Timow’s QuOP No. 5: If the Philippines Gets Its Own Film Review Aggregator

TOMORROW, all cinemas nationwide will not screen any Hollywood and local commercial films to give way for qualified local films of the weeklong Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (PPP), rolling on its second year.
For the cinematographic intellectuals and its deviants, this is considered to be the deserved alternative to the commercially-ridden Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) during the holiday season.
For that matter, the Turf thought out loud for this QuOP: “Why don’t we have a critics’ score on our local films just like in Rotten Tomatoes?”

If only we had enough sophisticated film critics here, this project could get along.

This question is different from the bilingual MTRCB ratings (classified for audience suitability and displayed in the booth and before the film proper) and the Cinema Evaluation Board’s grading system (classified for the quality and corresponding rebate of amusement taxes).
The user ratings from Google and Internet Movie Database (IMDb) are deemed not counted as they are mere “armchair” film analysts that don’t consider deeper details of cinematography.
I know what you’re thinking: our local films are cheap in general cinematography and lackadaisical in diversification.
Most of you, dear readers, would start pointing fingers at Star Cinema, now celebrating its silver jubilee. Initially, yes, they took the flight but time takes its toll and loses its brightness. Well, I can’t blame you amidst the floods of rage from bandwagoning, clueless, die-hard fans of artists involved with the production company.
However, this year is marked with a patch of versatile cinematography worthy to be commercially released, such as Citizen Jake (dir. Mike De Leon), currently, BuyBust (Erik Matti) and by next month, Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral (Jerrold Tarog).
Okay, maybe, one film is perceived to be not worthy — ahem, Jacqueline Comes Home (Ysabelle Peach Caparas).

The Answer and The Backlog

The answer can be found on Quora, in which the question was originally asked by an Indian, by someone who worked for Rotten Tomatoes:

First, I think you would have to make sure that you have a plentiful and reliable enough sources for quality film reviews.

I think of the unremarked qualities of Rotten Tomatoes is the support and coverage that we have from professional film critics. In order to qualify for the Tomatometer, critics (or their publications) have to meet a minimum standard that includes a minimum number of film reviews per year and accreditation in a film critic society. This is possible because free-ranging film criticism is one of those odd, historical legacies made possible by the likes of the great Pauline Kael and Roger Ebert where their writings are venerated and subsidized even if they have critical opinions of films which are advertised in big page-size ad in the very same newspaper.

In addition, the expert posed two rhetorical questions before building our own RT (adapted for Filipinos).
  • Are there enough high-quality film review sources who are reliably covering a high quantity of movies and are unafraid to unleash critically, but fair opinions?
  • Are there enough Filipino film fans who are actually interested in seeing quality ratings for films?
Answering the first question, we have notorious film critics such as Rogue Magazine‘s Philbert Dy, Rappler‘s Oggs Cruz or ClicktheCity.com‘s Wanggo Gallaga but it’s not enough. In addition, a conflict could arise, especially if a resident film critic currently works for ABS-CBN. For the second, it seems to be on the rise, arising two factors both from social media: from being autodidactic and employing Twitter’s thread functionality to put their words coherently without losing track.
Assuming we had enough number of critics to be hired by newspapers and news sites, the critics’ rating can now be calculated.
On RT, their meter is on the percentage scale — the number of critical thumbs ups divided by total critics participating. It needs at least 60% to be classified as “Fresh” or else it will be declared “Rotten.” In order to be “Certified Fresh,” it must be at least 75% and must be approved by at least five Top Critics (applies only by wide-release).
What will our classification be if anyone wants to start up that project? What will be a “Certified Fresh” equivalent? Well, that depends on you.
Accessing recently for the critics’ rating of any Filipino films registered in their database, Heneral Luna (2015, Tarog) was rated 71% (5 out of 7 reviews) and BuyBust at 73% (8 out of 11 reviews). Both records are not declared “certified fresh” since it lacks the required number of top critics.
Imagine if Jose Rizal (1998, Marilou Diaz-Abaya) were to be assessed, it could point towards fresh while Star Cinema’s typical rom-com and its recent blockbuster MMFF entries, despite the constant stream of domestic box office success, would be tilted near to 0%, due to the tried-and-tested story model to rake even more profit but not taking any artistic risks reaped from that proceeds.

