The AlDub Twitter Explosion and Why It Matters To Us

As of this writing, the AlDub Twitter stats already reached a whopping 23.7 million. That’s incredible for a noontime TV show in this corner of the globe. One should never underestimate the power of the collective falling in love of an entire nation. Let the haters hate. Let the bashers bash. Maine Mendoza and Alden Richards captured the imagination of millions of people in a way that has never been done before.

At the height of the online buzz today, internet memes started popping up, the most hilarious I saw is the famous comic strip where Batman smacked Robinย in the face . The caption reads: “Puro ka AlDub at Pastillas, pero di mo alam na lumpo si Apolinario Mabini.”

This meme is funny if you saw the Facebook screenshot that came out this week where a Facebook user, on his way out of the theater, overheard a young couple wondering why in the Heneral Luna movie, Apolinario Mabini didn’t even bother standing up in the midst of a chaotic cabinet meeting. The couple may have missed the part in their history class where it was mentioned that Mabini was a paralytic.

As of this writing, that Batman meme got more than 38,000 likes, 21,000 shares, and more than 700 comments with subcomments, all decrying the fact that young people today are more interested in ‘kilig’ than in knowing the facts of history. In the less polite comments section, people cursed the public school system, the teachers, the parents, and the students for the collective ignorance of our generation.

It is hard to make sense what this all means for us as a nation. Our ignorance of history came to the fore when the movie Heneral Luna came out. I am certain that thousands of people went from the movie straight to the internet to find out who really killed General Luna and if Aguinaldo was culpable for his assassination. On the other hand, our propensity for ‘superkilig’ entertainment has reached a record breaking scale. I heard that the most tweeted event in 2015 was the Super Bowl XLIX, with 25.1 million tweets sent. That’s a sporting event with many players and big time celebrities put together in one show, not a blushing couple dating for the first time on live TV.

I’m sure those who decry the historical ignorance of our young people make a very valid point. If we as a people don’t even know where we came from, then I fear for the future of this nation. But do we really have to choose between history and entertainment? One look at that question and we all know it’s a false dichotomy. Knowing the facts of Heneral Luna doesn’t necessarily mean a person is smart, the same way that falling head over heels with AlDub doesn’t mean a person is less smart. We are far more complex than the caricatures we throw at each other. Why do we always think that we have to choose one at the expense of the other anyway? Why don’t we just get good grades, get our histories right, and love simple entertainment at the same time? These things are not mutually exclusive.

The reason why I say that is because more than the wild popularity of the AlDub love team, there is something in it that I’m sure we could all appreciate. The fame of the AlDub tandem fires up the ‘kilig’ in our imaginations because it is clean, innocent, and unpretentious. People are not afraid to publicly admit that they like it because it really is likable. AlDub reminds us that we are not a complicated people. We don’t need vulgar entertainment in order to be happy. We don’t need bitter rivalries, third parties, extramarital affairs, and bloody confrontations complete with extended “iyakan, sigawan, sampalan” sequences to be truly entertained. Deep within us, we only desire to find love in that one person we believe God prepared for us. We need simple pleasures. One person is enough.

I wish more compelling historical movies will be made, if only to cure our collective ignorance as a society. I hope the screen innocence of the AlDub love teamย won’t be spoiled by the usual intrigues and controversies of the local entertainment culture. But that is hardly the point here. We know that Mendoza and Richards will be offered movie deals, more commercials, and probably concerts. We know that in time the magic will fade. This is TV, folks, deal with it.

The point is that our entertainment gatekeepers now know that we don’t have to follow the over-sexualized entertainment trend of the West. Our movies and TV shows don’t have to be shocking, dark, and sexually driven. We don’t have to show skin and go for unnatural relationships to sell movie tickets. We only need to take what is already good and commendable and clean in our culture and run with it. This is the simple beautyย of the Filipino heart. We are a religious, family loving people. We need movies and TV shows we can watch with our buddies, mothers, younger sisters, grandma, and girlfriend. AlDub gave us that so we went to the internet and gave Eat Bulaga a collective thumbs up via a Twitter hashtag party. Let the movie and TV producers hear that great chorus of 23.7 million voices today.

