entertainment, Philippines, television, variety show

Farewell, Walang Tulugan

‘Walang Tulugan’ aired its final episode last Saturday, over a month after the show’s creator German Moreno (third from left) passed away. (Photo credit: German Moreno Official Facebook)

The curtain finally fell on ‘Walang Tulugan’.

On Saturday, February 13, ‘Walang Tulugan with the Master Showman’ aired its final episode. The variety show’s finale had already been anticipated, as its creator and host, German Moreno (a.k.a. Kuya Germs), passed away over a month ago.

‘Walang Tulugan’ first aired on February 8, 1997 as ‘Master Showman Presents’. The show was created as a way to maintain Kuya Germs’ presence on television, after his previous program ‘GMA Supershow’ was cancelled earlier that year in favor of ‘SOP’.

Eight years later, the show was renamed ‘Walang Tulugan with the Master Showman’. The popularity of the catchphrase ‘Walang Tulugan’ (a term coined by Kuya Germs during the show’s early years) led to its rebrand, and whenever viewers tuned in, they would always identify ‘Walang Tulugan’ as the show that never sleeps.

During its 19-year run, ‘Walang Tulugan’ was affected by GMA’s numerous lineup changes on Saturdays. In some episodes, the show begins at 11:15 or 11:30, but others usually start in the wee hours of Sunday morning, due to the unnecessary presence of a late-night movie block.

Aside from Kuya Germs, ‘Walang Tulugan’ also featured an ensemble of co-hosts that were either ‘That’s Entertainment’ alumni or young up-and-coming proteges of the Master Showman. In the show’s final episodes, Kuya Germs’ nephew John Nite and close friend Nora Aunor shared lead hosting duties.

The death of Kuya Germs on January 8 led to a special live tribute episode of ‘Walang Tulugan’ the following night. Although Nora Aunor stated that she wanted to continue the show, GMA realized that ‘Walang Tulugan’ would never be the same without its creator and pillar.

Thus, they decided to pull the plug on one of the longest-running programs on Philippine television. And last Saturday, ‘Walang Tulugan’ officially bowed out, with the show’s hosts performing for the last time and bidding farewell to their loyal viewers.

For Philippine television, ‘Walang Tulugan’ was a big loss, and an irreplaceable icon for night owls everywhere. But while its run had ended, its legacy will live on, along with the creator who started it all, Kuya Germs.

Indeed, ‘Walang Tulugan’ will still not sleep, even if it has moved on to the great beyond.

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concerts, entertainment, live events, Philippines, television, variety show

1995 Flashback: APO Out, ASAP In

Some of the ‘ASAP’ logos that were used throughout the show’s run. (Logos courtesy of ABS-CBN)

1995 was a memorable year in Philippine television. As part of a year-long special, From the Tube will look back at a year full of historical debuts, unforgettable moments, and celebrated feats in the history of television in the country.

This week will mark the 20th anniversary of the longest-running Sunday afternoon variety show in the country.

‘All-Star Sunday Afternoon Party’, better known as ‘ASAP’, debuted on ABS-CBN on February 5, 1995. The show was created in the wake of predecessor ‘Sa Linggo nAPO Sila”s move to weekdays as ”Sang Linggo nAPO Sila’ following the move of TAPE, Inc.’s ‘Eat Bulaga’ to GMA.

‘ASAP’ did not follow the precedent of its predecessor ‘Sa Linggo nAPO Sila’, which in many ways was an extension of ‘Eat Bulaga’ up to this point. Instead, it was conceptualized as a ‘concert party’ on Sundays, which means that the performances of ABS-CBN’s contract artists would dominate the show.

For the first two years of its run, ‘ASAP’ competed against ‘GMA Supershow’, then the top-rated show on Sunday afternoons. But on February 2, 1997, ‘SOP’ replaced the latter, setting off a heated rivalry between the two shows that lasted 13 years, mostly resulting in ‘SOP’ winning the ratings battle.

