On the Wings of Love

We Deserve Teleseryes Better

LAST MONDAY, GMA Afternoon Prime teleserye Haplos skipped the remainder of the episode to cover President Rodrigo Duterte’s second State of the Nation Address (SONA). From the Tube’s Ralph Domingo wished that the remainder would carry over but instead they skipped the said episode entirely and moved on without the network’s public apology.

This recent incident, coupled with Albert Brian Gimao’s threefold request, made us realized why teleseryes are so relevant in the age of rising demands of quality.

The current landscape of our teleserye industry, specifically found in South Triangle, ranges from

  • Chronologically, late morning (Ikaw Lang Ang Iibigin) to evening (A Love To Last)
  • Demographically, youth-oriented (Trops) to adult-oriented (Ika-6 na Utos)
  • Generally, fantasy (Mulawin vs. Ravena) to reality (Ang Probinsyano)
  • Specifically, romance (A Love to Last) to action (Ang Probinsyano, again)

Then, tried-and-tested conformity began to swoop in with clichés (e.g. slapping scene, amnesia scene, zooming in) and cast love teams at the expense of their creative freedom juices and the intelligence of the audience — all for the sake of bottom line.

Some of their finished products are probably rated SPG (per episode basis), which is inconsiderate to children whose classes are in different shift and both networks do not focus on other genres such as crime thrillers or professional kind of shows.

What are much worse were the production staff’s repercussions; remember what happened to Francis Pasion after directing JaDine’s On the Wings of Love last year? He died nine days after the finale due to cardiac arrest for overworking fatigue. This has led to the issuance of an advisory from the Department of Labor and Employment to limit the time for TV industry workers to 12 hours a day last year but the mother network, ABS-CBN, filed a temporary restraining order – a desperate act, in the eyes of critics, of greed.

With that, last month, Twitter user @sPAULArium was not pleased with the said quality based on aforementioned state and flooded her grievances in a thread.

She suggested that teleseryes, particularly in primetime, should go on a weekly basis from daily like those in the United States and in Japan. South Korean dramas practiced it as they grouped into two: Monday-Tuesday and Wednesday-Thursday. The Turf already proposed the gradual frequency reduction from the current weekdays until it reaches up to that frequency.

While netizens mostly praised Paula with civility, actress Bela Padilla defended the local industry as her projects made millions “happy.” To be honest, Bela may have more roles to be written in her resume but she should get real by opening her eyes, hearing the other side of the audience and stop living in the confined mediocrity.

What the giants in South Triangle did is overemphasizing the usual sector of their target market: female, 35+ and pang-masa (class CDE). They do not realize that trends and preferences continue to change over time, with or without predictability.

In the end, the common goal in this unavoidable and mediocre duopoly – as indeed expressed on the netizen’s thread — is their bottom line and ratings braggadocio. Hence, we termed it as “cancer.”

This status quo of teleserye led others to defect and to find an alternative modes of entertainment.

This is why James Ty III never looked onto it and rather focused on his favorite day, Sunday.

This is why Christian Arceo no longer entertained with them after 15 years and moved on to anime and sports.

This is why Kevin Trinidad renounced and ditched them unreservedly in favor of Netflix.

Indeed, we deserve it better but the question is, “When will it ever be heard?”


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#PHTVzg2015: ABS-CBN

[Author’s note: #PHTVzg2015 stands for Philippine Television Zeitgeist 2015, a five-part year-ender series.]

Another year has come and gone, but before we enter the sweet 2016, the Turf looks back on the roller-coaster moments of ABS-CBN.

Star-studded for the Papal Visit (January). Five Kapamilya stars (Lyca Gairanod, Angeline Quinto, Jed Madela, Darren Espanto & Erik Santos) performed in different venues of the itinerary of Pope Francis’ five-day visit. The Voice Kids Season 1 champion, Lyca Gairanod, performed “Tell the World of His Love” before the main program of Encounter with Families at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. Quinto, Madela and Espanto performed during the Encounter with the Youth at the University of Santo Tomas and Erik Santos sang the Responsorial Psalm at the Concluding Mass at Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park.

