NO. 1

JUNE 2005

Editor’s Note
Welcome to another year in the Jungle! Just weeks before finalizing the line-up this issue, I was desperately trying to squeeze my brain dry trying to think of a suitable theme for June – One that does NOT involve weddings, Independence Day, nor Back-to-School what-not. Fortunately enough, inspiration came one day when Paul, one of our Editors-In-Chief, suddenly started talking about this new show entitled Encantadia. He then went on elaborating how this new show has followed a long line of other past fantaseryes. So, by now, you must have at least a vague idea as to why the cover page is crowded with such peculiar characters. This year’s June cover story focuses on the Fantaserye Phenomenon. Expect scales and feathers to fly as we analyze and divulge why local TV audiences are suddenly developing a taste for fantasy-based soap operas and why the networks are each other’s throats (again). Now, we move on to the subsections. For The Lounge, we feature two of the radio industry’s freshest faces- err, voices- who also happen to be Lasallians. For OTBT, the writer dares to experience what it’s like to run a carinderia, while for 25 Centavos’ Worth, the writer relates her views on the place of traditional Chinese customs in modern times. This month also features the unveiling of two new subsections. First, there’s Rant ‘n Rave, in which reviews are taken to the next level. Then, there’s Fearless Forecasts, where a writer assesses a certain current trend, analyzes it, then boldly predicts what would happen in the future, based on what’s happening now. For our maiden FF, the writer gives his honest take on the potentially dismal fate of the video game industry. So, what are you waiting for? Turn the page! The Zoo awaits, dear intrepid reader! Enjoy!

Rant ‘n Rave



Fuzion serves healthy alternatives to suit the Filipino profile. The menu that Fuzion caters is far from cliché diet food of celery sticks and bland flavors. Fuzion presents dishes bursting with fruity and sensual flavors that you won’t feel guilty wolfing down. The service is friendly enough to cater to your needs and present you with bright and whimsical menus. Entering Fuzion is already a treat, with a retro appeal, mixed with a minimalist approach. While sitting in their orange chairs, why not view the photo mosaic decorated in-line with their brightly colored décor. The pin lights envelope the room in that incandescent orange hue. A dining dilemma, the comfort rooms, is prominent among the mall’s restaurant clientele. It does not have comfort rooms or wash areas located inside the restaurant, which may become a nuisance to diners. In terms of food presentation, desserts and meals are chic with bright and contrasting colors. For start order their world-renowned smoothies. The natural ice crystals from the frozen fruits, frozen yogurt and aloe nectar, are mixed together balancing sweet and tart flavors. Their Very Berry Good smoothie is a combination of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries that acts like a wave upon wave of berry goodness that leaves the sweetness lingering. The smoothie presentation is lacking, especially to in-house diners where they serve their smoothies much like the Starbucks Frappucino. Another recommended choice, The Strawberry Crepe is the very essence of summer. The berries are tart yet sweet mixed with whipped cream, enveloped in a thin and warm crepe. Lastly, crepes are topped with their homemade ice cream. The contrast of warm and cold is simply divine. But, the use of imported mangoes is ironic. Fuzion substitutes imported mangoes, thus turning their smoothies and crepes into sour and bland creations. Fuzion also serve truly Italian pasta, rich and comforting cakes, homemade meals and calming tea concoctions The restaurant has many flaws regarding their choice of ingredients, its presentation with their main product (smoothies) and the price of the products. In terms of opportunity cost, their smoothies are a splurge. The magic of the restaurant is left abated when the bill is given. However, Fuzion does serve a delectable array of flavors – international and local, friendly service and a retro ambience. Healthy isn’t always lame and bland, Fuzion makes sure of that. So, plop yourself down into a sofa, grab a smoothie and enjoy the summer! - Jared De Guzman

Desperate Housewives

Studio 23 (Thursdays, 9pm) elcome to Wisteria Lane – where sexy damsels mow their lawns while clad in skimpy sequined gowns, gardeners possess poster-boy looks and inhabitants are caught up trying to live the Seventh Heaven lifestyle. It’s the perfect setting for a detergent commercial. But alas, things are not what they seem in this picture-perfect suburban neighborhood. One day, in the least likely of situations, “perfect” housewife Mary Alice Young (Brenda Strong) takes her own life by driving a bullet through her head, much to the shock of her four closest friends. But fortunately for the viewers, things don’t simply end there for Mary Alice. In fact, for the rest of the show, she is kind enough to give audiences a blow-by-blow account of the events that unfold in her peculiar town. Desperate Housewives centers on the lives of the four disparate suburban women who were affected most by Mary Alice’s passing. There’s Lynette Scarvo (Felicity Huffman), a former career woman who abandoned her promising vocation to spend more quality time with her four sons from hell; Susan Mayer (Teri Hatcher), a lovesick divorcee, single mom, and part time arsonist; Bree Van De Kamp (Marcia Cross), who makes the Stepford Wives look like My Fair Lady’s Eliza Dolittle; and finally, there’s Gabrielle Solis (Eva Longoria), a materially- pampered former model who resorts to afternoon trysts with her hunky 17-year old gardener John (Jesse Metcalfe). The secret lives, not to mention the domestic disputes, of these four women are posthumously narrated in vivid detail by Mary Alice from her newly-discovered point of view. With its evident knack for adulterous scenarios, marital exploits, and sex-flavored conversations, Desperate Housewives is essentially a glorified primetime soap. But given that obvious premise, what makes this show different and more refreshing than the usual episodic drama fodder is that it takes an age-old TV formula and puts in certain cinematic touches like film-noir and dark comedy. Mary Alice’s offscreen narration, for instance, is an apparent homage to Sunset Boulevard. Now, throw in a snappy screenplay and clever dialogue and you have the makings of a TV-bound guilty pleasure. The plot, in all its soap opera-inspired essence, is cliched to be sure. But that’s what makes this show seem more honest. It does not try to avoid clichés. Instead, it glorifies them. It presents tried-and-tested scenarios in a overly-familiar manner, but eventually transcends them by giving them more depth. All in all, Desperate Housewives functions more than a nosey neighbor’s dream come true. More importantly, it gives viewers insights on the darker side of domestic life through its amusing and well-drawn caricatures of typical dysfunctional families. - Chuckie Chavez


