Efren in Total Drama Island

Got a heads up about ABS-CBN winding up its taping of another episode of “Maalaala mo kaya” featuring “karitonkid”.

Obviously, it’s another source of content to bolster its ratings – no different from CNN allowing multiple votes per person in its Heroes program.

My first reaction was here we go again. Another opportunity for oligarch-owned media to dumb people down with the melodrama and tearjerkers.

Clearly another ABS-CBN wise guy saw that da Pinoy loves the dramatic effect of rags to fame (never mind that it gloosses over Villars rags-to-riches story in favor of its darling AbNoy born with a silver spoon).  I have yet to hear of an episode featuring an enterprising  person who put up a computer school and educated people properly.  To me this is another example of how Philippine media has perverted priorities and continues to set the bar for sloppy programming – really, really LOW.

The Efren story is not about Efren, rather it is about the pathetic state of the Philippine educational system. So pathetic that someone has to take the initiative of bringing out a kariton in order to provide kids with a learning experience. I can run the numbers and present it here, however, I would rather quote a recent article from the Pinoy Herald:

The present state of Philippine education is in turmoil. Several factors have led to this very sad reality, which has truly affected the quality of education being offered to Filipino children.

The root cause of all these is the evil called “corruption”. Many anomalies have surfaced re the budget for classrooms, textbooks, tables, chairs and desks. The money supposed to be used for these projects does not go to where it is intended to be used but rather to the pockets of corrupt government officials. The Department of Education, a government agency tasked to mold the minds of the young ranks very high in corruption. Quite ironic, isn’t it? Yet, it is a fact that we have to face.

As a result of misappropriation of funds, many problems related to this arise. There is an exodus of teachers abroad. Teachers opt to become domestic helpers or caregivers in order to earn more. They accept doing menial jobs and are demoted from their former status to seek greener pastures. Thus, who are left to teach Filipino children if the good mentors have decided to leave the Philippines? Of course, the not-so-good or rotten ones.

Those who are left behind do not anymore do their work well, but, instead, sell different types of merchandise to students in order to augment their meager income. They adhere to this practice at the expense of their students.

Thus, what kind of students do we produce? Students who could hardly express themselves both in verbal or written means. They hate to study because they are not properly motivated to do so. Students graduate from schools without the needed skills and competencies to be able to join the world of profession. According to a recent survey, the Philippines ranked 41st in Science and 42nd in Math around the world. Our Ivy League schools namely: University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University and University of Santo Tomas occupy the lower strata in world education. How sad indeed! We cater to students who do not study at all, neglect subjects such as Math, Science and English, which could truly help them in the future.

A great problem also lies in our ever-changing curriculum, system and aims for education. Unlike in the United States by which all these are specific, here, in the Philippines, they come in general or vague ways, which are quite difficult to implement.

All these contribute to the continuing decadence of Philippine education.

Given this sorry state, all ABS-CBN can muster is a soppy telenovela series called “Maalaala Mo Kaya” that features Efren? I expected something better. An upright media corporation would have seen the gap and opted for programming that fills in the gap. ABS-CBN could address the disparity by developing more kiddie-oriented educational programs with Efren as the poster boy, or do a documentary on corruption in the DECS, but no, ABS-CBN just has to do a soppy soap opera.

The Philippine media is quick to blame demand – that there is no demand for quality movies. That sure says a lot about the quality of our viewing preferences as a nation – totally poor. Poor preferences, poor choices, poor role models, a poor country, where the vast majority of people are poor. Indeed, the poverty of our collective internal intellectual environment reflects itself in the poverty of our country. We can also reverse the statement – the poverty of our country is reflected in our poor role models, poor choices, and poor preferences.

What can we do then to get out of this seeming endless loop? We have always know the answer – give lip-service to it, but we don’t do anything to promote it – yes.. Education provides the knowledge to break out the chain. Education is a continuous process for people of all ages. Philippine media is a critical component which allows society to break the endless loop or remain trapped within it.

