Philippines, radio, religion, television

The Declining Importance of the 3 O’Clock Prayer on Philippine TV

Over two decades earlier, 3:00 p.m. in the Philippines had a special meaning.

Each and every day, most television stations in the country had enough time to air the iconic 3 o’clock prayer plug, asking Filipinos to pray at this hour for peace and forgiveness of sins. 3:00 p.m. in the Catholic religion also signifies the time of the death of Jesus Christ, which is usually celebrated on Good Friday during the Holy Week.

In the past, these stations aired a short clip of the 3 o’clock prayer, produced by the Divine Mercy ‘Say a Little Prayer’ Movement, located in Cubao, Quezon City. It was narrated by Bro. Don de Castro, a former DJ and television personality who founded the organization.

Unfortunately, management changes on other networks have rendered the 3 o’clock prayer useless, and today only the more Catholic-loyal ABS-CBN continues its tradition. In 2002, the Kapamilya network decided to create a Filipino version of the 3 o’ clock prayer. The video below is narrated by network executive and lead voiceover talent Peter Musngi.

Another version of the 3 o’clock prayer is currently used on DZMM Radyo Patrol 630 and its TV counterpart DZMM TeleRadyo, immediately after ‘Dr. Love Always and Forever’. This version is narrated by Bro. Jun Banaag, and is usually slower-paced compared to the Musngi version.

So what led to the decline of the 3 o’clock prayer on Philippine television?

Simple. Money, changing tastes and organizational structure has something to do with the decline of the 3 o’clock prayer. PTV-4, RPN-9 and IBC-13 have lost a lot of money due to bad investments, outdated equipment and stale programming lineups, while TV5 (formerly ABC-5) endured a change in programming and organizational structure which led to them eschewing not only the 3 o’clock prayer, but also the ‘Three Minutes a Day’ segment produced by the Family Rosary Crusade.

As for GMA 7, they have NEVER observed the 3 o’clock prayer at all, since the network’s ownership practiced Protestantism, which translated to the lack of Catholic programming.

Today, the 3 o’clock prayer is considered a product of a bygone era, where television was the only main source of entertainment for Filipinos. With a shift towards new technologies, it is clear that television stations will no longer be called upon to remind Filipinos to pray for peace and forgiveness of sins at 3:00 p.m., and as far as these stations are concerned, they seem more focused towards improving their programming and organizational structure than setting aside a few minutes for Christ.

In an era where Filipinos use the internet more often than their television sets, the 3 o’clock prayer is now considered a less important part of the Filipinos’ way of life. And it’s just so sad to see this tradition go.

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26 thoughts on “The Declining Importance of the 3 O’Clock Prayer on Philippine TV

  1. unknown says:

    Yung ABS-CBN new version, di ko ginustuhan, puro o banal na dugo at tubig na 3 beses instead of banal na diyos.

  2. The youth shall remind about this bygone piece. Think about it, most or some of Pinoy youngsters defected the Catholic faith to a born again church (since the Carlos Celdran stint in Manila Cathedral last 2010) or becoming atheists.

    Besides, in my regional base of Pampanga, the Three O’Clock prayer is heard on the radio: Bright FM 91.9 (A Catholic Media Network member station) and RW 95.1. Bright FM prayed also the Prayer for the Nation and the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy.

    True to the last commenter, which is Mr. Gabby Hernandez, the prayer must follow as the booklet provided: the Trisagion, which goes like: “Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.” The said sentence must be repeated thrice. Then, say, “Jesus, King of Mercy, I trust in you.”

  3. Commenting says:

    Hi! Sorry, but don’t you think the author made a sweeping description of the 3 o’clock prayer tradition? I mean, this prayer is not something made for TV. Saying a prayer belongs to one’s heart. Not airing the prayer on TV, which makes it “a less important part of the Filipinos’way of life” is just preposterous. I mean, you could say this prayer even without the TV leading you into it. However, for some parts of this article, the author chose to put the prayer tradition in the context of TV Network war, by emphasizing that GMA7 is not Catholic-leaning and that ABS-CBN is the only channel that airs it. Sorry, but differences in religious views and in network favorites are also products of the bygone era. A real Catholic accepts the fact that there are other faiths.

    • Differences in religious views still exist, which is why GMA will remain without any Catholic programming as long as their Protestant owners remain in power. Network favoritism also remains in existence, and not of the bygone era. Just look at the Colgate commercials; they only air on ABS because they think the network has an advantage on all economic classes, as opposed to GMA, who only has an advantage on the lower class, and nothing else.

