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‘State lacks support for movie, entertainment industry’ —Thomasian veteran writer

A Thomasian alumnus and veteran entertainment writer expressed his dismay over the state’s lack of support for the country’s movie and entertainment industry.

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Photo by Vhey Tapia

A Thomasian alumnus and veteran entertainment writer expressed his dismay over the state’s lack of support for the country’s movie and entertainment industry.

Boy Villasanta, in an exclusive interview with TomasinoWeb  said that the work situation of movie reporters is “really down the ground” during the “Entertainment Writing in the Philippines in the Advent of Social Media” lecture hosted by the UST Publishing House held at the UST Miguel de Benavides Library Auditorium, Thursday, October 17.

“How can, like for instance in our case, the labor situation of movie reporters is really something else, it’s really down the ground. We are not paid accordingly, except perhaps if you are a member of a major media organization, who pays well, or which pays well, noh?” he said.

In his talk, the author of “EXPOSÉ: Peryodismong Pampelikula sa Pilipinas (Movie Reporting in the Philippines)” defined entertainment writing as a profession which gives voice about popular celebrities in television and movies.

“Entertainment writing – ang mga sinusulat namin ay mga artista sa telebisyon, sa pelikula, syempre talagang mga sikat sila,” Villasanta said.

Villasanta also shared that, “This is a very good venue for us movie writers, who are not usually given the space to […] like in print, in broadcast, to express topics which are relevant, more relatable to the audience, not only giving them news on movie stars but how do we contextualize their lives in relation to the ordinary lives of other people.”

He also recalled his early days on TV Patrol, ABS CBN’s TV news program, after the EDSA Revolution.

“After the EDSA Revolution, ABS CBN was restored, and I was already part of it [doing “Balita Ngayon.”] So bago siya mag TV Patrol, ang konsepto niya ay tabloid air at alam naman nating ang tabloid ay napaka-popular hanggang ngayon,” he said.

He then added how people started to patronize TV Patrol by adding two segments such as entertainment news and police report.

“Noong nag-air yung TV Patrol, halos lahat ng mga tao naging interesado sa news dahil hinaluan ito ng dalawang bagong segment na hindi laging ginagawa noong pre-martial law days o kahit noong bago mag-EDSA Revolution. So ginawan nila ng konsepto na lagyan natin ng entertainment news atsaka police report,” Villasanta said.

Entertainment writing on popular culture

Villasanta also mentioned the three basis on determining how popular a certain culture is, in reference to the concept made by sociology doctor Ricardo Abad.

“Yung una is yung statistical. Popular ang isang kultura kung ito ay nasusukat sa ratings – halimbawa pwedeng sa mga radio program, mga TV shows… Kahit yung ngayon yung ratings sa mga politiko ‘diba? So napu-pulsuhan ng lahat kung sino ang popular, […] kung sino yung sikat,” he said.

According to Villasanta, the second basis is the elitist method wherein entertainment writing is regarded as third class, or third rate.

“Ang ikalawang panuntunan na ginamit ni Ricardo Abad ay yung tungkol sa elitistang pamamaraan na ito, kung saan itinuturing ang uring ito na mababang klase ang popular culture […] Ewan ko kung kayo ay sasang-ayon dyan na ang popular culture ay mababa sa tingin ng mga elitist,” Villasanta expressed.

Meanwhile, Villasanta described the third basis, in relation to political concept: “Ang popular na kultura ay tunggalian ng pangmalawakang aliwan na nagluluklok sa lehitimasyon ng naghaharing-uring ideya sa lipunan o ang tinatawag na “pessimist view.”

Bilingualism on entertainment writing

On the other hand, an award winning writer, and UST Journalism Cum Laude graduate, Danny Vibas, talked about bilingual writing in entertainment journalism.

“Bilingualism in entertainment journalism? The broader term is journalism. Is entertainment writing journalism? Yes, it is journalism, it is practiced by respectable people as respectable as lawyers,” Vibas said.

Vibas, who is a bilingual writer, expressed that bilingual writing may also be a language, paired with other native languages.

“It does not [have to be] just in English or in Filipino, pwede namang iba, pwedeng English at Ilokano, pwedeng Filipino at Ilokano, pwedeng Filipino at Hilagaynon – yung lang ang ibig sabihin ng bilingual writing for entertainment.

