Philippine National Holidays for 2021

Lapu-Lapu Statue in Cebu

A COMMEMORATIVE YEAR AHEAD. The year 2021 will mark the commemoration of two (or three) angles of Philippine history. The first two will mark the Quincentenary of Christianization of the country and the bravery of Lapu-Lapu in resistance to foreign rule (his statue in Cebu, pictured above); the last one is the 450th anniversary of the modern founding of the City of Manila.

IT IS TRADITION here for Timow’s Turf to herald the national holidays for the upcoming year. (Well, for determining when we will be active or not.)

Yesterday, Malacanang Palace released Proclamation No. 986, dated July 30, 2020, to the public detailing such matters. (Yes, this issue was subsequentially released after the Eid al-Adha proclamation.)

The list effectively supersedes those of the printed commercial calendars that only published regular holidays and gives a hint ahead to diary publishers, unlike last year, before printing their annual stationery.

National Holidays at a Glance


  • January 1 (Friday): New Year’s Day
  • April 1: Maundy Thursday
  • April 2: Good Friday
  • April 9 (Friday): Araw ng Kagitingan
  • May 1 (Saturday): Labor Day
  • May 13 (Thursday)*: Eid al-Fitr
  • June 12 (Saturday): Independence Day
  • July 20 (Tuesday)*: Eid al-Adha
  • August 30 (Monday): National Heroes’ Day
  • November 30 (Tuesday): Bonifacio Day
  • December 25 (Saturday): Christmas Day
  • December 30 (Thursday): Rizal Day

Special Non-Working

  • February 12 (Friday): Lunar New Year
  • February 25 (Thursday): People Power Day
  • April 3: Black Saturday
  • August 21 (Saturday): Ninoy Aquino Day
  • November 1 (Monday): All Saints’ Day
  • November 2 (Tuesday): All Souls’ Day
  • December 8 (Wednesday): Immaculate Conception
  • December 24 (Friday): Christmas Eve
  • December 31 (Friday): New Year’s Eve


NOTE: The dates of both Muslim holidays are promulgated by Southeast Asian countries by approximation. The final dates will be determined by the Presidential proclamation.


Marking Your Vacation Leaves

NOTE: Regional, provincial and municipal holidays are not included in this matter. Please consult the concerned authorities.

In the general list, the golden text means an automatically created long weekend but the green text suggests that there should be one day leave between the weekend and the weekday holiday.

Should 2021 be considered safe for leisure travel, here are four (4) strategies to file the vacation leave:

  • Take a week’s leave after Holy Week to get 11 days of rest (April 1 to 11).
  • Take a week’s leave after Ninoy Aquino Day to get 10 days of rest (August 21 to 30).
  • Take six days of leave during the week of Bonifacio Day until Immaculate Conception to get 12 days of rest. (November 27 to December 8).
  • Max out the three weekdays between Christmas and New Year holidays to get 10 days of rest. (December 24, 2021 to January 2, 2022).


Fear of Traveling

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, your vacation plans filed and planned for this year have been thwarted out. The dreadful impact of the aviation and tourism industry arising from it is manifested and is yet to be seen; what we’re sure now is things won’t be the same again.

In a normal sense for employers, lost and unused vacation leaves could not be recovered and could not carry forward to another year. However, there are some employers that are generous that would allow lost VLs to accumulate for the coming year.

For the employees, we can’t blame you for having FOTO or FOGO (fear of traveling out and fear of going out, respectively) rather than being FOMO even after this pandemic subsides. As such, the filed VLs can be used for your mental health break.


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Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Many Names of Channel 5, What Would Have Been Their New Name and What’s Next for Them?

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is originally requested by Miggy Tapuyao before the country went into the ongoing, persistent lockdown arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. This post was initially scheduled for June 19, the 60th anniversary of Channel 5’s inaugural broadcast, but we decided to postpone it for the urgent event.]

TV5 Media Center

TV5 Media Center

IN SIX DAYS, one of the VHF channels is making a change after being postponed from April 13 launch due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic — Channel 5 will have a new name… or is it?

It would have been called ONE TV come Monday (July 20) but its planned rebranding was reportedly averted due to possible impacts on the network’s brand recognition with the solid viewers and for the new fans.

The primary reason for the new name was to be consistent with ONE-branded channels that are exclusive on Cignal.

Before the Great Lockdown on March 8 — one week before community quarantine was declared — ONE Sports replaced 5Plus on free-to-air UHF channel 41. The aforementioned namesake cable channel appended the plus sign (+) after the Sports. Three months later, Cignal launches ONE Screen as a replacement for the recently closed FOX Filipino.

Back to Channel 5 and before we look onward, let’s pay tribute to their former names.

What to Call Them?

In ordinary parlance, we call the current mother channel in Reliance/Novaliches as TV5, even though that term remains valid for corporate and trade purposes. When it is promoted and advertised, the channel during their broadcasting operation is called 5, which initially gives some confusion and irritation from grammar cops.

Their Corporate Names (In Legal and Business Talk)

  • 1960-1972. Associated Broadcasting Corporation
  • 1992-2008. Associated Broadcasting Company
  • 1992-2015. ABC Development Corporation
  • 2015-present. TV5 Network, Inc.