Potential implications & reality check

Just like the American counterpart, the potential impact of this ambitious project would threaten the marketing of our Big 3 major film studios (Star Cinema, Viva Films, Regal Entertainment); if their pieces were praised, they could go on and take better risk and if they were called out, they must shape out or get ditched.
The second would be the multitude of awarding organizations (e.g. FAMAS, PMPC, Guillermo Mendoza). Their awarding could be swayed from its ratings but sometimes, they defy it and favor any inherent yet obscured lobbying — remaining both unsurprising and eyebrow-raising.
In reality, the materialization and its sustenance could be hindered by an obvious, describable word: tribalism. That term has been tackled so far on television and radio here on The Turf but in this concerned form, it would arise from the colleagues — particularly on exposing the raise of pride at the expense of other stakeholders.
What do you think: would starting up this endeavor do better for a better Philippine cinema?
Photo courtesy of Disney/Pixar

5 Turns 10: Is This Network Worth to Celebrate?

WHERE WERE YOU a decade ago on this week?

A lot of you would remember about the Beijing Olympics on August 8, 2008, and probably, you were watching its opening ceremony on C/S Channel 9.

Unknowingly, at past 10 p.m., one VHF channel marked its end of an era — ABC 5 — after 16 years that housed historically more memorable novelty entertainment shows than ABS-CBN and GMA.



Future PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar delivered the final news and the final remarks on Sentro before playing the farewell tribute to the tune of Leona Lewis’ “Footprints in the Sand” and the “thank you” announcement from their primary announcer, Michael Knight. There was neither a station sign-off notice nor a customary playing of Lupang Hinirang as they immediately showed a red clock counting down to 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 9, 2008.

Tonyboy Cojuangco Era (2008-2010)




From that Saturday under the initial slogan, “Shake Mo TV Mo!,” the channel promised to be a big alternative to the South Triangle Duopoly.

While carrying over Shall We Dance, Kerygma TV, Light Talk, Sunday TV Mass and the Nickelodeon block from its former identity, it offered shows like Everybody Hapi, Lokomoko, Toogs, Lipgloss, Talentadong Pinoy and Juicy. Aside from television, Dream 106.7 (now Energy FM) continued to roll in the airwaves and Cignal was launched.

That era set the foundations of AniMEGA and Lourd de Veyra’s infamous, eponymous segment of Word of the Lourd segment from T.E.N.: The Evening News.

On December of that year, GMA Network filed a lawsuit for unconstitutionally dealing with Malaysian-owned Media Prima Berhad as foreign ownership in media is absolutely forbidden. Amidst this, TV5’s audience share blew out of proportion (well, according to Nielsen).

MVP Age (since 2010)

Before the turn of the decade, Media Prima’s stake was divested to Manny V. Pangilinan’s MediaQuest Holdings, Inc. and on April 2010 after the Holy Week respite, TV5 released a new brand, along with the red spherical logo, to be at par with the South Triangle Duopoly — the Kapatid network.

In that age, Aksyon became the flagship newscast and Face to Face (under Tyang Amy Perez and then, Gelli de Belen) was totally a popular daytime show for the barangay viewers, as Willing Willie by Willie Revillame was to primetime for the middle aged and senior citizens. Wattpad Presents was a hip anthology series for the youths.

On November 8, 2010, they launch an all-news channel on radio, Radyo5 92.3 News FM, and by a quarter year later, their 24-hour news channel on UHF territory, Aksyon TV 41, a week of ahead of GMA Network (despite their hype for weeks).

This era expanded their sports division with AKTV on IBC 13, which cover the Olympics for the network since 2012.

However, it was this era when the big breaks of Sharon Cuneta and late King of Comedy Dolphy in the network were considered the trigger of a spiraling, complicated toll for the network.

AKTV plugged out of IBC in May 2013. Aksyon TV ceased its round-the-clock operation. Ambitious mobile experiments, such as Balut Radio and Kristn, flopped. While the Reliance Studios was completed and moved in that same year, its public affairs programs were neglected by not having new seasons.

In 2015, they desperately tried to set up a specialty cable channel, a business news channel called Bloomberg TV Philippines and forged a joint venture with Viva Entertainment to establish Sari-Sari Channel.

In 2016, a bad impact on its news department as significant personalities, such as Andanar and Cherie Mercado, left to become part of the Duterte government and Aksyon’s regional newscasts in Visayas and Mindanao were ended.