Juan Carlos Chavez Menagerie Editor


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Rob Thomas is more popularly There are two things teddy bear known as the lead lovers know by heart: One is that they can only truly love one vocals that gave bear in their lifetime (much like a parent’s secretly favored son or soul to hit songs daughter among a batch of “equally adored” children). Another such as Push, is that they always find enough space for another teddy bear to Unwell, If You’re reside in their rooms, if not in their hearts. Gone, and many Close to a teddy bear lover’s dreams, the Dean’s Collector‘s other chart-toppers Club is an exclusive club that stirs the furry hearts of teddy lovwith band Matchbox ers around the globe, children and grannies alike. Considered as Twenty. In his new Britain’s oldest teddy bear manufacturer, Dean’s is a recognized, album entitled Someat least for teddy lovers, bear collectors’ club that has been thing to Be, the only touching lives for more than 20 years. Although its annual semblance left of the membership is a tad costly (£38, egad!), its bears make up for hunky singer is his the heart-wrenching price. Made from the finest mohair, Dean’s sultry voice - together bears display a delightful streak of charm and elegance. Each with a whole lot of bear is uniquely made, and it is evident that the gentlemanly funky undertones in trace in each bear’s face comes from the English’s legendary the background. With trait for refinement. Easily recognized as a leader in superior his single Lonely No teddy bear craftsmanship – its bears have gained a “cultish” More out on the airfollowing over the years. waves, listeners can already get the idea what the rest of the album Upon membership, members are entitled to receive a free is all about- more upbeat-Latino-sounding tunes and less of the dark membership bear, a lapel pin, a copy of Dean’s 40-page alternative melodies that everybody has come to love from M20. catalogue, 3 copies a year of The Club Reporter Magazine, Something to Be contains 12 original songs written by none other 20% discounts off special Club Edition Bears, posters, set than Thomas himself, along with other renowned songwriters. The first of postcards, factory visits (for the jetsetter), competitions, song on the album, This is How a Heart Breaks, sets the mood of the exclusive offers to Dean’s club members. The bears arwhole album itself, blasting loud and clear that the entire record is unrive regally at the post office, but have to be picked up like any other collaboration that Rob Thomas has done. His songs have personally with a fee (P30). The bears on their own are more of an upbeat hip hop flavor, not to mention that he is often ridiculed reminiscent of bears from days past, bringing with them by critics for being too Justin Timberlake-ish this time around. (pertainan old flavor that makes them all the more adorable ing not only to the style of the songs, but also to his “look” on the cover) and precious. And of course, what’s a luxury teddy bear Heartbreak is also one of the more noticeable themes of the album, with 5 without a 360° feature – rotatory head, arms, and legs songs serving as a tribute to love’s utter sadness and pain. The song When – at the fullest angle. the Heartache Ends might be the only track beating along to Matchbox 20’s But as much as it is tempting to rotate those arms punch of alternative music. and legs, these bears are delicate, and once you get hold Rob Thomas has managed to catapult his reputation from a mere singer of one, you’d really have more heart to put it behind glass to a notable songwriter with the release of, by far his greatest hit, Smooth shelves than play with them the way you did when you together with the legendary Carlos Santana. He has proven himself with his were a child. For those whose hearts remained young album, creating decent lyrics such as You’re spending your time, Wanting from the start, these bears would serve more than a for words but never speak from the song My, My, My. His work is obviously treat, but as a treasure only a teddy bear lover can a reprieve from all the pathetic night-sight-way-day rhyming of songs that is ever appreciate. clearly in abundance nowadays. Rob Thomas’ solo flight, however, does not serve as a signal of Matchbox -Kube Chua Twenty’s demise. According to Thomas’ official web site, they are simply on a “break.” He merely took this as an opportunity to broaden his horizons and try his luck solo. But, unfortunately, it seems like he doesn’t get that far because as much as you’d like to appreciate good talent; the music just doesn’t seem to give him justice. - Dianne Tang


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The Lounge

To most of us, dealing with a hefty academic load while competing with De La Salle University’s cheetah-paced trimestral system is, in itself, nerve-wracking. But to be a full time student and, at the same time, work for one of the Philippines’ youth-oriented radio stations? That’s suicide! But in the case of these two perky individuals, they make it all seem effortless. Meet Michelle Marielle “Happy” Feraren and Sabrina “Mimai” Dar Santos – full time disk jockeys guaranteed to add spice for your radio-listening pleasure! Aside from having the potential ability to cure listeners from Kailangan Pa Bang I-Memorize ‘Yan Syndrome, Happy and Mimai share a lot more in common. Both are students from the College of Liberal Arts. Both are active members of DLSU’s Green Media Group, and both are members of that organization’s hosting pool.

