anime, entertainment, Philippines, television

Newly-Redubbed Voltes V to Air on GMA Astig Authority This Week As Part of 40th Anniversary

The legend returns: ‘Voltes V’ will air anew on GMA starting tomorrow, featuring a new Filipino dub. (Screenshot courtesy of Toei, Nippon Sunrise, Telesuccess Productions and GMA Network)

‘Voltes V’ is back.

As part of the anime’s 40th anniversary, GMA announced that a redubbed version of ‘Voltes V’ will be aired starting tomorrow morning on the network’s Astig Authority block. The fresh new Filipino dub of ‘Voltes V’ will feature the following Kapuso stars:

  • Derrick Monasterio (as Steve Armstrong)
  • Jak Roberto (as Mark Gordon)
  • Hiro Peralta (as Big Bert Armstrong)
  • Bea Binene  (as Jamie Robinson)
  • Ken Chan (as Prince Zardos)

The voices of Little John Armstrong, Dr. Ned Armstrong, Mary Armstrong, Dr. Smith, Commander Robinson, Dr. Hook, Draco, Zandra, Zuhl and other characters will also be dubbed by various voice actors. However, it is unknown if GMA will give credit to these voice actors for their roles in the redubbed ‘Voltes V’.

‘Voltes V’, a brainchild of Tadao Nagahama (also the man behind ‘Daimos’), was first aired on GMA in 1978. However, it was soon banned by then-President Ferdinand Marcos (along with the aforementioned ‘Daimos’ and other robot anime) for being ‘too violent’.

It was only after the People Power Revolution that ‘Voltes V’ triumphantly returned on air through various TV channels (most notably ABS-CBN and IBC-13). In 1999, ‘Voltes V’ was brought back by GMA in both English and Filipino dubs (along with the four unaired episodes known as ‘Voltes V: The Liberation’), and instantly became popular with a new generation of viewers.

The renewed popularity of ‘Voltes V’ also inspired the ‘Bubble Gang’ segment ‘Ang Dating Doon’ (a parody of the religious program ‘Ang Dating Daan’) to adopt the anime’s opening song as its theme. The skit even brought a toy version of the robot on numerous occasions.

In 2005, ABS-CBN’s Hero channel aired a new Filipino dub of ‘Voltes V’ (known as ‘Voltes V Evolution’), starring the likes of Jett Pangan and Sandara Park. However, the new dub was poorly received.

The 2017 dub of ‘Voltes V’ may be a celebration for the anime’s 40th anniversary, but it remains to be seen if the redub will be worth watching. Considering that ‘Magandang Buhay’ has had some winning moments in recent episodes, this will be a tough task for the returning series to overcome.

Still, for those too young to remember the battle between the Boazanians and the Earth’s special forces, ‘Voltes V’ will be a new experience for all of them. Win or lose, this new dub should give them a fresh perspective on how good overcomes evil, and how bloodlines were revealed.

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movies, music, news, Philippines, public affairs, religion, songs, television

The Real Anniversary of UNTV

The original logo of UNTV, adopted by the current station upon their ‘claimed’ establishment in 2004.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of UNTV, the 24-hour television station managed by Daniel Razon. In reality, however, the station should be celebrating its 13th year in the television industry.

So what happened to the first three years of UNTV’s existence?

Apparently, it was the decision of the station’s management to use 2004 as its starting point. UNTV, as a public service station, took off once ‘Ang Dating Daan’ of Bro. Eli Soriano arrived on the scene, and from that point on, they eschewed the rock video format in favor of news, public affairs and educational programs that complemented ‘ADD’.

The arrival of Daniel Razon further legitimized UNTV’s approach to public service. He established a free bus ride, job fairs, legal counseling and health care services, and other means to serve the masses.

Thus, the station claims that they were established in 2004, and not 2001 as witnessed by older television viewers.

In my opinion, UNTV’s decision does not make sense. If the station claims to have been established in 2004, why did they use the original NU 107-inspired logo from 2001 as its first logo? And why did they choose to keep the UNTV name?

