drama, entertainment, news, Philippines, television

Alaala on GMA This Sunday

Martial Law in the Marcos era is still a relevant topic in Philippine history.

Which is why on the 45th anniversary week of this dreaded event, GMA will rekindled harsh memories of the era through the two-hour made-for-TV film ‘Alaala: A Martial Law Special’. The special will star Alden Richards, Rocco Nacino, Gina Alajar and Bianca Umali, and is directed by Adolf Alix Jr.

In ‘Alaala’, Alden and Rocco will bring life to Martial Law activists Boni Ilagan and Pete Lacaba respectively. The special will take a look at the two activists’ hardships and trials during one of the darkest chapters in Philippine politics.

It will also take a look at Martial Law in both a positive and negative light. Overall, ‘Alaala’ should be a series worth watching for history enthusiasts and Martial Law victims alike.

Not surprisingly, the special will be under the helm of GMA Public Affairs, the same group that brought the likes of ‘Titser’, ‘Katipunan’ and ‘Ilustrado’ to the small screen. With a reputation for bringing award-winning (albeit oft-criticized) docu-dramas to the limelight, expect GMA Public Affairs to bring that same fire on ‘Alaala’.

In one of the rare moments of GMA’s recent history, they will air a made-for-TV film in the dreaded Sunday night slot. Considering the many times that Sunday Night Box Office brought in old Tagalized foreign films for nostalgia’s sake, ‘Alaala’ is definitely a change from the norm, and it’s a good thing to see regardless of how it fares in the ratings.

Come this Sunday, history will be relived. Anyone who suffered under the wrath of Martial Law, and those who still don’t understand its consequences, should watch ‘Alaala’ in order to look back at the people’s suffering, pain and misery during this dark age in Philippine history.

‘Alaala’ will air this Sunday on GMA’s Sunday Night Box Office.

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news, Philippines, television

The World Tonight 50th Anniversary Documentary, Coming Soon

'The World Tonight' celebrates its 50th anniversary, with a documentary commemorating the milestone to air soon on the ABS-CBN News Channel. (Logo courtesy of ABS-CBN)

‘The World Tonight’ celebrates its 50th anniversary, with a documentary commemorating the milestone to air soon on the ABS-CBN News Channel. (Logo courtesy of ABS-CBN)

‘The World Tonight’, the Philippines’ longest-running English newscast, is 50 years old.

The gold standard among local newscasts, ‘The World Tonight’ has been on the air since November 21, 1966. The newscast became a witness to some of the country’s greatest moments, having covered the beginning of Martial Law, three EDSA People Power revolutions, seven Philippine presidential administrations, and other notable events.

Over the years, journalists such as Orly Mercado, Loren Legarda, Ces Drilon, Dyan Castillejo, Tina Monzon-Palma and the late Angelo Castro Jr. have become synonymous with ‘The World Tonight’. These days, lead anchor Tina Monzon-Palma, co-anchors Tony Velasquez, Cathy Yang and TJ Manotoc, and commentator Teddy Locsin Jr. continue to uphold its tradition of journalistic excellence.

‘The World Tonight’ endured four different stops during its 50-year run (technically 36 years thanks to Martial Law). They are:

  • ABS-CBN Channel 9 (1966-67)
  • ABS-CBN Channel 3 (1967-72)
  • ABS-CBN Channel 2 (1986-99)
  • ABS-CBN News Channel (1996-present)

While ‘The World Tonight’ lost 14 of its years to Martial Law, there is no denying the impact the newscast has had on the Filipino nation. And, like ABS-CBN’s golden anniversary celebration in 2003, the network decided to honor the 14 lost years of ‘The World Tonight’ in commemorating its 50th year, since it remains an important part of their history.

As announced during the second ANC X event in Rockwell, Makati, a documentary commemorating ‘The World Tonight”s 50th anniversary will air on ANC very soon. It will feature interviews from some of ‘The World Tonight”s past and present anchors, producers, and even ABS-CBN’s braintrust led by chairman Eugenio ‘Gabby’ Lopez III.

ABS-CBN Integrated News and Current Affairs head Ging Reyes paid tribute to ‘The World Tonight’ during the ANC X event, saying:

“’The World Tonight’ and ANC are one in keeping the Filipino audience informed and enlightened through all these years; two institutions that keep pushing for public enlightenment – the very foundation of any democracy. May these two strong institutions outlive us all.”

Indeed they are. And after 50 years, ‘The World Tonight’ is still going strong.

 

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hits, music, Philippines, radio, songs, United States

There is Life After RJ Underground Radio 105.9

Captain Eddie (pictured) and Mr. A’s ‘Rock of Manila’ on RJ 100.3 FM is just one of a few RJ originals that recently returned on the airwaves. (Photo credit: RJPlanet.com)

Before DCG-FM brought the retro hits format on DWLA 105.9, there was the all-rock RJ Underground Radio.

Ramon Jacinto’s second FM station ran from 2007 to 2011, and was considered to be the main rival of NU 107, due to their similarities in terms of playlist. The only difference is that UR had an even deeper library of rock songs compared to the more alternative-based approach of NU.

When RJ decided to terminate the lease of the 105.9 frequency, they ventured into the internet as UR Faceradio. Unfortunately, it only lasted for two or three years, before they decided to shut it down.

But just recently, some of RJ UR’s old programs were able to return on the air, albeit on different radio stations.

The iconic program ‘Pinoy Rock n’ Rhythm’ was revived on DZRJ 810 AM late last year. The program’s return came full circle, as it used to air on DZRJ-AM in the midst of Martial Law and the growing popularity of classic Filipino rock music.

