Regional television in the Phillippines

In a television industry dominated by Manila-based giants with much of their programming seen across the country and much of their relay stations owned by the networks themselves, regional players may be unfamiliar to most of us. But these broadcasters play a huge part in providing news and entertainment to their respective localities and reflects the diversity of our nation. We’ll take a look at the most prominent examples of regional-based broadcasters in the Philippines.

Central Luzon Television (CLTV 36)

CLTV 36 or Central Luzon Television was established in the year 2007 and has since become the largest, if not among the largest, regional television networks in the country. Based in Pampanga, its coverage area and programming targets much of the Central Luzon region. Its signals can also be seen in some areas of Metro Manila and even Cavite albeit on a low signal. It airs news, public affairs, infotainment, and some entertainment programs. It is also seen on Cignal Digital TV.

NE TV 48

NE TV 48 is a television station based in Nueva Ecija. NE TV is also similar in format to the other local stations and we hope NE TV has the resources to expand in DTT.

ConAmor Broadcasting’s Brodkast Southern Luzon

For Southern Luzon, there is Brodkast Channel 6, based in Lucena. It lacks the social media presence and we don’t know much about the station and its offerings, but from what we know from their very limited social media presence they simulcast programs heard from their radio stations DWTI and Kiss FM. The station’s parent company is owned by a local politician. We don’t know whether they’ll be able to shift to DTV given their very limited presence, let alone sustain operations.

Bandera News TV

Bandera News TV is a relatively new player based in Palawan. With a teleradyo concept it is expected they could expand to DTT.

PBN Bicol

PBN Bicol operates TV stations in Naga and Legazpi, but is primarily affiliated with TV5. It remains to be seen whether they will have the resources to expand to the digital TV sphere.

Cebu Catholic Television Network (CCTN 47)

Cebu Catholic Television Network or CCTN is the Catholic television station run by the Archdiocese of Cebu. It shows not only religious programs but newscasts as well. It also provides livestream features. It is also expected they will have the resources to expand to DTT.

Bee TV

Bee TV 7 is a local television station owned by the Northern Mindanao Broadcasting System, formerly affiliated with GMA Network and People’s Television Network. It has since become an independent television station. With social media presence, we also expect this station to have enough resources to expand to DTT though it is still a fledgling station.

Brigada News TV

Brigada News TV is the teleradyo counterpart of the General Santos-based multimedia broadcasters. With its FM news stations spread across the country and with it being a strong local player, it is expected Brigada will have the resources to expand to DTT.

Davao Christian Bible Channel

Davao Christian Bible Channel is a small religious channel based in Davao City, but it should not be a reason for it not to have the resources necessary to shift.


GBPI (Golden Broadcast Professionals) operates Channel 11 which is affiliated with TV5, with some local programs such as daily newscast Dateline Zamboanga. It is expected that GBPI will have the resources to expand to DTT.


eMedia is a local news channel in Zamboanga, operating on channel 37. With this, we also expect the station to expand in DTT.

Ranao TV 13

I recently discovered that there was a local TV station broadcasting in Marawi City branded as Ranao TV 13. It broadcasts on channel 13 and produces TV programs simulcast on an AM and FM affiliate. If it weren’t for the Marawi crisis I wouldn’t have discovered the station’s existence, I wish I would have learned earlier so I would have been able to include the station on my piece. Regardless, I do hope the station will have the resources to shift to digital TV, most especially the recovery and rehabilitation efforts to be undertaken once the Marawi crisis is over. 


The above stations mentioned are the most prominent examples. There may be those not mentioned but we have to consider the very limited information we have. Given the dominance of national networks, we have to consider these local broadcasters as well as they provide service to their respective localities and cater to their respective regional tastes. These stations reflect the diversity of our nation and they as well deserve a chance to be on par with the national networks especially that in a few years’ time we will bid analog TV goodbye and we’re facilitating a shift to digital TV.

My Take: NYT’s piece on Du30

With the New York Times’ article on Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte dominating the political discussion, general sentiment is, as always, negative, with spokesperson Ernesto Abella stating this is part of a larger plot to unseat the president.

To start, what did the NYT do? They published an article detailing his rise to power, first as Davao City mayor, then uploading a documentary documenting the supposed “human rights abuses” committed along the course of the illegal drug war, and an editorial proposing economic sanctions on the Philippines, similar to what the US and EU have imposed on countries like Iran, North Korea, Russia, and others.

