SolGen Calida’s Quo Warranto Move vs. ABS-CBN and the Effect of Media Industry

[Requested by Ian Santos]

SolGen Jose Calida

Solicitor General Jose Calida

AS THE SAGA of Mother Ignacia’s reckoning continues with less than seven weeks until their Congressional franchise expires, Solicitor General Jose Calida filed a quo warranto petition against ABS-CBN yesterday to the Supreme Court personally by wheels.

He claimed that they had some foreign ownership (which is completely forbidden under the Constitution) through Philippine depositary receipts (PDRs) — the same reason he pitted against Rappler two years ago.

We have heard that Latin legal term when Maria Lourdes Sereno was ousted from being Chief Justice and lost the official ordinal numbering back in 2018 over her Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) — the same document that had her predecessor, Renato Corona, impeached and convicted. However, the quo warranto can also affect corporations since they are defined as a “juridical person” in our Civil Code.

During the running stint as the principal lawyer of the country, Calida accomplished over other pivotal, political events: the arrest of Sen. Leila de Lima, Marcos’ burial in Libingan ng mga Bayani and the extension of Martial Law in Mindanao after the battle in Marawi.

So what will happen if the Court heeds the call (despite the legal experts’ thought of outright dismissal)?

With the Supreme Court being majority appointed by the sitting President, it should not be a surprise if their handed decision is to void the franchise (or further, the corporate existence) of ABS-CBN before March 30 and the subsequent motion of reconsideration is quashed.

Should that happen, the deliberations in Congress regarding their specific renewal would be moot and moved onward with other businesses. The endeavors of the digital television transition could, therefore, be delayed or be mooted since it leaps onward to video-on-demand streaming. Aside from the hypothetical, individual scenarios, competitors might have to kowtow to their policies without questioning until the next presidential election or further, if the President’s anointed one (whoever that is) gets elected.

Ordinary citizens are powerless in fighting with the bad system and/or people that come into play. In addition, our collective short attention spans that hinder our remembrance are not helpful at all — putting it on ourselves to the permanent, stagnant mindset that we are labeled by the rest of the world today. That’s how we voted for and we kept it with pride: when a person does not like something because he is not doing a good job and refuses to accept constructive criticism, it becomes a permanent public policy and leaves a significant mark that will last beyond their term.

That being said, Calida is part of the planner of revenge against President Duterte’s pettiness against perceived enemies — be it from the strong persons in the opposition or from the institutions whose primary job is to be held accountable with their dealings as public servants.

When his coterminous term ends in 2022 alongside the appointer, his decisions, including this one, will definitely be a part of the real legacy of this administration (not the ones set up by the PCOO that was failed to be defended further — oh wait, wrong network!). However, the reversibility of any damage done will take more than one term to recover after leaving but as we said about attention spans, such things will become permanent into the history books.


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Photo courtesy of The Philippine Star (

The Unexpected Loss of Crossover FM

[REQUESTED BY Jebi Tiong Dela Cruz]

Crossover FM

Crossover crossed over to a new format on December 30, 2019, after playing smooth jazz since 1994, without any notice.

LAST RIZAL DAY (December 30), the smooth jazz over Crossover 105.1 (DWBM-FM) stopped playing after a quarter of a century (roughly the same age as the author), stunning loyal listeners and radio enthusiasts as they were not even notified through social media. Today, you can hear them as Q Radio under a different format (possibly, a Top 40 CHR).

For ordinary listeners, they considered it as a “plot twist” at the cusp of the decade but for media professionals and enthusiasts, there is one term that can best describe that move: stunting.

This broadcasting tactic is commonly found on radio broadcasting where a station begins to air content uncharacteristically to what they would usually play. Depending on the station’s situation or management’s preference, it can last between a few minutes to a few weeks before a new format is formally launched or it can happen on a certain day or part of the year.

There are four common types of radio stunting:

  • Continuous loop. A station may stunt by playing the same song or songs over and over before introducing it into a new format.
  • Temporary format. The station with an outgoing format will stunt into a transitional format — which may or may not be related to the incoming format. This is where 105.1 is undergoing. Perhaps, this is also the practice that neighboring 105.9 had about a year ago.
  • Usage of sound effects. As a prelude to a format flip, a series of sound effects may be played to signify the “building” of a new station, the death of an old format and the birth of another.
  • Playing all-Christmas music. For the most wonderful time of the year, a station veered away from their intended format to play this specific music; in the Metro Manila market, only RJ 100.3 FM has practiced this.

In television, this is prominently practiced on April Fool’s Day in cable channels but it’s not much found or applicable in the Philippines as doing so could mean complaints and fines.

In the end, stunting is intended as a publicity stunt to generate the sudden attention of every hearing observer.

All right, so where did all that smooth jazz go? For the Metro Manila listeners, it’s on their official website and on their mobile app. For the rest though, the Crossover stations will continue to play that genre but they will soon follow.


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Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / Mareco Broadcasting Network

If There Is No More ABS-CBN Again (Part 2): How Will Their Competitors Respond?

[WARNING: This post contains insights that are whimsical; if you have different points, feel free to comment your differences. Read at your own risk.]


ABS-CBN Soundstage

One of the concerns if ABS-CBN stops broadcasting is how to maintain their Horizon soundstage in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan. Will they open up for their competitors to rake in potentially lost revenue?


IN THE FIRST PART, we determined the background behind their hatred against Mother Ignacia and the sacrifices and the ethical questioning behind their programming operations that lead to their success for the past 10 years.

The hanging question remains unsolved: What if the keyboard and mobile chauvinists have it their way?

The short answer: FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano would finally end at last after four years. No more It’s Showtime and no more GGV and that means, no more lollygagging from Vice Ganda.

But the long answer is somewhat complicated.

Despite the rise of video-on-demand platforms, traditional TV remains the most dominant medium for information and entertainment. In other words, the loyal Kapamilyas and even avid viewers of their selected programs will have to enter cold turkey instantly.

Without a mode of exposure, artists (especially, the fresh ones) will lose an opportunity to build their careers in their resume; as a result, there will be an oversupply.

Hundreds of exclusive artists will all be, in theory, freelancers but some personalities have backup agencies. For example, Anne Curtis, Vice Ganda and Sarah Geronimo are all VIVA talents and with that, VIVA’s boss Vic del Rosario has the right to ink a deal with any remaining network and they would still get TV exposure. Those talents who don’t have a backup agency would be out of luck unless they planned ahead to take up entrepreneurial ventures like KathNiel with their barbershop business.

Thousands of employees from news and sports departments could get reassigned or get the pink slips. Newscasts, including regional ones, would undergo as exclusively digital akin to Rappler.

Current multi-year contracts with this network when it comes to sports (e.g. MPBL, NCAA and UAAP) and entertainment (e.g. Miss Universe and PMPC Star Awards) will really need to find a new home.

Sure, there is iWant to carry over the remaining episodes and some of their finished programs are ready for syndication to their soon-to-be-former rivals.

