Leading the dynamic pack of actors and actresses that make up the cast of Bantatay is action star-turned-comedian/celebrity dad Raymart Santiago, who will breathe life to the character of Bernard, a loving and kind-hearted father who works as a veterinarian. Bernard will experience an early death in the story but by a startling twist of fate, returns to life after inhabiting the body of a Labrador Retriever named Bantay.
In the beginning, Bantay serves as a guide dog to Joanna (Jennica Garcia), a spirited blind girl who lost her vision in an accident. Despite her handicap, Joanna is able to maintain a normal life with the help of Bantay and her Lolo Estong, who generously provide her with unconditional love and affection.
Sadly, their simple life turns devastatingly complicated after a fire burns down their house, killing Lolo Estong and injuring Joanna and Bantay. The rescuers are able to save Joanna, but accidentally left the poor dog behind. Bantay, determined to be reunited with his master, chases after the ambulance until it was no longer in sight.
Right at the same time, Bernard (Raymart Santiago), along with his wife Marcela (Gelli de Belen), and children Emily (Krystal Reyes), Junix (Renz Valerio), and Farrah (Sweet Ramos), is on his way home and finds Bantay in his weakened state. He brings the dog home, treats him in his small clinic, and eventually decides to keep Bantay until they find his real owner.
For months, Bantay faithfully returns to their old house hoping to see Joanna but after a while, he figures out that his new home is now with the Razons. Bantay grows particularly close to Bernard and becomes his constant and most trusted companion.
But their happy and peaceful life will turn upside down after Marcela mysteriously disappears one evening, a scheme orchestrated by their evil relatives, Vangie (Eva Darren) and Daisy (Camille Prats), who insists on claiming Bernard’s ancestral house.
After such devastating event, a group of masked men enters Bernard’s house and shoots him in front of his children. Bernard will have a difficult time accepting his death and will give anything to have his life back.
By an unexpected turn of events, Bernard surprisingly wakes up to find himself inside the body of his pet Labrador, alive and about to set forth on a new journey as Bantatay.
Will Bernard be able to complete his mission before his new lease on life expires? Will Joanna ever get her vision back and in the event that she does, will she still come looking for Bantay?
Completing the cast are Gary Estrada as Simon, Marcela’s obsessive first boyfriend, Al Tantay as Rigo, Joanna’s uncle who owns a pet shop in Cartimar, Marissa Delgado as Clarita, Marcela’s materialistic mother, Carl Guevarra as Norbert, a pet shop employee who will later fall in love with Joanna, Elmo Magalona as Artie, Joanna’s co-worker and ally, Sheena Halili as Ming-ming, Joanna’s funny and dependable friend, Jessie Corcuera as Frankie, Bernard’s assistant in his veterinary clinic, Kier Legaspi as Bruno, Vangie’s alcoholic and lethargic son, Prince Stefan as Calvin, Joanna’s wealthy suitor, Maybeline Dela Cruz as Lilian, Artie’s abusive mother, and Isabel Nesreen Frial as Len-Len, Artie’s little sister. The lovable character of Bantay will be played by a two-year old Lab whose real name is Charlie.
Directed by Don Michael Perez and written by Des Severino, Bantatay is certain to appeal to anyone from any age bracket as it provides a touching and inspiring interpretation of a father’s undying love for his children, and his special relationship with the so-called “man’s best friend”.
The show, which is conceptualized by RJ Nuevas, also inculcates correct animal treatment among viewers, especially the young ones, by imparting useful information on proper pet care through a special segment shown at end of each episode in partnership with the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS).
Follow the amusing, exciting, and heartwarming adventures of Bantatay beginning Monday, Septmber 20, before 24 Oras on GMA Telebabad.
Viewers in the United States can watch Bantatay beginning September 22; and in the Asia Pacific and the Middle East on September 23 through GMA Pinoy TV, the international channel of GMA Network.