The fact is, their decision to reformat without rebranding and renaming the station is an insult to the legacy of UNTV’s previous rock-oriented era. Having said that, it is hard to imagine that the now public service-oriented UNTV was the same station that once aired rock music videos and independent short films.

Looking back, UNTV’s history from 2001-04 should have been given some respect. The station should be credited for launching the careers of Ramon Bautista, Arvin ‘Tado’ Jimenez, Jun Sabayton and Angel ‘Erning’ Rivero, hosts of the popular reality comedy series ‘Strangebrew’. In addition, UNTV should also be responsible for introducing independent film-making to a mainstream audience, courtesy of the ‘Eat My Shorts’ segments.

But perhaps the most important way to pay tribute to the original UNTV is their promotion of Pinoy rock (and alternative rock music in general) to the mainstream, in the form of music videos. And finally, the station should commend NU 107 DJs Francis Reyes, Zach Lucero and Ron Titular, and musicians Diego Mapa and Jason Caballa, for hosting programs that solely focus on promoting various genres of rock music.

Sadly, those three years in UNTV’s history were nothing but an afterthought. One must wonder if that particular era in UNTV’s history will be given a proper tribute. Only time will tell, but for now, UNTV’s claim of being established in 2004 will continue to hold.

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Revisiting the INC-ADD Rivalry

In the history of religious television, no one had a greater impact than the rivalry between two of the most famous religious organizations in the Philippines: the Iglesia ni Cristo and Members Church of God International. The rivalry became a hot topic among church members, other religious groups, and even a small portion of the media for much of the 2000s.

Beginning with the entry of MCGI’s flagship program ‘Ang Dating Daan‘ in 1980, the group led by executive minister Eliseo Soriano became critical of INC’s beliefs, so much so that in June 2001, INC responded with ‘Ang Tamang Daan‘. From then on, the two churches waged a war of words, with topics related to the Bible and church rituals. The war became so intense that even converts from the two churches joined in the discussion.

Ironically, ‘Ang Tamang Daan’ started its broadcasts on SBN 21, which was also the home network of ‘Ang Dating Daan’ at the time. After the debut of ATD, ADD began to air live on a nightly basis, before both programs left SBN 21 for Net 25 and UNTV 37 respectively. The move of both programs changed the makeup of the two networks, with Net 25 now owned by members of the INC while UNTV was purchased by Soriano’s cousin Daniel Razon.

The rivalry between the two churches took its toll on Soriano, who encountered a variety of legal problems filed by the INC. After receiving numerous death threats from INC members, Soriano eventually left overseas, where he continues to preach his own beliefs today. At the same time, INC ministers ceased its on-air criticism of MCGI, and today ‘Ang Tamang Daan’ (and sister program ‘Ang Pagbubunyag’) is aired similarly to other INC programs.

The INC was not the only organization that criticized Soriano’s beliefs. Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy’s The Kingdom of Jesus Christ: The Name Above Every Name, and Pastor Arsenio Ferriol’s Pentecostal Ministry Church of Christ 4th Watch were also staunch critics of Soriano. Even the MTRCB took notice of ‘Ang Dating Daan’, particularly during Soriano’s profanity-laced tirades that earned the program numerous suspensions.

Today, ‘Ang Dating Daan’ and its counterpart ‘Itanong Mo Kay Soriano‘, are being aired under close scrutiny by UNTV management. Even as they focused on preaching their own beliefs, to this day MCGI’s reputation as a true church remains a question mark, thanks in part to the role that the Iglesia ni Cristo took in attempting to take down the Members Church of God International.

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Philippines, religion, television

Ang Dating Daan Out of PTV 4

It was a brief and unfruitful experiment. ‘Ang Dating Daanonly aired for a month on the government station PTV 4, and then it was mysteriously pulled out of the network for unknown reasons. Perhaps it was the folks at UNTV that convinced PTV to pull out their flagship program from the airwaves, or that PTV never committed to Bro. Eli Soriano and his ministry. Regardless, ADD will no longer be seen on a VHF channel for the foreseeable future.