The over-all analog switch-off might be delayed and the Full HD progress would be stalled. The network have done both feats very seriously and had they continue to operate, they will be the frontrunner in testing 4K UHD.

In terms of the TVPlus’ functionality, their encryption should come to an end and the apparatus would be treated as a regular DTV converter box or it would longer be useful.

It’s not just the TV frequencies that would be gone, so too would be their radio stations under their ownership like — in the case of Metro Manila — MOR 101.9 and DZMM 630. (No more DJ Chacha for advice and no more Dos por Dos for engaging commentaries for motorists in the afternoon rush hour.)

Other non-broadcast ventures like Star Cinema, Star Music and ABS-CBN Publishing will continue to operate. Their promotion would need communication of consent with other rival TV networks.

Their facilities outside Mother Ignacia like the new Soundstage in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan could be opened up to their competitors for rentals or for lease in order to make up the lost revenue.

Competitors’ Response

With Mother Ignacia suddenly disappeared, Kantar’s and Nielsen’s database for measuring TV ratings would change drastically and so are its entertainment reports in both broadsheets and tabloids.

Losing ABS-CBN for good (or for at least two years) can make a significant difference in the Philippine TV landscape.

Before their very eyes, what will happen to the rest of the competitors? Will they replicate the silver linings or successes in certain aspects that Mother Ignacia currently enjoys?

In a short answer, three rival entities (with four VHF channels) will have an individual, significant response; CNN Philippines is out of the picture and sectarian UHF networks are barely affected.


For the simpletons, the possibly-former rival will be the undisputed winner in the new TV ratings game as it would hold the virtual monopoly on general entertainment.

Financial-wise, this media company generated 15.236 billion pesos in revenue in 2018 (which is 38% of ABS’) with the asset composition being 62% equity compared to 42% equity from Mother Ignacia. Net income was 15.1% of revenue compared to ABS’ 4.7%.

When it comes to broadcasting divisions, GMA has almost everything that ABS-CBN has except for a full-time sports department.

As this year celebrates its  70th corporate anniversary, a grand homecoming would happen. Will GMA repatriate Ogie Alcasid, Regine Velasquez and Ryza Cenon? Assuming they have returned, will the entertainment department give the displaced talents more exposure and better roles on their upcoming projects?

In the past decade, Timog Avenue’s reality competition shows tend to be “original.” Without ABS-CBN, their mindset should be changed gradually but let’s not be surprised if they are contented with status quo.

In terms of technical aspects, GMA has a varying, inconsistent application in Full HD. While their selected shows on mobile and online are in high definition and on 16:9, TV remains at 4:3. (To borrow Nadine Lustre, ano na, 2020 na!)


The 5 Network

In the eyes of its apologists, the Network from Reliance is perceived as a safe harbor for the displaced artists just because it’s on the nearest neighboring frequency (if you skipped PTV). This would help Jane Basas’ intention of reinstating entertainment programs. The only threat to this opportunity is the ire for insistent, immature anime fans and loyal sports aficionados in social media.

For the time being, TV5 will be No. 2 when Deuce is suddenly gone since entertainment programs have to be pitched first before getting the green light.

A network fan pitched a comprehensive overhaul of Big Brother if the current right’s holder is gone. To be honest, that program franchise is nearly at the declining trend (although we can still continue) but his favorite show, The Amazing Race, is already at that stage. Maybe it’s time to get a new, rising franchise competition show like Lego Masters or to live on the legacy, The Masked Singer.

As of this publication date, the best of Face to Face is airing in the afternoon after Aksyon sa Tanghali. Without Dos, Tiyang Amy Perez can resume her stint and it should be aired on their last timeslot in the late morning so as not to offend the current iconic personality of the network, Raffy Tulfo.

While ABS-CBN currently enjoys the two aforementioned technical advancements, 5 has yet to undertake them very seriously (In addition, their channels are not scanned consistently or at all in DTV set-top boxes — not even on TVPlus).


Government-Owned Media Networks

In aggregate, PTV and IBC generate a bit more than 250 million pesos in 2018. Comparing that to ABS, they need to exert 160 times more effort to earn the level of revenue. When it comes to net income, it’s in the negative (without PCOO subsidy).

While PTV can open up commercial advertisements in the amended charter, they haven’t been that successful to keep up. Why? Public’s reputation, internal network culture, and restrictive mindset. Let’s face it, both GOCCs are not successful cash cows; they are not like PCSO or PAGCOR.

We published a proposed license fee mechanism back in 2017 to generate stable levels of revenue since home shopping, long-time infomercials, long-time blocktimers and part of Lotto games are too varying and not enough to recoup the deepest costs but we admit that it wasn’t a popular measure.

An avid viewer of this network wants to put displaced talents who happened to be a VIVA talent into the network just like in the 1990s. But with this jammed default mindset, it’s asinine, impossible, since Vasra always prioritizes the old man in Malacanang.

Special Case for IBC

Under the governance of the Kabayan’s (Noli de Castro) daughter (Kat) last year, she inherited Old Balara’s financial position under the capital deficiency territory — which means that the measured liabilities are more than its measured assets. (This is much worse than the total assets of which the majority of it is in debt that ABS currently stands.)

Throughout the period, they started to improve its programming (thanks to SMAC Television Production) but the financial performance is yet to be seen.

Last year, two Star Magic talents starred on that channel: Ritz Azul acted in the teleserye Bukas May Kahapon and Heaven Peralejo (the niece of Rica) became the co-host performer of weekend variety show SMAC Pinoy Ito. This year, Awra Briguela (Makmak of FPJAP) will join in the Gen Z-casted noontime show, Yes Yes Yow.

When it comes to Old Balara’s technical aspects in digital television, they take their tests seriously than her sister network amidst a 480i (standard definition) resolution.

That being said, for the time being, Channel 13 cannot be replicated as the #1 network as it was claimed during the first shutdown half a century ago.


Without 101.9, the newest member, DJ Chico, could come back home to Energy FM 106.7. Their loss could also mark 105.9’s opportunity, which means, it’s going to be another rebrand and reformat.

Without DZMM, Radyo Patrol reporters will be scattered to other AM radio stations or create an independent media production.

Final Thoughts

Sure, there are moral lessons in this worst-case scenario of such intervention to glean on — there is a time to swallow on one’s pride and greed.

Shutting down the major media entity’s core business segment will never be enough for their satisfaction; it’s rather a beginning set by these vengeful keyboard nationalists of a bloody battle.

For the die-hard fanatics of this embattled network, their life is now facing danger.

The financial data that was used in the calculation were from their 2018 audited financial reports that are downloadable from their investor relations page (for ABS-CBN and GMA) and from the Commission on Audit website (for PTV and IBC). The 2019 figures are not yet available as they are currently under audit.

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If There Is No More ABS-CBN Again (Part 1): Faring Mother Ignacia’s Performance and Finding the Hatred

[WARNING: The author is not a hater of the media entity in hot water. With apologies to fanatics of this particular network but let’s face it, no media entity is perfect or sacred; every network has its flaws and successes. Please read at your own risk.]