Animo on


Through their experiences as DJs, they both realized that they have the power of influencing and shaping listeners’ minds – even through their voices. And just like every other person from the same vocation, they are constantly faced with the challenge of trying to uplift the spirits of their listeners. But most importantly, though they both enjoy their current career, both Happy and Mimai say that they are not limited to this profession, nor is it their end goal. Instead, they see this kind of job as a major stepping-stone to bigger, and perhaps, brighter things in the future. So, to all wannabe DJs out there, may these two be inspirations for you to reach out and pursue your aspirations. Consider this as a pleasant awakening to add a spark of new interest to all you radio addicts.

You got hiphappeninghappy all the way til 12 o’clock on this hot Sunday afternoon only here on the station that gives you nothing but today’s best music, Magic 89.9

Happy Ferraren
aka Hip Happening Happy Magic 89.9
No misprint above. Hiphappeninghappy is really this second year literature major’s preferred on-air alias. For Michelle Marielle “Happy” Feraren, her fondness for radio first manifested during her early teens. She remembers having this big crush on Mo Twister, who incidentally was a DJ of Magic 89.9 during that time, and that she would listen to him every time she got the chance. Eventually, what started out as infatuation soon grew into determination. She decided that by the time she reached college, she wanted to become a student DJ. Luckily enough for her, opportunity came knocking as early as high school, when she was given the chance to audition for campus patroller. However, she was only 15 during that time (the minimum age requirement was 18). But it was her natural knack for public speaking that eventually prevailed, and her being three years below the minimum age requirement did not hinder Happy in pursuing that one thing she desperately wanted to start doing. And now that she’s working for Magic 89.9, she couldn’t be happier (no pun intended). According to her, the radio industry is really tough. “…You have to be patient, you have to know your place and you can’t be presko.” Happy also stressed the importance of always making sure to say something substantial when on air. “In my part, I just play my cards right and when I’m given the opportunity, I don’t do anything stupid, I really grab it and make the most out of it.” She also strongly believes that developing one’s skills in radio requires tons of personality enrichment - “This is radio your face is not seen and you have to work with your voice, so you can’t sound dull.” Happy also testifies the value of being herself when on air “I don’t try to copy anyone...some people go on air and put on this fake American accent,” “You have to be yourself then your personality will stand out”, she further adds. As for her practice rituals, Happy finds that reading a couple of magazines out loud and reciting tongue twisters are extremely helpful regimens for her pronunciation, especially when she’s preparing herself for an hour or so of talking on air. Her nickname notwithstanding, Happy means business when it comes to hosting and seems to be very serious with her current choice of work. But despite her rather straightforward approach, you can always count on her to perk up the airwaves whenever she’s behind the microphone.

You are tuned in Campus Radio 97.1 DWLSFM, this is Sabrina of aircheck batch 3 checking in on a lovely Saturday morning to give you your favorite hits for the next hour. Oh yeah! It’s gonna be you, me and your favorite hits on Campus Radio.

Sabrina Dar Santos
“Sabrina” Campus Radio 97.1 DWLS
On air, she may prefer to go under her original moniker. But to her closest friends, fourth year Organizational Communication major Sabrina Dar Santos, is known simply as “Mimai”, the girl with the contagious laugh and a generally optimistic outlook in life. With such an energetic disposition, no one would suspect that her on-air hours require her to stay up from 12 midnight up to the wee, ungodly hours of the morning. A long time collector of Smash Hits and other music magazines, she first worked her way through auditioning just last year due to her friend’s referral. Although she initially did not have any plans of entering this kind of job, her fondness for speaking gave way for this opportunity. Growing up, Mimai looks up to a couple of MTV VJs. She says she was fascinated by the way these personalities projected on T.V. “I have to say that my greatest influence would be T.V. personalities—I was enamored by the way they speak and carry their selves, it’s like there so smart.” And according to Mimai, her course has indeed helped her a lot in her job. In spite of her calm aura, Mimai is of course, no stranger to on-air pressure. But nonetheless, she manages to handle it well. “You have to sound smart and spontaneous,” Miami shares. Practice is also a necessity for her; some of her rituals before going on air include talking to herself and playing a lot of things on her mind. Mimai also shares that when she’s on air, time flies and if she’s the one in charge she have to be as lively and energetic as possible. When asked as to how she would project on air when on a bad mood, she says, “No matter the situation you have to hold down your emotion.” - Now, that’s professionalism! One thing Sabrina loves about working in her station is that her work in school and as a DJ never come into conflict. “Our station tells us that it’s always school first, if we have something to do they tell us to work on it, as long as its school related.” Sabrina is not afraid of grabbing opportunities and making sacrifices. However, one thing is for sure, she doesn’t want to remain stagnant in this profession and is prepared to moved on for greater things in her future. But, for now, with a big grin on her face she says, “I’m enjoying every bit of it.”

