Actor, satirist, and advertising creative Manuel‚ÄĚ Jun‚ÄĚ Salazar Urbano Jr., popularly known on television, film, and the Internet as ‚ÄúMr. Shooli‚ÄĚ, was conferred the prestigious Gawad Plaridel by the 91 ”∆Ķ Diliman (UPD) College of Mass Communication on October 11, during a ceremony held at the UP Film Institute Film Center‚Äôs Cine Adarna.
The UP Gawad Plaridel 2023 awarding ceremony was attended by UP officials led by UP President Angelo Jimenez, Vice President for Public Affairs Roland Tolentino, UP Diliman Chancellor Edgardo Carlo Vistan II, UPD Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs Roehl Jamon, UP Cebu Chancellor Leo B. Malagar, UP Visayas Chancellor Clement Camposano, and UP College of Mass Communication (CMC) officials, staff, students from the UP CMC and other units, fellow Gawad Plaridel awardees, and guests from media organizations and other universities.
UP College of Mass Communication Dean Fernando dlC. Paragas said in his welcome remarks: ‚ÄúToday‚Äôs Gawad Plaridel ceremony is a gift of our College to you and to our family and friends in the community in communication and media and across and beyond the country. After 1,421 days since the last Gawad Plaridel awarding ceremony, we present to you our gift of an event that honors Mr. Manuel Urbano, Jr. whose lifelong work of speaking truth to power through humor is in itself a gift to all of us.‚ÄĚ
UP President Jimenez expressed his deepest congratulations to the awardee, whom he personally admire. ‚ÄúI am glad and proud to see Mr. Jun Urbano receive the UP Gawad Plaridel, first and foremost, because of his continuing commitment to the highest levels of excellence and professionalism, and his precious contributions to Philippine media spanning decades, that make him worthy of the recognition; and second, for the words of wisdom and inspiration that he will be imparting to us this afternoon. Surely, Mr. Urbano‚Äôs message‚ÄĒMr. Shooli‚Äôs message‚ÄĒwill be remembered long after today,‚ÄĚ he said in his speech.‚ÄĚ
Jimenez also mentioned a beer commercial that became famous in the 80s. ‚ÄúHere in these advertisements, Mr. Urbano speaks to both young and old alike. The humble ‚Äėroasted highland legumes‚Äô‚ÄĒyes the ‚Äėisang platitong mani‚Äô‚ÄĒgoes as perfectly well the beer and fellowship, just as much as the more expensive and sinful inihaw na pusit, kalderetang maanghang, crispy pata, sizzling sisig or chicharong bulaklak do, and so making the bonds among friends and families stronger and happier during reunions.‚ÄĚ
Even at 84 years old, Urbano never fails to amaze his guests and friends in media with his portrayal of his iconic character, ‚ÄúMr. Shooli‚ÄĚ. His body of work has been notable for its profound social commentary, and his remarkable contributions to multimedia commercial advertising are distinguished by their humane values and unforgettable Pinoy humor.
Professor Emeritus Nicanor G. Tiongson announced that Urbano was being recognized ‚Äúfor directing well-made and memorable television ads, which highlighted typical Filipino characters and situations; propounded positive values like love of country, industry among workers and professional loyalty to friends, concern for indigenous peoples and our brothers in the regions; and featured Filipino personalities who made the country proud through their international achievements‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúfor creating the TV series ‚ÄėMongolian Barbecue‚Äô, which became a conduit for enlightening and conscientizing the public, and giving them a critical understanding of current urgent social issues through interviews with known government officials.‚ÄĚ
He was also cited for his consistency in taking a pro-Filipino and pro-people stand and for speaking truth to power; for setting and maintaining a high level of excellence in the TV ads, which led to his being acclaimed as one of the most awarded commercial ad directors in his day; and for creating productions in television and film that elevated the substance and form that future generations of Filipino media practitioners can look up to.
For the traditional Gawad Plaridel lecture, Urbano delivered it as his iconic character, Mr. Shooli, who was tasked to deliver Urbano‚Äôs acceptance speech but left the manuscript in the taxi, and so in lieu of an acceptance speech, recounted his experiences in the Philippines from the perspective of a Mongolian instead. The satirist mentioned that in the past, ‚ÄúFilipino are the best people in Southeast Asia‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúPhilippines number two to Japan in economy‚ÄĚ. Then he compared it to the current status of the Philippines, ridden with thieves, extrajudicial killings, and economic deprivation forching the Philippines to import goods from other countries. He also talked about the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) being exported to pay the debt of the Philippines.
He compared the ordinary thief and political thief as well. ‚ÄúYung ordinary thief, siya pipili ikaw pa nanakawan niya. Ang political thief, kayo pumipili kung sino mananakawan sa inyo.‚ÄĚ
He recalled his father, National Artist Manuel Conde, who used to say: ‚ÄúMr. Shooli, if you want the patient to get well because he is very sick and he doesn‚Äôt want to take the bitter medicine for him to get well, give him joke. Patawanin mo. Pag bukas na yung kanyang bibig tsaka mo ipasok yung gamut. And that‚Äôs what I‚Äôm doing to you,‚ÄĚ Urbano added. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm sure ang mga sinasabi ni Mr. Shooli, tumatatak sa inyo.‚ÄĚ
He said to the UP students and all Philippine youth: ‚ÄúThis country is your country. The future of this country is your future. Then try to work on it. Use your knowledge to improve the country.‚ÄĚ
The UP Gawad Plaridel is the sole award of the UP System for outstanding practitioners known for their integrity and excellence in the different fields of media‚ÄĒprint media, radio, television, cinema, and new media. The award is named after the great propagandist Marcelo H. del Pilar, whose nom de plume was ‚ÄúPlaridel‚ÄĚ. The recognition comes with a trophy sculpture depicting the editor of La Solidaridad by National Artist Napoleon V. Abueva.
Established in 2004, the Gawad Plaridel tradition includes a lecture by the laureate on pertinent issues within their respective field or craft. Previous recipients of the honor include media luminaries such as Eugenia Apostol, Vilma Santos-Recto, Fidela Magpayo, Cheche Lazaro, Pacheco Seares, Kidlat Tahimik, Eloisa Cruz Canlas, Rosa Rosal, Jose Lacaba, Nora Aunor, Ricky Lee, Francisca Custodio, Tina Monzon-Palma, Jessica Soho, and last awarded to Bonifacio Ilagan in 2019.
Urbano is the first to be conferred the UP Gawad Plaridel after a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.