      Catholics born in the late 90s and early 2000s are certainly not aware of the 3 o’clock prayer shown on TV. Instead they grew up witnessing the explosion in popularity of social media. And as Timow said, most of them decided to embrace Atheism rather than enrich themselves with the words of God. Yes, real Catholics accept the fact that there are other faiths, but still, the Philippines is a Catholic-dominated country, which explains the more subdued programming seen on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Black Saturday.

  4. Commenting says:

    I wish the author can substantiate his claim that those born in the late 90s and the 2000s are not aware of the 3 o’clock prayer shown on TV. Again, he used “certainly”, which means that he knows for a fact, based perhaps on official statistics and researches, that these people are not aware of this prayer on TV. Next, I didn’t intend to question your preferences and thoughts in this free country. However, “embracing atheism” is such a debatable argument. I wish the author has some background on religious studies and has read some of the great faith-based works of Thomas Aquinas, Dominic, and Benedict, and even just the encyclicals of the last five pontiffs (excluding JP I) and studies by the CBCP that would at least make him a credible observer of how people have chosen to turn into atheism (The “A” in atheism is NEVER capitalized). Lastly, the author obviously does not love GMA7. But not loving GMA7, I hope it’s not a form of abhorrence, is just too simplistic to be the legs on which a supposed article that deals with the decline of a prayer would stand. This is just plain observation. Thank you Mr. Author!

  5. kung ang GMA7 ay may anti-catholic programs, bakit pa ba sila may news patungkol sa Katoloko, Special Program sa Vatican at mga drama na base sa Catholic Tulad Ngayon Ng program na Nino?

    • Yung mga Catholic-related news, kailangan para mapanood ng lahat, mapa-Katoliko man o hindi.

      Saka malabo talaga ang patakaran ng 7. May ineere silang Vatican specials, pero walang Sunday Mass. IDK about Nino though, basta na lang nila ito pinayagan na gawin for the sake of competition, dahil sa tagumpay ng May Bukas Pa, Budoy at Honesto sa Channel 2.

  6. alexandra says:

    Does anyone know the classical background music used for the 3 o clock prayer in the 1980’s? It was hauntingly beautiful & I have been wanting to know for ages but there doesn’t seem to be any info or reference where it was taken from. That was the reason I always loved to wait for 3 o clock to come as a child! I would REALLY, REALLY APPRECIATE whoever knows it. Thank you very much!

    • It was never revealed what music piece was played during the English version of the 3 o’clock prayer. Perhaps you can ask the organizers of the said ritual about it; just watch the conclusion of the Tagalized version of the prayer on ABS and you could find the name of the organization and the address.

  7. Isel Ramos says:

    I saw the 3 o’clock prayer on TV Maria before I know that anyone born in 90s and 2000s will like 3 o’clock prayer but its in english

    • Are you referring to the Divine Mercy Say a Little Prayer Movement version? For most of us, we grew up watching that iteration during the time cable wasn’t that well-known.

      • Isel Ramos says:

        I think its better with the latest one for 3 o’clock prayer in English with because their is 3 o’clock prayeron TV Maria

      • I don’t understand what you’re saying. Please correct your grammar next time. And besides, you’re not even answering my question.

        I repeat, are you referring to the version that was produced by the Divine Mercy Say a Little Prayer Movement? If not, who created it?

      • Isel Ramos says:

        I saw some kids born year 2004 back around 2011 They are watching 3 o’clock prayer in english It was referred to produced by Say A Little Prayer Movement on TV Maria

  8. its good that ABS-CBN air the 3:00 Prayer on TV and DZMM on radio unlike other tv and radio stations in manila did not (exept the catholic radio),,,, aside of that not only in Metro Manlia as well in Cebu City,, radio station like ABS-CBN Radio MOR 97.1 DYLS FM air the 3:00 prayer in old original english format like air on ABS-CBN 2 years ago before tranlated into tagalog format….

    • ABS-CBN seems to care more about the Catholic faith than any other network. Aside from the 3:00 p.m. prayer, they also have a weekly Sunday morning mass on TV, as well as TV mass on Christmas, Easter and New Year’s Day.

    • Isel Ramos says:

      I like praying at 3PM my friend recommends 3 o’clock prayer on a catholic channel like TV Maria especially some kids born in 90s and 2000s but produced by TV Maria itself

      • But have you seen ABS-CBN’s Filipino version? Why not you try it rather than run your fingers with grammar that I can’t understand. Didn’t I tell you to correct your grammar?

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