The Channel’s Branding (In Pleb Talk)

  • June 19, 1960 – September 23, 1972; February 21, 1992- August 8, 2008. ABC
  • August 9, 2008 – February 16, 2018. TV5
  • February 17, 2018 – July 19, 2020. The 5 Network (known simply as 5)

Programming Changes for Channel 5

Infusion of Selected ONE News Programs

The infusion of ONE-branded programs into the mother channel began in February 2019 with The Big Story and One Balita. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the end of their Aksyon newscast branding and it was replaced with ONE News Now’s special coverage of the lockdown.

The next chapter for Channel 5

So far, we have heard rumors that three programs will be offered in the new chapter of the said channel:

  • Ms. Luchi Cruz Valdes will tackle “Usapang Real Life,”
  • the return of Kris Aquino on the small screen with “Love Life with Kris”, and
  • the return of Ryan Agoncillo with “Bangon Talentadong Pinoy.”

Kris’ show is planned to premiere on July 25th but it is deferred.

What are we sure and unsure of?

What we are not sure is when its nickname for 10 years — the Kapatid Network — will continue to carry over from this upcoming endeavor; what we are sure are (1) that the current call sign of its flagship Metro Manila station, DWET-TV, remains unchanged and (2) that the ownership remains under Manny V. Pangilinan’s MediaQuest.

However, the most important test for Channel 5 now is to how worthy they will be as a new, formidable competitor to GMA now that the South Triangle Duopoly Network War is in the history books.

They have to address a lot of their deficiencies by emulating the best (e.g. boosting the over-the-air signal, taking digital television endeavors very seriously) and learning from the worsts (e.g. particular programming, encryption of their digital subchannels) from the now-has-been-downscaled network from Mother Ignacia but they shouldn’t forget their own distinct style.

Good luck, Channel 5, on what your over-all plan of execution it will be.

P.S. It is a coincidence that I publish this post on Boss Manny V. Pangilinan’s birthday today. Best wishes.

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Photo courtesy of TV5/ Wikimedia Commons

The Possible Next Steps for ABS-CBN



The transmitting tower (right) of ABS-CBN Broadcasting Centre in Mother Ignacia has been off for 65 days, as of this publication. The main question is: When will it be back on?

TWO MONTHS ON (and four days) since Channel 2 — and 23 — was off the air has triggered the consequential domino effect.

While losing a major player may not be affected by those who have no love lost due to their solid conviction of “making the Philippines great again”, those who served in the advertising industry are. Also, it has affected the job prospects not just for Mass Communication graduates but also for electronics communications engineers (ECEs).

Like what the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas’ president Jun Nicdao feared, this shutdown stalls the overall progress of digital terrestrial television. The National Telecommunications Commission, who issued the two cease-and-desist orders, will face a dilemma on whether the national analog switch-off in 2023 will proceed as planned or will push back sometime later. Neither the concerned agency nor its parent department, the Department of Information and Communications Technology knew that we are the last country in Southeast Asia to transition to digital terrestrial television.

In one of ABS’ group of companies, ABS-CBN Foundation, Inc. is losing out since they rely on their sister companies’ profits to stay afloat. Other than the losing sources of revenue to alleviate this pandemic, this will put their Bantay Bata 163 hotline at risk of discontinuing operation after 23 years and it might be relinquished to the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

An Esquire article published a week ago mentioned that its employees are allowed to transfer to other networks. It notes that the management will not be held to the non-compete clause in their work contracts. With three weeks until the ax, the days of being one of the best employers in the country will be over.

For the (entertainment) talents, their exclusive contracts got suspended from this lingering controversy, in addition to project abeyances. One time, comedian Pokwang played as the contestant on Bawal Judgmental on Eat Bulaga. While netizens think this is a sign of her move to the then-rival-for-now-dominant network, she has proper permission and the show is actually produced by TAPE and not by GMA.

The 12 prolonged, dramatic House hearings over the franchise renewal, spearheaded by ringmaster Deputy Speaker Rep. Rodante Marcoleta and company, has come to a close. For Speaker Alan Cayetano, he wished that all hearings on granting individual broadcast franchises be as “exhaustive” as this one.


But after this — and if they rejected their franchise renewal — what will be the next possible steps?

  • This coming Monday (July 13), the Supreme Court will hear the network against the NTC on why they got the cease and desist order when other broadcasting and telecommunication entities who have theirs lapsed continue to serve.
  • The executives of Mother Ignacia can convince ZOE Broadcasting Network to lease the inactive Channel 11 frequency for two reasons: (1) they have more money than the former and much loyal tenant, GMA, and (2) The Kapamilya Channel is not accessible to viewers since they have to pay their monthly cable fee.

If the few options end up not in their favor, the media conglomerate can safely say that its primary operations have shifted and downscaled from radio and television to producing for streaming services (on iWant) and their newscasts into social media accounts. In other words, it’s Netflix and Rappler combined.

This means new broadcast partnerships — from UAAP to Miss Universe Organization — for the remaining networks must be made. It will never be the same as it has done for many years.

That being said, we could acclaim that we are now living in a “new normal” for the Philippine TV broadcasting industry and the hardcore demagogue apologists got what they wished.


Ladies and gentlemen, in a few moments, we will be on the post-Mother Ignacia phase of the Philippine broadcasting industry. Please stand by.