60 thoughts on “The AlDub Twitter Explosion and Why It Matters To Us”

  1. napakaepokreto po n artukulong to, alam nyo po kung anong problema nating mga pilipino kahit noon pa? kahit ibase pa natin sa pelikulang nabanggit, hindi natin matagalang makita ang kpwa nating pilipinong nagtatagumpay sa buhay? meron at meron talagang kaiinggitan o guguatuhing mapahamak ang kapwa nya? sa panahon ngayun naghahanap nalamang po ang mga pilipino ng kasiyahang masasabi sa buhay nila sa kabila ng kawalang pagasasa.

      1. walang ano man ginoo, at isasama ko lang, una hindi na kaylangang pang gumawa pa ng isang pelikukang ganito kung pinapahalagahan ng bansa ang edukasyon, nagkakamali tayo ng bubong na binabato. ito ho ba ay sa kadahilanang ito ang napaguusapan sa kasalukuyan? pangalawa karamihan sa mga kababayan natin walang kakayahang makapanood sa sinehan. ang iba ho ay walang kakayahang makabili ng telebisyon at kung meron man silang telepono karamihan sa kanila’y pinagipunan lamang. hindi para ipagtanggol ko ang kung sino o ano ang akin lamang alamin muna ang totoong problema o ugat neto bago tayo magsaad ng saloobin. wag na nating ipagkait ang kasiyahan ng ating kapwa. at ito ay para narin makarating sa mga dapat tumutupad ng kanikanilang mga tungkulin. walang nasolusyunang problema ang pagkababaha bahagi at paghangad ng kasiraan sa iba.

        1. Ang **** mo pre! Naintindihan mo ba ang gustong sabihin ng author? O nahirapan ka kasi english? Maghanap ka kaya ng magttranslate pra maintindihan mo! Get your yourself a coffee!

    1. This is an intelligent write ups from an intelligent mind who deeply understand the Filipino culture and values and its significance to entertainment.
      @jojoagot:disqus – i really appreciate your article, putting together all these ideas. keep writing sir!

  2. I am neither a fan of any LT’s out there but since i followed showbiz fb pages on my fb account I am seeing lots of showbiz threads left and right every now and then. Anyways, 23+M tweets but the accounts behind those tweets are also millions of minus folds. Quantity under quality. What is quantity if the quality is questionable. But then it is too early to say things… Who knows what the future will bring but God himself. Just a thought. Peace

    1. Thank you JC. Yes I read something about the multiple Twitter accounts. Interesting how people would go to such lengths as creating multiple accounts just to make a point.

    2. I just would like to add that this loveteam endorsed McDo item has allegedly tripled in sales. If this is not the desired business impact of quantity vs quality, I may never understand business. I don’t care if it’s Class A or Class D who are consuming my products. In fact McDo Senior management is part of that 25m tweets. Just saying. Peace

  3. Well written Sir! I have nothing against people who are more into history than Entertainment but I truly hope some of them don’t go bashing people for liking things they don’t like or make others feel inferior/stupid/ignorant/ for forgetting or not knowing that Mabini was a paralytic. It’s ironic that the people who consider themselves more intellectual than Aldub fans choose to criticize the young and generalize people as mangmang for gushing over an LT instead of actually raising a suggestion and educate the youth minus the criticism. Kaya siguro “ang taong hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makararating sa paroonan.” Hinding hindi makararating sa gustung patutunguhan ang ating bansa hanggat ang mga may alam ay hindi marunong lumingon sa mga wlang alam, hangga’t ang mga yumaman ay ayaw nang lingunin ang kahirapan, at ang mga NAKATATANDA ay hindi man lang makuhang lumingon kung paano ang maging bata (kulang sa karanasan, nagkakamali, may mga hindi alam, at madaling matuwa sa malilit na bagay). Haay..the arrogance that comes with achieving something..may it be experience, money, success, or knowledge. Nakakaloka.
    Sana lang marealize ng iba na hindi naman sila magiging mas mabubuting Pilipino or magiging makabayan dahil lang mas alam nilang lumpo si Mabini, nakanood sila ng Heneral Luna o dahil mas gusto nilang magbasa.
    yun lamang po. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I think that’s he term I’m looking for: arrogance. Why can’t we just embrace diversity and let other people appreciate the corny and baduy. Simple joys.