A year after (2017), Miguel Belmonte of The Philippine Star took over to oversee the radio division but despite the list of reforms, they didn’t improve.

Several campaigns were tried to impress advertisers from cutting up big losses, other than the parent company and non-related loyal stalwarts, but almost all the time it lasted per each passing calendar year. In every trade launch, they overpromised to air non-sports programs but they were mostly broken as they continue to give in to temptation, which eventually manifested with the deal with ESPN last October and materialization two months after.


This year, their campaign is to “Get It on 5,” along with it a flattened logo to match with ESPN 5. At the next quarter, Bloomberg Philippines’ full licensing rights shrunk proportionately and integrated to a new venture, One News Channel.

Today, The 5 Network’s main channel contains movies, home shopping, kids block (Marvel, Disney and Dreamworks), Aksyon and most obviously, sports.

What do you think? Do you think it will worth it to celebrate the network or not?

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The Decline of Actual Children’s Programming

[Requested by Albert Brian Gimao, originally requested by Diego Cordero]

Think of the Children

All right, I know what you can hear from this image. Especially to Tristan Marco San Andres.

THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN done last month when classes in schools began but then, others (and this author) wanted other topics but they wanted to give in. However, given the bigger chance of class suspensions during the rainy season, especially during this closing month; well they got their wish.

Evolution of Children’s Programming and Current Challenges

In the early days, one can associate children’s programming with a live studio audience, puppetry, live-action segments (which can be entertaining, educational or both) and Western cartoons that are catered to that specific audience. As preferences evolved over time, they include anime.

Back then, it was aired on the morning and afternoon on weekdays and much more on weekends when kids are not in school.

Considering the bloated number of young students and the slow construction of school facilities that force its classes to schedule in shifts, this should be a normal response for all networks but not much displayed in 2018.

Programming prioritization is also part of the network’s business decision. Remember what happened to ABS-CBN’s Team Animazing in 2016? They were planned to air a basketball anime, Kuroko’s Basketball, but then Game 7 of the NBA Finals called up and they had no choice but to air the latter to satiate the fans who have no cable.

The day after, Magandang Buhay extended by half an hour and aired Kapamilya Blockbusters afterward, effectively shelving and ending the block.

TV5 had AniMEGA but went into a two full calendar year hiatuses in 2014 and 2016; they had dealt with AniPlus but their programming grid is still not a smooth sailing due to sports cravings, which eventually lead to their deal with ESPN last year. Currently, they still have Dreamworks, Marvel and Disney block but in reruns fearing for more in their core passion.

Thus, only GMA survived but From the Tube mulled to end the Astig Authority block. Loyal fans would consider it “blasphemy” but he defended the proposal as it was considered repetitive and perverted as, suggestively, the block of programs cut very important and supporting scenes and at the same time, it pushes more ad loads as the network is not part of — pessimistically and realistically, will never return to — KBP since the network’s defection in 2003.

If one was not happy with the Big 3 or its digital counterparts, then, they should subscribe to cable but then, cable television is not immune to this decline as the first half of this year witnessed the end of Hero and Toonami Southeast Asia.

What’s the motive of the pullout behind these preceding paragraphs? It’s all about their psychological culture of business and its players. The rights licensing and holding period for a season hindered one’s aspiring shows to be aired. In addition, they need to scout dubbers to understand the viewers.

Mobile Migration

Of course, the primary culprit behind the fall would be the preferential platform of entertainment has been shifted to mobile and the rise of streaming services (such as Netflix) aside from pirated sites.

Long Overdue but Toothless

In July 2012, the long overdue implementing rules and regulations of the Children’s Television Act of 1997 (Republic Act 8370) was certified.

However, five months before that, the red-colored rated SPG in MTRCB is introduced to complete the overhaul of the television rating system from October 2011.

The use (or abuse) of that rating, reviewed per episode basis, rendered ineffective to enforce the minimum requirement of 15% of daily total airtime for children’s programming as provided by law, but that’s not the only factor.

In addition to JC Domondon’s in-depth report, it gave us a loophole on how to comply — under digital television transition (due to complete in 2023) — when they have a specialty channel in their encrypted and exclusive digital boxes.