Do you have any possible next steps for Mother Ignacia? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Timow’s Turf Midyear Report 2020

[AUTHOR’S WARNING: Some of the content include indirect and/or inflammatory opinions that can hurt significant sectors. Please understand and read at your own risk.]

THE FIRST HALF of this first year of the 2020s is overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic — giving a big timeout from regular programming.

Viewers are stir-crazy without live sports, new teleseryes and finding out the winners in the ongoing reality competitions; some new shows’ scheduled premieres are thwarted.

Also, the cease of free-to-air operations of ABS-CBN (including S+A) due to the lapsed legislative franchise last May 5 signaled the start of the Philippine media’s own “new normal.” Meanwhile, GMA has just launched its competitor digital TV receiver, the Affordabox.

Nevertheless, both the “Great Pause” and the “Moment of the Truth” should serve the surviving broadcasting executives to reflect and rethink their programming but alas, their attitudes seemed to be irreformable.

Anyway, some moments happened in the first half of the year that wasn’t published much here on the Turf containing the events, programs, channels, and personalities.

What Happened on H1 2020?

The Events


  • UAAP and NCAA. Both Metro Manila collegiate leagues have been terminated their 82nd and 95th seasons respectively due to community quarantine. While we don’t know when their new season (83rd and 96th, respectively) will kick in, both the executive boards would start thinking about broadcast deals since their free-to-air partner, S+A ceased operations while the Congressional hearing over the mother corporation’s franchise becomes a circus.
  • NBA. From a Utah Jazz player tested positive with the virus has turned the league’s play development into haywire. During the season, the national TV deal since the Solar-ABS dispute last September 2019 remained in limbo, leaving the fans starving for hoops action. CNN Philippines came to rescue but they pay half a million pesos per broadcast of one game on each weekend from November last year until February (until their All-Star Game). The league will resume play at the end of July in Orlando but the local airing remains unknown.
  • MPBL and PBA. Before the lockdown and the FTA stoppage, Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League was determining their conference championships. Meanwhile, the Philippine Basketball Association has just kicked in their new (45th) season with one opening game; they are planning to kick off their 3×3 league. To be frank, MPBL is too accomodating as they have 31 teams (one more than the NBA’s 30). Meanwhile, PBA will neither have an All-Star Weekend nor have an import to play this year as they will resort to one conference or force cancellation.


  • The 24th Asian Television Awards. Last January, the Asian counterpart of the Emmy Awards took place in the country for the very first time. Since the then-running South Triangle Duopoly refused to cover, TV5 took the honors. During this pre-COVID event, Manny V. Pangilinan’s award for “outstanding contribution to Asian television” became a point of ridicule, even though the comments in social media are not related to his TV ventures.


  • ONE Sports. On March 8, 5Plus became this channel to be consistent with Cignal’s “ONE” branded channels. It resumed three months later despite no live sports from across the Pacific Ocean.
  • Jack TV. On April 1, the pay-TV channel that offers multi-genre programming plugged off for real; it was not an April Fool’s prank. Today, Jack TV becomes a Web portal (similar to HERO back in 2018) as “Your Online Playground.”
  • One TV. Originally scheduled to launch on April 13 but is rescheduled on the 20th of this (i.e. as of press time) month as a rebrand of TV5 as a result of the pandemic. Alas, before the initially scheduled premiere, the usual change of leadership in Reliance happened in February with Roberto P. Galang succeeding Jane Basas as the network’s head honcho. During the delay, frustrated fans on that Facebook page have gone gaga demanding the return of Babaeng Hampaslupa rerun which they were heeded. (As a run-up to this new channel, the upcoming article will tackle all about their distinguished names.)

The Programs

Aired and On Broadcast

  • Wish Ko Lang (GMA). After almost 18 years, the wish-granting public affairs program every Saturday afternoons that was hosted by Vicky Morales ended. They used to be straightforward with the background story of letter senders but as it progressed further, it shifted towards dramatization.
  • Ilaban Natin Yan (GMA). The replacement reality-drama program that is also hosted by Morales tackles on societal issues.
  • Wowowin Primetime (GMA). On February 15, Willie Revillame expanded his variety show empire into Saturdays.
  • Gandang Gabi, Vice! (ABS). After eight years, Vice Ganda’s Sunday late-night talk show finally pulled the plug. While it was sad news for his fans, the good news of this ending was that he will not be overexposed every day of the week. His supposed replacement show, Everybody Sing, will be tacked in a bit.
  • Make It with You and Pamilya Ko (ABS). Two teleseryes were declared victims of both the pandemic and the shutdown.
  • Tutok to Win (GMA). Without the studio audience that is essential to Wowowin, Willie Revillame quickly adapts his own timeslot at his home at Wil Tower. (Salamat, Shopee!)

