Holy Week on TV



HOLY WEEK is a week of solemn devotion of the last earthly days of Christ. For Filipinos, either a believer or a non-believer, it is a week out of 52 weeks of reflection, lamentation and tradition. This year, the Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday, April 13, 2014.

What do our television networks respond on the upcoming hebdomad? Jump in for the week ahead.

 Palm Sunday, April 13, 2014

Networks with TV Masses on this day (ABS-CBN, PTV, TV5, SNC and IBC) follow the liturgy for Palm Sunday: the procession of palms and the Mass with readings of the Passion of the Christ from the Synoptic Gospels (this year, it is the Passion of Our Lord according to Matthew).

On PTV 4, there will be a live Palm Sunday Family Recollection, according to Fr. Jerry Orbos, SVD, on Meralco Theatre, Pasig City.

GMA 7 will air the Pacquiao-Bradley II with the dissatisfied, monkey ritual of advertisements between rounds of both supporting bouts and the main event. The bout’s verdict, as always, is heavily relied on social media than the delayed broadcast of Channel 7.

The Three Holy Weekdays (April 14-16, 2014)


Historically, GMA 7’s Eat Bulaga aired three Holy Week dramas for each Holy Weekdays every year from 1981 until 2007. ABS-CBN’s then noontime shows (e.g. Magandang Tanghali Bayan and Wowowee) also follow suit.

Where did they go now? They downsize into one drama, to be aired on Holy Wednesday, or re-air their classic Lenten dramas. For Channel 2, with It’s Showtime, they will probably air a special structure of the program depicting the altruism and selflessness of the hosts to the underprivileged sectors of the society.

Rumors say that Eat Bulaga has a cue of a new Lenten drama this year; but surely, the 35-year-old noontime show gave an actual respect to the solemn, devotional week.

On IBC 13, a replay of Pacquiao-Bradley II will be broadcast despite of fed up viewers after the bout on Sunday. This rebroadcast of the bout will benefit those who work on Sunday with a Monday day-off, especially those of the BPO sector.

The rest of the programs of most networks remain as it is with the news focusing the last-minute exodus to the provinces and beaches, where the latter makes the clergy enraged and itemized the traditions to be rendered on the Paschal Triduum.

The Paschal Triduum (April 17-19, 2014)


The Paschal Triduum is the most emphasized days of Christendom where we harness the Passion of Christ from the Last Supper to His Crucifixion.

In the Philippine TV setting, the Big 3’s (ABS-CBN, GMA and TV5) public relations department released their programming lineups for the great three days to suit the mood of the three days. PTV 4 will sign off for such days for technical maintenance. News programs are not broadcasted on these days but news advisories takes place.

ABS-CBN never forgets the Catholic tradition of the three days with their televised liturgies: the Mass of the Lord’s Supper (Maundy Thursday, April 17), the Veneration of the Cross (Good Friday, April 18) and the Easter Vigil (Black Saturday, April 19). On their record of accomplishment of the past Holy Weeks, particularly in 2009, they aired some selected and best episodes of Zaijan Jaranilla’s May Bukas Pa and garnered high ratings. Should ABS-CBN, in this Holy Week air the Raikko Mateo’s Honesto? Wait and see.

Last year, TV5 aired mostly movies but the Tagalized dub of the Passion of the Christ on Good Friday (March 29, 2013) is praised at a well-suited time. Will the Passion of the Christ be aired again on the same time of this Good Friday? Wait and see, as well.

GMA 7 aired a mix of canned cartoons in the morning, afternoon of their own movies and original special dramas that suit the mood and the morals of the Triduum. The only lucid, Catholic thing that GMA does is the live broadcast of the Seven Last Words of Jesus (Siete Palabras), sponsored by the Dominican Province of the Philippines.

IBC 13, the only government owned channel remaining on air for the Triduum, aired limited hours including the Seven Last Words, albeit not live than ABS-CBN and GMA, due to investment reasons. Religious programming found on Channel 13 on these three days include the Senakulo from Oras ng Katotohanan and the Three-Day Lenten Recollection from El Shaddai.

Free TV’s news channels normally signs off or re-air documentaries on these three days. What about Solar News Channel? Last year, it’s normal programming but this year, as they are in the mainstream VHF frequency, will it be normal programming? Wait and see.

Easter and its Octave


On Easter Sunday, April 20, is the normal programming resumes? Yes but the two Sunday noontime variety shows (ASAP 19 and Sunday All-Stars) will normally not air live show because of their celebrities’ ending summer sojourn.

There are no Lotto draws on Channel 4, aside from the three days, also because of the PCSO employees’ vacation. PTV aired last year with the feed from EWTN, the Easter Sunday Mass in order to knock GMA 7’s planned, edited broadcast at the graveyard shift. Lotto Draws resume on Monday, April 21, with the usual games.

On April 27, the end of the Easter Octave will mark something special for Filipino Catholics, the canonization of Pope John Paul II. The charismatic Polish pope, elected in 1978, visited the Philippines twice (1981 and 1995) and attracted five million youths (the largest ever) in World Youth Day 1995 aired by the born-again GMA 7. Eight years later, the Pope could have come for a third visit for the Fourth World Meeting of Families but Parkinson’s disease prevented him to do so. Again, GMA 7 aired the Catholic rendezvous from January 22-26, 2003.

On April 2005, almost every network aired the Requiem Mass and for the Filipinos, it’s heartbreaks for losing the Great Pope of this contemporary history in mitigating the peaceful end of the Cold War and Third World dictatorships.

But it’s a pity for today that the soon-to-be-sainted Pope has been disgraced and ridiculed by non-Catholics, but it will surely fail to prevail against the Church’s ceremonial rite of canonization with their small membership size.

Brace for news channels wars except Solar for covering the canonization and the Mass at the Vatican on April 27!

But for now, Timow’s Blog wishes everybody a blessed Holy Week.




Don Emilio T. Yap


Chairman emeritus of the Manila Bulletin

Investor of Centro Escolar University, Manila Hotel, Euromed and Hemotek.


[Photos courtesy of Coconuts Manila and DiscipleDay.com]



  1. You forgot that ABS-CBN aired the TV miniseries “The Bible” on the 2014 Paschal Triduum at 9 pm and, with the three rerun episodes of MMK was the ratings leader in that period. Honesto didn’t air during those three days.

    1. This post is released days before ABS-CBN’s actual programming. They are just mere predictions based on instincts, tradition and recent analysis of past Holy Week lineups.

      Anyway, thank you for pointing the actual programs aired.

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