughter of Domeng who impregnated Vivian, her mother. Ten years later, she meets Vergel and she tells him that she's engaged with her fiancé. She gets kidnapped by three men while she watched Vergel and Jenny kissing, but he saved her actually in the end.
- Ehra Madrigal / Anne Chennette T. Rodriguez (Young) as Ditas / Denise / Lady Kamandag: Ditas is the real daughter of Domeng and Elena. Vergel treats her as his real sister. She has snake powers which comes from Vergel's blood. She's a rival to Kamandag and Lucero due to their snake powers. She will join Kamandag's forces in the process. She reveals to be Lily's half sister.
- Eula Valdez  / Glaiza de Castro (young) as Alicia: Alicia is a mother of Kamandag and wife of King Saban then later King Gulag. She seeks her missing son and her father to reunite with them once again.
- Johnny Delgado (Deceased)as King Budol†: King of Orobaya tribe who is King Saban's close friend. Much like Saban, Budol's benevolence toward humanity as well as diplomatic skills are matched only by the beastly brute strength he displays in battle. He will later have his subordinates take the young Vergel into the mortal world where he would be safest from Gulag's reach and then eventually hand over the bracelet once owned by his friend to Vergel in inheritance. He was punished and then executed by his own son Agol and King Gulag.
- Zoren Legaspi as King Gulag†: The ruler of the Lobobaya clan, King Gulag nurses a deep hatred for Haring Saban because of a woman he lost to the rule of the Hasbaya tribe. Like Reyna Kuran, he is cruel to his mortal slaves. He becomes furious and finds vengeance after the death of his son Adlak (Kamandag's half-brother), who was killed by Lily. He is beheaded by Kamandag in the final battle.
- Ariel Rivera as Abdon Serrano†: Lucero's father, Abdon is a small-time businessman who makes his business grow through unlawful means. He's also a son of Lolo Pepe and brother of Alicia. His life ends when Ditas bites him and gets poisoned to death, just before he detonates the explosives to kill his own son Lucero, Vergel, Jenny and her friend in his last moments.
- Ronaldo Valdez / Ramon Christopher (Young) as Don Pepe: Don Pepe is a rich old man who longs to find his missing daughter. In the end, he reunites with Alicia after his long successful recovery by Eliza.
- Francine Prieto as Reyna Kuran†:  The most cunning ruler in the land of Ambograw, Queen Kuran leads the pack of the Pusbaya. She is most cruel to her slaves from the mortal world. She is stabbed to death by Alicia and dropped into the molten lava.
- Rainier Castillo as Ikoy†:  A Goybayan who is one of Kamandag's allies in his fight against evil. He's a friend of Vergel/Kamandag. He dies in the final battle.
- Francis Magundayao as Boyong / Dagok: Another one of Domeng's adopted kids; Boyong also comes from the world of the Ambog. There is not a lot known about his real origins. He's the son of Reynang Ragona. He has fire powers which is inherited by his mother. His real name is Dagok.
- Melissa Mendez as Elena: Ditas' mother who was separated from Domeng. She's also the adoptive mother of Vergel. In the end, Elena repents her sins to Vergel and reunites him with Ditas.
- Benjie Paras as King Dinggol: King of the Goybaya clan, Dinggol is very friendly and very business-minded at the same time. Of all the rulers, he is the only one who doesn't want to be involved in tribal wars and alliances. He is, however, not one who would deliberately just turn his back on a friend especially when they needed him most, as seen when he threw Saban a usable weapon during the final moments of the Snake King's duel against Gulag, and right after Budol's execution — an event that would remain in Dinggol's conscience for some time. He later redeems himself by joining Kamandag's forces to battle King Gulag's forces. In the end, Dinggol is now the king of Ambograw.
- Elvis Gutierrez as Agol: As Haring Budog's son, Agol is a mystery to his people. He's also one of Gulag's allies in punishing slaves. Dies in the final battle.
- Mike "Pekto" Nacua as Doro: Another Ambog adopted by the kindly Domeng and Elena, Doro grows up to become Vergel's sidekick. He can transform himself into a werewolf. Ten years later, he becomes a businessman.