To much of the Filipino public, this is seen as yet another attempt to unseat the president and restore the old order, or to some, another example of Western-facilitated attempts to remove any leader straying away from its sphere.

This blog will try to avoid political subjects as we try to avoid getting caught in the crossfire, but the urge to discuss this topic is unavoidable. It is particularly difficult to explain to foreign audiences what is happening in the country, and at home we’re having a particularly difficult time setting aside differences so other agendas like federalism and economic reform sets into motion.

As for parting words, we do hope that things don’t spin out of control and we have to stay involved in the larger discourse.

Life as a Filipino aspie

Lately, I’ve been posing this question to myself: is it really necessary for me to tell people what my “condition” is?  Is it some kind of a curse or should I use it as an asset and take pride in having it? Maybe perhaps in this country we have a stigma when someone has some sort of a mental disorder you could be crazy.

However, I have already accepted who I am and now preparing to take on the challenge to use this to the best of my ability to inspire people like me and show the world that we can do remarkable feats which can make the world a better place.

What exactly is the condition I am having?

I have what you call Asperger syndrome, named after Austrian pediatrician, medical theorist, and medical professor Hans Asperger. This is part of the wider autism spectrum disorder, which means a person having this is not having autism but could be having symptoms of autism. This can be further complicated by similar disorders like ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and others, depending on diagnosis. It is also a type of high-functioning autism, where children or adults with this kind could be having potentially high IQ levels and could excel in areas such as mathematics, reading comprehension, or others, depending on the person.

What are its symptoms? How am I coping up with this?

A brief introduction

In 1944, Asperger observed four children with common traits: lack of empathy or understanding what people might feel, physically clumsy, social awkwardness, and lack of nonverbal communication skills. He called these children “little professors” because of their obsessive interest in one particular area. For easier understanding, please refer to the infographic below. These can be mitigated by social skills classes (in groups with kids of similar traits), speech therapy, or occupational therapy.




On coping up

I was made aware of this since I was around 3 years old. Even with a young age, I’ve had a particular obsession with broadcast media (especially television) and politics which I further developed as I grew up. This is the reason why I chose communication as my course.

Growing up, I’ve had a particular problem with socialization, struggling with the feeling that I have to be left alone or the need of someone to talk to. Coming with that lack of socialization is the exposure to sorts of bullying. I worry a lot that I might be doing something inappropriate or unacceptable to norms or expectations. You may even think we’re angry most of the time because we speak in a monotonous manner.

There’s also this curiosity which compels me to do the most stupid of things, though I try my best to control myself. I also feel that whatever pops to my head, I must share just for the sake of giving myself peace of mind but perhaps I am just making things worse.

I am thankful however because along the way there are friends and family who helped me along the way.


College life has given me the freedom to be myself, although along the way I also learned how to know my limits, which of course an area with problems because I get excited most of the time.

Acceptance is a two-way process. For my part, I already accepted who I was, even my flaws. The only thing I can do is embrace them and use them as tools to better improve myself. For the rest of the world, we need you to accept us. Because of that lingering stigma you may feel you have to do everything in your power to make them “change”, “behave”, make them “normal”. But is that necessary? Based on my experiences, I think not. We do acknowledge we won’t be able to control other people’s feelings, emotions, or what they think about us but this is what made us, us. You don’t have to make us “change”. Just accept us for who we are, and help us cope with the challenges of living in this world. Help us be equipped. When we make “mistakes”, let us be. That’s how we learn, by experience.

May this help each and every single kid or adult with special needs, may this inspire the teachers and parents who shower us with love, acceptance, and affection, and may the world see through our eyes and embrace us into this world. We’re different in our special way.

TV Patrol: 30 years on and the need for ABS-CBN News to shift to high definition

30 years ago, a new news program premiered on Philippine television which forever changed the way news was delivered, witnessing important events shaping the history of our country, changes in technology, and being the primary source of information for Filipinos. 

TV Patrol was conceived as a counterpart to ABS-CBN’s Radyo Patrol, and was intended to be a groundbreaking tabloid newscast, reporting the news in a language understood by the masses, informal Tagalog that is, and following the 1986 People Power Revolution, it was intended to provide Filipinos with information after 14 years of censored news. 

