All they wanted was to make enough money to buy a car. That was nearly four decades ago. Today, Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, and Joey de Leon lord it over competitors in their time slot, but it did not come easy.
Eat Bulaga, the noontime variety show that keeps on giving, did not reinvent the wheel, but they are good at using old concepts and tweaking it for their audience. Like any show, it went through birth pains, but once they hit their stride, other shows found it pretty hard to topple them from the top.
The show has given us funny, it has had it share of corny, and has taken liberties with the term "variety," but when you hear the people singing its catchy jingle, "Isang libo't isang tuwa buong bansa... Eat Bulaga," you know it has definitely touched many lives and watching it has become a staple as eating rice, mula Batanes hanggang Jolo as they say.
In honor of its 37th anniversary, we've listed down the things EB has, for better or worse, given us:
1) Tito, Vic & Joey (1978)
Bringing a dash of kwela to the noontime viewing habit, this comic troika was already an established showbiz entity prior to Eat Bulaga. With their penchant for pop song parodies, they gained popularity performing wacky versions of Top 40 songs on Discorama's "Tough Hits" segment. They later scored their own sitcom, Iskul Bukol, and reaped success before stirring more small-screen mischief right when people were about to have lunch. Silly gags, comic skits, song-and-dance, cash prizes and so much more, EB forever cemented Tito, Vic and Joey's place in local pop culture.
2) Ritchie D' Horsie (1979)
The perennial zany sidekick of TVJ rose to fame capitalizing on slapstick comedy. Ritchie d' Horsie's toothless grin, meanwhile, projected the perfect "pangit" look that set the standard for other wannabe sidekicks. Rene Requiestas may have gotten a few pointers from him. Ritchie has passed away but his favorite quote still remains—"remember M, remember E, put them together and remember me."
3) Kaserola Ng Kayaman (1979)
Eat Bulaga consistently dished out crazy and imaginative games. "Kaserola ng Kayamanan" is one of their earliest offerings of a tawaran game and could have been the precursor to the show's hit contest "Laban o Bawi." Back then there was "Kuwarta o Kahon" from a rival show. Bulaga's modified version replaced boxes with cooking pans, a crude but wacky setup, and the contestant had to rearrange all five of them hoping to win the P10,000 jackpot prize. The hosts poking fun at the contestants made the segment an even bigger hit.
4) Carabao English (1980)
Although not a new concept, Filipinos can easily identify with someone who speaks broken English, which became known as "carabao English," and eventually became identified with EB co-host Jimmy Santos. He once hosted a "Sugod Bahay" segment like so:
"Hello, from where is that address? Don't be shout," he advised the winner who was freaking out with excitement.
He also asked questions like, "Can the dabarkads will enter already to your door? I'm talk to you one by one, word for word, okay? Your husband is a farmer. How about you, what is your workmanship?"
When the winner described her occupation as a "labander" (labandera), he quipped, "How much do you earn for your labander a day?
His famous pauso, delivered in his best approximation of pa-cute, was: "I love you three times a day."
5) Lenten Season Specials (1981)
Lent is a time to hole up inside the house, but for the producers of Eat Bulaga, it became a yearly tradition to impart lessons, joining the largely Catholic nation in remembering God's sacrifice. As a rare treat, Tito, Vic & Joey, whom we're so used to seeing making people laugh, launched a special Lenten season presentation that sees them dabble in drama. Along with other EB hosts, they told stories that would inspire people's lives.
6) 'Little Miss Philippines' (1984)
Filipinos love beauty pageants. Kids' beauty pageants, even more so. Thus, the child search "Little Miss Philippines." It had the customary intro segment (kids in gowns), the talent portion and the best part, the question-and-answer where the wittiest, most precocious of kids bantered with the wisecracking adult hosts. You could easily tell which little girl had the talent and mass appeal. What wasn't apparent back then, though, was which of the young lasses was to be Vic's future wife, Pauleen Luna.
7) Aiza Seguerra (1987)
Due to fierce competition among rival programs, Eat Bulaga almost lost the ratings game to Lunch Date, due in large part to host Randy Santiago's shtick with his mysterious shades. Then Aiza Seguerra came along. Famous for her duck walk and her funny quips, she was the favorite candidate for the "Little Miss Philippines." Despite her first runner-up finish, she would become one of the show's phenomenal discoveries. Now a transman and married to actress Liza Diño, he (yes, he prefers to be addressed as such) enjoys a steady singing, songwriting, and acting career.
A segment of the show wherein the hosts play students in a class supposedly led by professor Tito. He asks a question, which students in small groups answer through knock-knock jokes. A wheel is then spun for their final grade; the ones that get the lowest also get pied in the face. Slapstick, sure, but looks like fun.