ADD was replaced on its timeslot by ‘Oras ng Himala’, a program helmed by Jesus is Our Shield Worldwide Ministries leader Apostle Renato Carillo. The 24-year old church organization based on healing and spiritual enrichment has been airing on PTV 4 for some time since its former home SBN 21 was reformatted into the Solar News Channel. In addition, PTV also airs the similarly themed ‘Jesus Miracle Crusade‘ on a weekly basis. ‘JMC’, founded by Wilde Almeda, was best known for its involvement in the Abu Sayyaf hostage crisis in 2000, in which its leader and his disciples visited their camp before they were released.

In the meantime, ADD will continue to air exclusively on UNTV, whose chairman Daniel Razon is a nephew of Eli Soriano.

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Philippines, religion, television

Ang Dating Daan on PTV

Ang Dating Daan moves to PTV 4, sort of.

One of the most knowledgeable yet controversial preachers today returns to VHF television. Bro. Eli Soriano and his program ‘Ang Dating Daan‘ recently returned to PTV 4 starting in August in an effort to propagate the message of God and Salvation through the Bible. This was the program’s first vestige to VHF television since the late 1990s.

For the past decade, Bro. Eli and his programs have been airing on a daily basis through UHF station UNTV 37. The said station, which used to air rock music videos and the cult favoriteStrangebrew‘, underwent a major transformation in 2004 through the leadership of Daniel Razon, a relative of Soriano’s and fellow ADD minister. Despite an influx of new programs, ‘Ang Dating Daan’, along with ‘Itanong Mo Kay Soriano‘, remain the station’s flagship programs.

The return of ADD to the government station PTV 4 was no surprise; the program used to air in that station in the late 1980s. And considering PTV’s efforts to improve its programming, the addition of ADD was a welcome breath of fresh air. Moreover, PTV’s clearer and improving signal compared to UNTV’s made it a perfect choice to air ADD.

Even though ADD now airs on PTV 4, it will continue to air on its flagship station UNTV. However, loyal members of the church who cannot get a clearer view of the program will now have the opportunity to watch Bro. Eli preach the words of God on the clearer and widely reachable signals of PTV 4.

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entertainment, Philippines, television

The Net 25 Under the INC Spell

The original Net 25 logo, back before the Iglesia ni Cristo made its way to Net 25’s air time. (Logo courtesy of Eagle Broadcasting Corporation).

Back when they were still not airing Iglesia ni Cristo programs, Net 25 provided alternative programming for viewers too bored to watch teleseryes. Remember when they used to air Ocean Girl, Thunder Stone, The New Yankee Workshop, House Calls, TechTV, etc.? That was the Net 25 I used to know. Now it is all but a distant memory.

The old Net 25 delivered programs that were cited with the Anak TV seal. It had a dedicated fanbase who loved to watch the network’s canned programs from various countries such as Australia and Germany. And they were also one of the first networks to air techie programs from the now-defunct TechTV network in the US. Unfortunately, when the heated Iglesia ni Cristo-Ang Dating Daan feud got underway in 2001, Net 25 stepped in to air INC’s Ang Tamang Daan while SBN 21 aired ADD at the 9:00 p.m. timeslot.

Gradually Net 25 added more programs produced by the Iglesia ni Cristo, rendering its canned programs expendable. In the years that followed, the network started producing their own programs, such as Convergence, while expanding their focus on the INC. Even as GEM-TV 49 (now INC-TV) started to air in 2005, Net 25 continues to air programming from the INC.

In my view, Net 25 today is merely a clone of INC-TV, featuring most of the same programming and focus. And although Net 25 still airs news programs and general interest shows, it is clear that they focus more on the programs produced by the Iglesia ni Cristo. No disrespect to the INC, but this is not how Net 25 is being run. Why? Because both channels are on free TV. Had INC-TV become a cable-exclusive network rather than a free TV channel, Net 25 would have been complemented by the network and given block time.

To this day, I don’t think Net 25 has what it takes to become a distinct and useful source for alternative programming. They used to be ‘the’ network with never-before-seen canned programs. But with the Iglesia ni Cristo invading most of their air time, Net 25 became a mere shell of its former self, supplementing rather than complementing its programs. The old Net 25 is great, but the current one is just too cluttered.

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