Throughout the 30 years, it witnessed many important events (the coup attempts of the 1980s, Luzon earthquake, Pinatubo eruption, execution of Flor Contemplacion, Pope John Paul II’s visit, EDSA Dos, Hello Garci, Ondoy, Cory Aquino’s passing, Yolanda, and others), a change in anchors (the late Frankie Evangelista, Mel Tiangco who transferred to GMA, Noli de Castro who entered politics but since returned, Korina Sanchez, Henry Omaga-Diaz, others), changes in the broadcast industry, and the launch of regional spinoffs from Laoag to Zamboanga.

To celebrate its anniversary, it presented a multipoint newscast with Bernadette Sembrano in the Quezon City studios, Ted Failon in Tacloban, and Noli de Castro in Zamboanga. However, it is worth noting the newscast is still in high definition, along with its over live programs Umagang Kay Ganda, Bandila, and Salamat Dok.

This would have been the perfect kickoff for the celebration, but we won’t be able to see that just yet, as ABS-CBN News needs to upgrade all its cameras, editing facilities, OB vans, and control rooms in high-definition. Morever, despite last year’s launch of ANC HD, some of the programming are still in standard definition, only recently most of ABS-CBN News current affairs programs seen on Channel 2 save for Mga Kwento ni Marc Logan shifted to HD, and the regional facilities still not at par with Manila.

With those aforementioned, it will be a long way to go for ABS-CBN News to fully adapt, anyways we still congratulate TV Patrol for being on air for 30 years and wish them more success.

Digital TV transition at a glance

With Light Network making history starting today as the first free-to-air television station to completely abandon analog transmissions, we’ll see how individual stations are faring well in this new technology.

(Note: We have not included 1seg channels in the total number of subchannels.)


At present, ABS-CBN has been leading the charge in the transition, with their ABS-CBN TVplus selling more than 2 million units since it was first put into the market in 2015, with the advantage of having exclusive channels aside from flagships ABS-CBN 2 and S+A on Channel 23 (CineMo, Yey!, Knowldge Channel, DZMM Teleradyo, and pay-per-view service KBO). It also has stations set up in Mega Manila (Metro Manila, Cavite, Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna), much of Central Luzon (Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Pangasinan), Benguet, Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, and Davao City. With ABS-CBN grossing as much as P30billion in ad revenues and other businesses such as film, pay TV, merchandising, aside from their traditional sources of revenue (broadcast TV and radio), ABS-CBN has the enough sources to complete the shift to digital TV way ahead of schedule.


PTV 4 was among the pioneers in the digital TV sphere, starting in 2009 and initially broadcasting in UHF channel 48, when it was still known as NBN 4 under the Arroyo administration (it has since been moved to UHF 42). In the latest developments under the helm of President Duterte’s PCO chief Martin Andanar and PTV GM Dino Apolonio, PTV has inked a deal with NEC of Japan to supply them with new digital transmitters and will be rolled out in Metro Manila, Baguio, Naga, Guimaras, Cebu, and Davao. Interestingly, this expansion was already planned during the Aquino administration with the inclusion of Cotabato. (Sourced from past PTV disclosures which has not yet been updated since the changing of guards from Aquino to Duterte).


TV5 has begun testing in DTT in 2011 and has spent P700 million for the transition. However, with the network in distress due to retrenchments and a change in programming strategy, hopefully we do not see a delay as MVP has enough resources to cover the costs. It has TV5 and AksyonTV on their lineup with the inclusion of Catsup which consisted of reruns of past TV5 shows and movies prior to being axed. TV5 uses UHF 51.

GMA Network

GMA Network has also started tests in 2011. It is also worth noting that this network was notoriously responsible for delaying the shift to DTT for its insistence on using DVB-T (which was tested by ABS-CBN in 2005) over the Japanese standard ISDB-T, however circumstances forced them to comply.

GMA also has released plans to produce its own set-up box which according to plans will be released this year. We’ll see whether or not this will be a success as GMA badly needs money and new investors to cope with the costs.

At present, GMA and “GMA News TV” are included in the lineup and seen on UHF 27.

Nine Media/RPN 

Nine Media/RPN is conducting low-power tests of DTT, carrying of course CNN Philippines, seen on UHF 19.

IBC 13

With time ticking IBC’s privatization is still in limbo, with interested suitors but no progress whatsoever. Rumors are that PTV intends to aid them in the digitization sphere. Should no one ever be able to succeed in the privatization process (Chavit Singson, Eric Canoy, others), IBC should be the perfect spot for the planned channels for the Muslim and Lumad communities.