Slated but Stalled

  • Everybody, Sing! (ABS). This game show’s pilot episode would have been an immediate replacement to GGV but due to the community quarantine, it was inappropriate to be aired because of the crowd (even though it’s taped before the lockdown). The network’s FTA stoppage and non-inclusion in the Kapamilya Channel may increase the chance that the program will be shelved.
  • Yes, Yes, Yow (IBC). This SMAC Television Production show was supposed to premiere on April 4 on as a revival of the channel to have a noontime variety show in almost 15 years — until the pandemic entirely thwarted out of the schedule in favor of the hookup of PTV’s daily #LagingHandaPH public briefing with at least one item reserved for Senator Bong Go. While indefinite postponement is understandable due to “no crowd allowed” rule, we should not be surprised at all if this program — along with their other promoted shows that would be aired on BEAM TV and GMA News TV — will be scrapped entirely without seeing the light of day on the small screen.
  • Running Man Philippines (GMA). Commemorating the 10th anniversary of the South Korean variety show from SBS, this would be aired on the Kapuso Network. With the pandemic pushing this ambitious plan to next year, this would be the best time to think about whose personalities they will put in or there will be some backlashes.
  • Alamat ng Agila (GMA). This is another Kapuso show that they would look forward at the first half but it won’t please viewers — and one of their exclusive talents. Sen. Bong Revilla’s show would have been launched by the first quarter as the first post-newscast Sunday show replacing Daig Kayo ng Lola Ko. Perhaps, the delay is the silver lining of these unprecedented times as the leading and exclusive talent is obviously well known for the tarnished political scandal. (Most of the readers are not forgetting.)
  • Ang Sa Iyo ay Akin (ABS). This teleserye was supposed to premiere on March 23 but it was postponed due to the lockdown and network’s shutdown. One of its leading stars, Iza Calzado, was tested positive for COVID-19 on March 25 but she was fully recovered five days later. Possibility of shelving and/or deferral: who knows?!


  • Rico Hizon. If you remember what the Turf wrote back in 2018, the former BBC anchor stationed in Singapore has repatriated and began his stint on CNN Philippines since March 30. Three weeks later, he is currently the anchor of CNN Philippines’ last newscast for the weekday, The Final Word.

What’s Next?

In a Short While

In five days from this publication, Fox Filipino will cease broadcast after almost eight years out due to redundancy, lack of advertising support, and cross-cutting measures.

For the Next Six Months

The second half of 2020 will manifest the implementation of the “new normal” guidelines when it comes to taping shows. Also, this remaining half-year must be the time to go up the ante for the remaining networks by establishing deficient divisions, acquiring and employing high definition equipment, and going full commitment to digital terrestrial television.

Meanwhile, the members of the Philippine Movie Press Club (PMPC) will go into panic mode since the majority of their member-publicists have ties with ABS-CBN. Without the media giant and the pandemic persistent, the 34th edition of the Star Awards for Television might give GMA the Best TV Station (to equalize Mother Ignacia’s wins, inclusive of ties) and they may have to adapt for a virtual awarding since they are not allowed to hold the awards outdoors — or it could be jettisoned altogether and carry over the criteria to next year (Who knows? They’re NOT transparent with the eligibility criteria as far as I’m concerned.)

Did I miss anything? Put it in the comments section.

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GMA Has a Response To TV Plus and What Might Have Been Their Marketing Gig?

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: The following post contains a mix of confirmed and speculative content.]

ANG ABOT-KAYANG (AT KATUNGGALI NA) BLACK BOX. The prototype of GMA’s Affordabox has been released last week. While it has not yet been released commercially, this will cost less than a thousand pesos for a one-time payment.

WHEN the cat’s away, the mice will play… or another breed of cat, rather.

While ABS-CBN was not allowed to broadcast in over the free-to-air airwaves, GMA Network has taken advantage of the circumstances.

While their best-selling TV Plus is under hot water over certain features, the Kamuning Network has just released its counterpart just as the currently dominant general entertainment TV network on the analog is celebrating its 70th (broadcasting) anniversary this month.

Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the GMA Affordabox.

Specifications, So Far

The confirmed section takes place here.

Like TV Plus, they highlight their very own three channels with enhanced and crisp pictures: GMA, GMA News TV and the Heart of Asia. The last aforementioned — and their first digital subchannel — offering will serve as a response to the Asianovela Channel and unlike ABS’ own digital subchannels, it won’t be exclusive.

While emergency warning broadcast systems (EWBS) are found on both set-top boxes, as of their respective latest updates, there are three new functions that TV Plus lacks: a multimedia player, a personal video recorder and a functional auto-on alert feature.

The Affordabox will carry other surviving free-to-air TV stations with licit and unexpired franchises, signaling a vindication to the rival product’s first year in their market. (The hardcore members of the AlDub Nation remember what happened when Kalyeserye is on but those sets using TV Plus accused them of “sabotage.” Today, they say “revenge is sweet.”)

This set-top box will be available on the market soon on hardware chain stores, appliance centers and online shopping platforms. The price of this receiving device is said to be less than P 1,000, one-time payment with no monthly fees — a slap to Kapamilya Box Office, an encrypted and exclusive free-to-air channel that brew controversy because it was treated akin to a pay-per-view on satellite or cable.


Marketing Gig What-Ifs

This section contains a mix of facts and speculations.

The grand launch of the Affordabox will happen tomorrow (June 14). Had the pandemic not happened, it would have happened over on All Out Sunday as part of the grand celebration for the media entity.

After that launch, what might have been the advertising concept for their own receiver? What we do know right now, according to the recent posts by solid Kapuso fans on Facebook, is Heart Evangelista will be their brand ambassador.

The commercial concept will be different from the Mahiwagang Black Box five years ago. In my intuition, they will be simple but emphasizing out not just the features that Mother Ignacia lacks but to brag about not having to pay — albeit, voluntary — monthly fees.

