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Binge-watch worthy movies and TV shows this break!

If you are reading this, congratulations for surviving the past few months filled with academic workload to fulfill and conquer! To reward yourself, here’s a list of movies and TV shows that you can watch this school break.



If you are reading this, congratulations for surviving the past few months filled with academic workload to fulfill and conquer! To reward yourself, here’s a list of movies and TV shows that you can watch this school break.

1. Skins | 40-50 minutes per episode

Photo from Amazon UK.

Genre: Teen-drama, Comedy

Creator: Bryan Elsley, Jamie Brittain

Synopsis: The British teen drama-comedy centers on the tense lives of a group of teenagers in Bristol, South West England as they go through the their last two years in secondary school.

Review: Skins is a nice coming-of-age series tackling different challenges teenagers face, from sex and gender fluidity issues, to drug use and mental illnesses. The series, with its seven seasons, will surely send your time down the drain if you choose to do so.

2. Money Heist | 40 minutes – 1 hour per episode

Photo from IMDb.

Genre: Crime, Thriller, Telenovela

Director/Producer: Álex Pina

Synopsis: The “Professor” executes a grand heist that makes a first in history as he targets the Royal Mint of Spain alongside eight criminals.

Review: The story progresses slowly but surely as it shows how the characters grow on each episode. The story is intelligently well-written and delivers unpredictable to make the viewers on the edge of their seats! 

3. The Twilight Saga | 607 Minutes (Combination of all 5 movies)

Photo from IMDb.



Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Director: Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight), Chris Weitz (New Moon), David Slade (Eclipse), and Bill Condon (Breaking Dawn Part 1 and Part 2)

Synopsis: Based on the series written by Stephanie Meyer, Twilight focuses on the relationship amongst the three main characters: Bella Swan, whose life changes drastically upon meeting Edward Cullen, who is a vampire, and Jacob Black, who is a werewolf.

Review: With Halloween coming around the corner, Twilight is the perfect film to binge-watch and relive major fangirling and fanboying feels. With themes revolving around love, vampires, and werewolves, are you #TeamEdward, or #TeamJacob?

4. The Hunger Games: Trilogy | 548 Minutes (Combination of all 4 films)

Photo from IMDb.


Genre: Sci-Fi, Romance

Director: Gary Ross (The Hunger Games), Francis Lawrence (Catching Fire – Mockingjay Part 2)

Synopsis: Based on the series written by Suzanne Collins, the trilogy centers around the life of Katniss Everdeen as she volunteers for her sister, Prim, for the Games. As she continuously challenges the system that cease to exist in each district, Everdeen realizes that there is so much worse games to play.

Review: The films faithfully adapted the dystopian trilogy, never failing to allow its viewers to feel emotions as it depicts Katniss’s journey as the “Girl on Fire” and her quest as a tribute. With its outstanding cinematography and action-packed sequences, Hunger Games will definitely let you experience how it feels to be in the games.

5. Vagabond | 1 hour per episode

Photo from IMDb.



Genre: Action, Thriller, Romance

Director: Yoo In Shik

Synopsis: After a mysterious plane crash that killed more than 200 civilians, Cha Dal-geun, together with covert operative, Go Hae-ri, initiates to find answers to uncover the truth behind the plane crash.

Review: The action-thrilled Korean series delivers suspenseful scenes and narratives that would make you stay at the edge of your seat.

6. Bojack Horseman | 25 minutes per episode

Photo from IMDb.

Genre: Animated Sitcom, Black Comedy, Satire

Creator: Raphael Bob-Waksberg

Synopsis: The animated series focuses with Bojack, a well known actor who once starred in a popular 90s sitcom, who is struggling to make a comeback due to his growing self-deprecation and his exposure to the materialistic world.

Review: Despite the dark humor and the reference to vices and worldly desires present in each episode, the animated series will make you reflect and sympathize with Bojack and his experiences.

7. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba | 23 minutes per episode

Photo from IMDb.


Genre: Adventure, Fantasy

Director: Haruo Sotozaki

Synopsis: When Tanjiro Kamado’s family was attacked by demons, Tanjiro embarks on a journey as he becomes a demon slayer in order to help his sister, Nezuko, who turned into a demon, become human again. 

Review: This animated series applauds Tanjiro and Nezuko for their determination to prevent the same tragedy to happen. With its top-tier animation and storyline, Demon Slayer has plenty of scenes to offer for its viewers especially on what is bound to happen between the siblings.

8. Kaguya-Sama: Love is War | 23 minutes per episode

Photo from IMDb.

