Documentary highlights influence of Jingle mag

By Jackie Dosmanos

Posted at Aug 01 2012 12:31 PM | Updated as of Aug 01 2012 08:32 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- A documentary on the seminal Jingle Chordbook Magazine entitled “Jingle Lang Ang Pahina,” which debuted at the recent National Film Festival in Davao City, will be shown in selected SM cinemas around the country this month.

Funded by the Film Development Council, the project was directed by indie filmmaker Chuck Escasa and it featured candid interviews with editors, writers, artists and the publishing clan behind the magazine.

Jingle began essentially as a big-sized song hits magazine. Its initial attraction was over 70 songs with guitar chords per issue, and in later years, it carried artist profiles, music reviews, jokes and other sundries reflecting principally Pinoy rock and pop idols.

It was wildly popular among the youth during the ‘70s and ‘80s such that Jingle magazine became the de facto reading material of the Pinoy counter-culture for whom CPP’s Ang Bayan was too hot and too underground to handle.

That sense of being in opposition to a mainstream idea resonated throughout a dozen interviews scattered across the hour-long film feature. The general manager of the publishing house recalled that Jingle survived for over 20 years chiefly on street sales, with hardly any paid ads, making it a unique business proposition.

Writer Manny Espinola noted that the magazine became the battleground for brazen word tussles between warring music camps during the martial law years.

Ces Rodriguez, an editor, argued that Jingle was a fanzine with its writers and artists paying tribute in their writings and comic strips.

Indie film director Lav Diaz contended that the magazine was an art piece that broke certain rules in its time and deserved a better remembrance than the collective memory of the people who contributed to its lasting legacy.

During the film's showing, the caricatures of Rox Lee, Ludwig Ilio, Dengcoy Miel and Romy Buen drew instant laughs and wild applause. Flashes of a student demonstration and a workers strike provided context to the contents of the magazine.

Raimund Marasigan of Sandwich gave ample props to the magazine’s huge influence as the band played “Betamax” live (“Sa Jingle magazine natutong mag-gitara..”) up to the closing credits.