The Philippine SONA Makeover

July 28, 2014–Manila.  It’s another day for the State of the Nation Address (SONA).  SONA day is National Presidential Buhat-Bangko Day or National Presidential Pat-Your-Own Back Day. For the usual protest people, it’s National Government Don’t Do S#!t Everyday Day. For congressmen, senators and invited guests, it’s National Dress Up and Clap Day. For people passing through Commonwealth, today is National Hay Naku! Traffic Day. For ordinary work-minded citizens, it’s just “Hay! Monday na naman” or “It’s just another working Monday.”


I never particularly enjoyed these presidential speeches because these are supposed to be glossy reports. I agree with a post I read earlier that the real state of the nation is how the people sees it. However, I’ll give all presidents a bye for this event. It’s supposed to be their day to highlight their accomplishments. I mean, who in his right mind would shoot his own foot in front of the nation? But, I will give a ton of points to true leaders who aren’t afraid to tell his people what lies ahead and the steps they have to take. I will give points to those not afraid to admit mistakes and are progressively working towards solutions. I remember a “legal” argument in the Bicentennial Man movie. A line there mentioned something about people not being ready for a “perfect” person to be declared as human. That was after the android sought to be legally declared a human after acquiring human skin and emotions.


SONA, with all the preparations and media focus on it, it’s almost the best-produced show next to ABS-CBN’s ASAP on Sundays. However, I think it’s about time for a makeover. I mean, it’s been years of strict formality and the thing might lose a connection with those wanting a show. Like, maybe it can be the best show ever.

Here are some suggestions:

1.  Presidential Intro and Opening.  I’ll always look to Mike Judge’s Idiocracy for inspiration. I think with the showbiz-loving nature of Filipinos, an awesome intro like this one is in order. And to make critics shut up, the president can bring out the heavy guns–for real. With the country’s current president being a gun lover, this could be a perfect fit.

Here’s a clip from vimeo.

2.  Clapping. It’s tradition that those at the SONA clap at everything a president says. I think we can still introduce some variety to it. I mean, why not? It’s been so much as tradition that it appears to be just mindless appreciation for whatever escapes the presidential mouth.

a.  For the “Why didn’t I think of that?” reaction, there’s the slow clap. This is instant variety and stamps “DIFFERENT” from all other SONAs.

Here’s a clip from YouTube (user as reference:

b.  For the everyone-is-happy reaction, there’s “The Wave.” Popular in baseball games. I think with this country’s legislative branch dominated by the ruling party, they can easily do something like this.

Here’s a clip from YouTube (user SwaToRz) as reference:

3.  Other suggestions: (oh, my, there’s some more?)

a.  A closing song. Filipinos love a good song and dance number from politicians. Seriously, I don’t know it they enjoy the talent or if they’re into checking out how stupid their leaders look.

a.1 For the current president: If memory serves me correctly, the current president did sing in one of his inauguration events. I’m just not sure if it was “Estudyante Blues.” For this year’s SONA, maybe Manny Pacquiao can do an impromptu number with Frozen’s “Let it Go.” I mean, that’s if the president wants a perfect ending to that DAP issue. I think for President BS Aquino’s final SONA, he should do an AC/DC song. I’m thinking “Highway to Hell.” I mean, the boogeyman is coming in 2016.


Seriously, the biggest makeover we need is a change in the people. Speeches and shows only highlight what government wants you to know and guide you on how you should feel; these are all cosmetic. It is also healthy for people to verify what they read and hear from the people that serve them. Take an interest. Take a stand. Do something, even if it’s just figuring out the world you’re in. Be the change. That’s how we can manage our future.






  1. The song was up front, called a National Anthem, along with a cool multi-dominational prayer with an atheist off to the side muttering to himself. At the end there was a stampede to the CRs. It was a long speech. But it did have tears, a touch that upped the President’s popularity by about 15%, I’d judge. He is not just a DAP machine after all.

    1. Uncle Joe,

      Just poking fun at the tradition.

      As for the actual speech:

      Good thing he just grazed that DAP issue. I think most critics were surprised by that move.

      The critical message was: the boogeyman is coming in 2016.

      Did he mention FOI? For the electric power situation, he just breezed through that casually. Found it especially odd when a friend shared with me an article about the new power plants going operational this year. Missed a chance to highlight that and at least lessen public fear of blackouts.

      One more SONA to go.

  2. Man, this is one media-heavy post. Am still waiting for some of the videos to load. 🙂

    Incidentally, I would love to see the people over at congress do the wave. I have my reservations with “the real state of the nation is how the people sees it.” Ang hirap naman niyan. Sino sila people? Sina Nato? Middle class (whatever that is)? NIA informal settlers? Uber-populism can be counterproductive.

    Although I still believe that people should be asked what they think about their government. I just think that we need to ask them why they believe a certain way. I have this sinking feeling that people don’t usually understand what’s happening (this is not just on the DAP issue). When people say they love or hate something, they should be asked why just to find out the extent of people’s understanding of events. People should be indignant. Sana lang informed indignance. I’m talking about people on both sides of the fence.

    1. Tristan!!!

      Brilliant reply.

      I guess what I meant to point out was people always have their own take on it. If they don’t agree with what the head honcho says, they could at least try to appreciate where the person is coming from. In essence, it is participation. Don’t take it and just suck it in. Be informed and make an opinion, or take action. As you mentioned, “informed indignance.” That could be that “line” that some people need to cross. It’s the difference between being a slave of media and a participating citizen. I hope that cleared it up.

      …and sorry for the media heavy post. hahaha.

      1. I have just copyrighted informed indignance. my accountant will contact you. 🙂

        Also, what’s your take on Nato’s tribe? (Renato Reyes Jr.) Are they really representative/champion of the people’s concerns?

        1. Renato Reyes a.k.a. the always-present-at-every-protest man? Well, they have to have some representation of what people want. Otherwise, who’d join their cause?

          1. Napasama ka ba diyan dati? Muntik na ako e–mainit lang talaga sa commonwealth at maarte ako. Sa Sarah’s na lang ako pumunta. 🙂

            Im thinking kahit si Nato na ang presidente, magrarally pa din yan sa kalsada dahil lang sa muscle memory.

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