In a study conducted by the University of Minnesota on the Role of Television Viewing in the Development of Reading Comprehension, the researchers were excited with the implications of their results:

First, although both groups of children perform better on the television memory and comprehension test than on the test of aural story memory and comprehension, individual differences are highly consistent across media. The correlation between recall for the TV story and that for the aural story is .81. This indicates that children that are good (poor) at comprehending and remembering materials presented via TV also are good (poor) at comprehending and remembering materials presented aurally.

Second, PPVT vocabulary scores are not related to memory scores. The correlation is .06. This is surprising because the PPVT often is taken as an indicator of intelligence and hence might be expected to be strongly related to comprehension/memory. The current result suggests that comprehension processes are rather separate from low-level processes/skills such as vocabulary.

Third, performances on the memory and recall tasks were very strongly related, with a correlation of .97. This indicates that memory and comprehension, at least for these materials, are indeed intertwined skills.

Together, these results suggest that children’s comprehension and memory abilities–the hallmarks of meaningful reading–are not contingent upon their vocabulary skills (it should be noted that none of the tested children had specific reading difficulties; it may be that vocabulary is more strongly related to reading proficiency in low-performing children) and, most importantly, that comprehension and memory skills are constant across media by which children encounter information. If the latter finding holds up for the entire data–and if it will be found to be related to later reading comprehension–then this would be very encouraging vis-á-vis the possibility to foster the development of comprehension skills in the domain of television viewing well before children are exposed to reading instruction and practice and, besides, in a domain that is inherently interesting and does not require decoding skills.  This is an important implication because it means that while children are developing decoding skills they can already be developing comprehension skills.


As mentioned above, preschool and elementary school children spend more of their waking hours watching television than in any other activity. By laying out the ways in which these experiences may prepare children for reading comprehension, and the ways in which one can actively select and use TV programs, this project will have considerable benefits for educators, parents, as well as anyone concerned with having children attain proficient reading levels. The byproducts of this study are expected to include workshops for educators and parents on the potential impact of TV viewing on the development of reading comprehension, and specific guidelines for the optimal selection and production of television programs for educational benefits.

In a world where proficiency in science, math, languages unlocks the keys to personal fulfillment and collective success, da Pinoy and da Pinoy Media have chosen slapstick, buffonry, melodrama, and mendicancy. Sooner or later, somethings gotta give. We cannot be beggars forever. That’s not Pinoy pride for me.  Media has a role in promoting progress through education. Apparently, this has been lost in the shuffle. Philippine media highlights and promotes the melodrama, splashing it on the boob tube on the dot in a continuous barrage of vomit. How about covering solutions to the melodrama for a change? Feature people who are problem-solvers not emo-laden problem stumped wimps. Show more entrepreneurs, inventors, positive role models, how they went about it, what made them come up with idea, their sacrifices and preparations for success.

The screens of Philippine TV have been so full of scenes of poverty, glorifying it, affirming it positively. With this kind of mindset how can we expect to get our people to embrace prosperity? How can we learn to be responsible and willing to deal with money and grow it when we are brought up to look at money and wealth as being evil. Money in itself is not evil or good – it’s how we use it which is evil or good. We need a Suze Ormond who can tell da Pinoy not to spend beyond his means, to put money into savings instead of the videoke joint, how to invest and grow their money and prepare for eventual retirement. Instead of showing a senior citizen who has to rely on a bullying in-law because he didn’t save up for retirement. Our people can do more, we expect better of the Philippine media.

Lots would point to the presence of Jerry Springer show as proof that US can be as trashy. What’s being missed though is, what proportion of the population watches trashy shows. Given equally sleazy shows – Jerry Springer averages 3.5 million viewers per telecast – that’s 0.90% of the US popoulation of 304M.