9) Gracia (1994)
Samantha Lopez, aka Gracia, gained fame via the show's "Rambulaga" game segment. When it was time to draw the number, Joey would call out her name, "Graciaaa..." And like a sexy round girl in a boxing match, she would walk across the stage carrying a placard with the winning number. Joey thought Gracia was a fitting name because she "brought in a lot of graces" to lucky winners.
10) 'Lottong Bahay' (1995)
Touted as the largest raffle draw in the history Philippine television. True or not, just imagine this: It was such a hit that one of their grand draws had to be conducted at the Quezon Memorial Circle. They even had to use of a forklift for the overwhelming amount of entries. The chance of winning must have been amazingly slim, but people joined anyway.
11) Dabarkads (1998)
Francis Magalona, the country's Master Rapper, joined the Eat Bulaga family in 1998. He used the term "Dabarkads" in addressing the EB family and fans. The show uses the name to this day and has become commonplace among Pinoys. Francis, meanwhile, succumbed to leukemia in 2009.
12) SexBomb Girls (1999)
Eat Bulaga dropped one of its biggest bombs on noontime TV with the introduction of the all-
13) Tough Hits Redux
Joey, who coined the term "tough hits," was already a prolific comedy writer during the early days of TVJ. He wrote songs and gags for films. However, when they decided to embark on solo careers, EB became Joey's center stage where he continued to make parodies of hit songs. His Joey To The World and Kagat Labi albums spawned hits like "Canton," "Itaktak Mo," and "Kagat Labi," the latter becoming the opening number of Eat Bulaga for some time.
14) Laban O Bawi (2000)
With a whopping P1 million in cash prize that can be won in the tawaran portion, it was no surprise that the segment became a hit among viewers. Most Pinoys, after all, have a penchant for waiting for manna from heaven. SexBomb also became an integral part of "Laban o Bawi," even recording a song of the same title, which was used for the segment.
15) Star Factory
Aiza was in good company as one of the show's discoveries. EB had so many contests that attracted a lot of hopefuls over the years. Before becoming mainstream personalities, the show was stepping ground for the likes of: Arnold Clavio, who joined the "Flashback" (1983) and "Footloose" contests; Rosanna Roces, who initially tried for a showbiz break via "She's Got The Look" (1991); and Dennis Padilla, who actually joined "Mr. Pogi" along with actual pogi boy Jericho Rosales; and many others.
16) Byword Trendsetter
Whether you heard it from them or from others, any word, phrase or expression the hosts of EB would use often almost always becomes a catchphrase, inducted into the hallowed halls of Pinoy pop lingo. Things like "ache-che-che," "palpak," "mwah-mwah-tsup-tsup," "pabebe wave," "AlDub you," and many others—these are actual Pinoy expressions popularized by this all-around show.
The show gave rise to another trio—Jose Manalo, Wally Bayola, and Paolo Ballesteros. Jose started out as a part of EB's production team, while Wally was teamed up with the former in the "Bulagaan" segment. The tandem clicked and headed the "Juan For All, All For Juan: Bayanihan Of D' Pipol" segment (see below). By 2010, Paolo, a former teen heartthrob, joined the two in the segment. Their popularity soared via the "Kalyeserye" segment wherein the three played The Lolas, who dressed in drag. They were such a mainstream megahit that people dressed up as them for Halloween. Suddenly, lolas in drag became hits at Christmas parties.
18) Juan For All, All For Juan: Bayanihan Of D' Pipol
This segment underscores the newfound purpose of the show—to help less fortunate people and bring joy to their loyal supporters. It is composed of three parts: "Sugod Bahay," where the host will draw one lucky resident from the participating barangay to win at least P50,000, as well as other prizes from sponsors; "Plastic Ni Juan," where the host will announce to bring a specific household item plus 15 plastic bottles for cash prizes; and lastly, "Barangay Bayanihan," where communities get monetary rewards for organized behavior. This brought the noontime show ratings war to head, because now EB cares more about what they give than what they get from their viewers.
19) Pinoy Henyo (2004)
Spurring more Christmas group activities or family bonding games, "Pinoy Henyo" tapped into the Pinoy psyche that thrives in communal games, kulitan and kwelahan, and cash prizes. The game isn't new or terribly complicated, and is even universally played. In this version, a player tries to guess a word by asking questions to another player answerable only by "oo" (yes), "hindi" (no), or "pwede" (possible). The shorter the guessing time, the better. The twist is, they contestants are seated on a futuristic chair with a sci-fi looking helmet, thus depicting a genius in some sort of weird mad lab. If you can't go on the show to play the game, you could try the apps.
20) Hopia (2006)
Rosa Ann Boleche joined the "EB Babes" talent search to pursue her dreams of becoming a dancer. During its first edition, she was made group leader and excelled in the dance portion. What is notable about her is that she is jumpy and would often make mistakes, earning her the nickname Hopia. She was later cast in the "Hopia Like It" portion doing funny spiels before the "Pinoy Henyo" segment. She would bring the hosts food and, as parting shot, she would say "hope yah like it." Genius.