In conclusion, if you ask which networks now maintain children’s programming? You might answer denominationally-backed VHF channels. It’s no wonder Anak TV Awards perenially bestowed NET 25 constantly and bannered them so proudly.

The end…

Except, what if you are still not getting over? What would have happened if the audience-intended block has been revived in 2018? What would be the consequences?

Back to the introduction, students whose classes are finished or got suspended in the afternoon would be frustrated for arbitrary deviation of the start time of the reinstated kid-friendly block due to one-uppance between Vice Ganda of It’s Showtime and Willie Revillame of Wowowin in terms of shenanigans and losing track of time for others.

Who will lose out? The cast and production staff of afternoon teleseryes. What would happen to the major networks with its reinstatement? They’ll lose advertising revenue; they’ll be worse off.

Would PTV set an example as they are supposed to be a public/state broadcaster where they should emulate the law? They are about to put a stepping stone with Sammy and Jimie premiering on August 12 as part of the China TV Theatre package.

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Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Victor Magtanggol to Defend Against FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano

THE ALDUB NATION will troop back on GMA primetime after a year but this time, only male half of the duo (Alden Richards) will challenge as Victor Magtanggol, the 10th adversary against FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano.

Directed by Dominic Zapata and originally titled as Mitho, the drama action-fantasy series is inspired by Norse Mythology, specifically on Thor (portrayed by Conan Stevens).


As the Ragnarök draws near, Thor will order his son, Magni to hide his Mjölnir (hammer) until there’s someone right to inherit it. Magni will go to the world of mortals to wait for the new taker of Mjölnir where he will meet Victor Magtanggol, an OFW based in Canada who is looking for his lost mother, Vivienne (Coney Reyes).

Victor eventually must learn how to use the Mjölnir to protect the world and his loved ones from Móði (Pancho Magno), another son of Thor, who is upset of not inheriting the weapon and Loki who plans to spread chaos in the mortal world.

With the help of Magnus (John Estrada) and Sif (Andrea Torres), the former wife of Thor, Victor will embrace his fate as the new defender while being an honest and exemplified member of the family.

Cast Members

In addition to Richards, Torres and Estrada, Janine Gutierrez will be Gwen Regalado, a field reporter. Supporting cast includes Al Tantay, Yuan Francisco, Chynna Ortaleza, Dion Ignacio, Lindsay De Vera, Kristofer Martin, Reese Tuazon, Benjie Paras, Freddie Webb, Eric Quizon, Maritoni Fernandez, Lucho Ayala, Fabio Ide, Miguel Faustmann, Christian Bautista, King Badger and Flow-G of hip-hop group Ex Battalion.


While it will be emanated in 1080i, the theme song is performed by ExB featuring Richards. But that’s not the point…

While the ADN went into full force in promoting the teleserye, former or non-ADN netizens were not happy as they compare with Thor (Chris Hemsworth) of the ambitious yet successful Marvel Cinematic Universe — the same motive and style for calling out Alyas Robin Hood for plagiarizing The CW’s Arrow back in 2016.

Like in ARH, VM’s creators defended the iteration as this part of Norse mythology is on public domain and the premise is deviously different from the MCU.

Will this scandalous comparison redeem Victor and save this run against Cardo Dalisay?

We’ll find that out when Victor Magtanggol premieres this Monday, airing weeknights after 24 Oras on GMA.

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‘The Cure’ Fails Its Experiment To Subside FPJAP Supervirus

A CAT may have nine lives but GMA’s such a numerical attempt failed to beat down the unstoppable supervirus of Mother Ignacia (i.e. FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano).

By Friday (July 27), The Cure (dir. Mark A. Reyes) will close out with 65 episodes with, unsurprisingly, no signs of finale fanfare from social media handles.

Here is an except from From the Tube‘s on the series:

The story of ‘The Cure’ involves an experimental drug that kills cancer cells, but the side effect of it is that a highly dangerous and contagious virus called Monkey Virus Disease (MVD) will mutate and cause seizures and violent outbreaks to infected people. The disease quickly spreads throughout the country and will only continue to do so unless a cure can be found.

Married couple Charity (Jennylyn [Mercado]), a former registered nurse, and Gregory (Tom [Rodriguez]), a clinical research associate in a pharmaceutical company, are living a happy life with their daughter Hope (Leanne Bautista), until Greg’s mother Agnes (Irma Adlawan) is diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Agnes is given an experimental drug, but her health got worse as she is infected with MVD.