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OffLThe Beaten Track

carinderia girls


ost kitchen chores are fairly easy. Cooking is one nobrainer, provided you’re not doing fancy stuff. The same goes for washing dishes and baking. So working in a carinderia must be just as easy, right? Well, that could be the case if I was the Iron Chef. But, all I can assure right now is - Working, much more running, a carinderia is definitely no picnic Off to the Market! Staying up late to do school work is nothing new. Neither is waking up in the wee hours of the morning for the same purpose. But waking up at three in the morning to go to the wet market? I wasn’t even aware that the market opened at that time! Apparently, the market does open even earlier than three. In fact, by three AM, the Pasig City Central Market is a busy place, contrasting sharply with the dark sky above it. Without much ado, Ate Madelyn, the proprietress of my chosen carinderia, and I started marketing. Awake as though it were high noon, Ate Madelyn zipped here and there, to this stall and to another with me tagging along. With us was Ryan, Madelyn’s ten-year-old son. It was a bit hard to keep track of her. It was clear that we were going down an established route of various sukis. The going was quick. She’d come up to a stall. The vendors, obviously familiar with her, would attend to her quickly. If they had their hands full at the moment, she’d be allowed to rifle through their goods without worrying that she might ruin their foodstuffs. Soon, after about an hour and fifteen minutes, we found ourselves heavily loaded with ingredient-laden plastic bags and heading back to Ate Madelyn’s carinderia (which, incidentally, was in front of her residence). Sweating Off in the Kitchen Upon our return, Ate Madelyn immediately started preparing the day’s fare. According to her, she would open the store at 6:30, as she caters to the graveyard shifters in the nearby office building. And since her morning repertoire included five to seven viands, soup and lots of steamed rice, we had to begin right away. All preparations were done in Ate Madelyn’s very narrow kitchen. The cooking area consisted of a small cutting/chopping area and a corner with two gas ranges with two heating coils each. And right behind that was an open door that led to a bigger preparing table set under an awning. Thus, the work began. For me, that meant peeling and dicing

Madelyn said he did exceptionally well. Mang Andy, her very supportive husband, went over to the big table outside to do whatever his wife should assign (preparing adobo, in this morning’s case). It was obviously a well-rehearsed assembly line. I was beginning to think that an amateur like me was more of a bane than a boon. The whole time, Ate Madelyn helped keep things interesting by sharing tidbits about how she runs things. For instance, she always makes it a point to prepare adobo. She also always makes room for innovations. Changes like these have made her carinderia a place to frequent because of the great variety of food she served. Plus, she hardly takes sick leaves even if she is sick. The thought of the income she’d lose by resting even one day would other her too much. I checked my watch. The time is 6:15 AM. Our public awaits! Here, There, and Everywhere! We started lugging out pots full of rice and assorted putahe: binagoongan, the ever-popular adobo, pinakbet, pansit, longganisa, papaitan, bopis. We quickly set up the tables as customers were beginning to show up. After the 6:30 opening, Ate Madelyn’s carinderia closes for about an hour after 9:30 and reopens at 10:30-11 to serve brunch. Then, there is another lull. She doesn’t serve lunch because it’s too taxing. And also, as I suspect, because most of the fellows who’d go for lunch there would get a take-out baggie during brunch, when the food’s a bit cheaper. Well, she knows her limitations. The last thing she prepares is merienda, which still features adobo, but this time with some turon and bananacues thrown in. There is just no real way to give the blow-by-blow account of the whirlwind of customers, food, money exchanges, and conversations that blew around me. Admittedly (though people who know me might gag in amusement and disbelief), I was a bit shy about going forth and serving. After all, I didn’t know how much food to serve to each customer, I am bit clumsy, and worst of all, I didn’t know how much everything cost (no, there was no list). But with a little egging on, I took my post by the rice pot under the watchful eye of Ate Madelyn. I spent most of that morning, from about 6:45 to about

ginger, slicing eggplants and helping to cook bopis, pinakbet, and porkchops. Ryan steamed the rice, something Ate

There’s a wealth of experience to be picked up from places like these: stories as commonplace as those about work to tales about things as colorful as getting sued for beating up someone in a brawl.

