It’s The Most Werpaful Time of the Year (Philippine TV Christmastime 2017-18 Insights)


  • December 17 @ 13:03. Confirmed details on Manila Clasico and MMFF.



The most wonderful time of the year is here, but Filipino…

Per tradition, Timow’s Turf heralds the annual holiday programming primer for the fifth time, spanning from today (December 6, 2017) until possibly January 2, 2018.

As it is the first Christmas in the age of Trump, this year, it will be classified according to appropriate categories but not necessarily on periods as in previous editions.

With Christmas and New Year’s Eves both fall on Sunday this year, primetime lineups will definitely have to adjust, especially to ABS-CBN on both cases and GMA on the latter as PTV 4’s main Lotto Draw are forced to be scheduled early at 2:30 p.m.

During this span, teleseryes will normally be scheduled but there are usually no finales and its premieres during the very Christmas/New Year festivity fortnight while trade launches from the South Triangle Duopoly (S.T.D.) and CNN Philippines are happening for the upcoming year (as long as they keep their promises or else).

What else is in store? Jump in for more.

NOTE: Inaccuracies and updates can happen throughout this post.

Christmas Entertainment

As of press time, GMA’s Astig Authority is possibly airing holiday-related cartoons aside from the repetitive and not-so-new series.

Annual Christmas specials from the STD will definitely happen. The Kapamilya Christmas Special is in planning mode now but it will be released on either December 17 or 24 or both. Paskong Kapuso, the response, will be aired on the 17th.

On the very first day of Simbang Gabi (December 16), the Giant Lantern Festival in City of San Fernando, Pampanga will be aired on CLTV 36.

As part of the Paskuhan in the University of Santo Tomas, its 15th Christmas Concert is part of the core activities aside from the fireworks. However, its telecast is uncertain. IBC did not cover last year but we are not sure of its return since TV5’s chances to cover is nearly zero due to ESPN5 but it’s possible for PTV to carry on Christmas Eve or days earlier in order to avoid President Duterte’s engagements.

Holiday Sports

In association football, the Philippines Football League’s inaugural season now in the Finals phase, which means it should be televised. However, the telecast for PFL on PTV ended abruptly last July after two months due to the constant priority of covering the President. Hence, from that period, it is only be covered via livestream in Mycujoo.

Beginning this 43rd season of PBA, Star Hotshots will now be called Magnolia Hotshots.

In basketball, to offset the usual regular Sunday games, PBA will highlight the Christmas Day twinbill on TV5 with fans expecting the Manila Clasico in the Philippine Cup in the Philippine Arena just like last year. Special holiday NBA games will follow hours after but it will be decided between S+A and BTV upon their respective schedule availability.

Speaking of sports…

Road to ESPN5’s Full Swing

On Saturday, December 9, the FIBA Central Board will decide who will host the 2023 World Cup as we have a triple joint bid with Indonesia and Japan (the host nations of the incoming Asian Games and the Summer Olympics, as we are the host of the next SEA Games two years from now).

Eight days later, ESPN5 will come into full swing as coinciding the new (43rd) season of PBA, they will formally inaugurate SportsCenter Philippines after the league’s tipoff.

Metro Manila Film Festival

We all understand how horrible this year’s MMFF is with the return of the commercialization factor on half of its lineup.

The Parade of Stars on  December 23 will take place in Muntinlupa rather than the traditional Roxas Boulevard to commemorate its centennial of the city’s charter while the Awards Night (Gabi ng Parangal) will be held at the KIA theater on Wednesday, December 27.

Since ABS-CBN and GMA don’t want to be bothered with their regular teleseryes, the broadcasting package stumbled between TV5 and IBC 13. The former was feared for lack of trustworthiness due to the aforementioned congealed ESPN deal while the latter still run low power free-to-air despite being workable in digital television testing.

In the end, given the comeback of the star factor, both packages will be back to TV5 with one-day delayed telecast (December 24 & 28, respectively).

Eucharistic Celebrations

For the religious, this is the true blue reason of how to celebrate the season.

From December 16, it’s a no-brainer for ABS-CBN to air the Kapamilya Simbang Gabi until 24th, despite the continuation yet confusing of The Healing Eucharist’s regular Sunday liturgy; it’s sister channel, S+A, will cover the SVD-MCFI iteration.