IN the opening salvo almost two weeks ago, this year is the most crucial moment in the Philippine media industry; this is the year ABS-CBN is facing a make-or-break situation — the franchise renewal is at stake.

Six days from now, Congress will resume its plenary session and the bills regarding their franchise renewal are in the bind. Some solons like Laguna Representative Sol Aragones — who was a reporter of her previous employer — wanted to put this bill as urgent and priority before March 30 strikes.

For the past three years, President Rodrigo Duterte constantly objected for their renewal by playing different mind games. Recently, he wanted the network to be sold to his business friend Dennis Uy, the Villars or Manny V. Pangilinan — despite a mix of denials and interests — in order to dilute the Lopezes out of boardroom control anew. In a nutshell, as Ryan Ortega opined, these acts seem to generate “terrible optics.”

While media professionals and enthusiasts generally saw Mother Ignacia’s success in ratings and in business strategy, not everyone is pleased (and it’s not simply because they are hardcore loyalists from Kamuning).

What if the then-fringe, now-significant hardcore supporters of this administration got what they wished for — shutting ABS-CBN down for good or for at least, two years — despite little or no effect or even silence from both the telecommunications authority and their broadcasting associate for their non-renewal.

But before we answer that big question, we will delve into why that particular hate on the network grew and how did the network fare out for the past 10 years.

When did all the hate begin?

It all began after Cory Aquino’s funeral. MMK aired the two-part story of the couple on what would have been the former beloved President’s 77th birthday in January 2010.

Due to the airing, netizens criticized the airing as an indirect platform for their unico hijo, Noynoy Aquino to victory in the polls. At that time, certain personalities were active in the network during the period like Korina Sanchez (spouse of his running mate Mar Roxas) and obviously, her sister, Kris. However, not all personalities in the network endorsed him such as Willie Revillame and Dolphy who endorsed Manny Villar.

When Noynoy won the Presidency at the inaugural automated elections, Ricky Carandang and Manuel L. Quezon III from ANC became part of the Palace’s communications team. (The latter was responsible for making the Official Gazette in touch and informative with social media.) Thus, the weekly anthology series every Saturday became a tool to propel certain candidates into victory.

The year after (2011), a YouTube creator named PinoyMonkeyPride published a series of animated videos repeating buzzwords against the network as it was owned by “oligarchs” and their story “biased” in favor of the then sitting administration.  It may have paved the way for netizens’ inspiration to create their fan pages and blog sites to hate the then-President and its actions wholeheartedly. Their accusations, however, were a mix of truths and baseless claims; it did not pay much attention in the general social media news feed but it escalated as the next presidential election approaches.

During the last days of the election campaign in 2016, this particular network aired attack ads against two candidates in two separate positions. One of them was paid by then-Senator Antonio Trillanes IV (who ran for Vice President but eventually placed dead last) attacking then-Davao City mayor. The other ad is by then-Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares (who at that time ran for Senator for the first time) who attacked against then-Senator Bongbong Marcos (wherein the latter ran but almost won the vice presidency).

After the clear and vindicated victory, the new President persistently made sporadic accusations against the network — from taking unauthorized loans from the Development Bank of the Philippines, unpaid ads and unpaid taxes despite being not true in their annual reports. These soundbites have been relayed over the cyberspace, without fact-checking and hearing the other side, and simply accepted them as gospel truth.

ABS-CBN in the 2010s

Casting aside the political colors, the 2010s on ABS-CBN made significant differences in their programming operations.

Free TV

Through cunning exploitation of absolute advantage, this network broadcast their acquired international franchises of competition shows and freely create their deviations for teens and kids like The Voice and Your Face Sounds Familiar, just to name a few.

As reality competition shows became all the rage and expanded back-to-back on weekend primetime, it pushed game shows obsolete. Regardless of that trade-off, those shows have repetitively been hosted in circles by what the Turf called, the Trinity: Luis Manzano, Billy Crawford and/or Robi Domingo. Speaking of game shows, their selection of players shifted to exclusive, non-committed stars in order to avoid defection to another network. (which became the Turf‘s first breaking point) Nonetheless, both types of shows have injected some comic relief for ratings.

Vice Ganda became the face of the network in the past decade as we see him every day of the week —  at least, on It’s Showtime and on Gandang Gabi Vice (sometimes, he performs on ASAP). His incorrigible, panlalait style of comedy has influenced his co-equals with their fans continuing to tolerate him. In the late part of the decade, his jockeying antics on their live noontime show continued without a sense of time (which became another turning point).

Throughout the past 10 years, this network was responsible for boosting up the “love team manufacturing and enhancing” industry. From their conception at Pinoy Big Brother, they ventured out into drama and anthology and without a doubt, it was successful. It’s no wonder that the reboot of Wansapanataym lost its zeitgeist as a fantasy anthology with moral lessons like the first incarnation into a springboard of kalandian. (Thank goodness, they ended it last September.)

With unified MTRCB ratings fully implemented since 2011, their network’s teleseryes were mostly classified into the SPG territory. The starting times of teleseryes every weekday shifted to pre-noontime since 2012, beginning with Be Careful with My Heart.

In 2013, during their 60th anniversary, they forge a deal with CJ ENM to broadcast O Shopping as an overnight blocktimer. It almost fills up ABS-CBN’s round-the-clock schedule except on Tuesday.

In 2014, Studio 23 became ABS-CBN Sports + Action (later shortened as S+A). In the same year, late-night newscast Bandila reported a mysterious flesh-eating disease in Pangasinan, which turned out to be false.

In 2015, their encrypted set-top box, ABS-CBN TVplus was introduced in the market and were sold hot like hotcakes; as of this publication, it sold 8.9 million units and just last year, they launch their mobile version, TVPlus Go, for commuters. On that same year, Boy Abunda’s The Buzz pulled the plug — putting an end of an era for weekend afternoon showbiz scoops. Meanwhile, FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano premiered and still is the successful teleserye in weekday primetime.

The following year (2016), another TV program genre was put into the dustbins of history as Luv U was the last teen-oriented program to broadcast. Children’s programming (including cartoons and anime) was downgraded into one meager slot on free TV every Sunday morning as the rest were migrated to Yey! (their exclusive digital sub-channel)

In 2019, after 14 years, kiddie-casted sketch comedy show Goin’ Bulilit pulled the plug.

Cable Operations

Because of the trend of cord-cutters — wherein cable subscription is dropped in favor of cheaper or reasonable pricing of the promised offerings on video-on-demand platforms — ABS-CBN discontinued these cable channels within the decade: ABS-CBN Regional Channel, Balls (replaced with Liga), CgeTV, Hero (became a Web portal), Lifestyle (became Metro Channel), Tag (in favor of Cine Mo! and Movie Central) and Velvet.

Radio Operations

In 2013, the network unified the FM branding as My Only Radio (M.O.R.).

Other Ventures

ABS-CBNmobile, their exclusive mobile service provider, did not last that long; the service ran from 2013 to 2018.


If we were to step into their shoes, what will happen if ABS-CBN’s core broadcasting operations suddenly gone? Will their competitors replicate the success of all or certain aspects of Mother Ignacia? That will be discussed further in Part 2.

