Aldub, the BBC, and me

 

 

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 9.19.41 AM
Read the full BBC article here.

 

So Aldub was featured in the BBC website a couple of days ago. And yes, I was quoted a few times. I was actually interviewed by Heather Chen early this week. It was a pretty comprehensive interview that forced me to analyze the cultural and social (media) significance of Aldub. I’m sharing what didn’t make it to print.

The part of the BBC article where I explained the concept of “love team” and “kilig” –
Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 9.19.55 AM

From the BBC article where I talk about why the Filipinos reacted this way in social media
Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 9.20.29 AM

Here’s the back story of how the BBC found Aldub newsworthy. BBC presenter Rico Hizon had been seeing my Tweets about Aldub and Kalyeserye. So he sent me a tweet saying he’s been watching Aldub episodes and finds it funny. Here’s our exchange…
11204868_972804802742560_4828042247926066036_n

 

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 9.41.06 AM

 

During the airing of #AlDubEBTamangPanahon on October 24th, I was monitoring the show online. I couldn’t watch it live on TV because I was shooting a TV special. I was actually invited by Eat Bulaga management to watch in Philippine Arena. I took a rain check instead. So yes, one day I will be going to Eat Bulaga to watch them in person.

I posted some praises about KalyeSerye in my Facebook Page. I said, “not only have they changed the entire TV landscape and viewing habits, they even rocked the advertising industry by dictating ‘no commercial gaps’ – instead, they did product placements and live mentions. Thats power. And theyre building libraries.” That little bit made the rounds in Twitter and Facebook, and landed me in the GMA Network news. Click on the photo to lead to the GMA News site.

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 9.33.23 AM

 

Here are the notes I sent to the BBC –

What is “Aldub”?

‘AlDub’ is the nickname given to the popular onscreen love tandem of actor Alden Richards, and showbiz newcomer Maine Mendoza, whose character’s name is Yaya Dub.

They are the most popular “love team” in the Philippines right now. A love team is the usual formula that TV networks and movie productions have used since the beginning of the Philippine entertainment industry after WW2. These actors and actresses are paired up in all their movies and fans hope they end up together in real life. It’s been a formula in the Philippine entertainment industry for a long time. What’s different about AlDub tandem is that it was not a creation of a TV network or movie production, it just happened accidentally on live TV.

The name of the show is Eat Bulaga! – a popular daily noontime show that’s been running for 36 years. The format includes dance contests, singing contests and comedy skits that involve the show’s hosts (a group of established actors and comedians, young and old) and a live audience. The show has been enjoying a loyal following for almost four decades. They’ve had the same format. The hosts and producers later admitted that having Aldub was a surprise, an accident, a gift.

Aldub appears in the segment of Eat Bulaga called “All For Juan and Juan For All” (‘Juan’ being a play on the popular Filipino man’s name.) In this segment, three of the comedians would go out on remote locations, usually in crowded urban communities and interact with the people. Much of it was improv and instinctive. The result was always funny and endearing.

Early this year, the producers realized that the segment needed a boost. Jenny Ferre, SVP for Creatives and Operations of Television And Production Exponents Philippines Inc (TAPE, Inc.) and producer of Eat Bulaga!, looked for new talent. She saw Maine Mendoza, a 20-year old graduate of Culinary Arts from a top private school, appearing in her FB timeline. Maine’s hilarious Dubsmash videos had gone viral. Jenny saw something in this girl. Maine was asked to audition. She was asked if she could sing or dance, the answer was no. She said she had no performing talent. But the producers saw something in her quirkiness. So two days later she was offered a small role in Eat Bulaga! She had no speaking lines. All she had to do was lip synch and dub movie lines. She played the role of a Yaya (caregiver) to a rich old grumpy Lola (grandmother), played by a bald male comedian (Wally Bayola) in drag. The Yaya Dub character was introduced to Eat Bulaga! on July 4, 2015.