9:30 dishing out really hot rice or stuffing it into plastic bags, popping the caps off Coke bottles and accepting payments, still under the eye of the proprietress. There was this one moment I made a painful discovery: steaming rice can actually cause burns! It was a tiring run, and it wasn’t over yet. Brunch was interestingly different. It was served in a distinctly fast-foody way: the value meal. It’s a package deal with rice and a viand at 20 pesos (normally these are sold separately). If you want a small Coke to go along with your meal, then you pay an extra five. A motley lot eats at Ate Madelyn’s carinderia. Mostly, they’re office workers from the nearby building. These include people of very different professions from mechanics to engineers to secretaries. Generally, the female customers prefer to get food to go, possibly to avoid the all-male bunch that actually sits down and eats. When people come together in a place like that, they’re not likely to spill their guts and tell all. But, there’s something about being united in food and drink that makes common entertainment the lives of everyone present, even without the help of alcohol. There’s a wealth of experience to be picked up from places like these: stories as commonplace as those about work to tales about things as colorful as getting sued for beating up someone in a brawl.

When All is Said and Done… During my one-day run in the carinderia, I sustained several cuts, rice burns and tired feet. But in the end, it was all worth it, because like a lot of things in life, there’s really more to carinderia work than the cooking and cleaning. And just like a lot of things in life, the only time you’ll find these pearls is if you go to the sea and dive for them yourself. Experience has once again proven to be one of life’s greatest teachers because for sure, Ate Madelyn has no degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management. And yet, her daily schedule, and the precision to which she follows it, to my mind, must resemble the organization of that of the best businesses around. But, this sort of venture does have a requirement. It’s something that no classroom can ever fully impart and that no course card can ever truly reflect.

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Cover Story
Something is happening to our local primetime viewing habits. Non-referential titles of television shows that were directly lifted from famous local ballads are now being reduced to just the name of the main character as the title. Less actors are given roles with names like Maria Bianca or Doña Constantina and other two-names-said-in-one-breath. In fact, names are getting harder to pronounce: Bagwis, Harimon, Mambabarang…Mambabawhat? The fantaserye, whether you like it or not, is here to stay. Amusing as it may sound, our culture has had a long and interesting history with the soap opera, but this seems to be the freshest of all. That’s saying a lot, considering the fantaserye can still get quite ludicrous and trite. When Marimar became Vivian While Judy Ann Santos’ Mara Clara had been around long before our networks became a melting pot of international novelas, it was Marimar that changed the phase of the TV drama. In fact, these dubbed shows gained such huge followings that they were given primetime slots, and soap operas in the Philippines would never be the same again. The arrival of the Mexican telenovela was welcomed by the Filipino audience because of the cultural proximity of the two countries. Their portrayal of the poor and the oppressed seemed to be akin to that of the Filipino suffering, and the heroes’ continued struggle symbolically reflected the Filipino resistance. Close to home, but not quite. The more recent wave to hit primetime drama was the chinovela, and soon after, the koreanovela. Brought from Taiwan and Korea respectively, these soap operas featured lighter themes focusing on love, had less characters, and appealed more towards the youth than the thirtysomething housewives. In the meantime, Filipino teledramas remained stagnant, even supporting the more prominent and headlined chinovelas in their respective networks. That is, until ABS-CBN plunged into the deep waters for Marina. From catfights to bird fights Dubbed as the first ever fantaserye, Marina featured the story of a young woman who was cursed into becoming a mermaid. Her quest of getting back her legs, swimming her way out of evil, and finding love became the focal points of the series. Sounds familiar? Not to be outdone, GMA7 announced the “first ever” tele-fantasya, Mulawin. Before anyone else could begin questioning the terminologies, Mulawin, a mythical story of half-birds, half-humans who protect people from a group of vengeful Rav soared high up the ratings, sending their rival network to the libraries to explore other possibilities of the fantaserye. Krystala, an obvious rip-off from the comic series Darna, became ABS-CBN’s pride and joy, while GMA ironically copied the superhero idea by buying the rights of Darna. Two more series have emerged since. Sounding like a play-by-play account of the two networks’ rivalry, it seems that producers care more about ratings than anything else. With that being said, the question is: How “new” are these new shows anyway? CGI-Sige Lang One thing is for sure: over the years, technology has drastically improved the production value of television shows. Producers of the fantaseryes have taken advantage of this by going the extra mile. Underwater camera, special effects using CGI, over-the-top costumes and make-up, become staples in the shows. The top actors in the industry, quick pacing of the storylines, subplots go on to add to the hype.