That drug, in turn, was discovered by Dr. Evangeline Lazaro (Jaclyn Jose), who works in the same company as Greg. With MVD continuing to wreak havoc across the country, it is up to Charity and Greg to find the necessary cure and prevent the inevitable.

The Cure’ also stars Mark Herras, LJ Reyes, Jay Manalo, Ronnie Henares, Glenda Garcia, Diva Montelaba and Arra San Agustin, with a special participation from Ken Chan.

Kantar registered The Cure‘s recent rating, from July 17 to 20, 2018, ranging from 15.5-16.6 while their adversary took advantage with 42.1-44.4 when at the latter’s primary storyline, the vow of Cardo Dalisay (Coco Martin) and Alyana (Yassi Pressman) was renewed.

Like their eight attempts since September 2015, the “Cardo Curse” triumphed. In other words, they are not immune to fight against an institution amidst a very devious storyline and genre.

Its replacement, the 10th competitor, Victor Magtanggol (starring Alden Richards, dir. Dominic Zapata) will be tackled in the Turf later this week.

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State of the Nation’s Magazine Address 2018

[Requested by Gab F. Hernandez, originally slated for last May but given away due to the observation of UBC 12, and advanced happy birthday to him on Monday.]

FOR THE FIRST TIME in Timow’s Turf, this requested article will go beyond TV and radio.

When you hang out at the mall to go shopping and afterward, you land to the checkout section in the supermarket, department store or in a bookstore. While the clerk scanned your purchased items, you were distracted with the front covers of your favorite interest printed with varying type sizes, hanged at the rack or a shelf, and decided you buy one at the last minute.

When you come home, you open from its plastic packaging, they are entertained over the pages of glossy paper filled with pictures and words that satiate their own personal passions – from cooking, fitness, anime and pretty much anything under the sun.

The magazines that we know of usually publish once a month and many magazine brands that we know of are dominantly owned by the quadropoly: ABS-CBN Publishing, Manila Bulletin Publishing Company, One Mega Group and Summit Media.

Today, the state of the nation’s magazine industry is ever-changing — primarily, the undergoing digital migration. As the cost of printing in pulp and ink continues to rise and the supporting advertisers chose the alternative platform to market their products at a cheaper rate, the mechanical printing press would shut down for the last time after many years.

This happened last April with Summit Media. After their full digitalization, they pulled the last vestiges of magazine brands such as Top Gear, Cosmopolitan and yes, even FHM, to name a few to their respective domain names. On the other hand, Yes! Magazine – their local showbiz magazine – has been migrated and merged to Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP).

For those who owned the last issues from Summit will certainly say that what you own is now a collector’s item. The remaining three players will have theirs sooner or later, those paper magazines will be an artifact worth to be displayed in a museum or in a library and be placed in a “rare” collection.

Yes, that includes your K-Zone collection (which ended publication last year) for some people who refused to grow up.

The shelves, the racks, that once displayed the recently circulated and encapsulated binding containing our individual joys, intrigues, and interests will have more room for other products and will become a distant memory.

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Thoughts on Pacquiao vs Matthysse



RETRIEVING THE TITLE. Manny Pacquiao will fight against Lucas Matthysse in Kuala Lumpur to regain the WBA regular welterweight title on Sunday.


THIS SUNDAY, Manny Pacquiao fights again against Argentinian Lucas Matthysse to regain the WBA regular welterweight title in Axiata Arena, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Since his recent defeat to Australian Jeff Horn in Brisbane last year, Pacquiao’s boxing management made radical changes.

In April, the 16-year working partnership with Coach Freddie Roach ended, together with veteran promoter Bob Arum. Instead, his long-time friend Buboy Fernandez becomes the trainee.

Now as a free agent, Pacquiao’s team, spearheaded by Arnold Vegafria, the head of sales and marketing of MP Promotions, has the freedom to decide who his next opponent will be and what networks will cover.

This upcoming bout will be shown both on Sky Cable and Cignal on  pay-per-view and the Big 3 by delayed telecast (the last time happened on May 2015). The 5 Network originally reported that they won’t air, despite their exclusive cable channel’s participation, as they acquired Top Rank Boxing (Pacman’s former promoter company) as part of the ESPN 5 package since December. Solar Sports, the long-time partner of his previous bouts, is out of the question.