For almost two weeks, Yaya Dub’s character remained in the sidelines with the occasional comic Dubsmash. Then on July 16, the “magic” happened. While Yaya Dub was “dubsmashing” complete with facial contortions, she looked at the monitor and saw Alden Richards (one of the segment hosts) was looking at her. She got self-conscious, lost her character and became herself – a 20-year old fangirl who had a crush on this actor. The other studio hosts clued in and teased her. Everything happened organically. Nothing was scripted.

How did the social media phenomenon happen?

What’s amazing with this Aldub social media phenomenon is that none of it was previously planned. It’s not like they hired social media experts to strategize about how they would handle this. Eat Bulaga had an existing Facebook Page with a relatively small online community. They would upload snippets of the daily show. Now they upload the whole KalyeSerye segment.

Here are the main factors that contributed to the social media hype

  • Filipinos culturally are social beings and community-centric. Our smallest form of government is the barangay – the village. People like to congregate in the town plaza or barangay hall. TV used to be a communal activity – neighbours would watch through windows. Now, there are viewing parties when there’s a big event. There is a strong connection between an individual and his community or home town. If there is a Manny Pacquiao boxing fight, the barangay chairmen would organize communal viewing parties. If a local beauty pageant contestant wins in a larger stage, the victory is shared by all members of the town/community. The same is happening with Eat Bulaga on Saturdays, Filipinos in the grassroots (it’s core audience) can really relate and feel a sense of belonging with the show. There are communal viewing parties for Eat Bulaga when Aldub is on. It was just natural for Filipino fans to go on Twitter and share their experiences.
  • The producers of Eat Bulaga realized that they captured a new audience, a younger and social-media savvy one. So weeks into the Kalye Serye, in August, they encouraged viewers to tweet using hashtags that change daily. Example #AldubMostAwaitedDate and recently #AldubEBTamangPanahon with 41 million tweets which beat Twitter’s all-time record of highest number of tweets for one event, beating the World Cup finals.
  • Studies have shown that the Philippines has a very high rate of social media penetration. Of our 101 million population, there are 44.2 million active internet users (44% of the population). According to We Are Social 2015 study, the Philippines ranks highest in the region for time spent on the internet. In the Philippines, internet users spend an average of 6.3 hours per day on the internet, followed by the Thailand at 5.5 hours, Vietnam at 5.2 hours and Indonesia at 5.1 hours. For context, Japanese internet users only spend 3.1 hours a day on the internet. The Philippines also ranks highest in Asia Pacific for the number of hours a day spent on Social Media. On an average social media users in the Philippines spend 3.4 hours a day on social media (Facebook being the most popular site). For context, social media users in Japan only spend 0.3 hours on social media. I could talk endlessly an totally geek out on this.
  • Back to the love story of Alden and Yaya Dub. This appealed across all sectors of society,  rich and poor, young and old. The basic and overall reason is “kilig” – the overwhelming feeling of giddiness about young love.
  • In this digital age where everything is fast and instant, the KalyeSerye brought back old and lost Filipino values such as love is worth waiting for, the harder you work for something the more you will value it, respect for elders, living up to one’s word, patience, persistence, setting goals, and the concept of “Tamang Panahon” — everything happens properly in due time. Or literally it’s translated as ‘the right time.’ The theme of giddiness (kilig) and old fashioned courtship resonated well with the young and not so young. Example, when Lola Nidora gave her blessings for Alden to court Yaya Dub, she invited Alden to the family mansion. She gave a few conditions, one of them was “no touch” and stay one foot apart. The audience went wild and took to Twitter to share in this “kilig”.
  • The concept of Kalye Serye, a live reality TV series much like a soap opera that is set in the streets (kalye means street), evolved organically after Maine Mendoza reacted to Alden staring at her via split screen. This was new to the produers and longtime viewers of Eat Bulaga. And it also won over a new breed of viewers – including myself. I’d never watched Eat Bulaga prior to this. The producers realized they had a new audience. They worked on the new genre while keeping the values that attracted the core audience for almost 4 decades.
  • The producers also recognized that people consume media in different forms now. The show airs daily Mondays to Saturdays from 11:30am to 2:30pm. They continue to dominate the existing TV viewership during that time. But they also got the working crowd and overseas Filipinos watching via Facebook uploads. Their own social media team would edit the daily episodes into digital video packages.

