Features

First podcast network in PH shares tips, insights

PumaPodcast wants us to listen more

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“We don’t listen enough.”

That’s what PumaPodcast — the first podcast network in the Philippines — hopes to change. The network officially launched in August 2019 but a lot of their shows have already been available to stream since the start of the year.

As of right now, they have a variety of shows including a newscast called Headlines, a show that tackles legal issues, and another that discusses culture, politics, religion, and everything else that makes Filipinos well, Filipino. There are plenty more and you can check them all out on their Spotify page.

PumaPodcast believes listening gives us a new perspective on things we think we already know about. Which is why they set out to be on platforms that people are already on.

To get a better idea of what the network is trying to do and also get some podcasting tips on the side, we spoke with one of their hosts — Ceej Tantengco.

Ceej is a sports reporter, gender equality advocate, and three- time Palanca Award-winning writer. She’s the host of Go Hard Girls which hopes to shine a spotlight on underrated Filipina athletes. It also imagines what the industry would be like if it was better for women.

Read the full interview below:

Ceej Tantengco is the host of Go Hard Girls and also co-hosts another show called What’sAP?

1) Podcasting appears to be enjoying some sort of renaissance, why do you think that is?

More than a renaissance, I think it’s that podcasts are finally hitting their stride in the Philippines. There have been individual podcasts by Filipino creators that have become popular locally, but just a few years ago I’d often hear people say they listen to Mo Twister but not really any other podcasts.

In America, podcasting is a culture that started, kept going, and it’s now at what the New York Times calls “peak podcast.” They joke that everyone and their mom has a podcast in America, but you also have incredible shows like Serial, NPR’s Invisibilia, This American Life and 99% Invisible that push the boundaries of audio storytelling way beyond the usual talk format. The variety is just incredible. One of my favorite podcasts is LeVar Burton Reads, where he picks a short story (usually sci-fi or speculative fiction) and turns it into something that’s both audiobook and immersive experience.

And as more Filipinos consume those kinds of podcasts from abroad, the market for local podcasts grows as well. We’re looking for local perspectives and voices that feel familiar. Here in the Philippines, I think the big wave has only just begun.

2) How did you decide what kind of podcast to do? What to talk about?

First off, It has to be something you’re passionate about. In my case, I’ve been a sports reporter for the past 5 years and I’ve seen the gender gap and how female athletes get less media exposure, or have to deal with gendered comments, or struggle to find sponsors compared to their male counterparts. There’s still a lot of sexism in how our society sees sports—basketball is for boys, volleyball is for girls, blah blah—and I always feel sad when people tell me that “that’s just how it is.”

So Go Hard Girls is me taking matters into my own hands and telling the stories of incredible yet underrated athletes. I’m extremely passionate about what I’m doing in the podcast, and I think that’s something you need to have if you’re getting into podcasting. Putting up a podcast won’t always be easy, but if you’re passionate, you have a reason to power through!

The second thing you need is perspective. A lot of my co-hosts on the PumaPodcast network have unique positions in their industries like Give A Hoot, which talks about communication from the perspective of professionals in advertising and communication strategy; or Te Talks, where former Supreme Court spokesperson Ted Te explains legal issues that affect the Philippines. Why are you in a special position to talk about the topic and what do you add to the public discussion?

Ceej with members of 5-time UAAP chapms NU Lady Bulldogs who went on an insane 80-0 winning streak

3) I don’t exactly have the best voice but I really want to do a podcast. Should I still go for it?

Podcasting isn’t like TV news where there’s a specific type of voice that people look for. Some podcasts are loud and funny, some are soft-spoken and reserved, some are formal and some are casual. But podcasts are audio products and voice quality still matters.

How comfortable are you in front of the mic? Do you stutter or have a lot of dead air? Try doing a test recording and listen to yourself so you know what to practice and how to improve. Editing can also help in cutting out any parts of the recording you aren’t happy with.

4) What equipment should I be looking at to get started?

If you’re just starting out, you could consider using equipment you already have. If you have a phone with a mic and you have a laptop, you can absolutely get started.

If you’re using basic equipment, though, then you should consider taking the time to learn some post-production software. There are free audio editing programs out there, like Audacity, that can improve your sound quality.

