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Oct 19th
Home Sections Entertainment New Show in Toronto Proves that It Can Promote the Community Rather than Filipino Pay-TV Network's Brands
New Show in Toronto Proves that It Can Promote the Community Rather than Filipino Pay-TV Network's Brands PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Entertainment
Friday, 27 January 2012 16:43



The News UpFront: (TOP STORY) as of Friday, January 27, 2012 

P eople hanker for things Philippines, or more accurately, for songs and dances Philippines. It's a factual statement, arguably of course, if gauged by the turnout and outcome of two recent concerts in Toronto that capitalized on local Filipino talents and some Philippine music without the intruding presence of two giants in the broadcast industry. It's a very encouraging development considering that Toronto's Filipino community is not lacking in artistic and creative geniuses.


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Lessons from Two Concerts in Toronto




Member, Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA)

and National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada (NEPMCC)



T ORONTO - No high-flying, controversial sexpots. No bitching. No back-stabbing. No wrangling over billeting. No foul-mouthed talents. No big-time promo. No imports from the homeland. No scene-stealing. No credit-grabbing. And, most important of all, no giant networks.


Two concerts within a span of three weeks proved it can be done . . . without so much as interference with the programming as injecting network talents in what should rightfully be a local affair.


In the last two years at least, the dominant features of community events, notably those related to Philippine independence in Toronto, were the imports by the big Manila-based networks.


Home-grown talents take a back seat, relegated to secondary roles, while the imports and their local agents mouth the network line about the performers in their respective stables who are expected to win over subscribers to their stations.


The result is that network sponsorship subsumes the essence of community celebrations in favor of shows that are actually irrelevant extensions of their television programs, only disguised as contributions to the event.


Sponsorship must mean huge piles of money for community organizations and to individuals many people thought are doing community service. 


We may rightfully ask: how much, for example, did PIDC (Philippine Independence Day Council) make from its Mabuhay Festival in July? Or for that matter, the Pinoy Fiesta and Trade Show by the Philippine Canadian Charitable Foundation?


Sponsorship is a marketing stategy that builds up and strengthens the brand, in Toronto's case, ABS-CBN's Kapamilya and GMA's Kapuso, through a conduit that directly goes to the community. 


The situation looks at the community as a consumer, an end-user, to be courted and pampered, and not as partner with which to share joys and triumphs of having to commemorate a milestone in their life in the Philippines and abroad. Thus the numerous freebies, coupons, discount offers, etcetera.


Rather than promote the community, it is the network's brand, Kapamilya or Kapuso, that's being repeatedly hammered into our consciousness. Which of the two could better relate to us, to our families and those close to our hearts?


In the meantime, festivities link with Philippine independence are barely recognizable except for the perfunctory flag-raising ceremony and casual speeches by government and community leaders.


I covered the independence day rites in Toronto in 2010 and last year in search of meaning, to see how independence-minded Filipinos are doing despite being already Canadians.


My first was in 2010 at Metro Toronto Convention Center. Honestly, I was almost lulled by the glitter. 


When I learned - and saw - that the sexpot Katrina Halili and the breast-baring Wendell Ramos were the headliners, I felt so sad at the slide into disrepute. Why would the community allow itself to be treated that way, like a dumpster?


Perhaps, it is a wish that may not happen - that the networks should be consigned to the background and stripped of any role in the programming.


But it is very encouraging to witness the last concerts in town, one by Bong Castillo, and the very recent Sidlak fundraiser concert conceptualized and directed by journalist Ricky Caluen.


Bong's December 30 event seems to have established that Toronto is eager to watch and pay for a concert that highlights Filipino talents interpreting classic and contemporary Filipino songs. The repertoire is proof of this.


In other words, there's an untapped reservoir of riches from our own well of songs, music and dances.


I didn't know anything about Bong or his presentation but I went nonetheless on a friend's invitation. And I was so glad I did despite the chill, the snow and the inconvenience of taking public transport.


I soon realized that it wasn't just a regular ear-splitting, eye-popping, feet-stomping, screaming, speechifying concert where talents are paraded for what their names signify to them. No, it wasn't that way at all.


At  Bong's, talents simply took the stage and did their number. The music flowed the way it should, without interruption that usually comes with formal introductions.


I was impressed and so moved that I verbalized my appreciation to Consul General Pedro Chan and media colleague Tenny Soriano, who were both there. That was a big leap, I said, because it was mainly focused on the rich cultural diversity of the Philippines.


On the other hand, Ricky's Sidlak fundraiser concert at Our Lady of Assumption Church on Jan. 21 also demonstrated that an event could be hugely successful without the intruding presence of the networks.


"No distinction was made between seasoned opera singers and veteran concert performers and those considered upstarts," explains Ricky. "Everybody just wanted to go a good show...and to help the cause. And I think this was a very important ingredient in the overall success of the show".


I agree. I should say that the members of the Filipino community showed their support because, firstly, the cause was worthy of assistance; secondly, the church backs it; thirdly, the persons behind are respectable and trustworthy; fourthly, the event was spiritually and morally uplifting; and fifthly, the concert was not seen as a platform for the networks.


Indeed, every single song made an impact on the core of being Filipino. Personally, Jennifer Uy's Mutya ng Pasig brought some fond memories of my departed mother who had had a special liking for that song. I knew that piece from my mother.


Jennifer's rendition was so touching indeed. . . as was the finale - You'll Never Walk Alone. This one made me teary-eyed. # # #


To view my other channels, here are the links:


1. For Filipino community news, visit The Filipino Web Channel:


2. For mainstream news in Canada and the United States, visit The Gotcha Journalist's Currents & Breaking News Channel:


3. For Filipino entertainment news, visit The Filipino Web Entertainment Channel:


For other stories and photos, please visit: 





5. .



PHILIPPINE VILLAGE VOICE/The Filipino Web Channel - Redefining Community News

Currents & Breaking News  

Volume 6, Issue No. 5


/ News That Fears None, Views That Favor Nobody /

. . . A community service of Philippine Village Voice ( for the information and understanding of Filipinos and the diverse communities in
North America . . .



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