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Dyesebel by Mars Ravelo

Dyesebel is a popular mermaid character from the Philippines, originally conceived by comic book artist Mars Ravelo. Dyesebel has become a famous Filipino icon, starring in many films and television shows.


Dyesebel is unique among the merfolk for she is the only mermaid born of human parents from the surface world. A mermaid from birth, she is shunned by the superstitious due to her physical form.

Dyesebel was the daughter of two normal human parents, however due to her mother obsessively collecting and gazing at artistic depictions of mermaids while she was pregnant the baby was born with what looked like a fishtail instead of legs. Horrified by his daughter’s deformity Dyesebel’s father took her out during a storm to abandon her, however a lightning bolt loosed by the typhoon directly in front of him while on his way to do this convinced him to return to his home with the child. Knowing that having a child that looked like Dyesebel would mean nothing but trouble and condemnation in their village, the couple found a small secluded islet to raise their child.

It was not long before real mermaids saw the human child on the beach looking longingly out to sea, and she was given the ability to breath underwater like them by Diangga the sea-witch. Dyesebel had many adventures under the waves with the merpeople until she fell in love with the human Fredo.

But soon Betty, Fredo's vicious ex-girlfriend, having found out about his growing relationship with Dyesebel, kidnapped her and sold her to a freak show in a carnival which lead to a new set of  trials for her. Eventually being found by Fredo, he broke her out of the carnival and returned her to the sea.

Dyesebel returns to the mermaid kingdom brokenhearted, but an underwater earthquake causes the sea caves where the merpeople live to collapse, killing all of them, except for Dyesebel. With nowhere else to go, Dyesebel decides to return to dry land, and with a magic shell given to her by Diangga, she turns herself into a human. She and Fredo get back together, but Betty, still callous towards Dyesebel, finds out about Dyesebel's magic shell. Betty finds the shell and breaks it, but instead of taking away Dyesebel's legs, the broken shell transforms Betty into a mermaid, and is forced to live in the sea forever, after some locals discover her and begin to pelt her with stones.

In the end, Dyesebel becomes a human permanently, and she and Fredo get married.


Dyesebel (1953)

The first actress to portray Dyesebel on the big screen was Edna Luna in a 1953 film made by Gerry de Leon for Manuel Vistan Production/Premiere Production.

In the Philippines, the lore of Dyesebel began with the story of a girl born to a mermaid-obsessed Filipino mother. Whilst pregnant, Lucia (Dyesebel's mother) obsessively looked at a collection of mermaid pictures from a calendar which eventually affected the infant's form when it was born with a fishtail instead of normal human lower extremities. Tino (Dyesebel's father), angered by his child's deformity, wanted to abandon the child, only to be hindered by a bolt of lightning during a typhoon. To avoid the stigma of having a mermaid child, the couple decided to leave their village and relocate where they can raise Dyesebel in secret, hidden from prying eyes. The mermaid, Dyesebel, eventually met other mermaids while spending time by the seashore, and through her sea adventures, she comes into contact with Dyangga, a sea-witch who had the power to transform sea-creatures into humans. Dyesebel fell in love with Fredo (Jaime de la Rosa), a human. But after her secret of being a mermaid was exposed, it prompted Betty (Carol Varga), the jealous former girlfriend of Fredo, to kidnap Dyesebel and place her in a carnival. Dyesebel was later saved by Fredo. Dyangga eventually transformed Dyesebel into a permanent female human with normal lower extremities.

Anak ni Dyesebel (1964)

In 1964, eleven years after, Director Gerardo de Leon directed a sequel to his first Dyesebel. He reunited the cast of the blockbuster 1953 movie Dyesebel in a sequel based on Mars Ravelo's Anak ni Dyesebel (Liwayway #4, 1963-1964). The movie introduced Alona (portrayed by Eva Montes, who also portrayed Darna in the 1965 movie Darna at ang Babaing Tuod), the daughter of Dyesebel (Edna Luna) and Fredo (Jaime dela Rosa).