Why I’m a fan of ‘AlDub’

I am not your typical Filipino TV audience – though I spent almost two decades working as a TV presenter and producer of my own shows. I barely watched local television except to monitor my old lifestyle shows F and Urban Zone. The variety show, talent show, and soap opera formats were not appealing to me. And in the past few years, I would consume video via mobile and laptop, not on live TV.

But when Maine Mendoza, the girl who plays Yaya Dub, fainted during one episode of Kalye Serye in Eat Bulaga, I saw some curious posts appear in my Facebook feed. I clicked, then clicked some more. And then I got hooked. The characters of the old grandmothers (in drag) were hilarious. And I found myself laughing at night before going to bed.

I appreciated it at first from a producer’s point of view. Because I knew the creative, writing, logistical, technical inputs were pretty intense. It was almost genius-like. Sure the teasing and attraction happened spontaneously, but the producers and senior hosts of Eat Bulaga knew what they had, and they handled it very carefully. That was not a fluke anymore. They maneouvered this KalyeSerye to be something that people waited for and talked about – by simply delaying gratification. While their characters had to wait for the right time for love, so did the audience.

I’m also impressed that they’ve added a social responsibility aspect to the program. Last Saturday at the Philippine Arena, all proceeds of the ticket sales were committed to building libraries across the country. (Figure is something like P14 million, we have to get exact). That’s a big thing. I like that they are using their fame to affect social change. But I hope they stay away from politics. We have a presidential election coming up in May 2016).

What I don’t like about it, is the same thing that people love – it’s popularity. It’s a little scary to see this level of almost-mass hysteria and “fandom.” There was one episode where the Grandmothers and Yaya Dub were in the streets, hosting the show and I could see the crowd closing in on them. It was very scary. They’ve had to adjust their format a bit now. They no longer film directly out in the streets, they just go to safer locations outdoors. I suppose this is why the heads of Eat Bulaga are trying to play it carefully and slowly by adding a social good aspect.

Fore more reference, here is my first blog about Aldub, which made the local news.

Social media saturation in the Philippines

We have yet to see the full power of social media engagement in the Philippines. We are a population of almost 102 million people. There is a 42% penetration of active users of social media. That’s 42 million social media accounts (not unique users).

It’s interesting to note that internet service providers had started selling social media in pre-paid bundles. Example, Globe Telecom first introduced the concept of unilimited-Facebook sold on a flat rate daily basis. This certainly contributed to the growth of social media use.

Social media savvy Filipinos

Though the social media community in the Philippines is very dynamic – with the Philippines ranking highest in the number of hours spent on social media and internet use, it is still in relative infancy in terms of reach and mobile use compared to neighbouring Asian countries. This is in part due to the still-developing mobile and broadband internet providers.

The Philippines has the second slowest internet connection in the Asia Pacific region. South Korea is the fastest with 25.3 mbps. The Philippines has 2.5 mbps and India, the slowest at 2 mbps. (Source: We Are Social).

 

 

K&Company Holiday 2015

 

 

foreverlace tile

 

I have been wearing K&Company for the longest time. Every season, they never fail to come out with a fresh take on the classics. Take the example of lace. Lace is beyond a trend in K&Company and more like a staple in every collection. Yet K&Company always manages to come out with a new way of presenting lace.

This season, K&Company releases its Holiday 2015 collection with a mix of classic dresses and separates using textured and layered fabrics like lace, jacquard, tulle, satin and cotton. Some of the pieces are now in stores. Here’s a glimpse of what to expect from K&Company.

 

K&Co Holiday_114

 

K&Co Holiday_380

 

K&Co Holiday_010

&nbsp:

K&Co Holiday_409

 

K&Co Holiday_280

 

K&Co Holiday_165

 

Photos by Medal Elepano
Makeup by Gela Laurel
Shot on location in a private home.