As mentioned earlier, Gandang Gabi Vice and Sunday’s Best must adjust early to accommodate the traditional Midnight Mass.

Pope Francis imparts the Urbi et Orbi blessing to the faithful on Christmas 2013 from the central loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica. This formula will be repeated and will be televised. (AP Photo/L’Osservatore Romano)

If you decide to watch the liturgy from Vatican and see the Pope, then CNN Philippines is the best place to be (if you are using cable). They are always ahead in covering the midnight mass inside St. Peter’s Basilica and the full imparting of the Urbi et Orbi message and blessing both live than GMA’s traditional tape-delayed combination before signing off for their broadcast day.

Reeling in the Year

No network is exempted in the remaining days of the year to devote on the events and newsmakers that transpired the closing year. However, GMA’s News and Public Affairs department no longer produces their standalone Year-In-Review.

Eat Bulaga might dedicate the final week of the year on the replay and/or behind the scenes of the telemovie last October 21, Love Is, and possibly, the replay of Miss Millennial Philippines’ coronation (originally aired last September 30).

PTV Sports, on the other hand, would face a dilemma. For 9½ months, it was reduced to a segment of the early evening news until it restored its standalone status with reduced running time to 30 minutes, which may not be enough for Dennis Principe and his cohorts to transpire the sporting events of the year for their Storybook.

Goin Bulilit’s traditional New Year special usually begins with the cast singing its happenings of the passing year to the tune of Twelve Days of Christmas as “Noong 2017” and usually includes the ghastly yet comic “Ngayong 2018” prediction sketch.

Counting Down, Listing Up

On New Year’s Eve, ABS-CBN’s revelry is merely simple with the Healing Eucharist’s New Year Mass (for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God) after.

TV5 might not host a New Year Countdown due to ESPN5 unless Coke Studio Philippines sponsored it. Nonetheless, the New Year’s Day Mass might be first thing in their broadcast day where Aksyon sa Umaga used to be.

If Kapamilya stars shine on Christmas, Kapuso counterparts will shine theirs on this time of the year. Its 15th New Year Countdown — the 11th (extrapolative) in SM Mall of Asia Open Grounds — will take place in lieu of SNBO.

CNN Philippines might usher in the New Year across the world’s time zones from New Zealand (locally, 7 p.m. on 31st) and continue traversing until the Ball Drop in Times Square (locally, 1 p.m. on the 1st).

UNTV will have the traditional Repaso (Year-In-Review) on that day before the countdown and the first news report.

For PTV, never mind, they go meh.

First Days of 2018

Everything else will be back to normal except Eat Bulaga where they will traditionally kick in the New Year with their special opening production number but do not give any ideas on any broadcaster — either television or radio — to cover the Vienna New Year’s Concert but GMA has to cover the New Year’s Day activities from the Vatican on delayed basis.

With the ESPN deal, TV5 might cover the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California on January 2 (Philippine time).

The following day, while the private sector employees resume working, ESPN5 might earn the first taste of covering The Granddaddy of Them All — the Rose Bowl Game — as their parent company does.

Afterwards, the euphoria will normally die down but some of us will reach its final salvo by Epiphany, the Black Nazarene or at the latest, until Sto. Niño.

However, this effect will end here on the Turf. Seasons greetings!

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Photo credits:

  • ABS-CBN News
  • Wikimedia Commons/Metro Manila Film Festival/MMDA
  • The Blaze/AP Photo/L’Osservatore Romano


      1. Yes. In all shows, except newscasts at yung Siglo na short film festival nila. Noticed it.

  1. ABS-CBN’s Christmas Special for this year was aired last Saturday and yesterday at 9:30 pm; a weekend of I Can See Your Voice (as well as Sunday’s Best) was sacrificed for that special, and the mystery music game show will return next weekend, while Little Big Shots aired its season finale yesterday,

    Returning to ABS-CBN’s Christmas Special, its production number format is largely the same, but compared to last year, the only upcoming show-related announcement revealed is the premiere time and date of the sixth season of Pilipinas Got Talent: January 6-7, occupying Little Big Shots’ timeslot

    1. Thanks for the comprehensive observation, NS.

      Yes, I’ve heard about PGT 6 that was confirmed by JC Domondon. The other Kapamilya shows airing this 2018 may or not be materialized. (Refer to the Broken Promises post last month)

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