On Sarah G’s “Tala” and the Rise of OPM Dance Challenges


WHO SAYS OPM is dead? Well, it’s just a bit slow.

As we kicked in the new decade, this song of Sarah Geronimo from 2015 has surfaced over the social media.

The song’s music video, choreographed by Georcelle Dapat-Sy’s G-Force, was released on the following June.

During its debut, it charted at No. 1 in MYX (daily and weekly) and MTV Pinoy (weekly). It placed second on the daily charts on MOR 101.9 and eighth on the weekly Pinas FM 95.5. At its revival, the song reaches Top 10 in every music streaming service.

Within that period of the initial release of that sleeper hit to its revival, several artists from Viva and ABS-CBN performed their dance cover to the song. In addition, the song’s melody was used for Jollibee’s Burger Steak featuring Anne Curtis (her fellow Kapamilya-cum-Viva talent).

Tala became one of the 10 best OPM songs of the decade, according to CNN Philippines. According to author Ian Urrutia, it became a club sensation years after its release and became a new LGBT anthem.

Indeed, netizens have concluded a moral lesson behind the revival: Be patient.

Due to the acclaimed success, the Pop Princess leads the dance party last Sunday on ASAP (celebrating its silver anniversary this February) in order to distract the newcomer All Out Sunday.

In general, challenges — whether by dance or any acts (like Ice Bucket for ALS in 2014) — has been part of the pop culture of the preceding decade. In such matters, it would eventually pass out in the account of our shorter attention spans.

With that in mind, how long will this last? Which music hit will replace and outshine Tala? Let us know in the comments section.

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Timow’s Turf Opening Salvo for 2020: New Decade, New Uncertainty in PH Traditional Media

[WARNING: This outlook post contains visceral and offensive insights from the author’s perspective. We called a spade a spade and read at your own risk.]

THEY SAY the hindsight is 2020, yet, we are just getting started with the New Year.

While we transition into the new decade (rolling over to the year ending in zero), it must, therefore, sense a new chapter, a new paradigm, a new mindset, a new phase.

In this special opening salvo, we focus on the outlook of the traditional media not just for the head of the decade but for the next 10.


In three years, the National Telecommunications Commissions directs that all TV networks must be fully digital transmitted. In other words, it’s not a “sana all” but a “dapat all” by 2023.

This is the latest deadline set in all of Southeast Asia. Brunei already shut their analog transmission in 2017, Singapore and Malaysia recently shut their analog transmission last year, Indonesia will have their analog system switched off completely by 2022. While Thailand has no clear deadline set, they will be certainly ahead of us.

The truth is: This challenge can be done easier on national television networks than regional ones like CLTV 36.

Hence, this year should mean serious business or they might have to adjust to another 10 years.

March 30: Mother Ignacia’s “Day of Reckoning”

Media professionals and enthusiasts are going to be vigilant leading to this particular date of the year. It may sound like a random calendar date but this is the day when ABS-CBN’s 25-year franchise to operate their telecommunications facilities from Congress expires.

Throughout the years, there are constant objections of non-renewal with a litany of both valid and false reasoning made by the die-hard supporters of the current Duterte administration and non-supporter skeptics.

Influential names in business are sprouting to invest to ensure a renewal of this embattled media conglomerate such as Dennis Uy, the Villar family and reportedly, Manny V. Pangilinan (from neighboring TV5) — though his media empire will not be involved. They are trying anything that forces the Lopezes to divest and/or to lose control in the boardroom.

By this time, many are imagining the landscape of our media industry without ABS-CBN for the second time. How will the 8.9 million sets of their TVplus function? Will their broadcast properties — including the Soundstage in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan — be willing to lease or rent to any entity (including their rivals)?

Sure, there will be lessons to be learned before their competitors and all these and more will be tackled on a separate, comprehensive, upcoming post.


GMA at 70

This year, the Timog Avenue Network will celebrate its 70th corporate anniversary.

Among the programs offered this year is the return of Sen. Bong Revilla with Agimat ng Agila — the potential replacement for Daig Kayo ng Lola Ko due to Gloria Romero’s compromising health or Dingdong Dantes’ Amazing Earth.

However, Revilla’s return to the small screen happened last September when his movies were pitted against FPJ on ABS-CBN on Sunday afternoons.

This news drew ire of the netizens and rightfully so, especially for fellow Kapuso talent, Janine Gutierrez.

The bottom line is this: It is a reflection of our collective soft, forgiving and forgetful culture (that leads to the combined damaged culture) when it comes to politicians — especially who is an exclusive actor by day job — with a tainted track record of corruption. In other words, the network cares about money over the implied consequences of morality and common sense.

Meanwhile, another series to watch out for in 2020 is the local remake of Voltes V.

In fairness to the terms of digital television testing, they are reportedly stable and clear in moving objects like a bus but it remains unclear for the stationary areas. The supposed encrypted apparatus as a response to TVplus is yet to be released in the market, despite the trademark registration. While the analog signal remains good, not all programs that air there are Full HD compatible.


The 5 Network

With Jane Basas steering on the ship, she pledges to return with entertainment programming this year.

While Cignal’s exclusive channels will get an improvement — particularly with the launch of the Buhay Komedya “BuKo” channel (under a partnership with APT Entertainment) this Q1 — their plan on the main free-to-air channel remains vague (i.e. no specific programs or genres).

Such vagueness is nothing new since it tends to be broken because they prioritize sports, due to the influence of her predecessor (Chot Reyes) and her superior (Manny V. Pangilinan). It will happen when the Tokyo Olympics in July when Dentsu, the exclusive rights holder of the Games in the Asian continent, taps this network as our country’s official exclusive carrier.

Yet, this network has not given a hint over digital television tests and they aren’t serious in making some of their running programs in Full HD.


Other Networks

CNN Philippines’ brand licensing agreement has extended until 2024. While the flagship American company is on the cross-hairs due to the hostile political climate (especially the formalization of the impeachment trial against U.S. President Donald Trump and the presidential election), our domestic counterpart was mainly due to recognition and acceptance by the general public who are tired of sensationalism rendered by major commercial networks. (Albeit, I shouldn’t forget that there are some people can’t be pleased due to the “impure” programming composition.) In terms of digital broadcasting, this channel’s broadcast can be rendered on Full HD.

While government media entities will not change their pro-incumbency and pro-executive editorial orientation, PTV’s DTV tests are low signal but rendering on 1080i.

In the past year, IBC 13 tried to be relevant again with new programming from SMAC Television Production and enhanced by bagging three PMPC Star Awards after a 12-year drought. Yet — with all due respect — the privatization process becomes a running gag. In their recent developments on that issue, PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar said that it will happen after the tax clearance and “when their franchise is renewed.” Based on their related legislation, their franchise will expire in 2025 (three years after Duterte will no longer be the tenant of the Palace); from that year on, it would mean the process would go back to square one and it won’t get done. In fairness to the terms of digital tests, they are currently on test broadcast, rendering in standard 480i.