Dyesebel at Ang Mahiwagang Kabibe (1973)

The 1973 Dyesebel film ("Dyesebel at Ang Mahiwagang Kabibe") was directed by Emmanuel H. Borlaza, and was closer to Mars Ravelo's heroine mermaid. The character inhabits an undersea kingdom of mermaids, cast out from the land of humans due to the belief that mermaids are the cause of misfortune. Dyesebel became attracted to a male human being and swore to find any means to be transformed into normal human, in order to be with the man that her heart desired.

In this film, Vilma Santos played the role of Dyesebel making her the first actress to play both Darna (four times) and Dyesebel, both classic Mars Ravelo creations. Romeo Miranda played the role Fredo, her human lover. Perhaps this is the best one that depicts the mermaid riding on a giant seahorse, fighting against a giant Octopus, being helped by electric eels to fight the behemoth, mermaids galore, and Dyesebel's "Magic Conch-shell" that turns her into a human.

Sisid, Dyesebel, Sisid (1978)

In 1978's "Sisid, Dyesebel, Sisid" made by Sampaguita Pictures, Dyesebel (Alma Moreno) was a mermaid born to a rich couple. The husband claimed his wife had an affair with a merman. Still loving and accepting, they moved to their beach house where Dyesebel was kept in a wheelchair covered with a blanket to hide her tail. It was only her parents and her nanny who knew her identity as a mermaid. As she grew up into a lady mermaid (still on shore) the family hires Fredo (renamed David, played by Matt Ranillo III) and his dad as their gardener. Fredo and Dyesebel fell in love with each other.

After Dyesebel revealed herself to Fredo, they decided to get married (with Dyesebel wearing a wedding gown in a fish tail). Shortly after they got married, Dyesebel's parents died in a plane crash. Then, Dyesebel discovered that Fredo is a womanizer. In full despair, she heard the ocean calling her after a very long time, and she joined the mermaid kingdom. Trying to be happy, she admitted that she still missed Fredo, and asked Banak (Nova Villa) how to be become human. She led her to Dyangga (Bella Flores), a human octopus. With the help of Maro (Matt Ranillo III in a dual role) — a merman friend who killed Dyangga, she got the magical pearl on her head that gave her two legs. She became a human for an hour or so, only to break up with Fredo and decided to be a mermaid forever, and lived in the ocean where she was deprived from since birth.

Dyesebel (1990)

Alice Dixson as Dyesebel

Perhaps the most memorable Dyesebel film to date, this version is common that makes Dyesebel of what it is now. It was the first Dyesebel to swim underwater, to shot real underwater scenes, to use the "orange-colored" fish tail (which is commonly used now), to show the combination of Dyesebel's life underwater water and on land, and to tell a realistic story line on love and relationships.

A couple found a wounded and stranded pregnant mermaid on shore, who died after giving birth. Being childless, the couple adopted the mermaid's daughter and named her Dyesebel, From Dyesebel's childhood through her teenage years, she and her family moved from place to place to get away from angry mob. The teen Dyesebel (Carmina Villaroel) starts to ask questions why she's a mermaid and shows signs of wanting to become a human. It was at this time that they decide to let Dyesebel go into the sea with the other mermaids (not shown on screen) where she has the chance to encounter with Edward (Robert Ortega) as a teen. Fast forwarding to the present day where Dyesebel is now a lady (Alice Dixson). She then sees Edward (Richard Gomez) again as an adult, then searches Banak, a sea witch this time, to help her acquire human legs through a magic shell. However, it was only temporary. The shell has to be within her reach for a day or else she'll have her tail back.

She finds shelter by Marina (Malou de Guzman) and Iday (Judy Ann Santos) who later on discovers her identity but still remain true to her. She also found Edward's wallet washed from the shore. Still having Edward's wallet that was misplaced on the water Dyesebel and her friends look for Edward and becomes a famous model by a friend of Edward's. Dyesebel and Edward finally meet and become lovers. However, Malou (Edward's girlfriend, played by Nadia Montenegro) tries to break their relationship. At the same time, Dyesebel has a hard time keeping her identity a secret to Edward. Until she finally admits it to him, and shows him her true self, where they broke up for sometime. Edward realizes he cannot live without her, they are about to become closer and Malou accidentally finds out, and exposed Dyesebel's mermaid identity in Edward's birthday celebration. The media and the government took interest on her, as a display on the country's underwater museum. Edward rescued her, and Malou discovered Dyesebel's magic shell, steals it and breaks it. However, it only turned Dyesebel into a human permanently, and Malou into a mermaid permanently.