- Gardo Versoza as King Saban: Haring Saban rules of the Hasbaya tribe and, unlike the other rulers, he treats his mortal slaves with the same respect as he would his fellow Hasbayans. Because of this, the humans see him as their only hope in the world of Ambog. He was defeated by his rival Gulag and died in a fire. He finally meets his son in the spirit world and he will help him in the final battle.
- Emilio Garcia as Domeng†: Domeng is the kindly man who takes in the abandoned Vergel. He becomes the child's adoptive father and he teaches the orphan the values he will uphold when he becomes of age.
- Sunshine Dizon as Reyna Ragona: Ragona is an Ambog who has fire powers and is the queen of Rapaya Tribe of Abograw. She finally meets her son Boyong/Dagok. She is one of Kamandag's allies in his fight against King Gulag and Queen Kuran. In the end, Ragona ends up as the queen of Ambograw.
- Afi Africa as Afie
- Rhea Nakpil as Bea
- Renz Valerio as Young Vergel
- Alessandra de Rossi as Eleanor
- Glydel Mercado as Vivian
- Michelle Madrigal as Eliza
- Bryan Revilla as Adlak
- Ram Revilla† as Harn
- Maureen Larrazabal as Cathy
- Michael Flores as Sahir
- Dominic Roco as Pigo
- Karylle as Spectra
- Alyssa Alano as Reyna Baba
- Ynez Veneracion as Jaimee
- Saab Magalona as Eleanor's Friend
- Kevin Santos as Randy
- Anne Chennette T. Rodriguez as Young Ditas
- Sam Bumatay as Young Baya
- Directed by: Mark A. Reyes and Topel Lee
- Executive-in-charge of Production: Wilma Galvante
- Production Manager: Redgie Acuña-Magno
- Executive Producer: Carol Reyes and Angie Castrence
- Creative Consultants: Carlo J. Caparas, Jun Lana, and Annette Gozon-Abrogar
- Head Writer: RJ Nuevas
- Writers: Suzette Doctolero, Jules Katanyag and Tina Velasco
- Musical Director: Richard Gonzales
- Costume Designer: Bill Gustillo and Noel Flores
- Production Designer: Rodell Cruz
The series has three official theme songs, all sung by different recording artists.
- "Mailap Na Landas"
- Performed by First Circle
- Composed by First Circle
- Performed by Renz Echaore
- Composed by Eric Torralba
- "Nandito Lang Ako"
- Performed by Voyz Avenue
- Composed by Nei Mallari
- Richard Gutierrez and Dingdong Dantes star in horror film "Dagao", pep.ph, n.d. Accessed last July 23, 2007.
- GMA 7, siksik sa mga pasabog, mb.com.ph, n.d. Accessed last May 14, 2007.
- Actress Eula Valdes is now a Kapuso star, pep.ph, n.d. Accessed last November 12, 2007.
- UFC hotshot Brandon Vera weighs options on whether to take acting seriously, pep.ph, n.d. Accessed last November 12, 2007.
- Francine Prieto is comfortable playing contravida roles, pep.ph, n.d. Accessed last November 12, 2007.
- TV Ratings (Nov. 19): Richard Gutierrez's "Kamandag" is off to a good start, pep.ph, n.d. Accessed last November 20, 2007.
- TV Ratings (Feb. 26-28): "Daisy Siete" and "Eat Bulaga!" engage in seesaw battle
- Philippine Entertainment Portal | Television | TV Ratings (March 7-10): "Marimar" fever reaches the daytime race
- TV Ratings (Nov. 16–18): "Marimar" achieves new milestone while "Kamandag" primer spews venom, pep.ph, n.d. Accessed last November 19, 2007.
- GMA-7 announces the cast of new action series "Kamandag", pep.ph, n.d. Accessed last September 6, 2007.
- Eula, Kapuso na!, journal.com.ph, n.d. Accessed last October 24, 2007.
- Rufa Mae, mahal pa rin si Erik, abante-tonite, n.d. Accessed last September 6, 2007.
- Rainier Castillo shows some skin in his costume as human monkey in "Kamandag", pep.ph, n.d. Accessed last November 12, 2007.