If you’re looking for something more ambitious, you can look into microphones. There are condenser mics, dynamic mics, handheld mics, lapel mics, etc. Some of these can plug straight into your laptop or your phone, and some have their own recording capability on their own. Some of them need an audio interface or a mixer if you have multiple mics.

5) Are there places where I can rent out equipment?

Yes! There are many studios where you can rent studio time—that includes use of their equipment, a sound-proofed booth, and a sound engineer who oversees the technical aspects of recording so you can focus on content—as well as post-prod services. If you are just starting out and experimenting, though, it can be an expense that you have to think hard about.

Roar Audio Productions in Makati, though, has a special hourly rate for podcasters that’s lower than the commercial rate for ad agencies and musicians. PumaPodcast’s production arm PumaPublic Productions also offers services for people who specifically are interested in narrative-format podcasts.

If you can’t spare the expense at the moment, you can still make do with what you have and then upgrade as your podcast grows!

PumaPodcast hosts addressing the crowd at the network’s launch

6) What should I consider in selecting where to host my podcast?

Price is one thing. There are hosting platforms that are convenient because they’re free, and there are others that can be more costly, but provide more services.

Considerations would be storage (how often are you publishing and what file sizes are you expecting?), the platforms they publish you to, website hosting, or the number of unique feeds (if you’re planning to have multiple shows). What kind of data analytics do you want to get from your pod host? This matters if you have plans to monetize. The more intricate data/metrics, the more expensive the hosting.

7) Is there profit in podcasting?

Theoretically, yes. If you have enough of a following on a particular platform, you can make a profit through ad placements or branded content. Influencers and Youtube creators have done so, and podcasters share some of the same platforms as them.

But just like with social media and with Youtube, it’s not easy. Not everybody can just put up an account and make money off of it. It takes time, effort, and an understanding of your platform and the content you should be creating for it.


Ceej’s podcast Go Hard Girls is currently running a crowdfunding campaign to produce more shows. Click here if you would like to help out. A similar campaign is also ongoing for another show called Give A Hoot which is a series of conversations about stuff that excite or baffle communicators and social change agents.

Features

Peloton vs excuses: Mind tricks that can help you squeeze in a workout

For those struggling to keep a routine

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If anyone tells you that having a personal gym at home will remove all barriers to working out, they’re lying.

The Peloton bike packs an insane amount of tech that should help me stay on track, so I should have no excuses not to exercise, right? With it I can do live and on-demand spin classes, strength training, yoga, even meditation and sleep courses. Having it at home also means not needing to make time to travel to the gym. And yet, despite all of this, I still find reasons to shun fitness on the daily.

If you’re like me who typically gets a good week of workouts and then hits a slump when life happens, I’ve compiled some tips that you might find useful. Here are some ways I tricked myself into working out more regularly whenever I struggle to do classes on my Peloton.

Find the time that makes sense for you

After doing your workouts for a while, take note of when you enjoy it the most. For me, sweating it out in the morning works best. If I tell myself that I’ll workout later in the day, it just never happens. I’m just not someone who enjoys exercising in the afternoon or evening as much.

Make it habit

While some people make plans, I just tell myself that I’ll work out everyday and figure it out later.

Peloton has workouts that are as short as 10 or 15 minutes. Even when pressed for time, 15 minutes is just that — 15 minutes. 

Those days I end up not exercising I would just consider recovery days. Our muscles need time to rest after all.

Take a scenic ride

Another trick I do is telling myself to do 10 minutes of a scenic ride. This is an option on the bike if you don’t feel like doing a class. You can ride at your own pace while the monitor shows beautiful landscapes and cities.

What usually happens when I do this is I end up doing an additional 10 minutes of arm workout. Often, I’ll feel warmed up and ready for a regular class afterwards.

Warming up at my own pace without any pressure to perform gets me in the right mindset to actually do a full workout. There are lots of other warm up rides available, too, but they’re usually pretty tough. Picking something that has no pressure eases me in.

Low impact doesn’t mean low effort

When I discovered the low impact ride, I wondered why I hadn’t been doing them all along.

I’m an old lady, or at least my body feels that way. I’ve gotten injured a few times riding the bike: the tendonitis in my thumb flared up, and the muscles that aren’t used to being used so much protested.

You still get a great workout when you choose low impact, but you’ll never achieve a personal best — and that’s perfectly okay.

