Power to the people
Jessica Zafra
Weekend: May 7-8, 2005

She's brave. She's sexy. She loves her family. She's the perfect Filipina. And now she's a hit on television.

The TV appearance this month of Darna, a venerable local superheroine, is seen by some in the media business as a triumph of packaging in the seemingly endless ratings battle between the two big networks.
But for the less cynical, plucky Darna, a Philippine version of Wonder Woman who is in her sixth decade as an icon of popular culture, seems to capture the struggle of a depressed people trying to find a way out of poverty and despair.

This month, her show premiered on a local network and, according to its press releases, garnered some of the highest ratings for a new series - an audience share of more than 50 percent.

Small wonder. Darna is probably the most recognizable literary character in the Philippines, certainly better known than the protagonists in the novels of the Filipino national hero, Jose Rizal, or any other piece of local literature.

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