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Director: Mamoru Hatakeyama

Synopsis: Both afraid to initiate who will confess first due to their pride and status, Student Council President Miyuki Shirogane and Student Council Vice President Kaguya Shinomiya, strategize on how they will make their move so that one concedes and confesses their feelings.

Review: The story build-up is slow, however, it allows the viewers to fully know the quirks and the real personality behind their icy and intimidating figures.

9. Terrace House | 40 minutes per episode

Photo from IMDb.

Genre: Reality

Producer: ‎Masato Maeda

Synopsis: Six strangers live under the same roof in order to get to know each other.

Review: Terrace House takes unscripted reality shows to a different level as it makes the audience enjoy and relax on their seats as they get to know their real stories and conflicts.

10. The Good Place | 22 minutes per episode

Photo from IMDb.

Genre: Comedy, Fantasy

Created by: Michael Schur

Synopsis: Eleanor Shellstop tries to change for the better as she realizes that she is sent to “the Good Place” by mistake.

Review: Aside from the good laughs shared by watching this series, The Good Place makes you reflect on your actions through its philosophical themes about the afterlife.




Which UST street are you?



Artwork by Tricia Jardin

Another year, another Buzzfeed-esque quiz that is based on purely subjective notions. This quiz can somehow garner questionable results as they can be entirely different from how one sees oneself, but still feel free to take a (good) three-minute break and validate which UST street completely molds your Thomasian existence. Enjoy! 


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‘Awit’ and the normalization of transphobia

With music as a tool for liberation, we must not let the likes of “Awit” to limit our minds, let alone poison our culture with prejudice.



Screenshot from the album cover of the now deleted song "Awit" on Spotify.

Erich Gabriel Bongon, also known as Young Vito posted a video of himself on Twitter singing a preview of “Awit” last Dec. 5, 2019, a song he that composed with sexist undertones and transphobic lyrics. Netizens were quick to call out the rapper when the preview is posted, prompting him to delete the video and issue an “apology.”

What happened afterwards? Was he cancelled? Was he given career opportunities after the incident? Did he change his ways and most importantly, did he educate himself on gender rights?

Young Vito is known to have signed a recording contract with Viva Records. With the record label having full knowledge of the incident, Young Vito and Viva Records have enabled themselves to go further: to release the same song with the same infamous lyrics, capitalizing off its notoriety on social media.

Awitis just one of the many Filipino songs propagating harmful ideas that does not only target the transgender community, but also encourages the normalization of transphobia and a culture of hate in the country.

Young Vito’s “Awitis a trans woman, with the singer implying that the woman deceives men, that there is something wrong with them. 

The song’s album art depicts a trans women using a urinal, as if implying that they should use the male’s comfort room; a controversial choice due to the ongoing debate on trans peoples’ comfort room access.

After receiving flak, the rapper posted an apology on Twitter, at the same time refusing to delete his video and liking tweets saying that people are “too sensitive.” He deleted the video afterwards.

A few days later, the rapper signed a five-year contract with Viva Records. After that, the song is released on multiple streaming platforms last Jan. 17, 2020 under Viva Records, with Emmanuel “NEXXFRIDAY” Salen producing and providing the beat for the track.

Photo grabbed from Young Vito’s Instagram account @youngvitoph

“Despite the controversy surrounding the song, Awithas been turned into a full-blown bop…,” the caption of the now-deleted lyric video in Viva Records’ Youtube channel reads. 

The song is then deleted on Spotify one day after its release.

Awitis just one of the many Filipino songs with transphobic lyrics. Songs like Abra’s “Gayuma” and Kamikazee’s “Chiksilog” portray trans women as someone who deceive men with their looks, while also spreading the notion that trans women are still men even if they have already identify themselves as women. 

One may think that the lyrics of these songs are harmless but for the transgender community, it makes their lives more difficult than it is.

In a country where the trans community are ostracized, where even some members of the LGBTQ+ community preach transphobia, where the likes of Hermie Monterde are still discriminated in the workplace, where personalities such as BB Gandanghari and Jake Zyrus are mocked online, where women like Gretchen Diez are shunned and arrested for entering the comfort room, where people like Jennifer Laude and Jessa Remiendo are murdered for being transgender – these songs spread dangerous ideas to the public. 

These songs normalizes harmful prejudices embedded in our culture. It hinders the LGBTQ+ community, especially the trans community’s fight for equal rights. It makes the idea of targeted discrimination and hate crime acceptable, painting a harmful image on people’s minds that it is normal to mock transgenders with the help of a song.

