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 PTV-4, RPN-9 and IBC-13 have lost a lot of money due to bad investments, outdated equipment and stale programming lineups, while TV5 (formerly ABC-5) endured a change in programming and organizational structure which led to them eschewing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.