Trashing film tourism (February to May). Success does not need to trash the wondrous creation but the aftermath of such in teleserye “Forevermore” and the film “That Thing Called Tadhana” came with the attention of collateral damage in Cordillera. Located in Tuba, Benguet, the filming location of LizQuen’s primetime drama became a hit tourist destination but its watershed contributed significant damage. The criticism is not noticed until May, just as their program is about to end, a writ of kalikasan was issued from the Court of Appeals and thus, forcing the cancellation of the farewell concert there. On the other hand, Angelica Panganiban and JM De Guzman’s indie flick is located in Sagada. Because of immense popularity, the swarming of tourists there left their trashes behind and netizens made rounds of criticism.

The Declining and the Denial (February-present). ASAP reached 20 this year but the longevity of the institution paid the decline of its domestic base as viewers at home are fed up with repetitive dance movements and its lack of innovation. When its Kamuning neighbor decided to scrap the cowardice Sunday All Stars in favor of the comedic Sunday PinaSaya, they try to compete with the comedic opening but the main host, Martin Nievera, was disappointed with the setup by a tweet. SPS won the ratings game from August and ASAP is decided to shorten their airtime to two hours and again, Nievera remained in denial.

Onward towards DTV. After five years of trial and error, the ABS-CBN TVPlus, nicknamed as the “Mahiwagang Black Box,” is released commercially to selected markets since February 11, with new sub-channels such as Yey! and Cine Mo and existing ones from cable such as Knowledge Channel and DZMM Teleradyo. Nine months later, the high-definition feed of the mainstream channel, ABS CBN HD, is released in selected cable operators (Oct 3).

This Success Sounds Familiar (March to December). Hosted by Billy Crawford, Your Face Sounds Familiar, a new game show franchise, where celebrities impersonates music icons, became a hit for viewers during weekend prime time, not once but twice.

The End of the Buzz (April 5). Easter Sunday this year marked the new life but for Boy Abunda, it marked the death of his showbiz show, The Buzz. Though they would be come back soon, the return is remote from being materialized, thanks to social media. However, the show was posthumously awarded as the Best Showbiz Oriented Talk Show on the 29th PMPC Star Awards.

Duo Dynami-nation (May and August). Primetime Bida for 2015 is mostly significant for the two love teams for social media. KathNiel’s “Pangako Sa ‘Yo” (since May 25) and JaDine’s “On The Wings of Love” (since August 10) hyped up the national Twitter trending list during weekdays.

S+A going full capacity (June 20). From that day, NCAA aired on its new home on ABS-CBN Sports + Action since UAAP was moved to September. The decision of covering the oldest (but not popular) collegiate athletic association would not simply make their Sports Division very busy year-round but astonish their technological advancement to sportscasting.

Pinoy Big Bromance? (June 20). Pinoy Big Brother commemorated its 10th anniversary this year with a new hybrid edition, “PBB 737.” During the early run, when the teens entered the Bahay ni Kuya, the show drew fire over bromance and the action of one housemate, Ryan James Bacalla. Because of this, the 24/7 live cable streaming was pulled out until the teens’ part ended after seven weeks of stay.

It’s Showtime’s immorality segments (August to October). As the Kalyeserye on the Kamuning neighbor became successful, It’s Showtime attempted to counter it with Twerking Girls but it drew fire by a solid Kapamilya netizen. After the controversial celebrity competition, they replaced it with “Nasaan Ka, Mr. Pastillas” featuring Angelica “Pastillas Girl” Yap. However, netizens are unamused by the content as it acts as the antithesis of the norms of traditional Filipino courtship exemplified by its rival. Not only that, the girl herself was also the butt of the joke with one of her old videos posted containing dirty language spreading online with degrading reactions in return. The segment was also compared it to an American reality dating show, “The Bachelorette” and called it “Bugawserye.” Such complaints drew Gabriela Partylist’s attention to call MTRCB and to summon the show’s creators.

