Good­bye, YES! …Hello, PEP.ph

jo-ann q. maglipon, edi­tor in chief

YES! (Philippines) - - In this issue -

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.

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