In 2003, ‘ASAP’ was renamed ‘ASAP Mania’, in response to ‘SOP”s rebrand as ‘SOP Rules’. A year later, the two competing shows launched their own spinoffs in ‘ASAP Fanatic’ and ‘SOP Gigsters’, during the height of popularity between rival talent search shows ‘Star Circle Quest’ and ‘StarStruck’.

‘ASAP Mania’ then reverted back to ‘ASAP’ in 2005, and other than the minor name changes such as ‘ASAP Rocks’ and ‘ASAP (year/anniversary)’, the show retained the ‘ASAP’ name for the remainder of its run.

The rivalry between ‘ASAP’ and ‘SOP’ came to an end on February 28, 2010, when ‘SOP’ aired its final episode. By then, ‘ASAP’ had taken over the No. 1 spot, and it would stay there for good despite the best efforts of GMA to replace ‘SOP’ with ‘Party Pilipinas’ and ‘Sunday All-Stars’.

Today, ‘ASAP’ remains the benchmark to which all Sunday afternoon variety shows are measured. With a run of 20 years and counting, it easily surpasses former rival ‘GMA Supershow’ in that regard, and remains atop the ratings game thanks to their mix of high-energy performances and top-notch studio sets.

Now what happened to ”Sang Linggo nAPO Sila’? The reformatted weekday show only managed to air for another three years, after which it was replaced by ‘Magandang Tanghali, Bayan’. The APO Hiking Society, for whom the show was named after, then returned full-time to the music industry before disbanding in 2010.

The rest, as they say, is history.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

‘Ipaglaban Mo”s Return a Throwback to 90s Weekend TV Habits

This Saturday, ABS-CBN’s legal drama series ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ returns after a 16-year absence. And for older viewers, the comeback of ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ harkens back to the days when weekend drama anthologies filled the airwaves in the 1990s.

Back then, numerous drama anthologies were aired after noontime shows such as ‘Eat Bulaga’, ‘Sa Linggo Napo Sila’, ‘GMA Supershow’, ‘Salu-Salo Together’ and others. These anthologies feature only one story per episode, which means that viewers would be able to watch an entire story develop for over an hour. Examples of weekend drama anthologies include ‘Lovingly Yours, Helen’, ‘Coney Reyes on Camera’, and ‘GMA Telesine Specials’, and ‘Ipaglaban Mo’, all of which lasted deep into the latter part of the decade.

By the late 90s, anthologies gradually fell out of favor, and were replaced by weekend afternoon drama series. These featured a continuous storyline that takes place in each succeeding episode, typical of today’s teleseryes. ‘Anna Karenina’, produced by both GMA and VIVA Television, aired for nearly six years, and set the stage for other weekend drama series to follow. Another example was ABS-CBN’s ‘Tabing Ilog’, which aired for four years.

The next decade witnessed the decline of the weekend drama series in the Philippines. ‘Startalk”s move to Saturday afternoons in 1998 helped them earn high ratings in their new timeslot. On the other hand, ABS-CBN struggled with dramas such as ‘Sa Sandaling Kailangan Mo Ako’, and in 2003 they decided to create their own showbiz programs, beginning with ‘S2: Showbiz Sabado’. Teen-oriented series then took over Sunday afternoons, and in 2013, GMA and ABS-CBN experimented with horror-themed programs.

This year, ABS-CBN brought back a program that was once a staple every weekend. ‘Ipaglaban Mo’, hosted by Atty. Jose Sison, aired for nine years on the Kapamilya network, and its success led to two Star Cinema-produced films. Like the original, the new ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ will feature a particular court case that is dramatized on TV. This time around, Atty. Sison will be joined by his son, Jopet Sison, while the country’s top directors will be assigned to different episodes.

The new ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ airs this Saturday after ‘It’s Showtime’ on ABS-CBN. The show should not only attract a new generation of viewers, but also increase awareness towards a wide variety of legal cases in the country.

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