Solar Entertainment conducts a low-signal test on UHF 22, with ETC and Second Avenue (seen respectively on analog channels 21 and 29) in the lineup. It has included HSN, CT (then Jack City), and Basketball TV in the past.


The Iglesia ni Cristo’s secular and religious networks Eagle Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) and Christian Era Broadcasting Service (CEBSI) were also among the pioneers in digital TV, with GEMNET broadcasting in UHF 49, initially in DVB-T and eventually ISDB-T which was the standard adopted by the National Telecommunications Commission.

It was also the first to broadcast in full high definition. Digital test broadcasts were stopped in 2011 to pave way for the relaunch of GEM TV, later to be rebranded as INC TV on analog. Digital TV test broadcasts were resumed in 2015 but only during overnight hours (12-4 am) because the same frequency is being used for both analog and digital transmissions. Since then, the SD analog/cable feeds of Net25 and INC TV are being simulcast on the SD channels while a high-definition loop broadcast of their programming is being shown.

This setup is being increasingly unfeasible with the digital migration plan already being released, but however we do hope there’s a way to figure out this problem, either by moving to a new frequency or allocate Channel 49 entirely to DTT broadcasts as it will be more cost-effective than maintaining 2 analog stations.

Expansion in the provinces could happen later as Net25 and INCTV rely on cable affiliates.


BEAM, which is affiliated to Globe Telecom, is also considered a heavy player in the digital sphere. It has 8 subchannels, a majority of which are home shopping blocks (O Shopping, Shop TV, TeleVShop, TV Shop, Shop Japan), the others include Radyo Inquirer, Chino Trinidad’s Pilipinas HD, and a timeshare of Pinoy How-To TV and Western Visayas-based Island Living Channel.

BEAM has also expanded its footprint to Cebu and Davao.

ZOE TV/Light Network

Again, we would like to commend Light Network for initiating the shift. It has 3 subchannels, 1 HD feed and 2 SD feeds.


Bro. Mike Velarde’s Delta Broadcasting System is pretty getting late in the game. With everyone else getting ready on the digital sphere, DBS is still only getting started in resuming analog broadcasts. They better rush before time runs out.


UNTV is conducting test broadcasts on UHF 38. UNTV’s franchise is nominally owned by the Progressive Broadcasting Corporation but is operated by Breakthrough and Milestones Productions International (BMPI), affiliated with the Members Church of God International of Bro. Eli Soriano and Daniel Razon.

It has 3 subchannels, 2 feeds of flagship UNTV and ADDTV, airing loops of MCGI’s flagship program Itanong Mo Kay Soriano. UNTV also plans to launch a kids-oriented channel replacing the duplicate UNTV feed.


Pastor Apollo Quiboloy’s Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) also conducts DTT test brodcasts on UHF 40 in Manila (albeit on a low signal) and their home base in Davao City (via UHF 44).

3ABN/Hope Channel

The Seventh Day Adventist Church-affiliated Gateway UHF Broadcasting conducts test broadcasts on UHF 44. It carries their flagship Hope Channel Philippines as well as simulcasts of their flagship international channels 3ABN and Hope Channel.

Other players

Rumours has it that the Catholic Media Network (CMN) intends to join the fray, so TV Maria can now also be seen on free TV. 

It remains to be seen whether regional networks (most prominent of which are CLTV 36 of Pampanga, Cebu’s CCTN 47, Butuan’s Bee TV 7, General Santos-based Brigada News TV, Zamboanga-based GBPI 11 and eMedia, Lucena-based Brodkast Southern Luzon of ConAmor, PBN Bicol) will also have plans to migrate to DTT but we do hope they have the resources to do so.


With the Digital TV migration plan unveiled in the sidelines of the Digital TV summit held in Feb. 14-15 which required networks to have simultaneous analog and digital broadcasts for 5 years (2018-2023) prior to shutting down analog transmissions. Through the 5-year window, the networks will have to use the opportunity to fix the remaining issues, tweak the configuarations, and expand the footprint of their digital broadcasts to ensure the entire country is prepared to make the shift.

With economic factors in consideration, more and more people will be enticed to avail themselves of the digital boxes and digital-ready sets already on the market, yet those without the capacity (PWD, senior citizens, minorities, urban poor, rural areas) be aided so they can enjoy the benfits of DTT.

Lastly, there should also be a sustained information campaign to raise awareness among our fellow countrymen, that said we can speed up the process of digitization and finally catching up with the rest of the world.