Goodbye, YES! …Hello, PEP.ph
jo-ann q. maglipon, editor in chief
t’s been good run. All of 18 years, plus one month. With this May 2018 issue, we would’ve put out a total of 235 issues of YES! That comes up to 6,606 days, 944 weeks, and 217 months of blood, sweat, and tears, with lots of laughter in between.
I recall the beginning. It was the year 2000, and I was knocking on doors of producers and managers that knew me. Mainly, I was trying to get these powerful people to allow their stars to appear in the new magazine we were calling YES!, Your Entertainment Source. I came bearing no proof that YES! would be good; we were Summit Media’s first entertainment title, after all. I just kept repeating what I knew this magazine would do: it would respect showbiz; it would get facts and quotes right, be fair and inclusive, hire photographers and writers that are pros; and it would get printed on albumgrade, glossy paper, unheard of in showbiz at the time.
I still don’t know how much of my pitch actually worked. But I’m certain this one did: Douglas Quijano had my back. The fellow— who came in looking like a hippie with Afro and bling and left looking like a doting lolo, both of which he was—was a talent managerpublicist-producer I met in my Celebrity magazine days. For some reason, we liked each other very much. I thought there was, even in the thick of his bawdy tales and insider gossip, something authentic about the man.
So when YES! was going to happen, I got in touch. He opened those doors. I actually got a foot in Mother Lily’s home and was even offered a soft drink. You must understand, Lily Yu Monteverde was then an eccentric who disdained reporters and was afraid of them. But, she was the premier movie producer in the country at the time, bar none, and I had to get myself in her home. And because I was with Tito Dougs, whom she adored all the time, I wasn’t thrown out.
Slowly, we also got to the stars. Judy Ann Santos was the first certified big star on our first cover in our first issue: April 2000. She was not the confident, bubbly, and fashionable star she is now, but even back then there was no mistaking that here was a good kid to whom family was everything. Kristine Hermosa was also in one of our first shoots—a waif then, a teen living with her mom, ever shy and stingy with her answers, and already pretty of face but nothing like the beauty she would become. Ara Mina was one of our firsts, too—a young stunner who would grow into a real actress despite all the unerringly sexy roles thrown her way.
In the next four years, we went from shoot to shoot, enduring bratty cancellations and costly postponements. Every month, we were never sure we’d have enough stars to fill up a magazine entirely about the stars. We just managed our stress. It helped greatly that we met gorgeous marquee names who behaved like normal people and welcomed us into their homes with a smile to light up any screen. They bore with the hour-long makeup sessions, politely wore the sometimes-quirky clothes wheeled in by fashion stylists, and did not stop us and our house stylists from moving lamps and rugs around.
We were still producing just 11 issues a year, or one short, by collapsing January and February, traditionally slow advertising months. Finally, on the fifth year we gained enough traction to do a full 12. Also on the fifth year, on top of the 12 regular issues, we introduced the first special edition of YES! Celebrity Homes, which we followed in the
next years with YES! Celebrity Weddings and YES! 100 Most Beautiful Stars.
By the sixth year, we were flying. It was in 2006 that we breached the 100,000 print run! As amazing as that was, this number still rose to 150,000, and hovered between those two print runs from 2006 to 2014. We definitely didn’t think we could go any higher, but we did, in 2009. We featured Willie Revillame and his homes and we hit the insane number of 300,000, still on record as the largest magazine print run in modern times.
Looking back, we truly had no idea we were in the middle of so much excitement. Entertainment magazines had come into their own. We stopped being poor cousins to newspapers, and all of print held their own beside mighty radio and TV. But, at that time, we were too busy chasing after our deadlines to mind.
Besides, others were better at numbers— our circulation and collection heroes, our advertising and marketing geniuses, our human resources lifesavers, our comptroller whizzes—and so we let them be. And they let us be. They were in the backroom, making everything align. We were out front, staying busy with the brand.
The whole thing worked. Still, it wasn’t easy... and it never became really easy.
We were navigating showbiz, a full universe away from ours. It was easy enough to fall flat on our faces. And we did, a couple of times. Sometimes it was because we
were tripped, deliberately; sometimes it was because we became comfy and careless. We did not see right away that, no matter the ties made, showbiz would always operate differently. Showbiz and journalism would always be at once ally and adversary.
Over 18 years we learned other things. We learned that showbiz is a world of egos. But we also learned that, without those egos, there would be no creating anything. Without ego, a director will not have the wherewithal to order crew, star, and all in his dominion to do his bidding; a star will never be large enough to own that screen; a writer will not rise up and pit his ideas against the company’s moneybags; and a producer will not ever be big enough to gamble good money after bad.
Naturally, there is excess. and when egos get really big and bloated, they bruise easy, and they huff and they puff until they exact the public crucifixion of whichever mortal has offended them. (Think lawsuits.)
We learned that this world is a magnet for crazed and creative minds, as much as for hard-nosed business types who smell the money. after all, showbiz is big business. as such, there’s always a bottomline to safeguard. and that bottomline is unwavering and cold: it can sideline the biggest stars, even those who once brought in major ninedigit numbers to the coffers. There is a harsh shelf life in the showbiz universe.
Showbiz is also politics. Being so, it can get dirty. Its leaders sometimes take the high road, sometimes not. There can be a pettiness, even malevolence, in the air, but there can also be empathy, even real friendship, ’round the corner.