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Besides the massive production value leading to bigger budgets, the shift from drama to drama-adventure seems drastic only in the producer’s part, but not as much in the creative side. The characters seem to take on new forms, but stereotypes remain. The suffering young woman; her childhood friend with a hidden desire for her; the rich suitor who will do anything for her; the jealous villain and his/her sidekick; the comic relief: they could’ve well been the same characters from last year’s telenovela put into this year’s hit drama. Add in high flying kicks here, the ability to fly there, and magical transformations all over, and you’ve got a fantaserye. Nobody seems to mind, really. After all, these plotlines and character profiles are tried and tested formulas for a commercial success. Who can argue against the high ratings Mulawin earned in its final episode, or the success of Marina leading to its spoof, Marinara? Putting the “fan” in fantasy In the past, the fans of the teleseryes would mostly comprise of followers of the shows’ main love teams. The fantaserye, on the other hand, does not deal with the pairings as much. True, most of their adventures are in the name of love, but the assortment of its audiences – from 6 to 60 – are stemmed from markets’ varied interests: the kids love the adventure, the youth follow the love angles, and the older crowd appreciates the production value. While the telenovela bridged classes, the fantaserye bridged age gaps. They have the ratings to prove it. But the attraction to this genre has to go deeper than just the adventure, love angles, and production value. It seems that the fantaserye has been able to do something that no other local television show has. The more subliminal approach to analyzing the attraction of the teleserye has focused on the escapism of its Filipino audience. Their sympathy towards the suffering main character allows them to follow her struggles and the ways in which she gets past them. The audience always knows of a happy ending; this satisfies their own hopes. The telenovela disguises itself to be reality, hence the audiences’ fascination. The fantaserye, on the other hand, admits to an artificial world, where superheroes and mythical characters exist. The audience realizes its absurdity, and yet believes in it and is drawn towards it. The magic in the formula lies in the mythical characters’ humanness. The heroine of the story (pun intended) is meek on the outside but strong and willful on the inside; the mythical characters are half-breeds but possess strong human qualities that make them admirable to the Filipino audience. The telenovela creates a parallelism between the character’s life and their audience; the fantaserye exceeds that by putting their character on a pedestal. The term “hero” never seemed more apt. Because of this, the audience believes in surpassing their own struggles upon seeing superhuman characters do it. The

“While the telenovela bridged classes, the fantaserye bridged age gaps. They have the ratings to prove it”

strong identification towards these fictional roles makes for a hopeful Filipino. It is not enough for them to be hopeful of their struggles through an oppressed protagonist; instead, they find themselves hopeful of possessing human qualities that the superhuman possesses in order to defeat their own struggles. Going a bit deeper now, this pop culture phenomenon is a sort of shared public fantasy. It all lies in the creation of characters that everyone could not just relate, but also aspire to become. The real superpower The sheer number of fantaseryes mushrooming left and right does make eyebrows go to orbit. Reiterating the earlier point, the whole concept is absurd—yet these shows are faithfully revered by their audiences. One such factor to this is sheer accessibility. The fact that they exist in the realms of television confirms that they can be very easily reached by a wide audience in the shortest possible time. Yes, Mulawin really does swoop down your TV screen, while Marina flips her tail flirtatiously at you. Of course, that comes before selling the real idea; the producers, assuming their typical money-hungry roles, cook up these shows. This act comes off as an attempt to connect with their audience – which actually works. The fantaserye, pretty blatantly, leans particularly

towards the fantasy genre – something that the audience really can relate to, wings, fishtails, and superhuman powers notwithstanding. Better to give this drivel to the viewers to generate more money in the producers’ already-filled pockets, than teach them intricate, complicated, and intelligent things they wouldn’t understand. No viewer comprehension beget no understanding, no understanding beget no audience, no audience beget no sales, money, profit. That is the real world. Pretty simple as that. A Lesson In the long run, while megabucks may be made off the trials and tribulations of scantily clad teen stars, what television producers offer to the audience - the “hidden” meanings, the lessons, and the eye candy - are but a relatively cheap way to give back what viewers have to offer. There may be a clearer distinction of the producers’ money and how it goes around them, but whatever they’re serving viewers ultimately does not really operate the same way of giving and getting. Because “producers” and “consumers” are nonexistent in that other arena.


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Fearless Forecast


The room is quiet. Arms chilling, heart rate increasing, fingers are aching. BAM! And player 1 sends the final boss down to the canvass with a virtual elbow to the head. Credits Roll. Game Over. But at the rate things are going right now, the same thing might eventually apply for the gaming biz itself. Sure, it might sound silly for an industry that grows just about every year. In fact, last year, the video game industry grew by a margin of 8%. Pretty impressive, right? But what we don’t realize is that video games are actually becoming stale. According to PC Magazine’s John Dvorak in his article Doom 4: End of the Game industry?, it may be because of the high price of video gaming (games cost $50 in the US), and how the video games have hardly changed since the original Doom hit our fathers’ computer screens. Five Category Wonder Yesterday, Pong was the first video game and Super Mario was a fresh idea. Starcraft and its brother Warcraft were innovative. Sonic the Hedgehog was the only blue critter who could turn into a ball and Mortal Kombat was the goriest game in town, not to mention the only one to “kapitalize” on switching Cs with Ks. The market today, however, says otherwise. Today’s games are in simple terms, rip-offs. Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo discussed the lack of new game ideas and that there were more or less “four or five game categories”. Furthermore, Dvorak observed that “Most of today’s hottest games are combinations of two or three of these categories, with a storyline added to keep the players from being bored stiff.” Come to think of it, they do have a point. Today’s biggest games like Grand Theft Auto and its sequels are a combination of simulation, adventure and action games. Plumbers, Hedgehogs and Gun-totting girls Remember the time when Sonic, Mario, Lara Croft, Link (from Zelda), and hell, even Duke Nukem were so big, they were given pop star treatment? Today, they are no longer the first thing on gamers’ minds. Proof is that

