Don’t Get Stuck in a Timewarp

When I was young, my Dad, who worked abroad in Saudi and Brunei, would invite me, my Mom and my brother to fly over to where he was to spend our summer vacations there with him. On these stays abroad, we’d got to know my Dad’s Pinoy buddies and workmates there.

One thing I noticed about these Pinoys who stayed long periods of time abroad was that when it came to Pinoy entertainment, they stuck to what they were familiar with when they left home. So even if there were newer Pinoy songs, for example, they’d still be playing their cassette tapes (CDs still weren’t that popular back in the 80’s) of albums they’ve originally bought or owned before they left. Even after returning several times to the Philippines for vacations, they’d still stick to what they knew back when they first left. They were also only familiar with the movie/tv stars they knew when they left home.

I thought it was funny back then, but not so much now. I found that I’m now in the same predicament as those Pinoy overseas workers I knew when I was young. The only Pinoy bands I know are Eraserheads, Rivermaya and Parokya ni Edgar. I heard that there are new ones but I don’t know them or their songs.

I’m only also aware of the Pinoy pop culture from when I left the Philippines back in late 2000 from familiar catch phrases (taken from movies, TV and commercials) to showbiz rumors. I believe there are now new popular catch phrases taken from shows or commercials I’ve never even seen or heard of. When my Mom talks about the new in-thing back home over the phone, I couldn’t relate.

That’s just how it is living abroad, I guess.

However, there were things I could’ve done to be more up to speed with what’s going on back home from here in Melbourne. Let me list them below.

Listing to streaming radio

To keep up with what’s hot in terms of music back home, nothing beats listening to FM radio being broadcast direct from the Philippines. Unfortunately, Australia is too far away to pick up the FM transmissions from Manila. However, there is what’s called streaming audio on the Internet. I don’t want to go into technical details about how it works but it should be enough to say that it will allow you to listen to radio broadcasts from back home provided the radio station you want to tune in to has made available a streaming audio service.

Go to Ex-Desingz for a list of AM and FM Filipino radio stations that provides streaming audio on the Internet. Here is a list of the stations I tune in to whenever I’m in the mood for some Filipino radio: DZBB, DZRH and Monster Radio RX 93.1.

Read online newspapers

Although news from home sometimes get airtime here in Australia, it is usually only the real terrible ones that get shown. When you see the news here, you get very frightened of the situation at home. But when you call up your relatives about the same news, they just shrug it off and said it wasn’t really that big a deal.

So, to get a better idea of what’s really going on back home, I just read one of the many Filipino newspapers available online. I especially like to read the Opinion section which gives me a quick idea of what news really matter back home. Because if it didn’t matter much, then why devote an Opinion article about it?

The two Filipino newspapers I tend to read online are The Philippine Daily Inquirer aka INQ.Net and The Philippine Star aka Philstar.com. There are several more Philippine online publications you can read instead and you can see a list of them at Yehey’s Newspaper Directory.

Watch Filipino TV News

In Australia, there is a day-late Filipino News program is shown on the SBS Channel at 6:50 AM everyday except Sunday and Monday. I haven’t watched it for a while so I’m not sure what the actual news program was called but I can tell you that it was in Tagalog and seemed to have been made in the Philipipnes.

If you think that getting up at 6:50 AM to watch Filipino news is too much of a burden, you can just do what I do and watch the GMA News program 24 Oras hosted by Mel Tiangco and “Kapuso” Mike Enriquez on the Internet by going to INQ7’s Video Archives. Sometimes, you’ll also get the opportunity to watch S-Files and Unang Hirit from there, too.

Also on the Internet is ABS-CBN Now! where you can subscribe for US$4.95 a month to watch their shows. Here is a description of their service as provided by their website’s FAQ:

ABS-CBNnow! is a video and audio streaming service on the Web that provides Filipinos worldwide with access to the best news and entertainment content from ABS-CBN, the Philippines’ largest media network. abs-cbn now! provides the following:

On Demand: You get unlimited access to the best news and entertainment programs of ABS-CBN such as TV Patrol, The Buzz, ASAP Mania, Maalaala Mo Kaya, and MTB. You can also choose from our wide selection of Star Cinema blockbusters and UAAP games.

Live Broadcast: You can watch live broadcasts of the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) and listen live to the Philippines’ leading AM (DZMM 630kh) and FM (WRR 101.9) radio stations.

ABS-CBNnow! News and Entertainment. Online. Whenever you want.

In Melbourne, there’s also Channel C31 where there is a 30-minute segment called Pinoy TV shown at 3:00 PM on Mondays and 6:00 PM on Sundays. There is a news segment in there, too, anchored by somebody who looks Filipino but the accent seems to be Australian that’s Americanized — if you can imagine that.

Another way to watch shows from home is to get cable with The Filipino Channel in there. Unfortunately, even after my research, I couldn’t find a cable network that offers any Filipino channel. I’ve seen options though where you can contact ABS-CBN and have a dish installed in your backyard to get the shows directly. It was discussed in the Philippines.com.au forum a while back.

Read Pinoy Blogs

Blogs are so popular lately and I’m sure you’ve heard about it by now. And in case you are not aware of it, what you’re reading now is actually a blog, too. Anyway, there are a lot of Pinoy bloggers out there who discuss about the Philippines, Filipinos and anything related to us. To get you started, you can go to PinoyBlog.com: The Philippines According to Blogs and read through the latest post summaries of numerous Filipino blogs out there then bookmark the blogs you like.

That’s all I have. Hopefully, you now no longer need to rely on a loved one’s phone call from the Philippines to be up-to-date with what’s hot and what’s not back home.

WARNING: Using audio streaming or watching video from the Internet causes you to download a steady stream of bytes per second. So if you are watching a 60-minute video feed that is transmitting at 100kb per second, you will have downloaded a total of 360Mb after watching the video feed! So, do not do this in your office specially if they have download restrictions in place as you may get into a world of trouble. Instead, get a fast broadband connection with at least an allowed 10 Gb download limit per month and just do this at home.

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Published in: on May 21, 2005 at 11:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

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