Put the leaderboad away

Now we’re going to dip into the tech side of things. The leaderboard pushes you to get your personal best, which is great. But when I don’t want to work out, I’ll tell myself that a 45min class will be more doable if I take the leaderboard away. As a competitive person, I always get horrified at my performance when I check it because I don’t push myself nearly as hard apparently.

Pick a class with a gimmick

Peloton offers so many kinds of classes with different genres of music. I’ve done Guns N’ Roses as well as Madonna rides. Jess King has a show tunes series, and there are rides with a DJ.

Whenever I don’t feel motivated to exercise, I think of it as entertainment first and that’s how I trick myself into doing a full workout.

Save classes that made you feel good

When you save classes that made you feel good, you’ll be reminded of that feeling when you see it again on the monitor.When struggling to pick a class, I choose from a bunch of saved classes that I don’t mind doing again.

If I can’t bring myself to face a new challenge, doing one that I’ve already smashed is the best way to go!

Lower the instructors voice

If you have classes where you loved the soundtrack, save them and then choose to have more music and less instructor. It’s amazing how much having motivational music blasting helps.

Forgot how to change the audio mix? Hit the volume button on the right hand side of the display and then change the mix. You have to do it each time as it always resets back to an even mix of music and voice.

Find more tips and tricks on how to maximize your bike here.

Do a class with weights

Doing weights is challenging, but it gives your legs some rest. A 45-minute class is sometimes better than 30 minutes because I know I’ll get breaks to do weights.

Pick your feel-good instructor

Sometimes, picking an instructor that fits your your mood is all you need. When I just want to do a feel good class, I pick Cody because he’s like my gay best friend and his classes are always entertaining. Seeing instructors have a bit of a hard time with the workout is also the energy that motivates me to give the workout everything that I got.

Should you be taking workout advice from someone who struggles with working out? Probably not. Was this entire article about how to work out a little less hard? Maybe.

It would be unfair to say that fitness isn’t a big part of my life. I actually spend a lot of time thinking about working out more than working out itself. It’s one of my favorite past times.

Keeping a consistent workout routine is what I’m struggling with right now. These mind tricks have at least helped me get my ass on the bike and squeeze a workout in even when I don’t feel like it. And for someone who isn’t a disciplined fitness freak, that’s all that matters.

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Best Smartphones

Best Smartphones for Gaming in 2020 (so far)

You don’t need an expensive gaming smartphone to get good

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While you’re stuck at home, your smartphone becomes your go-to device for a lot of things. Whether it’s the news or connecting with your friends, at this point, you can’t live without a smartphone. But of course, even you will run out of things to do on your smartphone. At least, that’s what you think.

If you’re not off browsing through social media, you’re going to consider downloading games for your phone. However, most smartphones face the same problem when you’re strictly using it to play games: the heat. So, not only do you want a phone that lasts long, but one that can handle the heat while playing.

Lucky for you, here are four smartphones that we think are the best of both worlds. At the very least, these are proof that you don’t need a gaming smartphone to play all day.

The realme C3: the most budget-friendly option

If you need a phone that will definitely fit your budget, that’s exactly what the realme C3 offers. For starters, it comes in at PhP 5,999, and is actually the most affordable smartphone on this list. And for that price, you’ll experience solid gaming through and through.

Realme’s OS-based gaming optimization software allows you to play a ton of games without sacrificing battery life. However, the 3GB of RAM will be a bit of an issue when you want to play more graphically-intense mobile games. Nonetheless, it’s a great recommendation for a lot of people, especially for those who play shooter games.

See: the realme C3 in action

The Huawei Nova 7i: a little new but powerful enough to game on

Apart from the stylish colorway, the Huawei Nova 7i provides the power for anything. The Kirin 810 plus 8GB of RAM opens up a ton of performance for gaming purposes. And with a whopping 128GB of storage, there’s plenty of space in there for your favorites for PhP 13,990.

The device comes with GPU Turbo inside Huawei’s EMUI, which improves gaming performance overall. Most MMORPGs and shooter games greatly benefit from GPU Turbo’s enhancements, but it handles even most graphically-intensive sports games well. It’s a great all-around device that will also keep you gaming for hours on end.

See: Huawei Nova 7i pricing and availability in the Philippines

The OPPO A9 2020: big battery for the long playing hours

Much like the Huawei nova 7i, the OPPO A9 2020 also comes with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage inside. It comes in at PhP 15,990, but the real difference is that it comes with a whopping 5000 mAh battery. A bigger battery usually means longer screen time, which leads to longer playing time.