While digital television is lurking on the horizon, the same should have been done for radio (HD Radio); unlike TV, no deadline is set for radio. So far, 10 out of 26 FM radio stations in the Metro Manila market has tested this endeavor.

DZIQ 990: Another Target

The Philippine Daily Inquirer’s radio station DZIQ 990 was officially launched on September 9, 2010. Their teleradyo counterpart is aired on May 9, 2016, as a digital subchannel of BEAM TV.

In recent years, it became a high target due to the perceived news angle against the current presidential administration. In retaliation, the government forced to sell the paper’s owners (the Prietos) in Mile Long property in 2017 and Ramon S. Ang would later buy out the paper. But this was far from over, the BIR slapped a complaint against the paper for tax deficiencies with the previous joint venture with GMA on and a few days earlier from that complaint, Victor C. Agustin, a former contributor of this broadsheet and one of the hosts of Cocktales in then-Aksyon TV, files a syndicated estafa against the Prietos.

The losses accumulate due to the complicated episodes surely affect the future operations within and beyond the print. Hence, we go back to their radio operations where it is shortened to 12 hours a day.

Unlike in Mother Ignacia, their franchise expiration is not much in the buzz on online forums and on social media. The Congressional franchise of Trans-Radio Broadcasting Corporation, the company behind DZIQ, is set to expire this July 6.

Other Radio Stations

For Manila Broadcasting Company’s group of radio stations, this will be a challenging year for recovery after the dreadful fire in Pasay City last October.

Just a few days ago, Crossover 105.1’s signature smooth jazz format was put to a stop around the airwaves after 25 years but they are still playing on their app. It signaled a full move to Internet radio. (It’s a plot twist.)

While the lessons at 105.1 are learned, neighbor DWLA-FM 105.9 MHz (we’re not using their current branding to avoid further jinxes) has to as the previous decade harnessed four (?) R&Rs (rebrandings and reformats). Perhaps, the resolution we can give to them is to stop their indecisiveness and desperation and realize their mistakes and shortcomings. The eyebrow-raising question is: Will they ever learn at all?



We don’t know what’s in store for this year and the rest of the 2020s as the timeless adage goes, “The past is history; the future is a mystery; today is a gift and that is why we call it a present.”

To end this opening post, let Princess Elsa sing the sentiment:

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Swiping Through the 2010s: 2019

WE are at the homestretch of the decade. How will you remember the following events?

On January 21 and February 6, the Bangsamoro Organic Law is ratified, replacing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Cotabato City and 63 barangays in North Cotabato join the ARMM in forming the new region. In December, Compostela Valley voters ratify in the plebiscite on the change of their province’s name to Davao de Oro.

May 13: Our midterm election proves to be not much of a big deal nationally but with a big shock: the allies of President Duterte won 9 seats of the Senate (including Napoles pork barrel scam-involved Bong Revilla), three independents (Poe, Binay and Lapid) and none from the opposition. Few local races prove otherwise: Isko Moreno defeats Joseph Estrada’s bid for the third term as Mayor of Manila. In Pasig, one-term councilor Vico Sotto tumbles Eusebios’ 27-year reign as the new mayor of the city. The silver lining of this election: all of the members of the Estrada family who ran for office at different levels (especially, re-electionist JV and scot-free Jinggoy to the Senate) and in different places were defeated.

In the international scientific community, we are fascinated by the capture of the first image of a black hole. Here, we have described a new Homo species discovered in Callao Cave in Cagayan from 2007 — Homo luzonensis.

In October, amidst the Barretto family feud, the Apolaki Caldera is discovered by Jenny Anne Barretto (not in any relation to the fighting sisters) located within Benham Rise. It covers 150 kilometers in diameter.

Last April 22, earthquake rattling Central Luzon and six months later in Mindanao.

Health problems galore: polio has returned after 19 years, measles outbreak has been declared resulting from distrust from vaccines and African swine fever fearing further consumption of pork.

JUNE: The Kapa investment scam surfaces when its Community Ministry International promises a 30% monthly return of investment for life. The religious organization is founded by Joel Apolinario, who is dubbed to be the modern-day Moses by their congregation. This also incites Apollo Quiboloy, a close friend of President Duterte, and Apolinario into a petty holy war.

The year was South America’s pivotal year in geopolitics:

  • Jair Bolsonaro was sworn in as President of Brazil,
  • The dispute on who is the real President of Venezuela is between Nicolas Maduro and Juan Guaido.
  • Bolivian President Evo Morales fled to Mexico over the tainted election results.
  • Mauricio Macri of Argentina lost his bid for the second term of his Presidency to Alberto Fernandez.
  • Peru’s president Martin Vizcarra dissolved the Fujimorist-controlled Congress.
  • Ecuador and Chile had a protest; the latter is ongoing and forced to cancel the APEC Summit for the first time in history.

The first weeks of May was the moment of Asian monarchies. Emperor Naruhito assumed the Japanese throne after the abdication of his father, Emperor Emeritus Akihito. The ascension heralded the beginning of the Reiwa era. In Thailand, King Vajiralongkorn was crowned three years after the demise of his father.

Hong Kong protests continue to persist even after the anti-extradition bill is scrapped and the local district elections win in their favor.

In Paris, France, the Notre Dame’s wooden roof (including its sole timbre spire) was engulfed in flames and in South America, the wildfires of the Amazon rain forest worsened that could impact the world’s natural oxygen supply.

The year 2019 will be remembered for two personalities:

  • Dante Gulapa: His gyrating eagle dance becomes a viral Internet sensation. He would later took part in the Election Series on GMA.
  • Gretchen Diez: The transgender woman who was arrested for using a female restroom that arises the debate of the controversial Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Equality Bill.

During the climate action strike week in September, Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg becomes the face against politicians who are climate change denialists.

November 30-December 11: We host the SEA Games after 14 years; despite the pre-opening hiccups, we bag 149 gold medals, breaking the gold medal record. Gold medalists include Carlos Yulo (gymnast), Agatha Wong (wushu), Roger Casugay (surfing), EJ Obiena (pole vault), James Deiparine (swimming) and Neshty Petecio (boxing). Rex Intal and his volleyball teammates crush powerhouse Thailand in the semifinals and win the silver medal after losing to Indonesia.

December 18: US President Donald Trump is formally impeached with two articles (for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress) by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.

Media Developments

This 2019 is the year of media mergers and acquisitions in America. The former refers to Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox while the latter is a merger of Viacom and CBS. Meanwhile, video-on-demand services continue to sprout threatening Netflix. This year, Disney+ is launched in November as a kid-friendly streaming service.


January: After learning out that AksyonTV has outgrown into a sports channel, the UHF channel was renamed to 5Plus. In their own cable service, Cignal, One Sports was launched.

Under Kat De Castro, IBC 13 tried to be relevant again as the Kaibigan Network with the aid of SMAC Television Production. It paid off with three PMPC Star Awards (one affiliated with SMAC, two from Talents Academy) and one Anak TV Seal Award (for Talents Academy).