      1. In real life, baduy and corny could be endearing. Not always. But think of the many marriages that would have been saved if the husband or the wife was just baduy and corny from time to time.

    2. Very good analysis Jelly May. I don’t believe the history buffs have the moral high ground to look down on the “cheap thrills” of the AlDub people. Being educated and intellectual does not entitle people to throw contempt on those who don’t share their sophisticated views. Those who do only prove that they misunderstood the point of their education.

      The problem is not that many of us have forgotten that Mabini was paralytic. The problem is the culture of anti-intellectualism in our society. Remember how much of a stir it was when people started smart-shaming that UP summa cum laude few months ago? This is particularly curious. How can a society shame that UP graduate for being smart and now shame everyone else for being dumb?

      1. Yay Thanks Sir Jojo for this reply.

        Point 1: Agree. Regardless of experience, success, social status, laman ng bank account, AGE, and iba pa, i think no one has the right to look down on anyone. Dahil lahat naman tayo dumaan sa pagkabata. Dumaan tayong lahat sa pagiging hubad, walang alam, ignorante, and mangmang bago nagkalaman ang utak.

        Yes, the point of education is for us to be more open -mind and heart.
        Education, IMHO, is at its best if we use it to point out the weakness of our society AND do something to remedy a problem. (para makapag tweak lang talaga XD) Marami nagsisettle lang sa pagtingin ng mali eh pero wala namang ginagawa. But I think it’s important to point out the wrong, to really know what’s wrong so we’ll know what we have to remedy.

        However, I have observed lang Sir, based sa sariling karanasan na rin..karamihan sa mga tao ay hindi naman nag eeducate ng sarili to heal or find solution. Andaming ibang rason liban lang siguro sa mas makaintindi. They think they need to educate themselves so they have something to brag about (para walang masabi ang ibang tao), something na panlaban kapag may binato sa kanila (not even thinking of finding the common ground), and something na ipagmalaki (usually ginagamit para mangmata ng ibang hindi narating ang narating nila). Hindi ko alam kung sino may pakana nito.

        Ang anti-intellectualism sa ating lipunan ay nakakaloka. Kapag may UP summa cum laude na hindi naman daw pinoy, may puna. Kapag may gusto sa entertainment ay puna ulit ang mga matatalino at pa deep. Curious indeed. It seems like people choose to settle on hating on things they don’t understand instead of actually admitting that they don’t understand a thing. Parang ang hirap bang magpakumbaba.

        Pride, is all I can think of right now.

        Thanks po for this chance to have this kind of stimulating discussion. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I’m a person who loves to read world history, politics and economics science i find this aldub series of eat bulaga enjoyable even though i am not really into filipino shows. its very funny to watch, but what i observe is some people never want to watch this kind of shows because they think its cheap, baduy, they call it “pangmasa” and then compare it in other countries, this for me is colonial mentality, that everything western is much beautiful than local. This kind of shows is part of our culture. Its one of the things that defines us.I hate it when filipinos do this. Always comparing it to other countries as if we are always too insecure of what we have. The japanese has their wacky shows and they love it, the indians have their bollywood movies and they love it.But when filipinos love their own we call it cheap.

    1. Those who look down on the “cheap” pleasures of AlDub fans will have a hard time justifying their predilection for the gore of The Walking Dead or the brutality and sensuality of Game of Thrones. By what standards do we measure the value of entertainment? Is it by the quality and sophistication of the story and the crisp, technical editing of visuals or the value it adds to our humanity?

  5. I couldn’t have written anything better in the defence of AlDub. I know for a fact that the people who patronize AlDub are not limited to certain social strata (I hate that these strata exist in the first place) and people who are well-versed in Philippine history, professionals, scholars also appreciate AlDub alike. it’s unassuming, free of forced drama, and witty– a breath of fresh air.

  6. Very well said! “Deep within us, we only desire to find love in that one person we believe God prepared for us. We need simple pleasures. One person is enough.”
    My exact same thoughts. Thank you for translating it into words.

  7. Because all we need is Love ๐Ÿ™‚ Good job Sir, pinaalala lang din satin ng AlDub na mas sasaya tayo sa kahit mga simpleng bagay lng, na matagal na nating nakalimutan dahil sa bilis ng takbo ng buhay!

