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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Trouble with Santino

Santino is the star of the ABS-CBN program "May Bukas Pa". He's based on San Marcelino Pan y Vino. He is a "miracle boy" who regularly speaks with Jesus Christ and creates miracles for people. It becomes such that the people want to steal him and make him slave away to make miracles at their bidding. It's a typical "miracle boy" story.

Santino though has a lot of adventures. They run from being kidnapped to being part of a buss hijack to being wrapped up in political campaigns. This program tries to show all the problems and issues in Philippine society. And Santino in the story provides the solutions for them.

And that's the trouble with Santino; he's the hero who does everything for them. He solves the people's problems for them. But the people don't want to solve their problems. And they depend on him for those solutions. They don't want to do it themselves. There are so many instances where the poor people themselves act insensibly and stupidly - probably some would say, much like real Filipino poor. However, I know better. The attitudes and actions of Filipinos here are not that realistic. It even shows rich people as evil or maligned - a typical representation in Filipino programs. Again, it is not accurate.

May Bukas Pa is another example of the dysfunction of Filipino culture. People just want to live with their problems, but do not want to solve them. If ever they want a solution, they want someone else to do it. It's a promotion of inaction by the people. If this is what people watch and it forms people's ideas about the country, then the program, like most of Philippines TV (in Manila at least), is doing harm. It is promoting false ideas about the country and about how people should act. Most ostensibly it provides the idea that we need a hero to solve our problems for us. And if he doesn't solve our problems, we can always boot him out with "people power."

When will our people ever learn. We should watch something other than this.


  1. The kapamilya network had a chance to end this telecrappo with a moral lesson about Filipinos being lazy and dependent on "perceived saviors" like Santino. In fact, it was even hinted-at earlier this week, and I thought for a moment that the network was finally doing something rare...but right.

    Instead, audiences were treated to another impossible-fantasy ending with a moral lesson that says "as long as you believe in Bro, everything's gonna be all right".

    WTF? Oh, well...what else can we expect from a show that's loved by the Catholic Mass Media Awards? For all we know, Santino may be a their current favorite centerfold.

    Once again, the network succeeded in dumbing-down the public while making $$$ out of it.

  2. Actually, in one of the last episodes, a mob was angry that the monks would not bring out Santino, not knowing that he was kidnapped. Then the head priest, played by Jaime Fabregas, finally scolded the people, "the reason why you keep on looking for Santino is that you are all lazy!" It was something that I felt took too long before it was said in the show, but at least in was said. But that's the kind of thing that should be said to Filipinos at large.

  3. Yes, that line by Jimmy Fabregas was the one I was referring to when the show hinted at a moral conclusion based on what-should-be.

    Until the media gets it right, this country will not move forward because Pinoys are being taught to "leave it all to Bro".

  4. It is very sad when a nation is in need of heroes. If only everybody did a proper job like the government, what is the use of heroes.

    This show reminds me a lot of Efren Florida and Ben "Bitag" Tulfo. Their heroism only proves the rotten public education and non-existent rule of law in the Philippines.

    You know who are the real heroes in the Philippines? People who pay proper taxes.

  5. I second that, John Paul. Pay proper taxes, return what you borrowed, not cheating, etc. People find these really hard to do in this country. Yep, Jimmy Fabregas was right, they are lazy. lol

  6. Santino shows us how idolatrous people are. Instead of reaching out to God, they seek Santino to fix things.