Are Filipinos Caught in a ‘Fatal Fantasy’?

I have written a few articles about the way that idealism seems to be so overrated in the Philippines even though people all too often miss the spirit of their intended ideals. Instead of becoming better people through perseverance and a sense of pragmatism as other fledgling nations have in their respective histories, it’s sad to note that the Philippines and its people have learned little and continue to blunder through the world’s history without ever making something of itself. Many Pinoys claim that the Philippines possesses many “values” that other nations do not have even though these so-called “values” are probably irrelevant and do not stop majority of Filipinos from being dumb, apathetic and being utter jerks to one another.

dreamy_sceneI’ve also cited that the local media can be partially blamed for the deterioration of Pinoys both intellectually and morally alongside that of the government who find it very profitable to keep the people in the darkness of stupidity. However, after further musing, I have also come to believe that it is in the “escapist mindset” of Filipinos that allows both the media and the government to rape their minds through the bliss of ignorance and oblivion. No matter what you say about the “ideals” of the Filipino people, it’s just their way of covering their exposed wrinkly buttocks.

I’ve noticed that Pinoys certainly have a sense of appreciation for the fantasy genre. There’s really nothing wrong with that, mind you. I too am a huge fan of the fantasy genre and write my own works on various websites which I occasionally advertise here. However, it’s strange the way the direction of Philippine fantasy story goes. In many of these stories, I see the same kind of over-idealism that is all too common in Pinoy media, the same media that kills the neurons of its neurons on an hourly basis.

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Granted, Filipino media does produce the occasional masterpiece. It does have some gems here and there such as Encantadia which broke away from traditions and presented to us indifferent fae with a culture that couldn’t entirely be called “good” or “bad”. Instead of the traditional “good fairy vs. bad fairy” routine, they showed audiences heroes who were sympathetic but certainly not “all-white” and were also capable of considerable bloodshed if they deemed it necessary. Alas, the series ended and we are back again with the every typical black-and-white morality that continue misguide Pinoys on a macro level.

There was also Erik Matti’s Rounin which was somewhat interesting. It too had something new to present to audiences, this time going for a sci-fi theme with ninja-like warriors defending their nations. Today, I would have compared its premise to the game Warframe, which had you playing the role of a hi-tech ninja fighting various monsters with both melee weapons and impressive firearms. Unfortunately, Rounin soon became afflicted with some romantic plot tumors that caused the show to become similar to your stereotypical Pinoy show about social dysfunction. The show was also soon cancelled, probably for the best.

So now we are stuck again with the usual, over idealistic plots of fantasy series. Take note that the two examples I mentioned above are rarely successful with the former the only one that managed to leave a lasting impact on the audience while the latter simply faded into utter obscurity. Many of the fantasy series or “fantaserye” as they are often called aren’t all that different from the usual themes of your typical teleserye. Many of them are very similar to the typical teleserye and just have “magic” added to make it seem unique. Here are just some of the common misguiding principles I find in them:

Waiting/Longing for that Other

I don’t know if everyone knows this, but some of the more successful romances one can experience is when one isn’t actively looking for it. It may sound cheesy but there is some truth to the idea that “love comes in its own time”.

Of course, your typical fantaserye will probably throw this idea out the window. Instead they will insist that you keep waiting for that special someone to walk suddenly in your life no matter how unlikely it may seem. Women are expected to act like your typical damsel in distress and men are pressured into being knights in shining armor.

If you really want to meet the man/woman of your dreams, you should go out to meet and befriend new people. They aren’t going to magically appear before you, after all.

Being “Beautiful” Always Makes Things Better

In most Pinoy fantasy shows, they always feature a female protagonist who is “ugly”. These are often portrayed by attractive young stars whose skin is darkened with props.

Asides from the awful implications of white=beautiful and black=ugly, it seems that fantaseryes try to imply that being beautiful always makes things better even when real life works quite differently. Sure, being pretty or handsome has its advantages, but it’s not something that will make everyone like you. Looks should be complimented by a good or at least strong personality if you want to find the right person in your life. You can look like Nicole Kidman but if you can’t make a good conversation or can’t even bring yourself to say something “intelligent” (even if you’re just pretending to know what it means), I doubt you’ll get what you’re looking for.