Furthermore, UST Journalism alumna, and entertainment writer, Pilar Mateo, and entertainment editor, Art Tapalla were also speakers during the said forum. Vhey Tapia

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Literary

Ang pulso ng binibigkas

Ang wika ay susi upang makakalap ng kapangyarihan.

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Artwork by Patricia Jardin

Ang wika ay susi upang makakalap ng kapangyarihan. Instrumento ito sa pagkilala ng daloy, sa panliligaw ng panig, at sa paglalakbay ng isip. Ganunpaman, magkaiba ang mundo ng mga salita at ng mga sinasabi— hindi lamang tainga ang dapat na nakikinig at hindi lamang bibig ang dapat na nagsasalita.

Sa bawat pagmulat ng mata sa kasalukuyang lipunan, marami ang oportunidad para mahasa ang sariling lengguwahe. Lumitaw man ang pagkakaiba ay hindi dapat patabain ang pangamba; kapatid ng takot ang paninikil at pagkubli. Ang hatol sa pag-aagwat ng wika ay hindi kasalanan, bagkus ay ang kalayaang magmay-ari ng boses at ang patuloy na pagkatuto.

Mahapdi nang iniiwanan ng oras ang kaniyang mga ginagapangan at hindi ito tumitigil. Ang paglalakbay ng isip ukol sa patutunguhan ng Pilipinas ay matagal nang gutom sa tugon. Ilang bukang-liwayway na lamang at may wikang maglalahad ng mga salaysay ng daloy at distribusyon ng panig. SONA ang magtatanghal kung naitahi bang mainam ang mga kwento ng Pilipino sa kwento ng Pilipinas. Nakababad kaya ang wika ng may kapangyarihan sa wikang makapangyarihan? 

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Confession

It creeps up on me when I eat, when I am sitting in the living room, when I am about to sleep.

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Artwork by Patricia Jardin

To rest is a sin.

In the quiet moments of this new sheltered life, I have come to accept that there is a small dark corner of my mind where all the dates of the calendar are marked. From the first week of April, to the last week of May—it’s all there. It is a small dark corner. It creeps up on me when I eat, when I am sitting in the living room, when I am about to sleep.

This small dark corner reminds me everyday of what’s about to come. I explain that I’m not ready, that I need more time, that this is new territory and I haven’t taken a step further since I came here—it doesn’t listen to me. It tells me to get to work. It tells me that this is my priority, this is what matters the most in this worldwide pandemic. It forces me to listen, to do as it says, to be its puppet to be controlled with the numbers controlling my arms and legs.

But this is just a small dark corner of my mind. There are other corners. Much bigger corners.

To rest is a sin. 

I have yet to be forgiven. 

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Literary

Little Bit of Paradise

You try to breathe in the catastrophe as your thumb keeps scrolling and scrolling and scrolling until the end is reached, leaving a deep void that makes you unable to speak or act.

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Artwork by Patricia Jardin

You wake up to the sight of your room’s white ceiling. The summer heat makes your skin sweat immediately. Piled up papers stare at you from the corner of the room along with unpacked belongings from the dorm––ah, yes. You are home––earlier than expected but still, you succumb to this little bit of paradise.

You breathe in the familiarity of your bed sheet’s smell, let every caress of the fabric give comfort up until you check your phone.

Three hundred thirty-nine new cases. The death toll is now at 704. Recoveries at 1,842. The total is now at 10,610.

This little bit of paradise began to crumble from the inside. Like a volcano nearing to erupt. The summer heat began to burn not only the skin but also made its way into bones and flesh. Piled up papers began to yell, screaming for a continuation. Gentle caresses became tight grips with nails digging deeper into full palms.

You try to breathe in the catastrophe as your thumb keeps scrolling and scrolling and scrolling until the end is reached, leaving a deep void that makes you unable to speak or act.

You see posts from people staying up in their ivory towers while waving their flags of toxic positivity for all to see. You grit your teeth in disgust. The screen refreshes, showing heroes and people trying to survive from exhaustion and hunger.

This little bit of paradise of yours completely crumbles, leaving traces of guilt, fear,  and anger, all in one.

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