Microsoft’s Xbox has survived even without a company icon or mascot. In some ways, they show how the video game industry has “changed”. Mario and Sonic used to have their own TV shows, and each new video game launch was a major event. Obviously, there were no Xbox “success stories” back then. Companies like 3DO and Atari‘s last video game system Jaguar failed because of, ironically, the lack of an established mascot to market their system. But after Sonic the Hedgehog made Mario a run for his, err, coins, many followed ship. Soon, there were more furry creatures with attitude than Sonic could outrun. Video game developers even took it to the next level using characters from the food industry, like the 7-Up dot and Ronald McDonald! Another probable reason for this impending decline would be the change of times. The video games, which used to be part of the toy industry, now make up their own corporate juggernaut. And because of this, they keep getting more technologically advanced. But with “realism” being the apparent new trend, there seems to be less space for cartoon plumbers and mushroom princesses in today’s video game scene. Insert Coin Today’s video game industry can be summarized into two words: Cash Cow. With the booming industry ironically lacking in innovation, they opt to take a side “quest” to increase funding and hence, the new trend of video game advertising. Product placements in games has recently emerged as the potential saving grace for video game developers, whose costs are seen to further increase in the coming years. And apart from those awful console-“inspired” movies like Street Fighter, Super Mario, and to a remote degree, Starship Troopers, one of the things video game companies do is re-release their “classics”. It’s those magical old games where gamers relive their childhood memories and acknowledge how faulty the new incarnations of their video game characters are. Talk about nostalgia trip! Here Comes a New Challenger! From here on, gamers will be hearing much more about the next-generation systems poised to dispatch

Playstation 2s, Xboxes, and if anyone owns it, Gamecubes like the Betamax. So hello again to the beautiful (for now) graphics, realistic (for now) sounds, the USB controllers, the fancy Blu-ray DVDs, the silver casings, the hard discs, the highly accelerated graphics cards, online, and all the other candy stuff in the form of the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and the Nintendo Revolution. The more gamers hear about it, the more it says how video game systems turned from the 8-bit, 16-bit, 32-bit wars to the PC seller’s diagnosis. To quote Dvorak: The business is going to attempt to sustain growth and creativity by making game players buy newer and newer machines. Computer gaming has always been sustained by never-ending improvements in resolution and realism. But once we get to photorealism, what is going to sustain growth?
Game Over “Boss DVD” is not the only pirate word out in the streets, there’s always the relieving “Boss PS2, Xbox, DVD Game” follow-ups. Those simple “Bossy” quotations describe how the video game industry is in the Philippines. It’s obvious that most of those who own video game systems are, dare I say it, piracy patrons. Looking at the greater picture, it’s actually more of a give and take relationship. Someone should calculate how many Playstation units Sony is supposed to sell in a third world country if the games cost ¼ of the unit itself. Nevertheless, it is one of the factors that might eventually lead to the downfall of the gaming industry. Imagine if the rest of the world gets sick of the high prices. The near future is still not totally bleak for the gaming industry. But with all of the factors combined, including the increasing costs for both the buyers and the sellers, the next generation of gaming systems could be very well the last of the current gaming boom. Eventually, people will get satiated with shelling out $300 for a new gaming console every 3 or so years and find themselves playing the same old games with improved graphics and sounds, and a host of new awkward control features. Besides, the 8-bit NES, or Family Computer as it is more popularly known here, still boasts a library of high quality games, which can rival the quality of gameplay

in many PS2 games. Add to that the need to satisfy the demands of the gamers and the devotion needed to play today’s complex games. Save a “Hadouken” and a “Sonic Boom” please. Press “Start” to Continue As the “Continue?” screen counts down, it is still hard to imagine future without video games. But assuming that there will no longer be gaming consoles plugged in TV sets, the end of the industry will not automatically spell out complete doom for video games. There will always be an audience for it, just that it will be marginalized like those cult film followers. But with the apparent “coming soon” of interactive television, who needs a video game industry with interactive TVs and, perhaps even robot pets dominating homes in years to come? The future can still be the future even without video games, and who knows? Maybe it would become much brighter once it happens. Game Over.

[ As the “Continue?” screen counts down, it is still hard to imagine future without video games. ]


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I like to watch Friends because it’s not stressful and you don’t really have to think. -Michael Cancio, I-IBS

Spongebob Squarepants. He’s like a weird and funny kid trapped in an old sponge. He lives in a pineapple under the sea. -Alvin Vasquez, II-CIV Bioman! Ako si Pink-5! -Leia, V-CAM-MMG Meteor Garden. Whoohoo! Oh babybaby-baby, my baby-baby… -Bancs, IV-CAM-MMG
Anything Gundam-related. Better if it’s the older series. -JM de Leon, V-CAM-MMG I love watching cartoon programs especially if they are funny like Timon and Pumbaa and I also like cartoons about mysteries like Totally Spies and Detective School Q. It makes me think to get clues. -Margaret Gile, II-BMG Mostly reality TV shows such as American Idol, The Biggest Loser, etc. When watching those, you just have this feeling that you also belong to that show which makes it more fun and exciting. -Cyrus Matela, V-ACM

I like watching Chinovelas like Meteor Garden, Dolphin Bay, and Korean series such as Hotelier, All About Eve, Winter Sonata, and many more. By the way, I only watch cable channels. I don’t watch local channels except (for) news. -MJ, IV-ACM