For the rest of this month, two variety shows that draw amassing audience (Eat Bulaga and Wowowin) would have conducted a bunutan (daily raffle) but since crowd gatherings are forbidden right now, they are already adjusting over APT and over Wil Tower (Tutok To Win).

If their marketing gigs were successful (whether in this hypothetical pre-pandemic plan or now), they will be ready to expand further to respond to Yey! and CineMo combined (hypothetically, they may be called the Astig Channel) and to innovate for mobile counterparts (a.k.a. the rumored dongle) as a reply to TV Plus Go.

Speaking of taking advantage and the rise of network-owned digital TV apparatus, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has yet to formulate and to enforce such a harmonized policy on that hardware once and for all and make a clear and ultimate point on the conditional access system (encryption).

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Kapamilya Channel: Mother Ignacia’s Interim Replacement

OH, YOU SNEAK. The Kapamilya Channel will launch this Saturday (June 13) where the terrestrial broadcast of the main channel, ABS-CBN, left off before broadcast stoppage upon receiving the cease-and-desist order by the National Telecommunications Commission after their legislative franchise expired on May 5, 2020

FIVE WEEKS has passed since Channel 2 went off the air.

The Congress — who was primarily responsible for the fate of the network’s franchise renewal — has just adjourned and they won’t reconvene for their second regular session until late July.

Kapamilya fans and independent-thinking ordinary people knew the obvious politicking maneuvers. While many pointed out, making connections, to the sitting administration: few of the supporters are becoming repentant over the choices they made, a part of them pointed out in the end that there is a lack of safeguards that open up loopholes of abuse in the current form of our government.

While others moved on and embraced its fate — even though not final and executory — that commenced the Philippine media’s “new normal,” many still yearn for their return — even if it’s a near-resemblance.

Well, wait no more.

Beginning this Saturday (June 13), most of the programs that were loved and left off during the free-to-air era will be covered on to the Kapamilya Channel on cable.


High in Demand, Many in Disadvantage

This cunning and a very legal announcement will be set on most cable companies as part of their minimum basic package. They will be available on Sky Cable, Cablelink, GSat and other cable companies who are members of the Philippine Cable Television Association, Inc. (PCTA) nearest you.

This will not be available for the cable companies affiliated with Federation of International Cable TV and Telecommunications Association of the Philippines (FICTAP), where they objected to the franchise renewal of Mother Ignacia, and whose interview on GMA’s 24 Oras on the night of their major competitor’s cessation ended up with damaging reception (not just from the fans of ABS or GMA who sympathizes with the rival but also technical professionals, primarily the electronics communications engineers).

This news signaled a high demand — never mind if they will shell out hundreds of pesos monthly as they would say, “but it’s worth it” — but it would lead to 9 million TV Plus users to deprive access of their beloved programs. Also, some Cignal users, whose provider is neither affiliated by PCTA nor FICTAP, that are solid Kapamilya fans or a fan of any ABS-CBN show before the pandemic-cum-cease and desist order.


The KC Lineup: What’s Left Off, Axed and Something New?

The most essentials that will be provided on the Kapamilya Channel is the news, particularly Umagang Kay Ganda. The weekday morning talk show that follows, Magandang Buhay, will resume where it left off.

Entertainment essentials like It’s Showtime, ASAP and The Voice Teens 2 will continue where it left off. The mainland Chinese remake of Meteor Garden, which reran on the week of the FTA stoppage, will recommence. Weekly anthology program, MMK, remains on the “best of” mode.

While FPJ’s Ang Probinsanyo and A Soldier’s Heart in then-Primetime Bida will continue where it left off, Make It With You (starring Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil) didn’t make it because most salient scenes had to be taped outside of the country (they were set in Croatia).

Meanwhile, two new programs will be aired in this interim cable channel: Iba Yan! (a talk show by Angel Locsin) and Paano Kita Mapapasalamatan (presented by Judy Ann Santos). The World of a Married Couple and Familiar Wife will be the first two Koreanovelas to air on this makeshift channel (with the former being originally slated on Dos).

Selected programs in KC are available on simulcast on TVPlus.

Since it will be on cable, they can run 24/7 with movies from Movie Central to fill up the early hours of the morning.



Had not the executives take advantage of a technical loophole, it would not cushion the sharp fall of revenue lost from the free-to-air broadcast cessation.

While this endeavor serves a temporary measure, it could become a permanent institution if the free-to-air channel won’t be back by August 1 (where part of their 11,000-strong workforce will be given the pink slips after the benefits are dried up as announced by their boss, Carlo L. Katigbak). From that date, this could be converted into a more high-brow channel akin to South Korea’s JTBC (the successor of Tongyang Broadcasting Company, whose free-to-air operations ceased in 1980 under the regime of President Chun Doo-hwan but could no longer return to its pre-shutdown state).

With regards to sportscasting that was aired on S+A, it is already carried over to LIGA.

For the loyal fans, they just hope the government won’t notice this before they will receive an ultimatum to shut down operations once and for all similar to Venezuela with RCTV after their free-to-air transmission ended in 2007 and the broadcasts of any kind three years later.

Consequences are bound to the choices you make. You can have your choice, but you cannot choose your consequence.

