A THIRTY-second TV political ad full of sweetened promises, canned precisely to draw votes, will cost a few millions. Not to mention the cost of production and labor one has to invest to create an effective and believable political campaign. Three years ago, a candidate for city councilor of Manila showered people with sugary platforms and made rounds in the streets, with endless jingles again and again every 30 minutes. It was very engaging that everyone in the street was infected with “LSS” (last song syndrome). She won the spot eventually and is now running for another term, and yes, with the same jingle. Truly, advertising plays a big part in Philippine elections, making full use of the tri-media.

I myself notice the frequent use of non-traditional advertising in this election campaign period. A few of these involve the use of websites and Friendster networks. But I would always be drawn by the billboard-truck ads that roam the streets all day, hollering jingles and shout-outs from candidates. It was hard not to catch one journeying the streets.

In my recent visit to my hometown, Nueva Ecija, I have observed that political campaigns there are not as pompous as in Metro Manila. We entered our town, San Isidro, where my uncle is running for councilor. It was half passed 10 in the evening when we arrived, to celebrate the town’s fiesta. Beer was overflowing and I almost forgot that there were only two weeks left until election time. As we stepped off the van we were riding, a large streamer with screaming bold letters welcomed us. That’s still conservative compared to Manila streamers printed in high resolution and multi-colored tarpaulins.

Dream school

Money talks! In advertising, money is the fuel. A sufficient number of posters to catch the attention of voters would mean some 10 posters within 10 meters. One poster would cost at least P20, depending on size, quantity, and complexity of color. Imagine how difficult it would be for candidates with less resource to compete with the wealthy ones. It would be a battle where the poor guy could never win. I think elections today would only serve the rich and the famous while the qualified but financially endowed would be pushed out from the limelight.


Now I rest my brush, but my journey does not end here. It will continue until my hands are numb and refuse to create beauty. I pay tribute to God and my mentors. To the Varsitarian staff of 2004 to 2007, I thank you for the trying years that somehow I managed to transform into smiles. To everyone I’ve met throughout this voyage called University life, fare thee well.


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