  8. I don’t watch AlDub or never will. But I am convince that some TV shows really makes people dumb to the core. History and entertainment are totally different. Of course History is much darker than entertainment but, The only reason why we neglect history is because of our deficiencies in the reforms of our education process. Yes, The process to learn is the one thing that we need to change. We got more knowledge on the things that we don’t really need than to the things that we should have know.

    On the matters on AlDub, I say that since it captures the hearts of the masses and the like, I’ll just shut myself up and say nothing against them… Asides, I really don’t want to argue to people who watches it for pleasure. For I watch anime for pleasure and sometimes a gateway towards a stress-less day.

    TL;DR. In the end, we are all needed to love and needed to be loved, It all goes down to that.

    1. Arvin, I agree with you about the culpability of our educational institutions. But I believe the blame can’t all be heaped on the doorsteps of DepEd and CHED. No one is stopping us from reading after we graduated from college. We could always do self study. The internet offers vast resources.

      A story is told of the famous GK Chesterton’s reply to the question: What is wrong with the world? Chesterton wrote back:

      Dear Sir,

      I am.

      Yours, G.K. Chesterton.

  9. The best way to teach history to our children is thru the movie cast by famous actors. Why not use AlDub to play the role of heroes? Yaya Dub for Gabriela Silang and Alden for Andres Bonifacio. And then discuss the movies in the classrooms. I bet kung hindi pa sila naging expert ewan ko na.

    1. I think the best way to teach history is to actually teach history in the classroom. I came from the public school system. In all my history classes from high school to college, the teachers just gave us book readings and exams. There was never a real fascination and love for history. It felt like they just assumed we would love to know the past on our own. We were kids; we wanted to play. I would have wanted to see a passion for history modeled to me so my young mind would begin wondering why my teacher was so fascinated with it. I hope it’s better in other schools.

  10. Sir Roger, if you would please take time to read the article again before commenting. The author was neither a fan of any loveteams or being one-sided but was trying to belabor a point about what the core of the Filipino heart is.
    By the way, this article is much appreciated, Sir Jojo.

    1. Anne, thank you for noticing what many failed to notice. I have never been a fan; I only took notice because one person in my very limited twitter feed mentioned it. Truth be told, I actually just watched about ten minutes of it online just to see what the hype was. That was three weeks ago when AlDub first met and a wall conveniently fell between them. That’s the entirety of what I know of AlDub.

      What fascinates me though are the cultural and social implications of this whole phenomenon. I’m a pastor. My antenna is more attuned to what is good and redeemable in our culture and how we could use those to pursue godly living. Pwede naman pala ang clean fun, ba’t hindi natin gawin? Pwede naman pala na walang bastusan, ba’t kelangan pa ng slapstick humor at mga naka underwear na sumasayaw?

      People have been sharing and recommending this post online thinking I was making a case for the AlDub craze. I wasn’t. I was actually making a case for a more positive entertainment culture. My world is not distinguished by network wars. In my mind, there’s never an AlDub/Pastillas divide.

      1. Same thing na shinare ng mga anti-Aldub ang caricature na pinublish ng The Manila Times. Thinking na it was plainly against AlDub. Share, like, at comment na hindi nagbabasa o umiintindi.

  11. Was a very good write up.. I love the filipino culture as it is unique.. We all know how influencial media is, this aldub has plus points in bringing back the old tradition of panliligaw.. Reminding people how romantic it is if courtship is with so much respect for self and for others. I hope in time they can also influence the youth to have the drive to go to school for earning knowledge not for just some kilig from whoever.. I cant help but raise a brow whenever the story is all about the usual exag drama especially mistresses stories that it might influence alot of youth that its okay to act like this to be like that. Certainly valued education needs to be highlight in class. ???????????? super thumbs up for this blog author!;)

  12. Hi Sir,

    Thank you for your article.. Its so refreshing to read something like this specially someone like me who is a self confessed fan.. I can’t count how many times I read that some people think that I’m an ignorant person for liking Aldub… I’m a young professional so that is hardly a point.

    I hope to see more post from you sir..