Ravi Zacharias (1946-2020)

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Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN Corporation / Rappler

Turning IBC-13 Into an Educational TV Channel: Is It Worth It?

[AUTHOR’S WARNING: The following post may hurt the sentiments of the TV network in concern, along with its employees and its loyal viewers. Please, read at your own risk.]


IBC 13’s new headquarters and studios since 2019

PUBLIC INSTRUCTION should have started this week but for this year, it is deferred until August 24.

Until that day, teachers across the nation are currently required to report and to attend necessary seminars on different modes of distance learning when traditional face-to-face instruction is not practical due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two weeks ago, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar suggested before the House Committees on Basic Education and Culture and on Higher and Technical Education during a virtual hearing that television will serve as another venue of distance learning if the internet signal is weak and/or unreliable.

Hold it! Didn’t we have Knowledge Channel for that?

Yep, but they’re neither on free-to-air at the start nor they are owned by the government. As we all know, the owner of that channel (ABS-CBN) is one of the adversaries of the incumbent Duterte administration. (Stop being in denial and admit it.)

Basically, Andanar intended to emulate that of NHK E-TV of Japan or EBS of South Korea.

To which we beg to Mr. Secretary: Why did you think about it NOW after almost four years?

An educational TV channel in the free-to-air transmission is not a new concept now; hence, we are totally a late adopter.

He mentioned that IBC 13 — the financial and operational antithesis of ABS-CBN — would be used among the two state-owned channels since it is “underutilized.” (Indeed, and a lot of adjectives that we don’t need to further elaborate.)

What if he was a man for this word now that he has two years left?

A very straight-to-the-point question that unravels a more complicated answer.


The Hypothetical Timetable

The ongoing pandemic would be cleared out when a reasonable treatment or a vaccine is available to the public and that would last at least a year. Thus, we have a year left for Martin to fix this mess.

Meanwhile, potential production companies — since the network themselves couldn’t afford to produce more of their own programs due to running losses — have to be oriented on the new policies and to imbibe on the curriculum guides approved by the Department of Education (DepEd).


The Programming Operations

Annual Operation

The operation calendar will be split into two: during the basic education’s school year and outside.

During the School Year (June to March)

The weekday daytime could be dedicated for every core subject from kindergarten to senior high school. Weeknights could be dedicated to specialized subjects for senior high school and adult education programs.

The weekend could be the best time for cultural shows, vocational-technical shows and documentaries. Reinstating Ating Alamin or transfer Mag-Agri Tayo from PTV could take place here.

Outside the School Year (April to May)

During the months where no classes are held, lifelong learning subjects would take place. Foreign educational shows that are on PTV right now would be transferred there.


Daily Operation

The channel would sign on from 6:00 a.m. and sign off at midnight every day, except Holy Week.

In terms of the time slot in the program grid, the show must run at least 30 minutes and continuous (i.e. no splitting into two segments).


Obstructions and Objections

Programming Obstructions

If this “Educational Television Service” (ETS) happened, almost all of current and future programming (now on hold) on the current IBC 13 must end.

In other words, say goodbye to their institutional yet ad nauseam EZ Shop home shopping block and ba-bye for El Shaddai.

SIDE NOTE: Since DBS has not migrated their programs to their Channel 35 and the weekly family appointment in Amvel is not allowed due to community quarantine rules. Bro. Mike Velarde should have learned from Bro. Bo Sanchez by adapting to social media.

SMAC Television Production’s promo of entertainment programs slated this year but are currently on hold (including Yes! Yes! Yow!) would have no choice but to transfer such shows to another channel or to scrap entirely without seeing their own light of day before undergoing to this proposed paradigm shift.

While ASK TV will be moved because it’s a variety show, the PMPC Star Award show Talents Academy might be the only program to carry over to the new venture due to informative content. If the coast is clear, Cooltura would resume and be another carryover show.

For those Batang 90s or to those born after (“by heart”) who want to push for new tokusatsu shows and new animes on that channel: Well, you can just forget about that when this comes around.


Technical Obstructions

In that comprehensive Manila Bulletin story, Sec. Andanar mentioned the “analog transmission” of both state-owned TV networks are below the normal transmitting power to satisfy the reach of the Metro Manila market. According to him, the satisfactory range in that area is from 60 to 100 kilowatts; for IBC, it registered less than 20 kilowatts. Attributed to the outdated tower, upgrading it by one kilowatt would cost at most a million pesos.

Digital TV experts are raising their eyebrows for “not leading by example” as the clock is ticking forward to 2023. Although, there was a silver lining that IBC has done digital TV testing (at least, sporadically) than PTV despite the low video resolution.

The funding to close that gap and to leap forward with better technology will be discussed in a bit.


For Propaganda?

This potential venture raised an alarm for some people that using the channel would be a tool to pursue favorable views of the incumbent president’s agenda akin to the “Wow China” radio program on the radio counterpart, RP1 (738 kHz).

To prevent the situation from happening again, the proposed ETS charter should include an explicit provision of independence from government interference despite maintaining their ownership.


Funding and Revenue Generation

The most important question that everyone should care about: Where will the funds come from?

All of us would easily think that it will come from a portion of the budgets of DepEd, Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). Often, the aggregate amounts may still be insufficient to cover operating expenses.

Government-owned-and-controlled corporations usually do not allow excessive donations to be received as it might be a source of “bribery” and “corruption.”

