This is a cover two years in the making. When I applied for an internship at Rogue magazine in 2014, there was a board with their cover ideas for October. The name written was Charo Santos-Concio, then the president of the ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation and the host, until now, of Maalaala Mo Kaya, the longest-running television drama anthology in Asia.
I don’t know why they chose to feature a model and John Lautner’s mansion in Los Angeles instead, but it must feel so satisfying for the editorial team to wait for this moment.
Charo Santos-Concio’s cover on Rogue‘s November 2016 Cinema Issue comes after her starring role in Lav Diaz’s Ang Babaeng Humayo (The Woman Who Left), which won the Golden Lion at the recently-held Venice International Film Festival. It is also her first film role since Esperanza in 1999.
Rogue‘s November 2016 issue is the second issue by the magazine’s new executive editor, Jerome Gomez. I found it strange that almost everyone I worked with left the magazine (save for managing editor Jacs Sampayan), but I like how Gomez has given Rogue a new voice.
Lately, I’ve noticed that the magazine is getting out of touch with its Filipino audience, choosing to cater to the A+++-crowd instead of the A to B-crowd they were writing for when I discovered the magazine in 2011. I was contemplating not renewing my subscription because I almost didn’t see myself as the magazine’s market anymore (I subscribed to Esquire Philippines the same day).
But I like Gomez’s new direction. His first issue, October’s Design Issue with Annicka Dolonius, had a rougher edge. His “Letter from the Editor” began in Filipino, a quote from Ishmael Bernal’s Manila by Night. There was a portfolio that featured street artists. At the back, a photo essay invited photographers to take photos of Manila, where Carlo Gabuco took a photo of a SOCO team looking for evidence in relation to a man’s death.
That issue rekindled my passion for the magazine. Even if the content was still out of my reach, it seemed more approachable.
Santos-Concio looks stunning on the cover, a far cry from her usual elegant self. She looks young and edgy, and I like how Mark Nicdao portrays her a young, smiling ingenue in the inside pages. She talks to writer Ricky Lee about her 40 year journey in Philippine cinema, working with Diaz, and what’s next for her.
There’s also a promising interview between film critic Philbert Dy and chair of the Film Development Council of the Philippines Liza Dino, whose appointment was met with protests because of her lack of experience in government. But the council has developed a travel assistance program for filmmakers who want to compete or screen their films abroad. Since then, a lot of local films have garnered awards in festivals in other countries.
Another article I’m looking forward to reading is the investigative article on the murders of Alexis Tioseco and his Slovenian girlfriend Nika Bohinc, two supporters of local cinema. At the end of the article, Rogue published a wishlist on Philippine cinema Tioseco wrote for the magazine, which Dy cross-checks.
Jonty Cruz, the magazine’s new deputy editor, attempts to revitalize Filipino superheroes in “Here’s the Pitch,” a response to the bankable superhero movies in Hollywood. Somehow related is an essay by Paolo Enrico Melendrez reminiscing his days hunting for pirated DVDs in Quiapo.
Rogue seems to be pushing for more local content, such as an essay by Bernardo Bernardo about Bernal, a portfolio on women in film, an in-depth look into Bernal’s 1984 film Working Girls, and an excerpt from the upcoming sequel to the hilarious Ang Babae sa Septic Tank.
And oh, here’s something that will cause quite the controversy: Rogue broke the story that the Baron Geisler-Kiko Matos fight was staged. It was orchestrated for a documentary by Manuel Mesina III called Beast Mode.
I’d like to close this post with the story on how I met Gomez: I was already interning for Rogue, and my editor assigned me to research on the famed Malate bar Los Indios Bravos and the Tasaday controversy at the Lopez Museum. I already knew of Gomez then, whose works I read in Metro Him and Esquire. He was looking through a pile of huge books, and I introduced myself to him. He asked what I was researching. I don’t remember what he said, but I remember his husky voice.
Last month, I commented on a random Instagram image congratulating him on his new editorship. I added that we met before. I didn’t think he would remember, him being a magazine editor and all, but he did, saying that I was at the Lopez Museum to research about Los Indios Bravos. That moment stuck with me, and it’s one that I remember now, as I think how friendly and approachable Rogue is now.