June 5: GMA News TV moved to Channel 27 from Channel 11 after canceling the lease agreements with Zoe Broadcasting Network. The move restored the traditional balance.

June 8: Veteran actor Eddie Garcia slips out during the shooting of Rosang Agimat (GMA Network) and died 12 days later.

August 4: ABS-CBN’s kiddie gag show Goin’ Bulilit pulled the plug after 14 years.

September 1: The second iteration of Wansapanataym, which has been tainted with love teams, was axed and replaced it with horrorserye.

September 30: Solar Sports lays an egg when their airing rights of the NBA ends after two years in controversy, forcing the end of NBA Premium and BTV and the EasyTV Digibox service. But the league was saved by CNN Philippines, which in turn has renewed its branding rights for five more years.

July: The Bea-Gerald-Julia love triangle and the actor’s ghosting issue distracts during the SONA week.

July 27-31: The Lotto Draw is suspended for four days due to the unproven, alleged corruption within PCSO.

August 2: Rhea Santos’ final appearance on GMA Network.

At half an hour past midnight of October 2, Star City was ablaze, affecting the nearby facilities of most MBC’s radio networks.

October: Barretto sisters fight during the father’s funeral.

November: Your Moment becomes our local reality competition show ready to be franchised internationally.

S+A shuts down its analog transmission market area by market area.

Teleseryes that define 2019: Sahaya (GMA), Los Bastardos (ABS-CBN), Dragon Lady (GMA), The General’s Daughter (ABS-CBN) and Beautiful Justice (GMA)

On December 19, the Trial of the Decade, regarding the Maguindanao Massacre of 2009, concludes with a guilty verdict against the principal suspects — particularly, the five out of eight members of the Ampatuan Family — sentencing in reclusion perpetua with no parole.


The year earned the first championship titles for the top 4 major professional leagues except for the NFL. St. Louis Blues won the Stanley Cup (NHL), Toronto Raptors with their Larry O’Brien trophy (NBA) and Washington Nationals for the World Series (MLB).

In local sporting scene, we almost had a perfect streak:

  • Premier Volleyball League: In the Open Conference, the Creamline Cool Smashers won spotless during the elimination round and won during the playoffs.
  • UAAP: Ateneo men’s basketball team (the Blue Eagles) won with a clean record in the elimination round, forcing a stepladder format. During the stepladder format, UST pushed UP off the finals berth but the Blue Eagles won comfortably.
  • NCAA: Dynasty-building San Beda Red Lions won a clean record during the elimination phase and like they UAAP, it forces a stepladder format. However, they lost to the Letran Knights.


The Marvel Cinematic Universe ends its Phase 3. Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame becomes the top-grossing film of all time. Spider-Man: Far From Home is almost the last Spiderman movie that struck the deal between Marvel and Sony. The controversial Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix as the titular character of Batman’s nemesis, is in the top 10 box office.

Disney films that are successful include Frozen II, Toy Story 4. There are also mixed reviews, the live-action of classics Aladdin and The Lion King.

The most-discussed Japanese anime film this year is Weathering With You.

Being the centennial year of Philippine cinema, the films we associate in 2019 (non-MMFF) include Quezon’s Game, Family History, Hello Love Goodbye and Isa Pa With Feelings. Amidst the commercialism, the MMFF Best Picture awards to Mindanao (directed by Brillante Mendoza).


  • Foreign artists that are on the Billboard Charts this year include Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X, Travis Scott, Lizzo and Lewis Capaldi.
  • Another rapper dies to wrap up the decade: Juice WRLD.
  • Locally, we have SB19.

That ends the Swiping through the 2010s.

There are some omissions — deliberately or not — as we try to get the most important and significant information. In terms of obituaries, we omit some names that are controversial like Jeffrey Epstein, Muammar Gaddafi or that ISIS leader.

Here’s a little factoid: The bottom graphics’ background color in every featured image and custom thumbnail presented are based on Pantone’s Color of the Year it corresponds (using the RGB values).

Happy New Decade!

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The State of High-Definition Television in the Philippines and Its Future

[REQUESTED by JC Domondon]

SUPPOSED that you joined a raffle at the Christmas party in your office and you happened to win a flat-screen TV. Immediately or at the right time, you decided to install, adjust the indoor-outdoor antenna and scan any available channels.

Once the setup is done, you realize that the picture you receive was not as clear as what you have glimpsed on a window display in the appliance center. In addition, the picture seems to be stretched or zoomed.

You checked the box and the manual and they were consistently labelled. What went wrong? Isn’t what a high-definition television is supposed to be functioned?

A high-definition television (HDTV) is what said in the tin: it’s a TV set that renders a clear, refined widescreen picture and crisper audio than standard definition (those bulky CRT screens that are still rendered as nakikinabang).

Though it does not guarantee a key toward digital broadcasting as it needs digital encoding facilities, it is somehow a must to ensure the best transition.

There are three common formats of HDTV (all under 16:9 aspect ratio): 720p, 1080i (a.k.a Full HD) and 1080p. The number before the letter is frame resolution — the lines scanned from left to right stacked vertically; the but what’s with the i’s and p’s?

They’re interlaced and progressive scans. What’s the difference?

  • An interlaced scan is a technique for doubling the perceived frame rate of a video display without consuming extra bandwidth. This is the most common technique for TV broadcast.
  • A progressive scan is a format of displaying, storing or transmitting moving images in which all the lines of each frame are drawn in sequence. This can only be found whenever you watch a Facebook and YouTube video.

Back to the opening situation of expectation vs. reality, what could be the big problem? Probably, the fault of their distinctive responsibilities and lack of cooperation between manufacturers, broadcasters, and the responsible government agency.

Some TV manufacturers defy the standards set by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC). For broadcasters, not all of their equipment and inventory used are genuinely Full HD (hence, stuck in 4:3 SDTV) and not all of their transmitters — originating and relay — are  compatible to cover. In all respects, the regulatory authority were deemed not serious in implementation.

This is lamenting and they should be reminded that it is not a “sana all” but a “dapat all” come 2023 when digital television must be the exclusive means of broadcasting transmission.

Due to serious work ethics, most of the UHF networks’ programs have already converted into Full HD. Major ones, not quite; on the Big 3: one is trying but under threat of losing their franchise, one is inconsistent and one has not yet even started as some of the loyalists observe.

The Future

In the early part of the decade, the window displays in mainstream appliance stores  showed high definition TVs (up to 1080p on a 16:9 aspect ratio). As we are about to close, new brands with 4K UHD and curved TVs begin to sprout in the market.

What’s with the 4K and 8K sets? They are both are classified as ultra high definition (UHD) television. The former picture format is now on the mainstream market with very prohibitive pricing. Meanwhile, the latter is on development and field trials in Japan and South Korea; this experiment will be taken during the Tokyo Olympics come July by Japan’s state broadcaster NHK and Italian public broadcaster RAI.

By 2023, 8K-ready devices will account for 3% of UHDTV and their prototype continues working towards a 24K resolution.

With the fast pace of technology, what should be the response for the government and private authorities here?