While Arum objected, Pacquiao and few of his rivals didn’t matter. But how the people would respond to the hype on the post-Top Rank bout?

From the Turf‘s perspective, this sporting hype seems might be lower (although, Pacman fans would say otherwise), given the internal factors of Pacquiao: age (He is 39 while his adversary is 35) and political stance (no explanation necessary) but the major factor is his schedule availability.

Historically, Pacquiao’s fights fell either usually on May or November — but in this case, this fight sets on July, just before Congress convenes on the 3rd regular (the final and the shortest) session.

That said nevertheless, no matter what the results from the Compubox will be on Sunday, the winners will still be the networks with their shared, implied advertising revenue.

If you asked about when will he hang up the gloves and pass the banner of boxing to the young blood (particularly, Jerwin Ancajas), that will be Pacquiao’s answer but let’s not fret with blunt, Carabao English responses.

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Photo courtesy of boxingnews24.com

State of Aerial News Gathering

[Requested by and collaborated with JC Domondon]

LAST MONTH, Jenine Shiongshu’s request roamed on the big wheels in delivering the news. Now, buckle up and we will take off and touch the sky.

Airborne newsgathering is another way of enhancing the events happened, as said on the tin, captured tens of hundreds of meters above many heads.

In the Philippines, it’s mostly used to cover live news and traffic reporting, notably during their morning shows.

During the early days of television, ABS-CBN operated a jet back in the late 60s/early 70s as captured and detailed in their 50th Anniversary documentary in 2003. However, it was not certainly clear what purpose was it served.

However, the modern airborne electronic news gathering in Mother Ignacia began with DZMM’s Ricky Velasco. He was the brainchid host of Sky Patrol, which will or could have celebrated 20 years come September; the last time they roamed the skies was during the aftermath of Typhoon Lawin in 2016. The whereabouts now remain unknown.

Meanwhile, DZRH had “Eye in the Sky” in the 2000s, lasting about five minutes in the morning almost every day but it seemed to be discontinued.

With the commercial debut of the quadcopter, popularly known as a drone, maintaining a helicopter is obviously more costly (account oil, restorations, repairs for missing or rare parts and storage in the hangar) than to an unmanned aerial vehicle.

Despite being popularly called a “drone,” it’s actually called a quadcopter. It’s understandable why people use a common one syllable term than the specific three.

For the news organizations, it’s the future… now in their hands today. CNN (US) has one; Philippine Daily Inquirer owns one.

However, with interest of investing in and operating a commercial drone, it arises potential ethico-legal issues, divided into four main aspects: regulations, privacy, safety, and noise.

This is why during the Papal Visit in 2015, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) imposed a no-drone zone when the pope goes and one of them risks paying the fine.

So how will it respond to the networks?

Despite the biggest investment figures, ABS-CBN seemed that they did not invest much on drone journalism but in GMA, only Raffy Tima invested the said UAV to cover enhancing and significant stories from the restoration of the Manila Cathedral in 2014 and the aftermath of Kentex factory fire in Valenzuela the following year.

The only moment he used UAV outside newsgathering was during the Eat Bulaga’s Sa Tamang Panahon concert in the Philippine Arena, Bocaue, Bulacan on October 24, 2015.

However, UNTV was first to use drones for their live news reporting in 2013, covering the aftermath assessment of the Bohol earthquake and Supertyphoon Yolanda. For regular newscasts, they cover traffic situation in the Metro. Due to their strict adherence to work ethic, including those of professional proper diligence of technology, the CAAP registered and given certification of their drones just last month.

What do you think will be the future of airborne newsgathering in the Philippines? Do think out in the comments below.

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Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Turf’s Midyear Report 2018

THE FIRST HALF of 2018 is nearly ending but before we head on the second half, it’s time for a midyear recap of the nine noteworthy and hidden-now-amplified moments of Philippine media.

Why nine? It’s the half of 18, obviously.

These stories are arranged in no particular order.

New League, New Crowd

MPBL 2018 logo

Initiated last January 25, the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League – a spiritual successor to late 1990s Metropolitan Basketball Association — was participated by 10 teams, all hailed from Luzon.

Despite no intention to be a competitor to the PBA, the geographically based basketball league drew much crowd from the professional league of corporate teams.