Music has been used to break the status quo, teach important lessons, and in some cases, aid in bringing down tyrants. With music as a tool for liberation, we must not let the likes of “Awit” to limit our minds, let alone poison our culture with prejudice. 

If we want true progress, we must lose the chains of backwardness binding us, and we can start by taking small steps—starting with picking good songs to listen to.


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Kadenang Ginto is more complex than ever

The show may seem ordinary in the spectrum of teleseryes, but with the bouts of recognition and attention it harbors, shows like Kadenang Ginto may have the tendency to succumb to society’s patriarchal roots—a premise that has been the show’s subdued message from the very beginning.



Photo from ABS-CBN News

Media and entertainment industries, especially in the Philippines, have undoubtedly created a number of teleseryes that got viewers hooked. Iconic lines from television shows made their way through social media, thus birthing an irreversible decade of video parodies, i.e. “Cassie, hindi ka muna papasok sa iskul” which came from the ABS-CBN afternoon prime show, Kadenang Ginto (directed by Jerry Lopez Sineneng and Avel Sunpongco). This particular boomerang created by the show serves as a primary example of the proliferation of teleseryes into the in-betweens of people’s mundane realities. 

Usually, Filipino TV formulas have just been restricted to cookie-cutter stories such as rich girl-poor girl rivalries, wife versus mistress conflicts, and other types of predictable stories with a recurring plotline—dramatically mirroring the struggles of which people could sympathize and in some cases, empathize with. 

Now, with the recent narratives of most materials, it is fitting to raise the question: do teleseryes, such as the case in point, subconsciously imply a patriarchal and capitalist society which can water down women’s roles as simply pawns of the men-splayed environment?

Dissecting the Initial Premise of the Show

The whole idea of the show displays a tangled story between Daniela Mondragon (played by Dimples Romana) and Romina Andrada (played by Beauty Gonzales). Romina, a glorified Secretary, marries the business tycoon and father of Daniela, Robert Mondragon (played by Albert Martinez).

Caused by jealousy, Daniela strived to emerge relevant by physically and emotionally belittling Romina to death, hoping that she could at least gain more relevance in the old Mondragon’s life. It gets more complicated when Daniela marries Romina’s past lover, Carlos (played by Adrian Alandy), who still has unresolved feelings for the latter.

While Daniela’s past actions remain important both in their family business and in the lives of the men involved, it seems questionable that all her intentions were for the sake of these men.

While it is also applauding that Daniela and Romina are their own persons who are fully responsible to stir changes necessary to keep the show going, one may question the end of not just the character’s intentions, but as well as the writers’ inclination to probe and provide a substantial arc for these characters.

It raises the question, especially during a period when a new character was introduced in the persona of Richard Yap, a rich businessman, who somehow became a catalyst on how the character of Romina can get back on track. 

Are the women in Philippine teleserye doomed to always be swept off their feet by some men to garner the easiest way out?

The show may seem ordinary in the spectrum of teleseryes presented by the network, but with the bouts of recognition and attention it harbors, shows like Kadenang Ginto may have the tendency to succumb to society’s patriarchal roots—a premise that has been the show’s subdued message from the very beginning.

Now (with the plot lines tangled and recurring), the characters and their progressions can be attested to hopeful major changes (thankfully), as lead female characters are taking matters on their hands especially with Romina Andrada-Mondragon gaining more control over her circumstances, a (seemingly progressive) march of silent revolution, veering away from the initial premises of the show – yet still bound to its original plot line.  

Trudging the Conventional

While the network’s teleseryes’ cookie-cutter and cardboard characterizations of women are proven formulas, fresh perspectives are always a welcome venture with the exploration of complex female characters. 

Writers and show producers must become more socially-reverberant that they not only choose to showcase shows that pay the rent. In the Philippines, it is slowly building its pace with independent films being at the forefront.

Unfortunately, most mainstream media consumers are still inclined with choosing the proven formulas so mass media practitioners also stick to what generates more audiences. What the consumers can do now is to try to become more adamant to good and progressive changes – utilize the everlasting “get out of your comfort zone” notion. 

Media, as compared to what it tries to cater to before, has certainly come a long way with the sprouts of powerful women characters here and there. Unfortunately, Philippine mainstream media and its consumers sat way comfortably in the reassurance of these boxed and usual beliefs.

It may possibly take a while for these teleseryes to do the same with their high intentions to generate money, even if the essential purpose of art to heighten and challenge the empathic tendencies of the people can definitely suffer.


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