In this universe, there is a premium on emotion, and because there’s so much of it running around, every small slight or tiny misplaced word or single careless action is heightened. Factions and splits and secret associations grow. Everyone watches his—or her—back.
Of course, beautiful people going about their business every day will always be a special source of excitement. So, even our hardworking reporters can get starstruck. But, reality bites back fast: Stars are real people. They love and they hate. They can be petty. They like freebies. They like to live the high life, but don’t always want to pick up the bill for it. as a habit, they do not apologize. always told that they are stars, that they are different, they can waylay their good sense.
Not all come from the same place, that’s true: a fraction has no real thinking going on behind the harm or the good they do. a fraction plots their lives very tightly and, should they deal a bad blow or extend a helping hand, much of that is by design. a fraction is in between.
Yet reality also reveals that showbiz is one magical place. This is where one sees a nobody becoming somebody by will, talent, and luck. This is where gratitude abounds. Where children build nice homes for their parents, where the youngest child pays for the older ones’ schooling, where the yayas are repaid with a home in the province, and where whole orphanages are supported quietly through the years.
and that is only about the stars of showbiz. We have yet to speak of the films and television programs and live shows that can be called art—and yet wield the power to entertain. What magic! What gift!
YES! is lucky to have recorded a profuse amount of that. The stunning profiles: Sarah G. and mommy Divine. The grand weddings: Cesar-Sunshine, aga-Charlene, Vicki-Hayden. The tragic romances: Sharon & Gabby, Claudine & Rico, Ruffa & Yilmaz. The unexpected revealing interviews: Pops on martin, KC on Piolo, Bea on past loves, Gabby on life in the Bay area. The sagas: Kris & Joey, Kris & James. The exclusive one-on-ones: Ogie on Regine, Katrina on Hayden, Selen Gorguzel on Yilmaz. and the frightening events: Ondoy & Haiyan and the role celebrities played in the aftermath.
all this and much more are narratives we captured in 235 issues through 18 years of print.
But change comes: magazines change. Technology happens. Tastes mutate. Reading habits shift. advertising moves. Excitement continues to grow, but in another platform. magazines begin having E-versions, then start creating websites, until the magazines clearly begin making more waves online. Thus, we find ourselves here today. YES! magazine as you know it—a print platform; crafted through nearly two decades by ever-shifting sets of writers, who came and went according to personal destinies; made sophisticated by the premier, and always meticulous, language enthusiast Jose “Pete” Lacaba; made gorgeous by the eccentric, if beloved, art directors Nat Clave, Gab Villegas, and maya Idanan; printed by the best of them: UGEC now, Fortune then; and for which I worked as editor in chief from founding to farewell—is no more. This is our last issue. YES! is going digital. and it finds its home in PEP.ph. YES! is, of course, the long-time print affiliate of PEP.ph, of which I am also editor in chief, from start to present.
But, let us not go without talking about the elephant in the room: Yes, we’re sad. The changes in YES! are not exactly things we wished for. We like the job. We even like the office. On top of which, we’re paid good money to do this right and do it well. more than all that, we actually like each other in our little team! anna Pingol and I have been together through an unbroken 18 years; she is family to me. What’s not to be sad about?
There are our planning sessions that came with pasta and liempo and green mangoes and bagoong—yes, in that mix. We will miss those. Sessions that easily became R&Rs in Palawan, aklan, Batanes, Batangas, Baguio, Subic Bay, and Bohol. (We gave our best; our bosses indulged us.) Why, we will miss even the presswork, when we went 48 hours straight until the day we learned not to kill ourselves. Tomorrow is another day, someone said famously. So, we cut our work hours to something more sane, but extended our work days.
Today it is another kind of presswork we look at. It is digital, and it is 24/7.
We shall migrate the best of YES! to PEP.ph, slowly, methodically, thoughtfully, but we will get there. We will resurrect in another platform, with its own tough rules and its strict partnership with numbers.
So here I am in 2018, exactly as I was in 2000, promising the same things: we would respect showbiz; we would get facts and quotes right, be fair and inclusive, hire photographers and writers who are pros— except that now we will do it all online, and now I come bearing proof.
We welcome you wholeheartedly to our new home. Just give us time to rearrange the furniture. •
YES! editor in chief Jo-Ann Q. Maglipon (center) with the staff: (front row, L-R) Shara Cayetano and Jocelyn Valle; (second row) Jeremiah Idanan, Anna Pingol, Pete Lacaba; and (back row) Irene Mislang.
(Top) The YES! team with Ian Veneracion (seated) and Ian’s son Draco (in brown shirt) after a photo shoot for the 100 Most Beautiful Stars 2016.(Center) YES! Magazine’s former production coordinator-turned-regular YES! staffer Irene Mislang (in yellow) with former YES! art directors Gab Villegas (leftmost) and Nat Clave (third from left), and former staff writers Candice LimVenturanza and Romy Peña-Cruz.
YES! editor in chief Jo-Ann Q. Maglipon with the then newly elected VP of the republic. The VP and her three daughters appeared in the August 2016 Issue of YES!
The YES! team during the 2015 staff pictorial
Irene Mislang with one of YES! Magazine’s favorite cover subjects, Daniel Padilla, in 2015.