In contrast based on the AGB Nielsen ratings – The largest television market is at Mega Manila; in AGB-Nielsen’s case, Mega Manila consists of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite and Laguna. Mega Manila is represented by 400 panel homes. Other areas are North and Central Luzon with 300 homes; South Luzon, 300 homes; Visayas, 300 homes; and Mindanao, 200 homes. These 1,500 panel homes comprise the National Urban Television Audience Measurement (NUTAM) and are scattered throughout the country. The NUTAM, which includes 7,260,723 national urban TV homes, does not comprise the entire Philippines, but only the urban centers.[2] The survey encompasses 34 million individuals or 95% of urban Philippines,[3] which comprises about 38% of the entire country.During non-primetime wowowee averages 21.9% of the NUTAM, and 38.9% at primetime. (source: Wikipedia)

Given the trend in NCR, the country’s trendsetter, it will be logical to assume a national viewership of 21.9% nationwide (based on low-end of non-primetime) for Wowowee – that’s a long way off from the 0.90% who watch Jerry Srpinger. As commenter Ma Xianding says – Even if there is a greater percentage of poor people in Pinas, the number of people who love trash are disproportionately high compared to other countries.

The strings behind Philippine media which look at profitabilty are quick to point at the bottom line. Tell you what buster – let me show you the face of the Filipino in education, given a level playing field and all the opportunities to move forward. Carlos Mencia shows the face of the competitive Asian – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esKwU3BrUfM.


I digress. Sorry, I got carried away. =)

The producer would probably say that the purpose of the Maalaala Mo Kaya  episode is to inspire people to be a hero like Efren. Well, at the rate the educational system is imploding – you will need more “heroes”. But is this really the right thing to do? Shouldn’t we instead address the disparities in education, beef up our investments in schools, teachers, books – instead of fielding more karitonkids? I guess it is easier to have kariton kids than to vote for candidates at the local and national level, who support greater investment in education.

It’s no longer about education – it’s now about instant gratification, ratings, advertising revenue – and ensuring a steady revenue.

Efren has sold his soul to the princes of the air – ABS-CBN and its new ‘ho Efren are both disgusting!  Excuse me, I gotta puke!

Okay, okay, that was gross. Straight up, Philippine media and its bankrollers really need to review their value proposition. Dumbing down the audience provides revenue. However, they can get more bang for their buck if they had a smarter audience with higher disposable income. Grow the audience, be an enabler of knowledge and prosperity instead of poverty and mendicancy. You get my drift?

Wanna help out? Here’s how – every time Philippine media puts on a crappy show, save your brain cells – Vote with your remote!



  1. four freakin facts on Efren’s Kariton phenomenon on TV…

    1. ABiaS-CBN is in it’s usual specialization of promoting mediocrity;
    2. Efren is a misrepresentation of all Pinoy do-gooders1;
    3. An added insult to injured state of the Philippine educational system;
    4. Karitonomics, educational-kariton are for imbeciles and morons… kids need classrooms… not kariton… need teachers not hero-worship-magnets.

    Pucha… buti pa si Osang… she called spade a spade.

  2. I like Efren, in his own time he teaches children out of his kariton. I betcha this dude never thought he’d be CNN man of the year.

  3. Guys, you familiar with the story ’bout ABS-CBN’s refusal to run Erap’s political ads that show Tita Cory apologizing to him?

    Here’s the scathing editorial from Erap’s (supposed) homepage, The Daily Tribune:


    What’s your take on this?

  4. Btw…..nice piece, BongV.

  5. One other factor to keep in mind in regards to the continuous erosion of public and private education in the Philippines is the BRAIN DRAIN. Given the competitive advantage of other economies, much of the HUMAN CAPITAL our country needs has left. Hence, much of the much BRAGGED ABOUT Philippine “superiority” of the 60s and earlier decades (owing more to American colonial infrastructure and colonial institutional human capital) has completed VAPORIZED. The best teachers are gone. The ones that could have become GOOD teachers avoid teaching as a career.

    Finally, the brain drain drains our countries skill sets, post 1965 liberalize migration laws in the US and other developed countries also resulted in a MIDDLE CLASS VALUES drain. Those who prize education, a sense of excellence, personal pride based on results, and all other hallmarks of an upwardly mobile educated middle class is currently UNDER ASSAULT. Either those people have gone, are under petition, or working hard to GTFO.

    Thanks a lot, Tita Cory and, sadly, the dude who wants to continue her sad “legacy”–NoyNoy.