Since June 12, the league expanded almost thrice to 26, divided between the Northern and Southern Conference, making it difficult for S+A to cover and at the same time, crushing the ongoing FIFA World Cup.

As of press time, they are now currently playing in the Datu Cup.

Loss of Billboard PH


The last update of the localized Billboard charts was on January 15 – the same day, overshadowed, the SEC revoked Rappler’s registration.

While there is no official explanation for that inactivity, the probable reason is the breach of contract between Billboard USA and Algo-Rhythm Communications for undue obligations. Some, ludicrously, said that it was intended with the rise of Ex Battalion (which “Hayaan Mo Sila” charted No. 2 in Philippine Top 20) and IV of Spades.

Their website domain that holds it is now vacant; their loss is gain for FM radio station’s biased charts and third-party socmed-based chart aggregators.

End of the Road for Two Things

2nd Avenue logo

Solar Entertainment’s 2nd Avenue parked at the dead end on June 5 (until Saturday for provincial) after 12 years. On the free-to-air territory, it marked the restoration of original RJTV and at the same time, its analog transmission finally shut down, marking it as the second channel to go digital after Light Network 33.

Nonetheless, Solar introduced their encrypted digital TV box, competing against ABS-CBN TV Plus, called Easy TV Super Digibox.

Cable Shakeups and Online Streaming

Cord Cutter

The first half of 2018 trembled the local cable industry — both on cable channels and providers.

On the cable provider, Dream Satellite TV, the pioneer direct-to-home satellite television service since 2001, closed shop with mounting debts and unpaid fees.

On cable channels, fate was done in different methods:

  • Renaming. After almost 19 years, Lifestyle became The Metro Channel last April 2.
  • Specialization downsizing. Last May, Bloomberg Philippines’ programs were downsized and integrated to One News after their license expired.
  • Shutdowns. On New Year’s Day, Jack CT (Solar) shut down. ABS-CBN closed Tag and their Regional Channel on January 15 and at the end of that month, Hero finally bade farewell for anime fans. Toonami SE Asia followed suit two months after.

While GMA did not venture further into cable, it launched its Online Exclusives (ONE). Ex Battalion did not join in the fray until last June 11.

It’s Overtime

Last February, ABS-CBN did an unthinkable tactic to kill Ika-6 na Utos’ popularity before the near end of the early afternoon teleserye that lasted a year and three months. They forced to go overtime in It’s Showtime — particularly on Tawag ng Tanghalan — with Vice Ganda spending time with his/her comedic bantering over the microphone. The tactic affected other shows that come after with GMA fought back by extending their early evening newscast (24 Oras) or Wowowin. The practice of setting time on the airing of the shows, including imposing the digital clock in GMA’s news program, was omitted.

The antics from ABS continue, trying to compete Contessa, but to no avail were better in ratings.

After IANU concluded, it’s one of the leading ladies, Ryza Cenon, jumped ship to Mother Ignacia, joining FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano.

Mekeni, Mekeni, Maraming Controversy

baganiABS-CBN’s primetime fantasy series Bagani faced criticisms before its premiere on March 5. On casting, it was particularly over Liza Soberano (hold her “sinigang” quip) and on the portrayal of the namesake came from historical societies, indigenous groups and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). While it is too late to change casting for the former, to appease the latter, a disclaimer was incorporated to recognize the indigenous peoples using the term and drew inspiration.

Despite its derivation from Philippine mythology, the show currently did not end up as serious as other fantaseryes — either here or its rival – which drew Suzette Doctolero, the head writer on GMA, to a boil, particularly on portraying Babaylans.

Nearly Forgotten

Remember Brillante Mendoa’s Amo that was promised on TV5 (now, The 5 Network) last year? The show was nearly drowned out due to the sporting deal with ESPN and fixing their identity.

Brillante Mendoza Amo

The network signed the deal with Netflix to distribute it over the streaming service platform to the global audience in April 9 as the first Filipino series. However, not everyone is pleased due to the message it delivers but Netflix — having an array of original and borrowed series — gives anyone choices.

After almost two weeks in the global premiere, the network finally aired the series every Saturdays.

105.9 FM: The Cursed Radio Frequency

If you’re in the Metro Manila market, you have heard about the recent change over that radio frequency.

