Broadcast notes for Holy Week 2015 (and more)

Jesus carrying the Cross

IT’S THAT TIME of the year, Turfers.

The spirit of somber and sorrow draws to the Filipino Christian faithful walking throughout the coming week, Holy Week, as we listen and reflect on the retelling of the last days of Jesus here on earth. The same atmosphere will also be felt for free national TV.


Palm Sunday (March 29)

On this day, TV Masses throughout the VHF channels (ABS-CBN, PTV, TV5, CNN Philippines and IBC) will begin the two-part liturgy with the blessing of the palms and reading of Jesus’ triumphant entry according to the Gospel of Saint Mark, followed by the reading of the Passion of Our Lord of the same evangelist.

Despite of the normal schedule on other channels, People’s Television will once again blow the trumpet, as the Sunday’s daytime programming will be overshadowed with the 19th Annual Palm Sunday Family Recollection at the Meralco Theater, sponsored by the Mission Angels and the Society of the Divine Word (SVD). Hence, no “The Word Exposed“, “The Key of David” or “Signs and Wonders” will be seen. The theme of the annual religious affair is “Mercy and Compassion,” the theme of the papal visit last January.

On ABS-CBN, Pinoy Pride, a boxing series, will reach its 30th edition with the main bouts of Nonito Donaire and Donnie Nietes (simulcast with Sports + Action) in the morning. On prime time, the main channel will carry the debut of Julia Barretto (Just Julia: Beautiful at 18) that happened last March 10 after the birthday bash of Vice Ganda on GGV.

The Holy Weekdays (March 30 to April 1)

Eat Bulaga and It’s Showtime will set aside their entertainment mood to somber and dramatic specials. EB, the progenitor of Lenten dramas since 1981, will have once again six new specials (two for each weekday). Before the main shows, there will be promotion of such at the appetizer program, the Ryzza Mae Show — hence, deviating from guesting and interviewing celebrities. It’s Showtime, on the other hand, will follow suit.

News coverages on these days normally cover the traffic flow outside Metro Manila (particularly on NLEX and SLEX), the summer hot spots, and the religious hot spots and so on. At the end of the weekdays, a special weather forecast for the Triduum would be determined on special places of interest.

Within this period, the Big Three will disclose the lineup for the next three days or the Paschal Triduum.

The Paschal Triduum

The three days in general

As mentioned earlier, the Big Three will have a subdued, special programming based on the disclosed lineup. Sister channels of the Big Three either are shut down or are offering subdued programming hours. These networks will have minimal advertising — about five — to be disclosed throughout these days.

PTV will sign off throughout the said three days for annual maintenance. Lotto sales and draws from PCSO will not be transacted and will not be televised.

IBC will have a mix of pre-recorded (solely from the Pentecostal Missionary Church of Christ 4th Watch) and live religious programming (El Shaddai of Bro. Mike Velarde and Shalom of Fr. Archie Guiriba) fitting for the days’ events. Despite of lack of broadcast equipment in Broadcast City, it’s probably borrowed from her older sister in Visayas Avenue as the latter closes down.

However, the new tenant on Channel 9, CNN Philippines, is now the hot seat for TV analysts and critics. As a two-week-old channel, the question becomes “Sign-off on free TV or defiant broadcaster?”

Overall, no general newscasts will be delivered except for long, special news advisories. Live sportscast and its play (such as PBA, its D-League and PSL) will not also be seen.

However, a fellow Turfer, Bado Ofilada, said that he won’t be “surprised” that GMA will carry the Papal visit special of Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho, Miracle in Cell No. 7 or the JaMich episode of Magpakailanman. For now, it is just a speculation.

Last year, History Channel’s mini-series “The Bible” was carried by ABS-CBN for the Triduum. Would it be carried again? Let’s wait and see.

Maundy Thursday, April 2, 2015

ABS-CBN will carry Jesuit Communications special on the Papal Visit to the Philippines two months ago. By tradition, The Healing Eucharist will say the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on ABS-CBN on the afternoon live. They will also carry the bests of Maalaala Mo Kaya and Rated K.

GMA will definitely commence the day with cartoons and films. They will also carry the bests of Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho and Magpakailanman. On this day, the network from Timog will commence the 700 Club Asia’s “Tanikala” series.

TV5 will carry not just the traditional Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” but also the Best of WattPad Presents and the marathon of Mac n’ Chiz.

