Giant Lantern Festival

A Different Christmas: The Traditional, Unofficial PHTV Holiday Programming Guide for 2020-2021


LONG BEFORE the surreal and baffling RC Cola commercial, a public service advertisement that forever etched the minds of childhood said that after a tumultuous year, the country needs a “different Christmas.” In that ad, the drawing of Santa Claus at the start was erased and replaced with significant details to become Jesus Christ.

That concept was made somewhere in December 1997 — at the height of the Asian financial crisis but the message remains applicable now with the global pandemic.

To our dear readers, this is the first Christmas of the new decade and yet, this is also the first under a new violent shift in Philippine television.

The events you always looked forward to during the Yuletide season might not happen this year. Despite that, the Turf’s tradition continues to chronicle the insights for the outlier.

This year, we will classify them into categories that will transpire from today (December 11) until January 3, 2021.

The Programming Situation Right Now

After a few years’ hiatus, the Christmas Cartoon Festival Presents on GMA is back, serving as a comfort show for kids and kids at heart akin to the Yule Log and classic holiday specials in the United States. On weeknights, Paano Ang Pasko becomes TV5’s first Christmaserye, as part of Primetime Todo (the third wave of the network’s local entertainment renaissance this 2020).

12.12 Sale Super Show

The two super shows from two leading e-commerce platforms (Lazada and Shopee) are in one national TV network — GMA. (Duh, do we even have a choice?) Tonight, Lazada — despite Kathryn Bernardo (a local brand ambassador but a Kapamilya) and Lee Min Ho (the regional ambassador) — will have a star-studded special counting down to the big day (in place of Bubble Gang?) while Shopee will go all out in the late morning on that big day before Eat Bulaga!

Two days ago, Kris Aquino — the other ambassador for Shopee — appeared on TV5’s Lunch Out Loud to win prizes for solid Kapatids. (Is that a hint for next Christmas that TV5 will take Shopee while GMA gets Lazada?)

Shows Ending

One local show will end at the two-week holiday period wherein they are generally not concluded. The local adaptation of the Korean drama Descendants of the Sun on GMA — whose production was stalled but resumed last November — will wrap up on the night of Christmas Day.

 

Categories in Concern

Entertainment Gatherings

Due to the community quarantine regulations under the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), mass gathering events during the holidays — from network Christmas specials to New Year’s revelry — are forced to be canceled, downscaled or go fully virtual.

At this usual time, the annual Kapamilya Christmas special in Smart Araneta Coliseum would’ve drawn a spectacular audience with enthusiastic screams from fangirls holding up their fan signs as their favorite love teams performed. Now, the media conglomerate fell down and the Big Dome is dead silent. It continues in their Broadcast Center and will be aired online and cable on December 20 but not in A2Z. (Had it not for COVID-19, GMA could’ve done that in their own backyard while TV5 is still on revival mode.)

This year’s Giant Lantern Festival, which is the only live non-news telecast of CLTV, is scaled down digitally with seven barangays participating this December 16 (the first day of Simbang Gabi).

Meanwhile, traditional and the grandest star-studded New Year’s countdown on GMA, held usually on the grounds of SM Mall of Asia, may be forced to lock into their headquarters in Kamuning.

The 46th Metro Manila Film Festival

For the first time in 45 years, the country’s Yuletide film festival goes online through Upstream PH.

This year, they, three stars — Vic Sotto, Coco Martin and Vice Ganda — of opportunists are NOT coming to the very first fully digital iteration. The first one is a senior citizen, the second doesn’t have enough time to do so due to taping protocols and the last one didn’t finish the film on time despite the organizing committee’s approval. All of them impliedly realized that running movie houses below full capacity meant less revenue in their pockets as loyal fans can’t go out due to the fears of the virus. Not to mention, the last two lost their means to promote their wares had the contagion not happened.

Therefore, the lineup of 10 films (including four originally slated for what would have been their inaugural Summer edition) would be deemed the next best since the 2016 edition.