    1. Thank you Deanne, you are kind. It’s curious how people would make caricatures as if we are two-dimensional objects. We are far more complex than the TV shows we watch.

  13. Because ignorance is bliss. please, feel feel free to share the ignorance, I mean bliss throughout our Filipino countrymen.

    1. Either I am misunderstanding your comment (in which case I really, truly apologize), or you just didn’t really listen. Which is shame on you. I know this is the internet (where rude “critics” are commonplace, and thus you should not really spend time on, but I’ll make be making this time an exemption anyway), but still, shame on you.

    2. Rye J: It’s called sloganeering, you know, making a sweeping statement without explaining why. I’m curious why you think this is all ignorance. Have a good day, sir.

  14. It’s a good start, but we can’t end here. Maine should be sorry for her past social media posts, and I hope it can be tackled in Kalye-Serye. Ms. Mendoza is so young, and her brilliance is coming out; the only problem is the vulgarity of her past online messages. Hope our youth will be more tactful, so that there will be no shadow in their future success.

    1. i was wondering what you meant by that vulgar online social posts? i haven’t encountered that one. Pwede pong malaman saan nyo po yan nalaman at ano? thnx.

      1. It’s a lesson for all the youth to be careful in using the social media so that there will be nothing to be sorry about when you become so popular and set as a model to the whole nation.

    2. I don’t quite get this. Why would Maine be sorry for her past social media posts?especially if those posts have not nothing to do with her present life or situation? I mean, should all people who are now getting what they want in life acknowledge and say sorry for their past actions? That doesn’t make sense.

  15. “bago ka magsalita, tignan mo muna sarili mo, dahil baka sarili mong dumi actually nakikita mo”

    so narinig ko yan (or something similar) somewhere, which definitely made sense naman. At kung di mo pa magets ang point ko jan e ewan ko na lang

    At agreed with Anne Milk.
    Seriously, please read first. I mean, read properly first. Or maybe read properly with a dictionary and encyclopedia on hand, first.

  16. True enough Pastor. Our culture has been so polluted with what comes from media, like what you said po “third parties, sampalan, sigawan, lesbianism, homosexuality”. But here came AlDub who broke all that and reverted us back to the simple and uncomplicated story that we all can live. So true!!! “God gave us AlDub” ๐Ÿ˜€

  17. True enough Pastor. Our culture has been so polluted with what comes from media, like what you said po “third parties, sampalan, sigawan, lesbianism, homosexuality”. But here came AlDub who broke all that and reverted us back to the simple and uncomplicated story that we all can live. So true!!! “God gave us AlDub” ๐Ÿ˜€

      1. You’re welcome po! Following your posts now also. Ang galing po ng mga opinion niyo! My old teacher from Kids Church VQC shared this post, and I’m guessing some of my leaders and my parents here sa Every Nation Nepal know you and I’ll be sharing this to them too ๐Ÿ™‚

        1. Samantha, I would have known most of you there kung natuloy lang ako sa Nepal with Daniel’s team last June 2014. I was part of that team from the very start of the preparation. Then Yolanda happened and I felt more strongly for Tacloban so ayun, naiwan ako, haha. Thank you for your kind words here.

  18. i think the problem is, we were told a different history during our elementary days. People with the same age as mine, who got married, had kids and now apos, were shocked on the stories about Heneral Luna, Mabini, Andres Bonifacio and Aguinaldo. The histories i’m reading, learning and watching in this digital age are quite different 40-50 years ago. It disheartened me learning this things at this late in time =(. Maybe because of the sanitized history and the succeeding governments who didn’t love their country, caused for the Filipinos to lose their loves, too. If the government really loves their constituents, they will give time and effort to spread our culture, instead of just making themselves rich. This is where i envy the Koreans, and Japanese and other asian countries, who continued to develop and take care of their culture. But then again, i’m glad that Aldub is instilling again the “magalang” culture, “mano po” is coming back. Speaking of which,i remember one of my cousin (a baby boomer who migrated to the states) saying that “mano po” is a sign of slavery, and should no longer be instilled to the young people. I’m too young then to correct him, because i find this one of the best “kaugalian” we have as Filipinos =). History should be taught more in elementary and highschool, the correct ones, please!!!

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