The radio station, as Like 105.9 FM, dressed for the sixth time (fifth in the blocktimer) as an Adult Top 40 station, “trying to beat Mellow 94.7” (JRDV, 2018) without prior notice on May 26-27 weekend — not even in social media.

Ominous signs why they concelead their announcement happened since November: downsizing of DJs, the significant rise of neighbors’ recognition which translates to unsatisfied performance and unpaid debts from the last blocktimer as RETRO.

The Turf initially called it the IBC 13 of FM Radio while Kim Martin, a resident commenter of From the Tube, called it a Lindsay Lohan.

PTV under fire

People’s Television Network (PTV) caught on spotlight last April when the Commission on Audit found out in the GOCC’s audit report that 60 million pesos worth of ad placement from the Department of Tourism to Ben Tulfo’s media outfit (being a blocktimer for the network) had no proper documentation.

It made Jules Guiang, one of the network’s talents who is principled but politically different from the echo chamber, outraged. Because of that emphasis, the issue of conflict of interest between then-Secretary Wanda Teo and her brothers surfaced.

While Wanda was finally sacked, her brothers temporarily left from the limelight and returned in radio in the Philippine Broadcasting Service, covering on the television, still doing the thing they do best (or worse, depending on one’s standpoint): worshipping Duterte in high heavens. The money is never returned, despite being said.

For PTV, they are planning to air shows from mainland China as China Theatre, dubbed in Filipino, come August.

Special mentions:

  • ABS-CBN News going full HD
  • Launch of ANC X
  • Changes in ABS-CBN regionally produced shows due to DTT: ending Agri Tayo Dito and Mag TV Na (Kapamilya Mas Winner Ka on the weekend) and consolidation TV Patrol regionals next week
  • GMA’s 24 Oras went over a week-long “dressing room” change in character generation
  • Sherlock Jr., despite the criticism from the title and the style of the trailer, actually deviated from Arthur Conan Doyle’s adaptation or from the BBC.
  • MNL48 formation on It’s Showtime (and underlying controversy from fans)
  • Launch of LIGA
  • One billion YouTube views of Wish 107.5’s YouTube channel
  • Departure of DJ Gino Quillamor from Monster RX 93.1

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It’s Not You. The Big Three’s “Centralization” Culture Destroys Their Regional Network’s Soul.


Agri Tayo Dito (produced from ABS-CBN Davao) folded after six years of production, along with Mag TV Na regional programs after 10 years.

[Requested by JC Domondon, initially due on July 31 but declared as an express service due to evidential circumstances]

LAST SUNDAY, Mag TV Na and Agri Tayo Dito bade farewell from the regional airwaves after 10 years and six, respectively.

By this weekend, Kapamilya Mas Winner Ka would go off and next week, TV Patrol regionals will be consolidated (e.g. Northern Luzon for Dagupan, Pampanga, etc.), sacrificing local news delivered in their different local language.

For the loyal viewers of their concerned ABS-CBN regional channel, it paved the tinge of sadness (reverbing the loss of ABS-CBN Regional Channel last January) — for some, with outrage — that they lost the image of their local pride.

What could’ve been the trade-off?

For them, it’s on the recent upgrade — and maintenance, thereof — of HD equipment that emanates their newscasts from Manila since April 1, as part of the continuing digital television transition.

However, ABS-CBN is not the only example that intervened and trampled out regional networks, whether directly or indirectly.

In 2015, GMA laid-off workers in Cebu, Bacolod, Davao, Naga, Cagayan de Oro, and Ilocos. Local productions were ceased and regional offices in Cagayan de Oro City, Bacolod City, Naga City and Ilocos were closed. The trade-off that happened in Kamuning might have something to do with unnecessary spending on their braggadocio and egoism with a low return from ratings.

The following year, TV5’s Cebu and Davao news operations, where they produced Aksyon Bisaya, folded up “due to cost-cutting.” But then, the trade-off should also account for Manny V. Pangilinan’s consistent preference for sports.

Evidently, we all know what happened.

The Big Three still failed to realize that they partake over the inherently, historical failure of centralization in “Imperial Manila.” The Turf knew about that, reiterating the spirit of the article last September 2016, but it’s too late; they never learn as the consequences are, sadly, here to stay.

When will locally-flavored lineup finally come back from this? Maybe by 2023 when the DTT is completed or maybe not at all.

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Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN Regional Network Group