IBC will start the Shalom and El Shaddai’s live Holy Week coverage on the evening.

Good Friday, April 3, 2015

ABS-CBN and GMA will have a live airing of the Seven Last Words, sponsored by the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) and the Dominican Province of the Philippines (OP) at the Divine Word Shrine and Santo Domingo Church respectively. IBC, however, aired the pre-recorded Siete Palabras in connection and in integration with the CBCP’s “Year of the Poor” designated this year.

By the afternoon, ABS-CBN will continue the worship service with the Adoration/Veneration of the Cross. GMA will carry the best of Wish Ko Lang and will continue the bests of programs from yesterday and Tanikala. Mother Ignacia will continue with the bests of MMK and Rated K from yesterday.

TV5 will not be on air on Good Friday but IBC will continue with Shalom and El Shaddai’s live Holy Week service.

Black Saturday, April 4, 2015

ABS-CBN will continue with films and drama marathons until 5:45 p.m. where TV Patrol Weekend will carry the news wrapping up the three days. They will carry the Easter Vigil Mass, the last of the Holy Week liturgical series. TV5 will resume broadcasting on this day but this time, mostly films while GMA will continue its programming with a special drama from APT Entertainment (Pag-Uwi), films and bests of public affairs programming. However, they will carry on their last program the delayed broadcast of the Way of the Cross with Pope Francis.

IBC will culminate the Holy Week service with an overnight Easter Vigil service from El Shaddai.

Easter Sunday, April 5, 2015

On Easter Sunday, it’s back to normal for all networks. Well, almost.

ASAP 20 and Sunday All Stars‘ mainstays are still under vacation mode at this day. Thus, a taped special will be carried and will resume its live entertainment next week. Still, the PTV’s Lotto is not sold and drawn on that day also as employees of PCSO and authorized sellers are under the same mode as they will be reported to work the following day, April 6.

The Easter Mass of Pope Francis at St. Peter’s Square will be at 4:15 p.m. local time, followed by the Urbi et Orbi blessing at the loggia (the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica). PTV 4 will carry it over using the EWTN feed while GMA will have to wait until after midnight for a merged coverage.

And speaking of GMA…

New life, new lineup, new hope for GMA?

While Easter symbolizes new life as it commemorates the Resurrection of Jesus, for GMA’s case, a new Sunday lineup will deck out with a new afternoon original series since Teen GenInstaDad will be the comedy-family drama series starring Gabby Eigenmann as the breadwinner Kenneth Monteamor and Ash Ortega, Gabbi Garcia and Jazz Ocampo as his three daughters. Matet de Leon will act as Gracia Ladislaw-Monteamor, the spouse of Kenneth.

The show will be aired before 24 Oras, thus, implying an early juxtaposition of the Kapuso Movie Festival, Sunday All Stars and GMA Blockbusters. Will this be a new hope for GMA to rise again?

However, this structure will last for three weeks until April 26 when WoWoWin of Willie Revillame will end GMA’s act as a Sunday movie house.

May this Holy Week lineup — may it be speculative or real — be fruitful and be meaningful towards His journey to the Cross.

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[Photo courtesy of Real Men Pray the Rosary.]



  1. Nice insights and predictions, Tim. But we wait for the disclosure of the schedule of the networks. Bado and i will help out.

  2. I saw ABS-CBN’s programming schedule (tentative?) for the Paschal Triduum 2015 from a post to the Pinoy Nostalgia FB page dated March 2, 2015 from someone. The schedule shows that ABS-CBN will re-run the foreign-produced “Francisco: A Pope for Everyone” on Good Friday and ABS-CBN’s own documentary about the visit of the Pope in the Philippines on Black Saturday, on different timeslots. Also on Black Saturday marathons of Flodeliza of Nasaan Ka Nang Kailangan Kita will be aired. No animated programming will be aired by ABS-CBN during that three-day period. (Will GMA continue to air animated series in the Paschal Triduum 2015?)

    1. Palaba, I believe that prospective lineup came from Marvic Joshua Chavez but we have to wait for the official and confirmed lineup from the Big 3.

      As long as the GMA’s animated series is concerned, Bado Ofilada (our official Philippine TV archivist) messaged me yesterday that Astig Authority will be aired throughout the three days but with special lineup in the morning.

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