Dyesebel (1996)

In the Dyesebel 1996 film version, Charlene Gonzales played Dyesebel with Matthew Mendoza as Fredo. It was directed by Emmanuel H. Borlaza who also directed the 1973 Dyesebel film starring Vilma Santos.

Dyesebel (Charlene Gonzales) is unique among the merfolk for she is the only mermaid born of human parents from the surface world. A mermaid from birth, she is shunned by the superstitious due to her physical form. After her father is killed by an angry, superstitious mob, Dyesebel is taken to the ocean by her mother where she is sent into exile since her chances for survival are greater there than on land. The young girl-mermaid is found by Banak (Gloria Diaz) who adopts her and takes her to their kingdom where she is welcomed into their community. Years later, a jealous mermaid named Dyangga (Maritoni Fernandez) makes Dyesebel's life miserable among the denizens of the sea which leads Dyesebel to try returning to the surface world. She meets a kind, handsome young man named Fredo (Matthew Mendoza) who falls in love with her and protects her, but she is kidnapped by Fredo's jealous former girlfriend's new boyfriend and displayed at the circus. She is subsequently rescued by Fredo and is brought back to the ocean.

Mars Ravelo's Dyesebel (2008)

Marian Rivera as Dyesebel

Main article: Dyesebel (2008 TV series)

The first TV series adaptation of Dyesebel was broadcast on GMA Network in 2008. It originally aired on April 28, 2008 and ended on October 17, 2008, completing 125 episodes. It is top billed by Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes in the lead roles. It was internationally aired on GMA Pinoy TV, which became a huge success to viewers abroad.

The story of Dyesebel begins when an amnesiac mermaid-turned-human named Lucia (Jean Garcia) fell in love with a human. They got married and had a beautiful baby, but instead of human baby she delivered a mermaid. The child is called Dyesebel (Marian Rivera). Although surprised by their daughter's strange form, Lucia and her husband Tino (Wendell Ramos) promise to love their child no matter what. In no time at all, their neighbors discovered the couple's secret. When the community is hit with a series of catastrophes, the town believes that the anomaly is caused by Dyesebel; an accusation that leads to Tino's death and Lucia to offer her only daughter to the sea, where she would belong. Unknown to Lucia is that in the heart of the sea, Dyesebel's adventures and misfortunes will begin. It is within the confines of the waters that Dyesebel will lead a new life — a journey that will take her to the depths of the sea, as well as to chaos of the city. Dyesebel discovers that she can also be a human being by visiting Amafura (Rufa Mae Quinto) to get a secret necklace which makes her a human; but a price must be made, for her to sacrifice her true possession, to gain something special.

Mars Ravelo's Dyesebel (2014)

Main article: Dyesebel (2014 TV series)

In 2014, the second TV series adaptation was broadcast on ABS-CBN, and worldwide in The Filipino

Anne Curtis as Dyesebel

Channel on March 17, 2014, replacing Honesto. Anne Curtis was entrusted to portray the iconic mermaid, making her the 7th official Dyesebel. It is also top billed by Gerald Anderson as Fredo, Sam Milby as Liro, and Andi Eigenmann as Betty. It is the second time where Anne Curtis takes the role of a mermaid, after her lead role as a goddess (who can transform into a mermaid, a harpy, or a centaur) in the 2008 TV series, Dyosa. The story follows the journey of a young mermaid named Dyesebel, as she discovers the world above the ocean and locks in a fierce love triangle.

"A young mermaid, Dyesebel, takes on a journey to trace her origins until she finds out that she is the daughter of a merman and a human. Disowned by the sea for being the child of Tino who was the prince of the sea and the human Lucia, she starts with her adventure and explores the human world where she will meet Fredo. But this journey will be marked by a realization that she is not accepted by both worlds. And as a war between man and the underworld appears imminent, Dyesebel will choose to leave those that she loves." — Official IWanTV! Synopsis