The two major events of the festival: the Parade of Stars and the Gabi ng Parangal (Awards Night) will go virtual. The Awards Night usually comes on the third day of the festival (i.e. December 27) is, fortunately, falling on a Sunday; it would mean TV5 has some free time on primetime (they can substitute Onstage).

Religious Gatherings

This is Quiapo Church last Friday (Dec. 4) for the final First Friday Mass of 2020. The devotees outside the church complied with physical distancing protocols. If this can be done, then what more from December 16 to 24? (Photo courtesy of GMA News / Danny Pata)

Even though the whole country is mostly under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) — Metro Manila is at a higher level (GCQ) — religious authorities still take no chance when it comes to dealing with the pandemic and religious gatherings including the unique tradition of Simbang Gabi.

In pre-COVID and the old Philippine TV network rivalry, ABS-CBN was the leading network when it comes to airing the novena Masses for those who can’t come physically to their local churches (in addition to the Christmas Midnight Mass and New Year’s). Now, under a limited reach and in fading memory, they cannot be aired on A2Z due to religious stipulations with Zoe Broadcasting Network Inc. but it can be done on their Kapamilya Channel on cable and satellite, it may be aired on Kapamilya Online Live.

For those who don’t have cable or satellite or the luxury of livestreaming but you own at least a digital TV receiver, TV Maria, under RJ DigiTV, is there to cover but often, their digital coverage (the signal and quality) is not satisfied. Therefore, TV5 must take the initiative but they have to go before the daily Word of God Network program or in substitution thereof, which in turn comes before Ted Failon and DJ Chacha sa Radyo simulcast (on weekdays) and cartoons (one Saturday). One can be determined through a hint in their movement music video, which is deemed sufficient as a Christmas station ID for the network.

In the Vatican this year, due to the severe second wave, you will neither see a jam-packed public audience inside St. Peter’s Basilica nor outside at St. Peter’s Square to see Pope Francis saying the Mass (early morning, Christmas Day, our time) and receive the Apostolic blessing later in the noon (7:00 p.m. local), respectively. Normally, CNN Philippines covers these two events live and GMA does it combined and taped-delayed before they sign off for their broadcast day. Will both networks continue the tradition?

Sports

PBA has just finished its 45th season with one conference — the Philippine Cup — where Barangay Ginebra San Miguel defeated TNT Tropang Giga in 5 at the AUF Sports Arena & Cultural Center in Angeles City (serving as the league’s bubble).

Meanwhile, NBA’s slightly reduced regular season (72 from the usual 82) will kick off on December 23 (our time) for the first time on the Kapatid network. The traditional Christmas Day games will continue with, fittingly, one game on the main channel as it falls on Saturday and another on One Sports.

Commemorations and Situations Re: the Country

Commemorations involving the country like Armed Forces Day (December 21) and Rizal Day (December 30) would be downscaled or be canceled. Generally, PTV is responsible for coverage as long as the main star — President Rodrigo Duterte — is present at the ceremony wherever he may be.

However, his focus will be the declaration of community quarantine status throughout the country for the first month of the New Year. This will likely be announced on the last Monday of the year (December 28) — during the weekly late-night session.

In the old normal, the primetime Lotto draws on the eve of Christmas and the New Year comes early so that PCSO employees and lottery agents can come home to prepare and to spend with families as no sales and draw are conducted the following day. Will this arrangement happen even in the new normal?

 

Year in Retrospect?

From December 26 to 31, a retrospect of this year would normally be made in certain programs as having a network’s year-in-review special on a Sunday night is a thing of the past. Given the heavily-defined circumstances that transpired this 2020, some programs (and some bloggers and other outlets) will be skipped but others (including us) will strive to continue.

For one, Atom Araullo Specials on GMA will present Dos Mil Bente this Sunday (December 13) afternoon but the saying “Expect the unexpected” will resonate with the two and a half weeks remaining of the year.

 

What We Can All Agree? What’s Next?

Despite our differences, we can all agree that this Christmas is not the same as it was before with our old habits and scenes we are used to like traffic rush, crowded malls and packed hangouts. Moreso, our TV landscape has the same atmosphere.