This means they need to pass the charter from Congress with explicit provisions to allow room for revenue generation from donations and grants from relatable private foundations, sales from textbooks and learning materials related to the programs, and ads from educational suppliers.


Continuing Operations Post-2022

Once this administration ends on the noon of June 30, 2022, this is the question most of you are thinking: “Would this endeavor continue to operate?”

It’s hard to answer but for sure, it will probably continue to the end of that school year (i.e. March 2023). What comes next might depend on the hands of Andanar’s successor.


Final Answer: Is it Worth It?

That all being said, turning a vegetative TV network into an educational channel will make a profound impact — even though we are decades late for the party.

When this endeavor of a shakeup materializes, the privatization process of the current network, which is currently running in circles for a long time, would finally grind into a halt. It would yield the final verdict that it will never happen, which could make the persistent calls of retirees and employees for payment long-overdue back wages end up in futility.

Last but certainly not least, the worthiness of being a national TV network will be tested.

The answer to one summative question: “Is this venture really risking for?” is now all up to you.


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Photo courtesy of IBC 13 / Radyo Todo

LTFRB for Commercial Broadcasters?

LAST TUESDAY night’s fiasco on the small screens reflected how the politicization of pettiness has concretized into public policy that will shape in the years to come in our history textbooks.

Indeed, other telecommunication franchises lapsed but they were neither signed off nor discontinued any services. Alas, this incident was the byproduct of the people’s decision they have made four years ago; they have reaped the reward they sow.

While the remaining competitors’ solid fans “celebrated” the demise of Mother Ignacia’s airwaves anew with few of the closeted loyalists giving unsolicited advice as an opportunity to shine, it will be hard for them to be their replacement to the fallen media conglomerate in different aspects — especially, in the midst of the pandemic.

The politicization of pettiness and dismissiveness to listen to experts — the two dangerous components of the post-factual period — has led to the last straw: “It is time for Congress to lose their power to grant individual franchises for national broadcasts.”

While we respect the responsibility of telecommunications lies squarely on the national government (federal, for constitutional reformists out there), what would be the next step if we do indeed strip away the enforcement powers for broadcasters from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC)?

There was a quirk suggestion by Ana Marie Pamintuan’s Sketches on The Philippine Star published last Friday if all options fail for ABS-CBN:

For the long term, after this [ABS-CBN franchise non-renewal] controversy, lawmakers might want to de-politicize the issue and delegate their authority to grant franchises for broadcast airwave allotments to another entity.

This happened for a transport franchise that gave birth to the Land Transporation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

If we would have a commercial broadcasting counterpart, that would remind me of the United Kingdom with the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) and its successor, Independent Television Commission (ITC) — now, as Office of Communications (OfCom) — with their franchise rounds of then-regional ITV in 1980 and in 1991, respectively.


Three Questions

First, how will this new agency be named?

The logical and naive answer that popped out in my mind right now is the Commercial Broadcasting Authority of the Philippines (CBAP). This is obviously different from the non-government sanctioned Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP). However, CBAP and KBP can work together as partners for sensible media regulations.


Second, How many members should form the CBAP?

Initially, CBAP shall be composed of one Chairman and four board members. However, we could allow more room for the academic, technical (that includes electronics and communications engineers), the financial and marketing sector.


Third, what should be the powers and functions?

Like the LTFRB, CBAP will be responsible for promulgating, administering, enforcing and monitoring compliance of policies, laws and regulations with regards to broadcasting. They will be in charge of awarding which companies the right to carry the frequencies on the radio (AM and FM) and television in the national (VHF) and regional (UHF) markets.


Stepping in the Conceptual Shoes

Okay, ikaw na! Question: How will you deal with the ABS’ fiasco?

It’s going to be a bit difficult.

In my prospects, a broadcaster’s individual assessment has to be made on what I called the F.O.O.T. note — pretty much like SOAPIE for nurses. They have to satisfy the criteria of:

  • Financial stability and feasibility. The media entity should have a stable financial record and its business plans for the medium term (5 to 6 years) are reasonable.
  • Organizational cooperation. Does this network have functioning core divisions?
  • Operational record. This is the weight of the matter for viewers. This is where the program’s quality — not just quantity — is also judged. Does the composition of their programs favor one genre over another? Are their programming grid overreliant from another network or are they self-sustaining?
  • Technical capability. Do they have sufficient equipment? Are their programs HD compatible? Is the network diligently testing for digital television?

Each aspect is synergetic to one another.

If they have an unqualified record (in other words, at an acceptable level) for every aspect, they can proceed. If not, they can be rectified but if they didn’t improve by that given amount of time, they have to ship out. That’s how competition exists.

Unlike the present regime where individual franchises for 25 years are up for grabs racing for that limited resource, the CBAP will review all in the VHF and UHF territory every 5 to 6 years. Within 18 to 24 months before the period, they are required to release the periodic report on which channels in both bands will remain and which will not.

If that will apply with the fiasco, ABS-CBN would not have been off the air, provided they have to correct the errors of their ways, but another one would. (Won’t tell which one but you know what I’m talking about even if it hurts.)



That being said, it’s hard to tell if this piece of policy will work out since often to always, people with good ideas are quashed by self-serving politicians and bureaucrats.