Broadcasting organizations like the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) and in collaboration with the NTC should set a goal to reach all programming at least in Full HD before the transition completion. In other words, intervention is a must.

If I were to set a goalpost, by the end of the first quarter or the first half of 2020, at least three hours per broadcast week must be in Full HD.

Of course, enforcing these things would mean losing competitors (most regional networks can’t afford it and some national ones) because a lot of money is needed and the NTC would have no choice to extend the deadline until God knows when.



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Six Years On: Timow’s Turf Anniversary Retrospects and Plans

Turf 6 years

SIX YEARS ago yesterday, I created this WordPress blog as a response and support blog to From the Tube.

As time marches on, the Turf distances itself to be more independent and distinctive and tends to go beyond the tube.

So, how did I fare so far in 2019?

One Hit, Many Misses

The sole hit is that we expect to reach 48 posts this year. As of this publication, this is considered the 49th.

While this is a good achievement, there are more misses.

I’ve been overestimated with the expected number of the official Facebook Page likes. I expected to reach about 470 by the end of the year but right now, it’s 286 likes. Likewise for the WordPress metrics (views, visitors, likes and comments), they are much lower than I estimated.

I attributed that to the committed projects. One is ongoing (Swiping through the 2010s) and one is a series of political posts.

Now, I have learned a hard way — a sigmoidal way — where there is always a limit.


Because of the ongoing projects this year, I missed certain topics that I believe I do like:

  • During the first five months (during The Filipino Decides), I could’ve made a post about establishing our own C-SPAN, as this U.S. cable channel turned 40 last March.
  • I could have helped PJ Baloloy on two radio-related articles. Firstly, with regards to music selections on MBC’s radio stations but I did post a call-out on irregular maintenance of music charts. Secondly, regarding Wish 107.5 on their 5th anniversary, I should have appended about the potential revenues generated from watching their videos on their official YouTube channel via Socialblade.
  • Last July, I could’ve written about noontime show culture — in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of Eat Bulaga and the 10th anniversary of It’s Showtime — and why it won’t come away or won’t be challenged. Yet, I already made an indirect catching up: a warning over a new competitor on a resurgent, second government-owned channel (so far, they haven’t broadcast their pilot episode).
  • On other topics in the database, JC Domondon’s recycled annual proposal “SONA and the Red Carpet” would be an interesting topic to write on. Unfortunately, this was overturned by Miggy Tapuyao’s heated priority request about alternative ways if ABS-CBN’s franchise is not renewed.

The topic proposal mechanism in place has affected two loyal users. I have to admit that their proposals were good but they have been overturned with popular and urgent ones.

No Regrets (Sorry Not Sorry)

Although I had lower hits, I did not regret posting from January to May over the election series over the implications of different sectors under the federalized Philippines, which people couldn’t understand the implied consequences, at least in my point of view, since most were fed up with exaggerated promises from individual candidates.

During that time, I declined some political topics; one of them being about local politics of his hometown supporting the President. (To cut the long story short: This is not an isolated case.)

Another thing that I did not regret not writing about is the proposed Grand Star Night by Lorenzo Kiel M. Cerin (LoKi Serene). His goal was to join the exclusive stars from ABS-CBN and GMA. Even though renamed to “Fusion 2020,” they were rejected both ways; indeed, it was asinine to materialize due to the permanency of duopoly tribalism or in DryedMangoez’s terms, “network war culture.”

Looking Onward

With the lamentations and reliefs have been exposed, let us unravel the plans for the head of the new decade:

The Calendar of Posts

We are always up on January 2 for an opening insight and on December 29 for the recap. For the past three consecutive years, October 23 has become a tradition of publishing a blog post related to television in the Philippines. I guess we should add that permanent fixture from now on.

Since this coming year is a leap year, we will include February 29 is also an open, fixed post. (I missed back in 2016 due to the election cycle.)

As usual, the Holy Week and Christmas posts will retain, as also with the midyear report.

Do remember: Our off days are Mondays and national holidays.

Blog Post Reduction

While putting new pinned dates in the permanent blogging calendar, I regret to inform that there will be a drastic reduction of blog posts. At least 37 posts will be published this coming year with at least seven slots for your fixed requests. Of course, there would be more in case of emergency and a sense of urgency, in addition to traditional posts.

Where would the energies be concentrated? To other creative energies like writing a novel and sporadic, non-fiction writing on Medium.

Modification to Voting Mechanism

The first fixed request slot for 2020 will be on January 14 and proposals can come in this Tuesday (December 17). Still, the first three valid proposals will be served.

There is a new option aside from “Anything than Proposed,” it’s called “Reset Proposals.” This means that the proposal slate starts over again for new proposals.

The first to reach a certain number of votes (including the new option) will be acted upon.

Speaking of creative energies:

Non-Metro Manila Flag Redesigns Vol. 2

With regards to the next set of non-Metro Manila city flag redesigns, it will be up by January after the Swiping through the 2010s wraps up. Eleven (11) more cities are ready for description and will begin the presentation process; it is not going be easy to create the concepts because it needs research about their historical and economic backgrounds.

Guiding Principles

Before I wrap up this special post, I was inspired by the guidelines of former PBS news anchor Jim Lehrer a bit more than ten years ago.

With that in mind, I decided to forge my own (it’s a bit short yet substantial):

  • Write and present something interesting and challenging, whether in the mainstream or under the radar.
  • Listen, analyze and understand confirmed and potential viewpoints to the topic I would want to cover.
  • Admit any shortcomings and allow constructive criticism but defend the rationale — or at least, the iota — behind it.
  • Lastly, I am not into teleseryes. (Consider this as a restriction to article requests.)

For those who have been with us for six years now, thank you so much for your unwavering support.

Enjoy your holidays!

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Timow’s Turf Holiday Insight Roundup 2019-2020

LAST CHRISTMAS… I gave you my heart… but the very next day… you gave it away…

INDEED, this is the last Christmas of the 2010s but for some ill-wishers, it could be the last Christmas for a notorious major TV network.

Whatever you perceive, our Yuletide tradition continues and you already know why it’s up. For those who are new or don’t understand this quirky culture, we are telling up what will happen throughout the season in Philippine (free-to-air) television.

This annual post will take place of the weekly media roundup. The scope will last from today (December 7, 2019) to January 8, 2020. (Don’t worry, this will be updated throughout the period.)


Major political events that happened and expected throughout the season:

  • On December 19, the case of the Maguindanao massacre that happened 10 years ago was handed down in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City with five of the Ampatuan scions convicted. Through the primary feed from PTV, it was the most awaited news item that every media professional and every people expected.
  • During that day, CNN Philippines announced the formal impeachment of US President Donald Trump using the American flagship feed while the verdict was waiting.
  • December 21 was Armed Forces Day. Within this week, President Duterte led the rites and inspected its military capabilities.
  • Rizal Day (Monday, December 30) is another holiday that the President usually expects to show up but for the second consecutive time, he skipped the rites in Luneta — instead, he led the rites in his hometown in Davao City. At the place of the martyr’s execution, this was the first time under Manila Mayor Isko Moreno.


Specific Entertainment News

New Sunday Horror Series

On December 8, The Haunted replaced Parasite Island (starring Jake Cuenca, Denise Laurel and Shaina Magdayao) as the weekly horrorserye on ABS-CBN.

Battle of E-Commerce: Year-End Sale Edition

Last November 10, the countdown to the 11.11 sale of Lazada and Shopee happened live on the South Triangle networks. This time, it is on the 12.12 sale, Eat Bulaga promoted ahead of time and set aside some airtime for the Shopee Shake segment. In the natural spirit of competition, the rival, It’s Showtime, should have done likewise but the countdown happened online exclusively on LazTV.

The End of Sunday PinaSaya


After more than four years, musical-comedy noontime variety show Sunday PinaSaya bowed out on December 22.

While lamentation is expected in the eyes of loyal viewers and eventual victory for ASAP on the other side of the fence, the real reason behind the pull is their non-renewal of the contract with APT Entertainment as the producer forged with an exclusive partnership with Cignal to form Buhay Komedya (BuKo) channel that will be launched in February next year.

Its network-produced replacement, All Out Sunday, will premiere on the first Sunday of the new decade (January 5, 2020).

Annual Traditions

  • DECEMBER 14: The main competition of the Giant Lantern Festival in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga was carried live on CLTV 36.
  • During Christmas and New Year’s Eve, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) conducted its Lotto Draw in the afternoon instead of the evening to accommodate their employees to prepare their respective festive meals; there are no selling of ticket and drawing numbers the following day. There was a Mini-Sweepstakes but it was neither publicized nor televised.
  • ABS-CBN’s Christmas special took place on December 10 at the Araneta Coliseum; the taped telecast aired the following weekend (December 14-15). GMA did not respond and it’s not surprising for they had spent it with the 11.11 countdown and they planned for their New Year Countdown (more on that in a bit).

Last 2 of the Big 4 Beauty Pageants

Gazini and Michelle.png

Gazini Ganados (left) and Michelle Dee (right) — both 23 — are the last two hopefuls for continuing the streak of the Big 4 crown.

Under usual circumstances, Miss Universe is the last to be crowned among the Big 4 international pageants but this year, it was ahead of Miss World.

Gazini Ganados competed with 92 other entrants in Atlanta, Georgia, the USA on December 9 (Philippine time) for the former pageant in finding Catriona Gray’s successor. The coronation was be carried live on ABS-CBN and on replay on Sunday’s Best. Though Ganados failed to reach the Top 10, ending the nine-year streak, she won the Best National Costume.

Michelle Dee (the daughter of Melanie Marquez) challenged the other 112 entrants in Miss World in London on December 14 (with the slightly delayed telecast on GMA). Dee placed Top 12, hereby, ending the historic Big 4 streak.

Metro Manila Film Festival

The 45th Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) marked the conclusion of this Centennial Year of Philippine Cinema. While the selections are met unsurprisingly with mixed reactions, the dates of two events related to this annual affair are confirmed:

  • December 22: Parade of Stars in Taguig City
  • December 27: Awards Night, New Frontier Theater, Quezon City

Both events were carried live on Facebook and YouTube under Viva Entertainment. No broadcaster carried the parade but there was a same-day delayed telecast for the Gabi ng Parangal on The 5 Network.

In case you don’t know: last year, Kapamilya Box Office (which is exclusive to TVplus) carried both events live.

Final Days of the Decade

Expect It’s Showtime and Eat Bulaga to reminisce the best of the year from December 26 until 31 as long both variety shows must have an opening production by New Year’s Day.

The same was treated for public affairs programs and Sunday magazine shows.

The Last Day of the 2010s


While revelry filled the air on New Decade’s Eve, four TV networks are certain in covering the turnover of the old to the new:

  • By intuition, ABS-CBN should have a simple Salubong 2020 under the News and Current Affair but this time, a grand star-studded celebration in Bonifacio Global City Taguig, titled “2020 Rising.” Party began at 8 p.m. on iWant with the main channel joining up at 11:00 p.m.
  • CNN Philippines covered a few minutes before each top of the hour on the transition of the year east of the country — starting from New Zealand. They also carried the countdown in Times Square, New York from its flagship feed.
  • iedFor GMA, the star-studded New Year Countdown — in its 17th edition — part in SM Mall of Asia for the 13th time.
  • For UNTV, in the hours leading to the New Year had the traditional Repaso followed by the first newscast.


Traditional observers tend to celebrate the holidays through this genre. In chronological order:

  • Simbang Gabi masses. This is ABS-CBN’s tradition that is broadcast on the Chapel of the Annunciation. Meanwhile, SVD-MCFI’s iteration is usually on S+A but it is unclear if they are airing this year, given that the regular Family TV Mass is on 5Plus. For the first time, Pope Francis led this distinctive novena Mass from the Vatican and was aired on EWTN with relays from ANC and CNN Philippines.
  • Midnight Mass. The televised liturgy in Mother Ignacia stays right after Bandila on the Christmas Eve broadcast day schedule. The one from inside St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City that happens a few hours later is reserved for the news channels. As usual, GMA telecasted it as the last program on the Christmas Day broadcast menu.
  • Urbi et Orbi (7:00 p.m.) The news channels are likely to cover the Message and Apostolic Blessing from the central loggia (balcony) of St. Peter’s Basilica in full since newscasts are ongoing.
  • New Year’s Day Masses. This was conducted immediately for ABS-CBN after the countdown and the 5 Network has done likewise from Tierra de Maria in Tagaytay as the first program of the broadcast day.



The New Clark City Athletics Stadium was the spotlight of the Closing Ceremony of the 30th Southeast Asian Games. (Credits to Josh Albelda)

  • DECEMBER 8: The PBA Draft took place in Robinson’s Place Manila in Ermita. Usually done on 5 live, it wasn’t done due to Southeast Asian Games, although the live pick was covered on PBA Rush.
  • DECEMBER 11: The closing ceremony of the 30th SEA Games took place in New Clark City Athletics Stadium, Capas, Tarlac. (S+A, PTV, CNN Philippines and miraculously, GMA News TV, carried the ceremony live. TV5 carried on a delayed basis.)
  • DECEMBER 13-23: From this day, PBA Governor’s Cup Semifinals took place. There will be another two-week break before the Finals, meaning no Christmas Day games for the second straight year.
  • DECEMBER 26: It’s the NBA Christmas Day games. Falling on a Thursday, it would be impossible for CNN Philippines (the temporary holder of the regular, selected weekend games) to broadcast but the official website confirmed the airing of one of five games slated live. The particular game is Los Angeles Clippers (where 2019 NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard plays) playing at Los Angeles Lakers (where LeBron James plays) at 9:00 a.m. The Clippers defeated home team Lakers, 111-106.
  • JANUARY 2: Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California and all other New Year’s Bowls took place but unlike the past two years, neither 5 nor 5Plus broadcast this live.

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Photos courtesy of Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC), Rappler, ABS-CBN, GMA and