Can the next year’s holiday programming insights be better under the post-new normal arrangement? We’ll all see.


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Featured image courtesy of Gerd Altmann / Pixabay

Other photos are courtesy of GMA

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.)

News

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.

Entertainment

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

Sunday_PinaSaya_title_card.jpg

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

2020

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.

Religious

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.

Sports

NCCAS.jpg

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 KWIQ.com

The Current State of Outside Broadcasts


[Requested by Jenine Shiongshu]

AFTER A HARD DAY at work and begin preparing dinner, you turn your TV at 6:00 or 6:30 p.m. (or later due to overtime issues) to watch the early evening news to know what has happened throughout the country.

If you are peculiarly detailed, some major news items employed on-the-spot reports outside the studio to enhance and to update over the focused happenings.

Last Monday’s opening of the new school year (2018-19) was a prime example. Most broadcasters have determined their selected public schools to capture the happenings and given a glimpse of human interests.

Adhering the universal creed of fair and balanced journalism that there must be a supporting or opposite side of the story, they did not forget to cover those from the Department of Education in Ortigas, Pasig City for the Oplan Balik Eskwela’s Action Center during the interchange of that day’s coverage.

Today, all national networks (mainstream and denominationally backed) employ the use of such mobile property and moveable equipment except IBC 13, as they have neither the money to acquire nor the skill and the labor. They had a live phone patch back then but it seemed to be disused and abandoned.

Unlike her sister network, PTV, they rarely use live OB equipments for few occasions (e.g. Palm Sunday for the annual retreat in Meralco Theatre and Traslacion in Manila) while they have the equipment from RTVM to cover the President’s speeches outside the Palace. The main network’s mobile equipment is situated in the Palace in order to get their viewpoint as their top story.

For regional networks, assuming they have the money, the skill and the maintenance, they can do that but done sparingly. CLTV-36, for one, used live OB vans during the main Giant Lantern Festival competition (Ligligan Parul) every December.

However, there are outside broadcasts that are NOT in the proper place. One of such newscasts is the State of the Nation with Jessica Soho on GMA News TV.

During a news item, Soho (or two substitute anchors) signaled an on the spot report “live from Quezon City” (possibly near GMA Network Center) and not in or near the concerned vicinity. However, most of you would primarily digress that concerned government offices are closed and its parking has limitations for media personnel to stay.

That being said, so the next time when you watch the news, let us set aside the time to salute the staff behind the roaming and rolling of the cameras far from their workplaces with their unsung and hidden acts for the enormous and dynamic impact that contributes the country’s journalism.


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


UPDATE:

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

 

INDEED.

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

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

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

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

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

What else is in store? Jump in for more.

NOTE: Inaccuracies and updates can happen throughout this post.

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Christmas sa ‘Pinas: The 2016-17 Holiday TV Primer


The glimmers of parol this Christmas will definitely trigger homesickness and sentiments.

The glimmers of parol this Christmas will definitely trigger homesickness and sentiments.

‘TIS THE SEASON.

As The Turf approaches its 3rd anniversary this coming Wednesday — we will report the traditional annual holiday primer for the 4th time on what will be on television in the Philippines. This year’s Christmas Day and the coming New Year’s Day (2017) will both fall on Sunday — James Ty III’s favorite day of the week — and it’ll be the first Christmas for President Rodrigo Duterte.

This holiday primer will span from today, December 10, 2016 until January 1, 2017 and it will split into seven (7) chronological phases.

Please bear with us because sometimes, not everything will go on as planned or expected.

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Philippine TV’s Christmastide Cornucopia 2015-16


Tarlac's Belenismo (displaying of the Nativity scene) is one way of celebrating Christmas in the Philippines.

Tarlac’s Belenismo (displaying of the Nativity scene) is one way of celebrating Christmas in the Philippines.

DECEMBER IS HERE, once again. We already reached the final month of 2015 and the Turf thinks out: “How would the coverage throughout the holiday month will play on?”

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