However, this is not the first time I have formulated a policy with regard to broadcasting, and of course, I am ready to accept the backlash.

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Timow’s QuOP No. 12: The ECQ Survey Results

person writing on notebook

Photo by Lukas on

WE are supposed to close this by June 1 but because of yesterday’s event, we closed the survey. The opinion post regarding that matter will be discussed in a separate article.

Since March 26, Timow’s Turf conducted the survey (powered by SurveyMonkey) to cut the boredom from the enhanced community quarantine. The survey contained six questions — splitting into two categories with three each — regarding the issues on Philippine television so far this 2020 before the plague broke into a pandemic.

Until yesterday, 26 respondents answered the survey, but there is a disclaimer: The answers will not have a significant bearing on the decisions to be made by network executives and/or related government agencies.

Here is the breakdown of the results from each question asked. (NOTE: The figures don’t add up to exactly 100% due to rounding to the nearest integer.)



Holy Week Programming in the Time of Lockdown

Carvaggio Crowning with Thorns

Carvaggio’s The Crowning with Thorns (1607)

[In memory of Joseph Emmanuel “Jake” Jacinto]

EVERY YEAR since our existence, the Turf publishes the programming insights that chronicled the subdued programming and advertising for the very important time that unraveled the mystery of the Christian faith. This has become the most viewed annual tradition.

This year’s commemoration, however, will not be like the usual as it is consumed by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) throughout Luzon until Easter Sunday (April 12) April 30 to mitigate against the spread of the coronavirus.

With one year out to the Quincentennial, the national Church has dedicated and designated this year as the Year of Ecumenism, Interreligious Dialogue and Indigenous Peoples. Hence, we should have expected the theme to be integrated throughout this very sacred week.

Affected Programs

Live Religious Programs

While TV masses will still be here without the faithful, the live religious specials won’t be covered:

  • Palm Sunday Recollection (spearheaded by Fr. Jerry Orbos in Meralco Theatre, Pasig City on PTV)
  • Siete Palabras (on Good Friday, both on ABS-CBN and GMA, even in their respective regional channels where applicable)

Taped Religious Programs

  • While the Jesuit Communications’ annual Lenten special “‘Fiesta: Ang Makulay na Pananampalatayang Pilipino‘” is announced — with its narration by former Archbishop Cardinal Chito Tagle — the fate of broadcasting on ABS-CBN is shelved  (see more at the bottom).
  • The taping of Power to Unite‘s annual special this year, which will broadcast immediately before the 7 Palabras on GMA on Good Friday, will not happen. (Replay)
  • Even though this year’s edition of the 7 Last Words on IBC 13 is announced during the start of Lent, the shooting of Meng R. Canlas’ annual staple feared that it will not make it on time for shooting and post-production. (It will and it will remain in broadcast as scheduled amidst the void this week.)
  • While the Way of the Cross from the Colosseum is recorded and televised on GMA as the final religious (and over-all) special for the Triduum, this year’s iteration is canceled.

Lenten Dramas

Due to the ECQ, the planned shooting of the Lenten dramas for Eat Bulaga during the weekdays of Holy Week is considered shelved. The same applies to The 700 Club Asia, Michael Angelo and APT Entertainment (for Holy Saturday).

Had the pandemic not happened, EB’s stories would likely draw from the life stories in their successful segment of Bawal Judgmental. Alas, they have no choice but EB has to re-air some of their best Lenten classics.

Other Events

The inaugural edition of the summer edition of the Metro Manila Film Festival (SMMFF) — proposed by Sen. Bong Go — is postponed. The parade, which would have been held this coming Sunday, is called out.

Network Responses

In normal circumstances, the three days where most radio and VHF TV broadcasters are subdued or sign-off; non-Catholic broadcasters don’t have to follow suit. UNTV, even though they are inimical to Catholics, did sign off for the first two days. Throughout these days, no regular newscasts would be delivered but the news advisories would be longer.

The implementing operations this year remain the same.

Considering the ongoing emergency and the lessons made from 2015 when Super Typhoon Chedeng threatened to landfall, PTV will not sign off for their annual maintenance and they may give any sporadic updates. Lotto draws still remain off since mid-March.


During the Triduum, ABS-CBN is well-known for airing religious specials — including the respective liturgical services on those days and JesComm’s annual Lenten special. Before the pandemic broke out, their franchise renewal became the country’s hot topic; while it should have been expired yesterday, the Department of Justice said that their broadcast franchise will lapse on May 4.

Regarding Easter Sunday (April 12)

Normal programming should have happened but because of the quarantine remains on this particular week, regular programming and new shows (teleseryes and a new Vice Ganda show) won’t be restored until at least, the following week.

At 4:00 p.m. (our time) on that day, Pope Francis would officiate the Easter Sunday Mass at the St. Peter’s Square and deliver the Urbi et Orbi Message and impart the Blessing from the Vatican. It is normally expected to air on ANC (Mass only), PTV, CNN Philippines while GMA would cover that at the very end of their broadcast day.

The usual outdoor celebration would not proceed since the lockdown in Italy is prolonged, in the account of higher casualties; it would resort exclusively to indoors and live stream.

The monitoring now will depend on you.

In light of uncertainty with the pandemic, Timow’s Turf will be on hiatus until further notice.

In the meantime, answer our new survey here.

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Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons