Pabasa ng Philippine TV for Holy Week 2017

Ecce Homo (1871) by Antonio Ciseri (1821-1891)

IT’S SO HARD to believe that Holy Week is next week — the first on the nine-month-old Duterte administration and yes, the Turf understands it as a political aspect of Calvary we’re harnessing.
Anyway, in this penultimate and pious week of Lent, many words emanate to our psyche: reflection, journey, sacrifice, panata and self-penitence.

As part of the countdown to 500 years of Christianity, this year (2017) is designated for the Year of Parish as the Communion of Communities.

As part of the preparation of the Quincentennial of Christianity in the Philippines in 2021, each year within the nine-year novena (since 2012-13) has a certain designation. This year is dedicated as the Year of the Parish as the Communion of Communities. So, expect this theme to be integrated throughout the following days.
During the week, operating hours on malls and establishments are expected to be reduced — if not closed — on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday but they may resume full-time on Black Saturday.
On television, particularly, free to air, some networks either reduced to special programming or signed off. In the Turf’s annual tradition of heralding the events, the whole week will be divided into four (4) chronological groups with six (6) specific periods. In this distinctive insight, some channels and programs within the week will give notice if they’re in conflictin need of attention and something to watch out for.
Bear in mind that such insights are unpredictable.

Palm Sunday (April 9)

While following the normal Sunday lineup, TV Masses in five channels (four for analog antenna receivers in Luzon since IBC’s transmitter power in Metro Manila was toned down and possibly getting transferred) will go back to Cycle A (i.e. taken from the Gospel of St. Matthew) on retelling the triumphant entry to Jerusalem and the Passion of Christ.
Mt Samat Cross

Every April 9, the President leads the Araw ng Kagitingan ceremony in Mt. Samat, Bataan. This year is a special and a conflicting one as it marks the 75th anniversary of the fall of the province to the Japanese Empire and it falls on Palm Sunday, the start of Holy Week.

IN CONFLICT: After the Talitha Kum Healing Mass, PTV 4 will face a clash. Since it’s also Araw ng Kagitingan — the 75th anniversary of the fall of Bataan — they might take the coverage as it is the first ceremony in Mount Samat to be led by President Rodrigo Duterte. If that’s materialized, it’ll take over the traditional Mission Angels’ annual Family Recollection in Meralco Theater.

As the night falls, Rated K and KMJS would set some time to give viewers’ some amazing places to visit for the last-minute pilgrimage. If that’s not your cup of tea, there’s PBA with Manila Clasico.

SOMETHING TO WATCH OUT FOR: This day will mark the end of Your Face Sounds Familiar: Kids on ABS-CBN and it will be aired live from Resorts World Manila. Right after KMJS on GMA at 10:30 p.m., Kris Aquino will make a TV comeback after a few months with “Trip ni Kris.”

Weekdays of Holy Week (April 10-12)

The lineup will be as normal as possible except during noontime as Lenten dramatizations are expected. Eat Bulaga, the progenitor of such dramatization will take this seriously in its entirety since any form of entertainment is considered out of solemnity. After their Lenten presentations, they will have their own Dabarkads Awards to be held on April 22. Their rival, It’s Showtime, will do the same thing but expect a slit of time at the end for Tawag ng Tanghalan‘s Kids edition and don’t expect them to do their own corresponding awards. However, don’t expect Wowowin to emulate.
Throughout the weekdays, newscasts will emphasize high priority on the exodus through different modes of transport, gas price changes, travel safety tips and a special weather forecast for the forthcoming Triduum.
TV5 will usually cover the PBA’s double-header games during Holy Wednesday before the long weekend. In this case, the doubleheaders will be:
  • GlobalPort Batang Pier vs NLEX Road Warriors (before Aksyon)
  • Phoenix Fuel Masters vs Rain or Shine Elasto Painters (after Aksyon)

SOMETHING TO WATCH OUT FOR: AniMEGA fans will look forward to Knights of Sidonia after the doubleheaders but due to the uncertainty of the evening match — e.g. going overtime — they might get pushed next week.

PTV 4 and IBC 13 both share Oras ng Katotohanan; throughout this week, we shall expect the annual Senakulo (Passion Play) and the thorough reflection of the Seven Last Words. Speaking of PTV…


The current identity of PTV (since) 2012 ceased its on-screen identity this week (as of press time) but the replacement logo isn’t. Though the latter was previewed by Martin Andanar and on the launch of PTV Cordillera hub just last month.

KEEP IN MIND: The new wordmark for PTV has been released, as of press time, but not its corresponding logo. The tweaked current graphics package might end on Wednesday.

Paschal Triduum

In this crux of the matter, subdued and specialized programming, ad nauseam airing from limited advertisers (e.g. Nissin Seafood Ramen, Executive Optical, etc.) and longer news advisories — in lieu of regular newscasts — will be a common observation.

Broadcasters in general detail

Cable channels will continue with their normal programming. Free-to-air terrestrial channels are classified and summarized:


What comes to mind for ABS-CBN this Holy Week is the annual showing of the tear-jerking Magnifico (2003).

  • For the Big 3:
    • ABS-CBN. Expect the annual airing of tear-jerking Magnifico (on either the main channel or on S+A) and a marathon of a wholesome teleserye as they continue to uphold the tradition of televised services from The Healing Eucharist. Considering the pullout of anime or any children’s entertainment shows in favor of blockbusters since June, the lineup might need to adjust to tailor in the sobriety.
    • GMA. While News TV will rest, there’ll always have special anime/cartoon block every morning as they present CBN Asia’s The 700 Club Asia Presents (formerly called Tanikala) in the afternoon/evening on its 9th year and an annual APT Entertainment drama on Black Saturday. Based on their ratings record, this channel will lead over the first two days.
    • TV5. It’ll be converted into a movie marathon channel on Maundy Thursday and Black Saturday; they are usually off on Good Friday. Aksyon TV, the channel in identity crisis, will have to deal their lineup but the operating hours remain the same.
  • For the VHF underdogs:
    • Unless inclement weather will affect the country, PTV will be usually off the air for annual maintenance as there will be no Lotto draws.
    • CNN Philippines will not air anything — if not for special programming — over free-to-air reception.
    • NEEDING ATTENTION: During the past years, IBC 13 performed very well to offer special programming on such days, despite bare recognition for the rest of the year. We may expect to cover the Nativity Cross infomercial and Shalom’s Live 3-Day Annual Retreat but with the recent presidential simulcast pullout and reception problems due to transmitter power transfer mentioned earlier, it would be a daunting task to showcase them.
  • For the UHF:
    • UNTV, despite being too hostile to Catholics with its inherent editorial policy, respected the solemnity by signing off for the first two days unlike the most despised rival’s two channels (Ch. 25 and 49).
    • Other channels in the UHF (other than Big Three and the aforementioned) may either sign off, follow the crowd or operate normally, depending ownership and option of respect.

3 days in detail

Maundy Thursday (April 13)

In the morning, the Big Two will provide themselves with religious specials; it can be a mix of pilgrimage, a story of a church and/or reflection program.
IN CONFLICT: NBA’s regular season will wrap up this morning with the last fourteen (14) games. Since S+A is on the UHF territory — which qualifies for subdued programming — a dilemma would emerge. If S+A took the traditional path, BTV (a cable channel) might come into their rescue but some games begin simultaneously in two times, which means they have to cherry-pick some games to fit in their schedule. Delaying some games to Saturday — where all the religious programming subsides — will not impress the fans. 
In the afternoon, the Mass of the Last Supper, integrating with the Washing of the Feet, will commence over the churches around the country but if you’re at home, it’ll be covered by ABS-CBN.
As the night rolls on as the faithful will race on to seven churches for Eucharistic adoration (not for Stations of the Cross as they popularly recite) for Visita Iglesia until midnight, the Big Two will tone down with the best of MMK or religious films.

Good Friday (April 14)

On this day of fasting and abstinence, most establishments are closed across the country as they reflect on the suffering of Christ. In the City of San Fernando, Pampanga, it means tourism as tourists will harness the real-life reenactment in San Pedro Cutud as they endure the sweltering heat.
At noon, the Seven Last Words will last three hours on television without any commercial breaks. As mentioned earlier, expect this moment to be integrated with the laity’s reflection in relation to the Year of the Parish. Both ABS-CBN (by the Society of the Divine Word) and GMA (by the Order of Preachers/Dominicans) will carry them live. Speaking of live…
IN ATTENTION: The pre-recorded edition of the Seven Last Words under Make Mine Creative Productions will be on its 30th year. It’ll be uncertain if IBC will cover the special given the reasons earlier. The priest presenters are non-exclusive, save the aforementioned orders.
Afterwards, the Veneration of the Cross will be a few hours past 3 p.m. As the evening rolls, the same programming as the previous day will apply.
Ignacio de Loyola

Ignacio de Loyola that premiered on the big screens last July 2016 in the Philippines will be make its grand debut on the small screens this Good Friday on ABS-CBN.

SOMETHING TO WATCH OUT FOR: The biographical religious drama film, Ignacio de Loyola, will make its television debut at 10:30 p.m. on ABS-CBN.

Black Saturday (April 15)

While malls and restos are allowed to open full-time on that day, religious programming won’t be much in sight — save ABS-CBN’s Easter Vigil and GMA’s tape-delay of the Way of the Cross in Rome to be led by the Pope — in favor of drama and movie marathons.
Some channels mentioned will sign-on very late and some will start at the usual time on this last day of the Triduum.
Keep in mind that TV Patrol on ABS-CBN usually airs on that day to recap the transpired events but not last year. We may not know when it will be reinstated.

Easter Sunday (April 16)

Everything will go back to their normal programming with the following exceptions.
Traditionally, Sunday variety shows are not aired live on that day — either taped or done nothing — as their respective mainstays’ enjoy their long vacation. However, ASAP’s performances shifted its gears in the recent years but we should not expect to do the same for Sunday PinaSaya.
CNN Philippines might cover both the Mass and the Urbi et Orbi in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican, live right before GMA will do so — wary on their heavy editing — as the last broadcast piece before they sign off.
From this day, the 2017 NBA Playoffs will commence and S+A and BTV will go on its usual schedule, as TV5 will resume the elimination round of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Due to vacation of their staff, KMJS may not release a new episode until next week but expect the replay of the best.
  • Upon their broadcast resumption, PTV might complete the new graphics package by appearing its new logo — a monogram confined in an forward-facing equilateral triangle (evoking the national flag) — to complement the wordmark earlier but no Lotto Draw will be held until tomorrow.
  • ABS-CBN will premiere a new iteration of their franchise: The Voice Teens. Expect blind auditions to cover for the first few episodes.

The final and actual lineup will be recorded through this site. That wraps the Turf’s annual guide to Holy Week free TV guide for 2017.

Keep safe everyone and be good!

Photos courtesy of:
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • CBCP
  • Provincial Government of Bataan
  • PTV

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