His modulated voice, boisterous laughter, compassionate yet straightforward style of advising and words of wisdom rooted in deep faith — all these fill the airwaves late weeknights courtesy of Bro. Jun Banaag, O.P.’s long-running radio show, “Dr. Love.”
For years now, Banaag’s voice has been the companion not only of late night workers — particularly public utility vehicle drivers who move around the stress in the dead of the night — but even senior citizens who have made “Dr. Love” a habit.
“Majority of my listeners right now are senior citizens — as old as 97 years old. May mga bata rin na nakikinig na maybe naiimpluwensiyahan ng magulang. But there are also those in the working force na kasa-kasama tayo pag pauwi sila from work tuwing gabi,” Banaag proudly noted at DZMM’s press conference last week.
To be sure, “Dr. Love Radio Show” focuses on the matter of the heart. Touted as one of the best counseling programs on radio, it encourages people to speak up about their problems in life and to see situations from a different perspective.
Romantic, familial and spiritual concerns
With a personal approach in giving pieces of advice to his listeners, Banaag won a legion of followers who call the network’s AM station to seek advice on romantic or familial concerns.
Moreover, listeners can request music, send in text greeting, and exchange stories on the show, so they will be entertained and won’t feel alone especially during sad moments.
“All through the years hindi na lang counseling, it has evolved into a program that gives spiritual counseling,” Banaag confidently added.
A dark past
A picture of firm belief and faith, Banaag did not shy that he was once a sinner himself, allowing for him to be more emphatic to his listeners who seek guidance.
“I left my family for another woman and lived in the States for 10 years. I was a philandering husband; [I] was,” he clarified.
He turned his ways however and returned to his original family in 1997, the same year he got into the radio program.
“After 10 years, I came back, and in 1997, Radio Veritas took me in as a production director and they gave me a program. Sabi ko, anong format? And they said counseling,” he recalled.
He was admittedly hesitant, but his then vice president convinced him in saying, “Marami ka namang kalokohang ginawa sa buhay mo, so kaya mo na yan!”
“But initially the program was designed for the younger generation, sa mga magsusyota with lovers quarrel, and it ended up like a public service.”
The program aired for two years before Banaag eventually came to DZMM and continued “Dr. Love.”
“Maraming problema ang tinatalakay ng programa and at the end of the day, masaya kami ng EP ko dahil nakakatulong kami hindi man financially, nabibigyan namin ng konting kapayapaan yung tumawag o humingi ng tulong.”
Rooted on faith
A layman belonging to the Dominican Order, Banaag — whose O.P at the end of his name stands for Order of Preachers, a label invested on laymen who preach the values of the order — it goes without saying that Banaag’s view on the program are rooted on his faith.
“As part of the order, we live by the rule of St. Dominic, we preach veritas or he truth and so kahit pa makasakit ka, kadalasan nakakasakit but that’s the way it is, kailangan mo ang katotohanan,” Banaag firmly noted.
One such issue for him is the topic of LGBTQIA+ and the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression Equality Bill or SOGIE which came to attention of many after the unfortunate incident of one transwoman who was upheld after using a woman’s comfort room.
“For me, hindi na kailangan ang SOGIE. Kasi yung LGBTQIA+ mga tao yan na tulad natin, na may human and Constitutional rights that protect us. I cannot comprehend why a man who thinks he is a woman would use the comfort room of a woman.
“I agree with Ricky Reyes, I don’t know him personally but I agree na dapat lumagay tayo sa dapat nating kalagyan. Kung gusto mong magdamit-babae, mag-itsurang babae, karapatan mo yan. Pero [dapat] matutunan mong harapin ang consequence. Kung tingnan ka ng kapwa mo pag pumasok ka sa restroom ng lalaki at nakadamit ka pambabae, tignan ka ng masama, that’s the consequence. Dapat handa ka.”
He also noted that the country and society are not yet ready for LGBTQIA+ hence, the hesitation of most Filipinos.
“Aminin natin sa Pilipinas hindi tayo masyadong exposed sa ganito. We respect them but tayo na mga tao na may hustong pag-iisip, anuman ang desisyon natin sa buhay, kailangan handa tayong harapin ang consequence,” he reiterated.
At the end of the day, besides his strong stand on controversial issues, Banaag is happy to be of help to his listeners. And that’s what keeps him doing the program.
“Knowing that you have helped a single soul is fulfilling already. It is finding time to listen to the problems of listeners that makes the day fulfilling. Most of the time, people need someone to just listen to their problems,” Banaag ended.