The Good, the Bad and the Holy
Local news never fails to amuse me and at the same time manage to incur a headache. ABS-CBN and GMA (two of the more popular channels) both had their local news program playing at the same time so I would alternately watch both shows.
Now like all things Filipino, the news shows had all the gory, inconsequential and stupid bits of news, interspersed with news that actually seemed important (But who cares about that, hey? I mean really.). And both shows also had a theme going on — since it’s Holy Week, the news was peppered with all things holy. In the Filipino’s case, all things related to religion, even if it’s absurd.
Absurdity #1. GMA’s show does a bit on how one congregation refuses to follow the Catholic rule of not eating pork during the Holy Week. Camera sweeps on the subdivision, pan on the church. Zoom in on walking, ordinary Filipinos, zoom in, zoom in, look they’re eating pork. Gasp, dismay.
They interview the priest of the church. The priest expresses his disappointment in his flock and urges them on national television to see the error of their ways. There is a hint of fire and eternal damnation in there but it is only discreetly (and tastefully) mentioned.
On a sidenote: Can you imagine the ribbing this poor priest gets from his fellow priests when he meets up with them for a bible session? “Father, seems like you can’t control your flock, haha! Now my flock…” /end sidenote.
The camera switches to a man standing outside and when asked why he eats pork on Holy week he replies, “Eh kasi, pag kumakain ako ng baboy sa Holy Week, sumasarap yung baboy! (Because when I eat pork during Holy Week, it tastes more delicious!)” *insert sheepish hi-mama grin here*
This is the apple in the garden all over again.
Absurdity #2. ABS-CBN battles GMA by focusing on a congregation that bravely forges on in the religious front in the midst of brazen carnal pleasure and orgy somewhere in Pasig (or at least I think it was in Pasig, I can’t remember right now). Apparently this place is peppered with motels with a seedy reputation for illicit affairs — and right smack in the middle is a church.
Just like the GMA news show, camera sweeps on Pasig, zoom in on the church, camera goes further in, voila it’s a congregation of people praying. Camera backs out, focuses once again on the neighborhood, zooms in on motel billboards with names that the people back in the news station blur (which totally defeats the point of zooming in on the board). Camera catches sight of a foreigner and a Filipina and violently zooms in on them.
Sidenote: I really felt bad for the couple. I mean, here they are walking and you’ll never know, that might’ve been all they had planned for the day, but thanks to Holy Week they’ve been shown on national television as carnal motel addiks.
Foreigner: Excuse me miss do you know the way to the church? I have this sudden urge to pray.
Filipina: Oh, oh okei I help you, I show you di way
Foreigner: Thank you
*GMA FOCUSES ON THEM WITH ALARMING ALACRITY*
Filipina’s husband watching GMA: Wow dis couple ah.. Beri naughty.. ahehehe… WADDAPAK DAT’S MY WIFE!
This brings to mind Sodom and Gomorrah.
Absurdity #3. GMA manages to throw in a tear-jerker of a Filipina bold actress turned decent. They show her dressed modestly in a long-sleeved pink top that showed nary a hint of cleavage. Questions were asked, a look of anguish, a penitent glance at the camera and a plea for forgiveness was given. She even managed to add that she felt bad for the bold actresses who still went on being erm, bold.
First we had the apple, then Sodom, now Mary Magdalene.
Folks, if someone accused the Filipinos of not knowing our bible stories, I have the right to cry in protest.
On other non-Holy Week news, both local news shows also had bits on two children poisoned thanks to their mother giving them sour milk (camera zooms in on distraught mother, crying that she didn’t know it was sour) and also an interview with a high-ranking policeman who, when questioned about the safety precautions they were taking against bombers, replied (this is not verbatim, my mind was still swamped with Sodom and Gomorrah),
“We are ensuring that we prevent the anti-terrorist team success.”
Or something like that. The gist of it is that the police do not want us safe from the terrorists, no, we do not have to depend on the terrorists’ capability to hurt us — our law enforcers will do that for them.
Filipino news channels — who needs soap shows?