Krissy decides to tone down (August-September). (Soon-to-be-outgoing) Presidential sister and veteran Kapamilya, Kris Aquino, narrowly escapes stroke after filming “Etiquette for Mistresses.” Because of the traumatic health effect, she decided to leave “Aquino and Abunda Tonight” and decided to remain only on KrisTV in order to achieve a “healthy work and life balance.”

Hisses from the two entities (August and September). During the Iglesia ni Cristo rally in EDSA in late August, social media blared up messages of the network’s bias against the Church. Few members of INC made a rash payback by mauling one of its camera operators covering the situation. Two weeks later, during a students’ forum in UP Los Banos with Vice President Jejomar Binay, a news writer mistakenly heard the crowd shouting “trapo” (traditional politician) instead of “sample.” Despite of netizens’ praise for the student body’s fearless inquiry over current issues thrown against him (i.e. overpricing infrastructures and making under-the-table deals in Makati City as mayor), the student council demanded the broadcaster’s apology.

Big shot coming from a single bullet (September 28). After Coco Martin’s portrayal as a commando of PNP Special Action Force that was part of the Fallen 44 tribute on MMK, he became the lead role of the TV drama adaptation of the 1997 action film, FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano.

ANC prepares for APEC. As the Philippines hosted APEC 2015, cable news channel ANC decided to reinstate Cathy Yang as the business news anchor. On October 26, ANC freshened up their identity.

Advertising jealousy (November). With AlDub’s* exponential success, it stripped their endorsers from the last Kapamilya talents (such as McDonalds’ chicken meals from Toni Gonzaga and Nino Muhlach, Hapee toothpaste from Angel Locsin and Rejoice shampoo from Kim Chiu). Because of that phenomenon, according to an insider, some advertisers decided not to renew their contract with ABS-CBN. Hence, the network issued a memo to advertisers that they have a right not to air any commercials that is associated with the rival’s programs, indirectly or directly. Hence, their intentional acts of not airing it, reducing it, splitting Maine Mendoza and Alden Richards apart or omitting Maine whatever possible. Kapamilya fans, belonging to the AlDub* nation, sees it as a form of bitterness (jealousy) and endorsement protectionism, calling both as unfair, as KathNiel and JaDine’s commercials on GMA were aired in full.

Gone from the news, stay for Sunday nights. Despite of departure on TV Patrol and DZMM for her news delivery, Korina Sanchez still maintains Rated K every Sunday night. The said program and the presenter won the Best Magazine Show and Host respectively on the Star Awards.

Talent Newsmakers of 2015

New and shining talents

  • Jana Agoncillo of Dream Dad and Ningning
  • Marco Masa of Nathaniel
  • Elha Mae Nympha of the Voice Kids 2
  • Bailey May and Ylona Garcia (BaiLona) of PBB 737 Teens
  • Tommy Esguerra and Miho Nishida (ToMiho) of PBB 737 Regulars
  • Xymon Ezekiel Pineda (Onyok) of Ang Probinsyano

Migrants from other networks:

  • From GMA: Sarah Lahbati and Elmo Magalona
  • From TV5: Wendell Ramos and Vin Abrenica

Outlook for 2016

Financial and operation wise, the corporation will remain profitable and the transition for digital television as feasible for 2016.

However, the Turf issues a RED ALERT for Mother Ignacia for the New Year.

Despite the revenues of political advertisement making up less percentage of their consolidated revenue, they will go in hot water for favoring former DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, the second Aquino administration’s anointed successor, over their flagship news programs and its senatorial lineup would be promoted through their life stories on MMK.

*The AlDub phenomenon will be discussed continuously in the next Zeitgeist (GMA 7).

Addendum: UFC will no longer be under ABS-CBN Sports’ hands this 2016.