  6. Also, re the Carlos Mencia video. That is a misleading stereotype of the ASIAN MODEL MINORITY.

    That myth doesn’t apply much to Filipinos in America. We have differing demographic patterns, for better or worse… I am also doubtful about the utility or wisdom of conforming to a myth.

  7. The guy believes his own myth.

    When the honeymoon’s over and he’s been milked dry (uh, pun not intended), he won’t know what to do with himself. Back to reality, back to the kariton.

  8. Brain Drain is a total absolute myth. Those “brains” are in service industries who are led, commanded, conrolled and they meekly follow. NO NEED FOR BRAIN. Google “POEA statistics” you’ll be amazed tht 98% of human export are not quality export. It says there are managers … hmmmm …. I know one …. Jollibee are exporting “managers” to man their outlet stores … let us see…. hmmmm human resource export to man PHilippine consular offices …. pathetic … these people in consular offices around the world cannot learn simple basic adoption of efficiency like in America where you have to stand in-line the whole day just to follow-up a piece of Special Power of Attorney being authenticated …. You have to miss work to transact business with these punks …

    “BRAIN DRAIN” meaning left-behinds do not have brain … POEA statistics says otherwise.

  9. ASIAN MODEL MINORITY … actually are degenerate low-IQ stuck-up 3rdworld Asian Trash. They go to America then bash the blacks as lazy violent idiots … they bash the Mexicanese as goot only mechanics, grocery baggers, Mcdonald burger flipers. They bashengese the Burmese, Vietnameses, Chineses, Koreaneses as not speakengese goot country-club englsichtzes. Flippers bash whites for not writing grammatically correct sentences and attrocious spellings.

    SO WHAT IS LEFT NOW IS THE “Great Asian Model Minority”! ha!ha!ha!ha!ha!ha! OK. FROM THE TOP OF SOMEONE ELSE’S HEAD HERE NAME THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF FILIPINOS IN AMERICA …. tik-tok-tik-tok-tk-tok …. TIME IS UP! NADA! Well, I gave you 3 seconds … in 3 Seconds I can bring up plenty for the lazy violent idiots, drunk mexicanese, and non-englischtze speaking minorities ….

    LET US NOT SIT IN THE GLORY OF MIDEOCRE FILIPINO ACCOMPLISHMENT … What America has produced are Terri Hatcher, MAUI TAYLOR, WoWoWieee Dancers, the American-born tisays who adorned TFC channels because local brown-beauty cannot sell channels and air-time …..

  10. You want SCANDALS? Do you really want scandals?

    Check out these links: FULL OF SCANDALS



  11. Ma Xianding · ·

    The kariton is not effective but appeals to many because it is dramatic to push it and teach kids. A public school teacher who teaches properly accomplishes more for the country than kariton crap.

  12. It didn’t appear to many. It was even below the radar of most idiot peryodistas NOT UNTIL CNN MADE EFREN MAN-OF-THE-YEAR. But Efren was still knocked-down by education-optional-academically-not-supported sports whose skills are honed in prison rumbles and street fights run by sleazy creepy mafiosis that only very very few boxers barely made it above water the rest are in bankruptcy, in dole-outs and just totally banged-up ding-dongs.

    Even presidents of America don’t watch boxing, if they did, their poll ratings would go down. Like what I posted here only crooks watch boxings and one of them is RICHARD NIXON. NO KIDDING.

  13. Ours indeed is a chicken-and-egg cycle of self-perpetuating poverty — of mind, culture, and economy. We keep paying lip service to poverty alleviation, yet those who possess the capital and the means to enrich (such as Media giants like ABS-CBN and the GMA Network) actually contribute mightily to the perpetuation of poverty of mind.

    So much for the “heroes” that championed “freedom” of “expression”.

  14. Renato:

    You’ll go blind and grow hairy palms if you go to those sites. 😀

  15. As a person who knows a bit about how scripts backrooms work (I worked in advertising), I guess Efren was next in the lineup of planned celebrities. Or another reason is wala nang maisip, they can’t think of anything else. And another thing… after years of showing ordinary people’s success, MMK suddenly went featuring rags-to-riches celebrities! I was surprised when I saw MMK going this trend! This rags-to-riches trend is further misleading of the public. ABS-CBN talaga, teaching wrong values to people.