 

Follow K&Company in Instagram and Facebook. Or shop the latest collection at K&Company online. You may find K&Company in Powerplant Mall, Glorietta 4, Shangri-la Plaza, and Alabang Town Centre.

 

 

Fashion Can Serve

 

 

I Can Serve 2015

 

Every year, for as long as I can remember, I have participated and supported breast cancer awareness campaigns. Recently it has taken on a different meaning with me. This year, I lost seven friends to cancer. Four of them had battled breast cancer. The other three had other types of cancers.

The Philippines has the highest rate of breast cancer in the region. Highest. This means one in 9 Filipino women will get breast cancer. It is mind-boggling and very scary. But what I have learned from my friends at I Can Serve Foundation, is that not all breast cancers are deadly. If detected early, breast cancer is curable by surgery, radiation, and/or chemo.

The message is simple. Please be aware of your bodies. Do a monthly breast self-exam. And if you are over 40 years old, have a mammogram once a year. Monitor your own body. Be proactive. See a specialist, if you feel you are at risk.

For more information on early detection and risk factors for breast cancer, go to www.icanservefoundation.org

 

I Can Serve 2015
At I Can Serve Foundations first fashion fundraiser event, Fashion Can Serve, at the Raffles Hotel. My friend, Katherine Cheng of K & Company, accompanied me. I wore K & Company’s new collection – wide leg pants with a lace tunic top. Katherine is also wearing her dress from the new collection.

 

I Can Serve 2015
With the founder of I Can Serve Foundation, Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala. Like the other women at I Can Serve, Kara is a living testament that there is life after cancer — a beautiful and meaningful life. I am so blessed to have her as a friend.

 

I Can Serve 2015
With Dr Eileen Cuajunco, Girlie Rodis, Kara and Katherine.

 

I Can Serve 2015
Seated across from me – Larry Leviste, Philippine Daily Inquirer’s editor-in-chief Letty Jimenez Magsanoc, Girlie Rodis, and fashion designer Ito Curata.

 

DSC_7411
Auction host Tessa Valdes

 

DSC_9038
Lulu Tan Gan with muses including breast cancer survivor Patty Betita.

 

_AVH3949
I Can Serve ambassadors Agot Isidro and Rissa Mananquil Trillo, with breast cancer survivor Toni Abad

 

_AVH3951
Fashion designer Maureen Disini with survivors Leah Caringal and Maritoni Fernandez

 

DSC_9010
Rhett Eala with I Can Serve supporters Tweetie de Leon Gonzales and Dawn Zulueta and breast cancer survivor Alya Honasan.

 

_AVH3965
Fashion designer Kristel Yulo with breast cancer survivor Michelle Dayrit-Soliven and I Can Serve supporter Amina Aranaz.

 

For more information on www.ICanServeFoundation.org

 

 

Belo is Number One in Botox and Juvederm

 

 

IMG_6898 (2)

 

Belo Medical Group, the Philippines’ top aesthetic dermatology and cosmetic surgery clinic, has been awarded by Allergan Healthcare Philippines as the No. 1 Account for Botox and Juvederm line of dermatological fillers. This is on top of being the Platinum Awardee in 2012 for being the No. 1 Botox clinic for 10 consecutive years.

These recognitions are a testament to Belo’s unparalleled medical expertise in the field of beauty. Belo Medical Group doctors undergo training both locally and internationally. Specialists from across the world come to Belo to train its doctors.

 

IMG_7027 (2)
Divine Diva Zsa Zsa Padilla, Dr. Vicki Belo and DJ Tony Toni of Boys Night Out

 

IMG_6999 (2)
Marcus Tan, Business Unit Head for Facial Aesthetics and Neuroscience for Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines, giving the No. 1 Allergan Account in the Philippines Award for Botox and Juvederm line of dermal fillers to Dr. Vicki Belo, “Doctor to the Stars” and CEO and Founder of Belo Medical Group.

