Smark-Gilas Pilipinas Podcast: THE Podcast for the Filipino Pro Wrestling Fans
When you’re a professional wrestling fan in the Philippines, you usually get your ‘fix’ from the television or the internet. Recently, the podcast medium has also caught on for the pro wrestling community, as seen in podcasts such as The Art of Wrestling and Talk is Jericho. Finally, I found a podcast that Filipino pro wrestling fans can call our own: The Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast!
Fan Axxes: Inside the SGP Podcast recording studio
Also known as *deep breath*………”The Longest Running Filipino Episodic Podcast” (about professional wrestling), Smark-Gilas Pilipinas Podcast (SGP Podcast) is a show hosted by Filipino pro wrestling fans just like you and me! (Author’s note: assuming if you are a fan, if you’re not and are got lost, please find the site’s logo on the upper left side to return to our main page). SGP Podcast is a show by the Filipino pro wrestling fans…FOR the Filipino pro wrestling fans. The SGP Podcast debuted on April 7, 2014 and it has been dishing out some kick ass podcasts ever since. Apart from the podcast’s main hosts, it usually has special guest appearances and segments (Spots and Botches and Boyce Avenue) to give the listeners one helluva pro wrestling podcast experience. A few weeks ago, I had the chance to chat with the hosts of the SGP podcast: Stan Sy, Romeo ‘Ro’ Moran and Rafael Camus. Without further ado, here’s how it all went down:
Q: Individually, care to tell us when you all started to watch and fall in love with professional wrestling?
Camus: When I was younger, I’d say about 7 or 8, I started watching Raw in some form. I liked what Stone Cold and Undertaker were doing storywise back then, and rode that through the peak of wrestling’s mainstream run in the Attitude Era. Then at some point, my mom really got pissed off with me running my mouth and the amount of mature content that came with wrestling (I kinda blame Val Venis…mostly Val Venis) that she frowned on me watching it. So, she deleted the channel on our TV and I could never sneak it in. I still kept watching in some capacity from time to time once there was proper programming, and Smackdown was an awesome show. When I fell in love though, that was Wrestlemania 20. When Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit were able to be at the top of it all was when I felt like it might just be love…but I wasn’t all that sure. I kept watching though. I can really say I fell back in love with it this past Wrestlemania after Daniel Bryan won it all. That sort of made for a real “love, or something like it” story.
Ro: My story runs pretty similar to that, actually. I can’t say I’d been a regular watcher when I was a little kid, but for some reason I had the video games and knew some of the superstars. My mom didn’t let us watch it because it was too violent and whatnot, but we’d sneak in sessions of WWF Warzone and Attitude when we could, until we could finally play them out in the open when the SmackDown game franchise got big. (It’s funny that I’m describing the timeline using video games.) My brother started watching when he could at around 2001-2002, and I finally caught back up with the program at around the summer of 2003. I took off from there and never really let go. It’s crazy, because my brothers don’t watch it anymore. I fell in love with guys like Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, John Cena, and yes, Chris Benoit.
Stan: I’m actually a second-generation fan. My dad’s been watching wrestling since the 80s, and so as a 7-year-old, I remember watching snippets from the Attitude Era days and sneaking in some TV time before mom would catch me. Since it was all interrupted viewing time, it took years until I actually started following wrestling. The Team Austin vs. Team Bischoff storyline from Survivor Series 2003 got me hooked, and then I got heavily invested in the Brock Lesnar vs. Hardcore Holly feud (for the WWE Championship!!!) at Royal Rumble 2004. What ultimately made me fall in love with wrestling was the Eddie Guerrero storyline against Lesnar, which led to his WWE Championship run in 2004. Wrestlemania XX was my first full pay-per-view (and still my favorite of all time) and it’s been history since then.
Can YOU spot Stan and Ro? (Picture by Hub Pacheco)
Q: When did you guys decide to make a podcast about pro wrestling? Was there a specific event/or chain of events that led you guys to make the decision?
Ro: Stan had this little project he had to do for one of his radio broadcasting classes…
Stan: …did it start with a project? I recall the idea really just sprouting out from between mid-to-late 2013 and early 2014. In any case, my dad pretty much watched me and my wrestling fandom grow right before his eyes. His philosophy in business is to go and explore markets/ideas that nobody has really explored yet. He felt like there’s a dormant Pinoy wrestling community, but that there wasn’t really anyone broadcasting content to them. He told me to start toying with the idea of a podcast for Pinoy wrestling fans. I was initially hesitant since I didn’t know if it would be worth the time and the effort. I also didn’t know what equipment we’d be using to produce the show.