Watching reality shows. I enjoy watching human dynamics and interaction. -Herbert Hallig, V-CHE

When Cultures Collide

CONVERGENCETV pleasure? What is your secret

25 centavos’ worth
Ha-ha-po-pi. I never knew what those words meant, but I say them like my grandmother taught me as a little girl. Every time we would visit our grandfather’s mausoleum, she’d utter those words with me as we raised our incense sticks and offered them up to the heavens. Burying the Dead During my grandmother’s funeral, those words became a lonely requiem that echoed through my head like a silent prayer. A Buddhist chant played in the background as she rested peacefully in her beautiful silk robes. All decked out in white, my cousins and I knelt before the coffin to pay our last respects before we finally made our way down to join the funeral entourage. Trumpets blared cacophonous symphonies to drive away wandering spirits as pallbearers carried my grandmother into the hearse. Behind, a truck was loaded with all the goods that my grandmother might ever need in her perilous journey to the afterlife: sack after sack of carefully folded paper money, a paper house of 7-foot proportions, paper appliances, a paper airplane, Mercedes Benz and sedan chair, paper lanterns, and her earthly clothes. All of these things were to be swallowed by a pit of fire, whose smoke would raise the ashes to their master, to be received in the next world.
My father, with his two brothers, led the funeral march. Donning white, pajama-like garbs, they each had a white band tied across their foreheads that made them look like 3 kung-fu masters grieving behind the creeping hearse. The women followed closely behind, veils thrown over their heads while we grandchildren trailed at the rear. Under the scorching afternoon sun, we snaked our way through the dusty, urban landscape. The marching band broke into another song, and we bowed our heads in mourning. Today, we walk with the dead. But come tomorrow, will we still? Burying a Culture They say that the vast library of complex Chinese traditions drew from a 4,000-year old heritage that spans throughout civilized history, from the earliest Yellow River settlements to the Imperial Courts that so beguiled Marco Polo. With the onset of the Maoist revolution during the past century, highly volatile political and economic conditions sparked the exodus of Chinese émigrés to the four corners of the world. Today, each Chinese community across the globe celebrates its own distinct set of cultural values that have been the subject of many a Westerner’s books and memoirs. But do the Chinese youth of today respond with as much zeal and appreciation towards their inherited identity? If you can visualize what happened on my grandmother’s funeral, then you’ll realize just how excessively elaborate Chinese rituals can be, which adds to my distaste for them. Living in economically taxing times, such excesses can prove to be more impractical than they are obliging. Many of these practices, besides, are no longer treated as sacred religious rites but merely stand for ceremonial pomp and glitz. Only the most devout of Buddhists continue to adhere to the spiritual value of these traditions, but since my grandmother counted as one, we perform these rituals in reverence to her memory. Slowly, the tight grasp of unadulterated Chinese tradition is being eroded by the forces of global exposure. My father would often tell me stories about his childhood in Binondo, of Sunday trips with his uncle to see traditional Chinese plays and afternoon treks to the local temple with our grandmother. I never experienced any of this. Instead, my early years are dotted with memories of Misa de Gallo and bibingka during Christmas Eve, lazy couch-potato weekends with Pong Pagong and early morning walks with my grandfather along Luneta. A lot of times, I feel more Filipino than I do Chinese. People ask me questions about my culture and half the time I can’t even answer. Sometimes, I’m fascinated at how little I know about my own roots. Burying Regrets While I will never be a hardcore traditionalist, I have always held an ardent esteem for my heritage. There’s a certain pride in knowing that this mystical culture is what sets me apart from the rest of the world. Doubtlessly, Chinese traditions inherently add depth and color to the cultural tapestry of the human dynasty. I am Filipino-Chinese. I grew up amid the jeepneys and calesas of Manila, squealing to Noli de Castro’s stories of aswangs and manananggals. I speak English, listen to rock music and spent my childhood believing that I was destined to become Wonder Woman. It took quite some time for me to understand how so very different cultures can co-exist harmoniously in the world’s giant melting pot. I am living proof of that, because funny enough, this odd mesh of cultures is who I am.

Soap operas. I used to watch Hiram and Spirits. I always wanted to go home early so I [wouldn’t] miss it and since I was obsessed with it, I had my friend tell me the details of the show when I missed it. -Mai, III-PHM Mga cartoons. Lalo na pag Looney Tunes. Pag-napanood ko na yon parang ang hirap nang ilipat yung channel. -Jet, III-OCM

Mickey Mouse. Same Ears. -Gene, III-ECE
Cartoons. Basta maganda ang draw-Fernando Legaspi, IV-ECE

I watch Chinovelas like Meteor Garden. -Bernadette Banzon, II-AE-BSA Reality TV shows like The Apprentice. -Jennifer Sibal, IV-ACM Art films. X’mas @ Oprah. -Abram Sze, CBE-MMG Watching anime.


Watching the MYX hit charts and Charmed, even if I don’t believe in that stuff and don’t have the chromosomal make-up to appreciate those skimpy clothes. - Chab, V-BMG

-Nestor Ong, IV-ACM


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