Francisca Custodio, Manila Philippines

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Francisca Custodio, Manila Philippines

Francisca Custodio, Manila Philippines

Francisca Custodio (Francisca Binghoy Custodio), also known as Babes Custodio, is a radio host, newscaster, and station manager. She was born in Tacloban, Leyte on 6 June 1946. Custodio attended Divine Word University where she earned a bachelor of science degree in commerce, major in business management, in 1969. At 19, she began her long and ongoing radio career when, while in college, she joined in 1965 the accounting and traffic departments of DYVL, the Tacloban station of the Manila Broadcasting Company (MBC), upon the invitation of its first station manager, Eduardo Montilla. After a few years, then station manager Charlie Filamor tried her on the air by making her read commercials, spin records, and give time checks. When a program emcee lost her voice, Custodio filled in for her. This break led to her first regular programs where she emceed the amateur singing contest Search for Superwheel Singing Star, the singing contest for the elderly Diri Pa Kami Laos (We Are Not Yet Has-Beens), and the counterpart for children Wee Wee Jamboree.

She then became part of the public service program Operation Bulig (Operation Help), which led her to news and commentary programs. In 1984, she became part of management when she was appointed operations manager. While serving as the station’s newscaster, Custodio was appointed station manager of DYVL’s sister station on the FM band, DYMS. In 1994, MBC appointed her DYVL station manager. She then expanded the station’s public service programs by creating Kasayuran ha Balaud (Knowledge of the Law) and Salamat Po, Doktor (Thank You, Doctor). She also encouraged local composers and singers through the program Boses han Musika (Voice of Music).

 

Custodio is widely credited for reviving the literary genre siday, a type of poetry homegrown in Eastern Visayas, which is written and recited in Waray, the language of the region. Beginning in 1979, she read sayings in Waray called puplonganon before she delivered the news. Her goal was to keep the language alive. A year later, she began inviting listeners to send her their puplonganon, which she read on the air. Contributions poured in, many in siday form, which led to the production of the program DYVL Siday (DYVL Poetry). In 2005, she co-edited with the poet Merlie Alunan the compilation Mga Siday Han DYVL (Poems from DYVL), published by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the provincial government of Leyte, and the University of the Philippines Tacloban.

 

DYVL suffered a setback when the historic Typhoon Yolanda killed thousands of people and devastated property in Leyte in 2013. The station lost its studios and two of its staff in the disaster. Custodio put the station back on the air two days later in a makeshift studio to provide information and broadcast public service.

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For her use of radio to promote Waray language and culture through the siday, the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication awarded her the 2016 Gawad Plaridel.

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