If the thought of studying history makes you yawn, try learning about it through PODKAS. A portmanteau of “podcast” and “kasaysayan” (history), PODKAS delivers talks on Philippine history in non-threatening and easy-to-understand episodes streamed on Spotify. Imagine four friends (Vec Alporha, Lee Candelaria, Aaron Mallari, and Joselito Ebro Jr.) chatting about why they studied history, how were the indigenous peoples marginalized in history, the EDSA Revolution, and whether Jose Rizal retracted his criticisms against Catholic friars hours before his execution.
Nerdy? Sure. Interesting stuff? Definitely.
“We should care about history because it helps us understand our identity and our current situation,” says Lee via virtual interview. “We can turn to history to solve our present-day problems and prepare ourselves for what’s to come in the future.” The PODKAS co-host tells My Pope Philippines about their most popular episodes, what to expect from them as the 2022 national elections draws near, and how to distinguish revisionism from the real deal. (Read: 3 YouTube Documentaries About the EDSA People Power)
You are based all over the world. How do you put your podcasts together?
I am based in Japan, Aaron is in Austria, and Vec is in the Philippines. For a time, our other member, Bro, was in Myanmar. So it was a challenge.
We did our best to find common times among us four. But we spend a lot of time preparing, reading the essential texts, writing the episodes. These have all been great fun. We also had to learn how to edit the audio, design publicity materials, create a website, and maintain a social media presence. We are not audio or design professionals, but our passion for creating content on Philippine history pushed us to learn these new skills.
Who are your followers and what draws them to your podcasts?
Our followers are primarily students and teachers in the high school and tertiary levels, as well as history enthusiasts. We receive many messages asking about their history assignments, what source to use, etc., so we know that an appeal of the show is that it helps students understand their history lessons! Such a relief because that’s what the podcast is intended for.
What have been favorite topics among listeners? Any requests?
The most popular topics are those on Ferdinand Marcos and martial law. Probably because it was timely, especially last September when we commemorated the declaration of martial law. Our episodes on the Philippine Revolution are also well received. We get many requests and suggestions, so we try our best to make our episode plans flexible to accommodate them; if not, we plan to incorporate these suggestions in the coming seasons. (Read: Hey, Filipinos! Historical Revisionism Is Not All Bad – Here’s Why!)
With the elections coming up, any plans for election-related podcasts?
Yes, we have! In fact, our next season’s theme will tackle current events and issues and their historical roots. The point we hope to make for this coming season is that the problems we experience today, be it the pandemic, disasters, taxation, social inequalities, fake news, among others, are all rooted in history and that if we were to ask our election candidates about these issues, these are the things they must be aware of. We’ll be doing it this season until the elections, so hopefully it could help guide our listeners on what to demand from our leaders.
Why is there so much revisionism these days and how can people distinguish truth from fake news?
There’s revisionism or historical distortion because certain individuals, families, and groups benefit from confusing the Filipino public. Usually, it is for political gain. We can combat fake news and historical revisionism by obtaining the same skills from studying history, such as close attention to evidence and critical thinking. This is why we also created PODKAS. We need legitimate and authoritative voices of actual historians to fight the disinformation that’s been going around. (Read: Catch a glimpse of Philippine history with these heritage houses in Taal, Batangas)