The key to that is OPPO’s Game Boost 2.0, which improves energy consumption and prevents your device from overheating. This gaming optimization software also does its magic on your phone display, reducing input lag. You can play for longer, and possibly compete against your friends in high-stake battles.

See: Hands-on experience of the OPPO A9 2020

The Samsung Galaxy A71: it won’t break the bank, and your back

Out of all the options on this list, the Samsung Galaxy A71 is the only one that breaks the 20K price point. However, even at PhP 22,990, this device is excellent for gaming on the go. Apart from the 8GB RAM + 128GB storage, it comes with the Snapdragon 730G octa-core processor. This, in itself, provides excellent performance and gaming on it is a breeze.

The device comes with the Game Booster optimization software inside Samsung’s OS which improves both performance and energy solutions. This opens up improved performance especially during intense gameplay. Furthermore, the hardware inside opens it up to take on more graphically-intense games.

See: The Samsung Galaxy A71 in action

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Features

7 blue smartphones worth giving a try

All beautiful in blue!

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When Pantone announced Classic Blue as the next color of the year, we listed down powerful smartphones from 2019 that comes in this familiar shade. Nearly halfway through 2020, we saw more smartphones that come in this hue albeit in different shades.

Here, we listed phones that aren’t just beautiful in blue, but powerful and reliable enough to be your daily driver.

Samsung Galaxy S20

The first flagship to astound the world this year is Samsung’s Galaxy S20. A crowd-favorite, this phone came in a charming Cloud Blue that would be difficult to resist and not have a crush on. It’s what every flagship smartphone should be — smart enough to get the job done for you without too much tinkering.

Hands-On: Samsung Galaxy S20 Hands-On

OnePlus 8 Pro

The so-called flagship killer is long gone! OnePlus finally joined the league of iPhones and Galaxies — but still at a little cheaper price compared to these long-standing flagships. Remaining true to its motto ‘Never Settle’, the OnePlus 8 Pro is a reminder that you don’t have to settle for a thousand dollar phone to get the best of the best. Also, it comes in a stunning Ultramarine Blue.

Review: OnePlus 8 Pro

Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro

Another flagship killer who moved to the premium league, the Mi 10 Pro is still one of the best smartphones Xiaomi has to offer. It comes in Solstice Grey, which looks like deep, unsaturated blue — something you see in the skies at dawn. This exorbitant flagship is an ideal alternative for the Galaxy S20 Ultra, since it’s a tad cheaper than Samsung’s 108-megapixel monster.

Review: Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro

LG V60 ThinQ

Odd, quirky, yet functional — the LG V60 ThinQ is truly the most underrated phone of 2020. This phone comes in Classy Blue, packed with essential features. LG didn’t put gimmicks that are commonly familiar to most smartphones in 2020, and instead, offered what every consumer needs. It’s a smartphone with practical solutions to almost everything.

Review: LG V60 ThinQ

Huawei P40 Pro

Huawei has been on a tough spot ever since it lost Google Mobile Services, but it still continues to release phones that are hard to ignore. The P40 Pro is that one case, where everything is pretty much what you’d hope for in a flagship smartphone, except it doesn’t have the basic services to make your life easier. However, this phone found a new market to serve — its loyalists and those who love to tinker around and have full control over what they install on their phones.

Review: Huawei P40 Pro

POCO X2

POCO is back, but it’s not the successor to the well-loved F1. The POCO X2 is proof that POCO’s independence can yield outstanding results. It comes in a flamboyant Atlantis Blue, easily stunning anyone who sets its eyes on this midrange phone. Moreover, it’s a breath of fresh air in a sea of midrange smartphones trying to be the ‘first’. It simply delivers an experience, making it the perfect midrange phone you can buy today.

Review: POCO X2

Samsung Galaxy A71

Samsung has a pretty crappy midrange lineup for a while, then the Galaxy A71 appeared. It may have taken years for Samsung to produce a solid midranger that gets the job done, but it almost perfected the craft with this beaut. It doesn’t have a single strong standout feature, but it’s a well-rounded phone that can keep you entertained and secure. It’s impossible not to give it a try, especially with its cute Prism Crush Blue color.

Review: Samsung Galaxy A71

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