Fast forward to January 2014, during Joshi+Jam Manila, Ro and I were in the front row and we just had a hell of a time watching live pro wrestling again. And we had so much to talk about that we decided to record a pilot of the podcast right then and there. We didn’t get to release that pilot, and it took another few weeks until I actually decided to ask our station manager at Mellow 94.7 if we could use the station’s production equipment to record our podcast. Thankfully, he agreed, and so we recorded our first episode a few hours after WrestleMania 30 had aired. From then on, it became mostly a weekly thing, save for those weeks when one of us would either be sick or unavailable.
Ro: Yes, it was that assignment. That’s where it all began, really. We did this scripted wrestling talk show for your assignment, and after we did that I figured we could really do a podcast. We’ve been throwing it around for so long, but we couldn’t get it done for one reason or another until the Joshi+Jam Manila show.
Camus: And eventually, I think around 20 something episodes in, I offered to help with editing and production in general. I was doing music editing, and voice talent editing stuff on the side as a freelancer any way…and I’d never worked on a podcast. So, I offered.
Ro: And we decided, why not just take Raf on? He was already in the booth with us, he has his opinions, and we’ve done shows with more than two people talking. So why not, right?
Camus: And after working on about three episodes, they asked me to start speaking on the show. We’ve been running as a three man show ever since.
Q: I heard that the name of the podcast, Smark Gilas-Pilipinas, comes from the FB group you are all in. Can we know something on how the group came about and how it has grown throughout the years?
Ro: I’m part of various Facebook groups that deal with individual forms of geekery (i.e. comics, movies, music, and the like) and I saw how active discussion was in these groups. I wondered, why don’t we have that for pro wrestling? I was pretty sure local fandom groups didn’t have the kind of intellectual discussion I really craved, so I hit Stan and our friend Jocs Boncodin up to see if they were down for it. Naturally, they were.
Stan: Yeah, funny how that started. Jocs was someone I’d known since my undergrad days in UP, and I remember just chatting him up when big things were happening in wrestling because he was one of the few people (aside from Ro) who I could actually talk to about it without reservation. At the time, I was watching our national men’s basketball team, Gilas-Pilipinas (formerly Smart Gilas-Pilipinas), go on their Cinderella run during the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship. Since I love puns, I thought it would be puntastic — see what I did there? — if we called the group Smark Gilas-Pilipinas, since any smark (wrestling fan who knows what goes on behind the scenes) worth his salt would know what that group would be about. Plus, it would be a great shoutout to the basketball team. It clicked with Ro and with Jocs, and we just started adding people up. From a humble group of about 10-12 people, the Facebook group already has 150+ members and sees daily traffic consisting of posts that contain discussion threads, throwback posts, or even links that lead to interesting articles that add to our knowledge about the industry.
Ro: And memes.
Camus: …among other things.
Raf Camus and Romeo ‘Ro’ Moran wearing some awesome lucha masks.
Q: Just like any podcasts there are technical and logistical issues (internet problems, traffic, etc.). After almost a year of running this podcast, how have you guys overcome these hurdles and push on and give the Filipino Wrestling Community their weekly dose of the SGP podcast?
Ro: I think we just do what we can, when we can, and there’s a lot of understanding and compromise involved. When Stan and I started, it was just the two of us, but with Raf now in the mix, it allows us to be slightly more flexible. I think a big part of it is accepting the fact that even though it’s nice, we don’t have to subject ourselves to strict schedules, since we run and distribute our own shows. For example, the Cheap Heat podcast by Grantland is very loose; their publication days could vary, and there are weeks where they don’t put anything out for one reason or another. It’s okay, as long as we maintain the momentum of our brand in some way.
Stan: Honestly, there was a time when I felt like doing the podcast wasn’t worth the time and the effort. There were weeks when I just wanted to mail it in or even not record because I didn’t feel like we would reach our market. But the itch to just talk about what we watch and why we love what we watch got to me. Add the fact that we started receiving actual feedback from real listeners, and that’s what made me realize that we weren’t wasting our time at all! Let me tell you something, brother, that gave me the push that I was looking for to be excited for every recording session!
Camus: As the editor, I have to say we have a pretty sweet deal with the Mellow 94.7 studios, with them letting us record in one of their booths. We’ve got no excuse to not deliver a quality recording. Our usual flow is that we record after Stan’s show (The Factory! Only on Mellow 94.7, sounds good!) on Thursday nights. Ro and I carpool to the studio, grab some food and do the show in roughly an hour or so. When I get home, I start preliminary edits til I nod off to sleep, heavy edits in the morning. By internet primetime on Friday, the podcast is up.
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