Maltreatment of Sidekicks

Another particularly offensive thing I noticed about fantaseryes is the way they portray sidekicks and comic relief characters. While yes, said characters should be funny, there’s no need to beat down on them as characters. Worse yet, these same butt-monkey characters are portrayed by actors or actresses who are deemed unattractive, as if a person’s appearance should be something laughed at.

In the end, these characters never seem to get a break from what’s happening to them and are just further ridiculed by both the case and audiences. Their unattractive aspects are often exaggerated for gutter humor and what’s surprising is that this is often what classifies as comedy these days.

12 Replies to “Are Filipinos Caught in a ‘Fatal Fantasy’?”

  1. When reality is so horrible, people tend to retreat to fantasy. That’s the typical case people throughout the world. That’s something some of the commentators here have pointed out. When people are too fixated on survival, they don’t really care about what’s right.

    Also, funny you mention Warframe. That game looks pretty at first but once you get to a certain level, the game just becomes a very long and painful grind where you end up having to worry about the developers nerfing your favorite frame/weapon thanks to dev-fanatical forumites. (Some of their comments are very cringe-worthy.) Also, doesn’t help there’s not much lore to the game.

    1. Forgot to put this in. But the current state of Warframe can be compared to the Philippines.

      Here’s why: Warframe is still in beta after two years with most of the main issues such as bugs and poor dev decisions. (Broken mods, nerfing of drop rates, removal of helpful things to prolong the grind) and yet there are plenty of people praising and worshiping the developers as if they were Gods who can do no wrong. And thus the current state of the game is essentially a glorified tourist trap. Looks pretty, feels pretty, but lacks substance.

      The Philippines seems promising with all the nice beaches, the malls, the beautiful landscape, the people with varying degrees of fluency in English and the peso to foreign currency exchange rate would seem encouraging to stay here… until you deal with the corruption, the people happily shortchanging you, and if I go any longer this will turn into a Philippinefailblog post.

      What they also have in common, in both Warframe and the Philippines, the people who can see its flaws and call it out for what it is are drowned out by the mindless and brainwashed masses.

      1. Wait though, I’ve been nursing an idea similar to Warframe as well though.

        It’s about warriors who fought a great war for humanity’s future but, after winning, they decided to allow themselves to be put into stasis as there would no longer be a place for them in a peaceful society. You can think of them as a combination of Warframe’s Tenno and 40k’s Astartes.

        They are awakened centuries later to discover that what they fought for had been desecrated and that corruption has engulfed the universe.

        How’s that for a premise?

        1. Pretty cool… but its sounds like the Tenno premise. Turned against their masters after the war against the sentients, went into cryosleep only to find the wreck they left spawned worse things. (Grineer, Corpus and Infested)

          My suggestion: make it play out differently from Warframe and it can work. Because at least in your hands, your story can actually have development and a conclusion…

        2. Reminds me of what AC Comics did with Heroes of the Vault in the Femforce comics. World War 2 era heroes were kept in stasis, and then awakened when there was a new threat. I wonder how they adjusted to the new world, though. But there was no turnaround.

  2. I do not watch Filipino teleseryes or Fantaseryas…they are just a waste of time. They are all nonsense.

    They are for non thinking people, who cannot think right for themselves…

    The Media uses them to dumb further, the commen people.

    1. And that’s why some expats call our entertainment “Prole feed”.

      Just read 1984. Its the hallmark of dystopian fiction.

  3. Yes, the countries inhabitants seem securely locked in to a ‘dream state’ or ‘trance’…and it may be for the best. The way things are for the avg. Filipino, walking around in a daze makes the agony of life in miserable circumstances/surrounds bearable.

  4. Pilipinos will never know what your president intentions really is till the BBL is passed. then, the people will decide to revolt or not.

  5. I think all the fantasy of Filipino shows exhibits this wish of Filipinos: I want to be on top, and the others worship me. The class divide is still believed by viewers of local programs to be an essential part of society.

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