    Apparently, Pinoy culture overrates rags-to-riches stories. They probably believe in the prosperity gospel, that if you’re good, you’ll eventually be rich. Wealth is the symbol of faithfulness to God. What trash. I bet they’re frustrated in seeing the real picture, where money can come from many ways, good or bad. As for Efren… wait, is he still in rags? Did he get rich from his kariton? Then they’ll show in the episode that he’s rich? Oh, for crying out loud… wish people would know that many details in “true to life” stories are concocted by the writers.

    But I doubt this episode about him will help bag Angel. hehehe

  16. abs-cbn is predictable when it comes to this: when you’re useful and profitable, you’re a priority. when you’re past your usefulness to abs-cbn, you’re dropped like a hot potato.

    if efren ever supports someone other than noynoy, we’ll be seeing/hearing a lot less of him over there at abs-cbn.

  17. Filipino Model Minority Myth… if Filipinos go abroad, they are all ayos daw. Not true. Marami ring manloloko at manggagacho na Pinoy sa US and other countries. Some banks in west coast or Hawaii reportedly will not lend to Pinoys because of the latter’s habit of borrowing large sums, and then running home with the money without the intention to pay it back. Saan ginastos ang hiniram? Sa gud time lang! Hay naku. Pinoy corruption talaga… as above, so it is below.

  18. It’s an opinion piece and should be regarded in that context. I can’t offer my own opinion about the ‘performance of Erap’ part of it because I haven’t really looked into it to the degree necessary to make an argument one way or another. Anecdotally, I think the criticism of ABS-CBN probably has some truth to it. They are definitely biased in favor of one candidate on the one hand, and on the other is another candidate with enough money to throw at them that they can overlook the fact that he’s not their preference. This is an easy enough conclusion to draw just from casually being exposed to their programming (which I can thank my mother-in-law for; she never turns her TV off).

  19. “Efren who?” “EFREN WHO?” My neighbours don’t know who Efren is. Everytime I tell them about Efren I always confronted with this question “Efren Who?”

    They know Manny. It was a miscalculation of ABS-CBN not covering Efren. If they did people would have known about Efren. Now it is too late.


  20. Dude, ChinoF. My parents told me that ABC Stores, which you can find in every street corner, literally, are mostly manned by FILIPINO MODEL MINORITIES. Homeland Security Guards are also manned by scrawny Filipinos. My parents told me that there are plenty of Filipinos who has not seen America (mainland US) because their ABC store/HomeLand Security Guard pay cannot take them to the West Side of the mainland. They would rather come here than go to the Mainland.

    I hate bashing Filipinos, but what I hate the most when they say Filipinos are Great! and then sit on their “laurels”.

    The Filipinos are deluded because they only read Balita, Philippine Journal, Bulletin eschewing how great Filiipnos are. If only Filipinos in America started to reach-out and hang-out with other minorities they’d know how low the Filipinos are as compared to our niehgours.

    In the end, I do not blame Filipinos. I BLAME THE GOD THEY BELIEVE IN.

    Filipinos always believe that Israel and the Jews are intelligent reselient people because Jesus Christ, the God, was a Jew. Assuming that is true, therefore, Jesus Christ do not like us Filipinos because he chose the Israelites but left Filipinos to our own devices

  21. Isn’t Angel the one supposed to say that? 😛

  22. In that case, I would say that Pinoys were screwed by the church they were forced to believe in. Damn Spaniards.

    Yeah, Filipinos like to bask in pretend play. Like that “Filipinos are Great” stuff. We are great for producing people like Andrew Cunanan and Abu Sayyaf. Go figure.

  23. Brain drain isn’t a myth when the Philippine mass media and the oligarchs are draining our brains. hehe

  24. I’ll reserve judgement until I have watched the episode. I’m curious if they let Efren influence the writing of the script for his advocacy. I hope he’s smart enough to do that.