While its most famous host Howlin’ Dave (Dante David) did not live to see his program revive on its old home, at least it gave Filipino rock fans a reason to be joyful, as the long-forgotten Pinoy rock hits of the era were once again played on ‘Pinoy Rock n’ Rhythm’.

Another program that was recently brought back from the dead was ‘Rock n’ Roll Machine’, hosted by Cousin Hoagy (Hoagy Pardo). The program was given a new lease on life via Jam 88.3.

Hoagy is no stranger to hosting his programs on an alternative rock-dominated station, having hosted ‘ The Crossroads’ on NU 107. On his return, he brought along a DZRJ original to Jam, and with it, a more classic side to rock and blues music on a primarily alternative station.

And finally, there was the ‘Rock of Manila’ on RJ 100.3 FM. Hosted by legendary DJs Captain Eddie and Mr. A, the program essentially picked up from where DZRJ-AM’s original format left off.

In essence, the return of the ‘Rock of Manila’, like ‘Pinoy Rock n’ Rhythm’, was seen as a way to reconnect fans of the old DZRJ to the current station. As it stands, RJ 100 now plays a more varied pop-oriented playlist, while DZRJ-AM airs mostly English language news programs.

These three programs are proof that there is still life after RJ Underground Radio 105.9. While the station no longer exists, its determination and hard work in promoting rock music in the country will always be remembered.

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country, news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

1986: A Turning Point in Philippine Media

The late June Keithley, along with husband Angelo Castro Jr., were instrumental in bravely covering the EDSA Revolution and the eventual inauguration of President Corazon Aquino.

Today marks the 28th anniversary of the People Power Revolution. In commemoration of the event, this article will focus on the year 1986, a year that marked a new era in Philippine media history.

Before 1986, media in the Philippines was virtually dominated by the cronies of President Ferdinand Marcos. The most prominent of these networks were the Banahaw Broadcasting Corporation (BBC-2), and the Kanlaon Broadcasting System (KBS-9; later Radio Philippines Network). The now-People’s Television Network (PTV-4) and Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation (IBC-13) were also established during Martial Law. The only non-crony owned network at the time was GMA, which was sold by Bob Stewart to Felipe Gozon and operated under limited three-month permits. Some radio stations were also given permission to air, provided that they avoid airing any anti-Marcos statements.

However, certain events in Philippine history forever changed the media industry. The soon-to-be Kapuso network was the only station to cover the Ninoy Aquino assassination, and wife Cory’s declaration to run for the presidency. The defections of Juan Ponce Enrile and Fidel V. Ramos from the Marcos regime was also covered by GMA. Channel 7’s brave stand was only the beginning, though.

Radio Veritas followed GMA’s lead by broadcasting Jaime Cardinal Sin’s message, urging people from all walks of life to flood the Murphy and Greenhills sections of EDSA in an effort to protect Enrile and Ramos. When Veritas was seized by the Marcos troops, Radyo Bandido (DZRJ 810) took over, with real-life couple June Keithley and Angelo Castro, Jr. broadcasting the proceedings.

Meanwhile, a broadcast of President Marcos’ press conference was aired on Channels 4 and 9, only to be cut off the air by the rebels. By this time, Marcos’ grip on power was slipping away, although he made a final official TV appearance as president when GMA and IBC covered his inauguration, which like Channels 4 and 9 were also invaded and cut off by the rebels.

While the inauguration of Corazon Aquino at Club Filipino was preserved on videotape, it was unclear if any network in the Philippines aired the said event. Nevertheless, with the departure of Ferdinand Marcos from Malacanang, the freedom of the press was restored, and with it came the return of ABS-CBN and the sequestration of Channels 4, 9 and 13.

The year 1986 was a period of change and progress in the Philippine media industry. The once-censored media is gone, and with it came a more free-wheeling and conscious approach to broadcasting, although it remains subject to various regulations by the Kapisanan ng Broadkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) and the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB). Even with the media now more widespread than ever, the lessons of Martial Law and EDSA will never be forgotten, and the experiences of each outlet will continue to have a huge impact on the industry in the years to come.

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country, news, Philippines, politics

Ninoy: The Heart & the Soul

Throughout the week of August 21, government stations PTV-4 and IBC-13 air classic documentaries commemorating the life, the struggles, and the legacy of Benigno Aquino Jr. One of these documentaries has been regarded as a masterpiece.

Ninoy: The Heart & the Soul was first aired on the fifth death anniversary of Aquino. The documentary was written by the late columnist Teodoro Benigno, and was narrated by the late news anchor Jose Mari Velez. Two versions of the documentary exist: one narrated in English, and the other in Filipino. The documentary gives viewers a look back at the career and life of Ninoy; from his rise as a political wonder boy, to his incarceration in Fort Bonifacio and Laur, Nueva Ecija during Martial Law, and eventually to his exile and assassination. A part of the documentary was focused on Ninoy’s solitary prison at Laur, giving viewers a glimpse on what his prison looked like. Other important segments of the documentary include Ninoy’s diary, his hunger strike, and the Aquino family’s efforts to visit and provide moral support to their imprisoned relative.

The documentary runs for 90 minutes. However, an edited 30-minute version also exists, and is aired on Knowledge Channel during the week. Here are the English and Filipino versions of the 90-minute documentary, shown in its entirety.

Ninoy: The Heart & the Soul (English version)

Puso at Diwa ni Ninoy (Filipino version)

About the only difference in the two versions other than the language used is Velez’s attire, where he wore a suit on the English narration, and a Barong Tagalog on the Filipino narration. Nevertheless, both versions of the documentary were informative and historically important, especially during the week of Ninoy’s assassination, and during the week of the EDSA People Power Revolution anniversary.

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