 

IMG_2181 (2)
Belo Medical Group’s Medical Operations Manager Dr. Regina Llorin and Dr. Raj Acquilla, Masterclass Trainer, UK Ambassador and Global Key Opinion Leader in Facial Medical Aesthetics.

 

For more information on Belo Medical Group’s services, visit www.belomed.com

 

 

Chairs update

 

 

Daphne Chair
Me and the DAPHNE® chair, by my front door.

 

I’ve been meaning to write an update about the “Iloilo-APEC-chairs” issue last Thursday. But I’m never good with immediate reactions. So I slept on it and let a few days pass. Now there are no more emotions.

Last Thursday morning I posted this blog on “familiar-looking chairs” being displayed and sold at the Yusay Consing Mansion in Iloilo City. The story was carried by Coconuts Manila as well.

A quick recap –

 

12006279_10205279610574169_5575641295955255156_n
A reader sent me photos of the Yusay Consing Mansion (Molo Mansion), where these “familiar looking chairs” were on display.

 

12046644_10206952357783331_3211842864423862439_n
The Yusay Consing Mansion was set up with Ilonggo-made products on display and for sale. The logo of APEC appears prominently in the front lawn. Photo by John Rou, as it appears in Iloilo City Government Facebook.

 

On Iloilo City’s preparations for APEC —

Lawyer Helen Catalbas, director of the Department of Tourism (DOT) office in Western Visayas, said the tours would highlight century-old mansions and restored buildings, Iloilo churches, and local delicacies.

Another popular attraction of the tour is Casa Grande, a mansion built in the 1920s at Molo District that once was owned by the Yusay-Consing family. The house is right across Molo Church, also a popular sight for its Gothic-Renaissance architecture.

Casa Grande had been acquired and renovated by the SM Group, and was opened to the public on Sept. 17 in time for the Apec meetings. The mansion, which showcases Ilonggo products and other native wares, has since drawn hundreds of visitors daily.

Source Inquirer September 25, 2015

 

Two hours after I posted the story, I got a text from Stevan Tan, SVP of SM Supermalls. “It has reached my office – about the issue of an Iloilo furniture maker who copied your chair and showcased it in our Molo Mansion in Iloilo. We immediately called the attention of the exhibitor and had it pulled out already.”

 

12038017_10206741541753620_4867519234748976413_n
This is what the Molo Mansion looked like after the chairs were pulled off from the selling floor.

 

For sale....

This is the Iloilo-based furniture maker involved in this story. This photo was taken just last week at the Molo Mansion.

 

Beware of FAKE Daphne Chairs. My authentic chairs have a brass plate with my registered trademark. And the back doesnt look like that. Also that carving & paint finish are not at par with our standards. #DaphneFurniture is sold only in Dimensione shops.
In January 2014 I posted this on my Instagram. A friend of mine found these chairs in Iloilo City. Back then I was still actively selling DAPHNE® chairs in Dimensione. I had warned readers about these alleged poor imitations.

 

Since this story came out, I heard from lawyers, students, readers, and Ilonggo people who were disturbed by what had been done. One of them told me that those chairs were actually on display in the University of San Agustin. The owner of the furniture factory’s daughter had recently graduated from interior design class. And their son just got his architecture license.

I am touched by the expression of support from many readers and viewers, especially from my fellow Ilonggos. The silver lining is that I actually heard from people who were able to trace our common roots. Not only am I half-Ilonggo, I also gave one year of my adult life to help Iloilo and Guimaras in nation-building after I graduated from university in Canada. I was sent to the Philippines by Canada, specifically to that region, to manage an urban planning program funded by my Canadian government. (My first return to the Philippines was via Iloilo).

I was moved by this photo from a long-time reader. She is a Filipino working abroad. I remember she emailed us about purchasing this DAPHNE chair for her daughter. She wanted to give it to her daughter as a surprise. She couldn’t come home that Christmas. And if I recall, we had arranged the delivery of the chair to her home.

 

12025352_1152826868065690_867127079_n
My reader, a Filipino working abroad, reminded me that no kind of imitation can replace the value of something that is truly from the heart.