    Soap operas can be the sugar that goes with the bitter medicine of reality.

  25. >It’s no longer about education — it’s now about instant gratification, ratings, advertising revenue — and ensuring a steady revenue.
    >Efren has sold his soul to the princes of the air — ABS-CBN and its new ‘ho Efren are both disgusting! Excuse me, I gotta puke!

    I am not sure if the entirely of Efren’s intent has been in view already based on just availing a rag-to-rich poster boy via educational magic to the slums into the small screen.

    If Efren intentionally did this to get the widest possible information drive of their strategic offensive on slum educational approach, then the media stab above is way off the mark. Not to mention that he needs hard cash to push his initiatives to the slums.

    As coming from the ranks of the poor myself, I can see that the followers of MMK are more interested on the content of the story rather than the seeming ABS-CBN manipulation. Having said that, there is no reason why this should not be in a story.

  26. John Paul · ·

    I find this whole drama about Efren’s courtship to Angel Locsin very insightful about Filipino mentality. I urge everyone to read the comments left at PEP.ph in regards to articles about Efren’s courtship. Typical comments left are the following:

    “Hindi mo siya kauri.”
    “Langit yang inaabot mo.”
    “Wag ka nang mangarap.”
    “Dapat simple lang ang buhay, wag kang mag-ambisyon.”
    “Hindi mo siya ka level.”

    Efren, you need to have a think skin bro. We live in a very shallow, racist, sexist, bigot, ignorant society. Piece of advice, leave this showbiz shit behind you. Just concentrate on helping poor Filipino kids who actually want to learn. At the end of the day, they are the one who will appreciate the most on what you are trying to achieve.

  27. I do not know who Angel Locsin is because I do not watch these idiotic Filipino unintellectual unintelligent channels and shows … I PRESUME ANGEL LOCSIN IS A TISAY … AN ARTISTA ….

    … Manny Pacquiao and Ara Mina …. Efren and Angel Locsin … GOOT FOR IDIOT DEGENERATE LOW-IQ ASIAN FILIPINO TRASHES … GOOT FOR BOTTOM LINE ….



  28. cannot Filipinos know they have been played for the money? HOW IDIOT NA MAN!



  29. Am I the only one who finds Efren’s courtship to Miss Locsin quite romantic? BASTED kung BASTED. Pero bawal ba ang mangarap? Does GET REAL Philippines apply to love as well?

    See you at Starbucks 🙂

  30. The problem with your train of thought, my friend, is that there seems to be an infinite source of pekeng peryodistas. They seem to breed like rabbits. This reminds me of a lesson I learned long ago: Learn to tolerate assholes. Why? Because wherever you go or whatever corner of the planet you try to escape to; you will always find an asshole. Also consider that from a certain perspective we, too, are assholes. So here’s the plain and honest truth kamisky: Everyone is an asshole. Learning to deal with assholes is mastery over the universe. Brilliant isn’t it?

    See you at Starbucks 🙂

  31. renato is buencamino?
    how very twilight zone.

  32. Thats why i dont watch telenobela there bunch of faggots.

  33. I dunno why kamisky came out. I must be really wasted right now 🙂

    See you at Starbucks 🙂

  34. Hey Votoms,
    Send a Scopedog to blast the station to smithereens, hehe.

  35. Zadkiel · ·

    blah! blah! blah! 1millionX

    all I read is talk.

    what did pinoys do to help pinoys?

    blah! blah! blah! 1millionX

  36. Frandaman · ·

    Efren reminds me of that big pile of garbage somewhere in Manila… Smokey something… Symbol of poverty and everything that’s wrong with the Philippines.

  37. guilbautedsookie · ·

    I was so disgusted when I heard the news that Efren Penaflorida courted Angel Locsin. F him. See? Nanalo lang ng CNN Hero of the Year nakalimot na? Someone else should have won it kung yan palang si Efren Penaflorida eh mag-aartista din.

  38. Rene W. Bungkawil · ·


  39. Rene W. Bungkawil · ·


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