How does a Chinese-Filipino lifestyle TV program on air for almost 8 years still come as a surprise to a lot of TV watching-Filipinos? We mean Chinoy TV, that unique snowflake of a show, which has been on air since 2009. It tackles Chinoy culture, producing the likes of Gretchen Ho. But strangely, it has only remained a cult hit.
And so, we thought it best to speak with Alvin Kingston Tan, president of Chinoy TV, who gives us the answers to our burning questions about the TV program.
What is Chinoy TV all about?
Chinoy TV is a lifestyle magazine show that tackles various topics about the Chinese-Filipino lifestyle. It features people, events, sports, fashion, food and other interesting items that cater not only to Chinoys but also to Filipinos and Chinese culture enthusiasts as well.
How did it all start?
Chinoy TV has been around since 2009, when Alvin Tan’s parents and their partners founded it. A year later, Alvin took over. “We approached Net 25 in 2010, sent them an e-mail regarding the show and we’ve been with them ever since.”
Tan said that the initial plan of the show is to reach the Chinese community living in the Philippines. “We wanted to position ourselves as the premiere or the official channel for Chinese-Filipino community,” Tan said. “But as time passed by, mas naging clear yung vision namin. From just a mere one hour TV program, the vision now is to become a multi-platform media agency targeting the Fil-Chi community.”
Why the change?
Because China and the Philippines had a tiff, that’s why. “Nagkaroon ng change sa mission, simula noong nagkaroon ng problema ang Philippines at China. We thought that we are in the best position to bridge these two cultures.”
Presently, all their content as well as their events like the grand Chinese New Year celebration and Mr. and Ms. China Town, focuses on the mission of catering the two cultures.
Is Chinoy culture really that different from Filipino culture for it to spawn its own show?
According to Tan, no, they’re not really different—but there is a gap to be addressed. “I think both cultures have many similarities,” he begins. “Especially when it comes to love for food, being respectful to elders and Feng Shui beliefs. A lot of Filipinos now believe in Feng Shui. I think that’s the big influence of Chinese to the Filipinos,” he says.
Even business and marriage, two aspects that have long spelled the difference between the two cultures, are slowly changing. “Dahan-Dahan na rin namang mas nagiging involved ang mga Pinoys sa business, especially the younger generation, while ngayon, mas marami nang [Chinese] ang nagiging open.”
But, there are still “traditional families, especially the Binondo-based ones, who prefer Chinese-to-Chinese relationships.”
This is where Chinoy TV comes in. It marries Chinese culture and tradition together with general interests that consume millennials everywhere—travel, food, wellness, and so on.
“For the younger generation like us, many don’t speak the language anymore. Many of us are very modern. We thought that through Chinoy TV, we’d still be able to promote this,” he said.
The show has segments like “Chinoy Speak,” which is a quick guide on learning Mandarin, “Chinoy Access” which spotlights important Chinoy events, and “Chinese Profiles” that feature successful Chinoy personalities alongside seven other segments: “Chinoy Charts” is your go-to about food, “Chinoy Chow” showcases various food places in the city; “Chinoy Travel” explores various travel spots in the Philippines, “Chinoy Active” promotes a healthy active lifestyle, “Chinoy Wellness” gives tips and discussion for a healthier you; “Chinoy Style,” the latest trend on fashion and “Chinoy Living” featuring everything about home and design.
What are your plans for Chinoy TV?
Without a doubt, Chinoy TV had some form of success on the Fil-Chi community. Marking their 8th year this 2017, they will start it by moving to their new home, ANC.
“We’re moving to ANC starting March 11. From Chris Tiu, we are now getting Gretchen Ho back. Chinoy TV with ANC will become a 30-minute show, since viewers of ANC are the [busy] executives or the upscale people. Basically, we want to create content that would anchor the profilers in our country,” Tan said.
Does this mean the show won’t focus on the young Chinoys anymore?
On the contrary. Chinoy TV recognizes that a lot of young Chinoys are into internet and social media. So they put up a bilingual website. Through this, they can adapt to the trend while still promoting their culture.
“From a TV program, we are now gearing towards becoming a multi-platform media agency. We just did the beta testing of our bilingual website. We acknowledged the fact that on TV, we cannot tap the younger generation. We’re using this to reach out the younger generation,” he added.
Photos: Chinoy TV Facebook Page