21) Tunog Tao
Another most-awaited segment is the "Banda Rito, Banda Roon: Tunog Tao." A group of five or more members would use their body parts as musical instruments, while the rest sing. These people can put beatboxers to shame—or not! "Tunog Tao" terms such as "armpitik" (played on the armpit, you get the picture?), "boombuga," "asthmatik," and "hitambol" were introduced in this hilarious contest. Best not shake the hand of that armpit dude.
22) Eat Bulaga! Indonesia (2012)
We like watching local versions of foreign shows but apparently, Indonesians like our celebrities (Christian Bautista, for one) and productions. An Indonesian program director had been watching EB on YouTube, liked what she saw, and pitched to her new boss at SCTV. Eat Bulaga Indonesia premiered on the Indo channel on July 16, 2012. It was the No. 1 TV show on its timeslot the first year. Cancelled in April 2014, it was picked up by the network ANTV as The New Eat Bulaga! Indonesia in November of the same year.
23) Ryzza Mae Dizon (2012)
In 2012, Ryzza Mae joined "Little Miss Philippines." She wasn't an immediate hit and was only called back for the wildcard round. She snagged the crown, thanks to her bibo nature and seemingly quick wit. She earned the nickname Aleng Maliit for the way she spoke, and eventually got her own eponymous talk show (perhaps the only child star that did), and was the titular character on the dramedy series Princess In The Palace. She currently stars on Calle Siete.
24) Yaya Dub (2015)
One boring afternoon, a sweet and wacky girl uploaded her Dubsmash video of Kris Aquino on YouTube. It went viral overnight with a million views earning her the title of Dubsmash Queen. Little did she know that this would change the course of her destiny. Maine Mendoza did not make it into a popular reality show in the rival network, which turned out to be a blessing. Her appearance in the "Juan For All, All For Juan" segment introduced her to the mainstream—her alter ego Yaya Dub was born.
25) Pambansang Bae (2015)
Alden Richards had been in showbiz for some time already but popularity proved elusive for this prim-and-proper looker. Even his stint on Eat Bulaga co-hosting the segment "That's My Bae" initially did not do wonders. One day, a chance pairing with Maine Mendoza revved up not just Alden's career but gave Pinoys our Pambansang Bae.
26) AlDub (2015)
Foreigners were dumbfounded as to what AlDub was after the term trended on Twitter worldwide and landed on everyone's feeds. The amalgamation of the names Alden Richards and Yaya Dub, the main characters of "Kalye Serye," it began when the latter saw the former on the split-screen monitor. Playing on a hunch, TAPE, Inc. head honcho Tony Tuviera asked Alden to step into the camera to be seen by Yaya on-screen from a remote location after learning that Maine had a crush on the budding heartthrob. It blossomed into a "real life/reel life" Cinderella-like romance that thrilled millions of fans here and around the world, thus giving Eat Bulaga soaring TV ratings for months and dominating the noontime game. The tandem's popularity wasn't just on TV and social media; it set an attendance record when they brought the show to the Philippine Arena.
27) Kalye Serye (2015)
Before the birth of AlDub, the shtick of Lola Nidora, Alden, and Yaya Dub were part of the "Problem Solving" portion of "Juan For All, All For Juan" segment. Yaya's initial role was simply to attend to Lola's every needs while the latter gave advice to people with problems. When Yaya fell for Alden's charm through the course of the series, an unexpected change in content and format occurred. Almost seamlessly, "PS" evolved into "KS" since the series and its barely scripted events unfolded in the streets. Again, EB pioneered a new concept in soap opera presentation on a noontime slot; it became the most-watched segment of the show.
28) Lola Nidora (2015)
The character that started it all. A replacement for Dora the Doktora, Lola Nidora was Wally's pièce de résistance. A cranky rich woman, Nidora was said to be patterned after Celia Rodriguez, who, at the height of the show's popularity, even guested on the show. Her main shtick was to just be a doña, who ordered Yaya around and made sure the advances of the latter's suitors were thwarted. When AlDub's popularity soared, Nidora became much nicer and took to dispensing moral lessons (traditional Pinoy values) aimed at millennials, the main core of the duo's fans. She popularized the phrase "tamang panahon," not only in reference to AlDub's young love, but also as advice to its young followers.
29) Pabebe Wave Craze (2015)
Eat Bulaga declared September 26, 2015 as the "National Pabebe Wave Day," an event where thousands of Filipinos all over the world did the gesture. Even foreign diplomats from the US Embassy in Manila rode the craze by posting photos of them doing the famous gesture. Jumping on the bandwagon at various instances were other foreign celebrities like Bryan White (who sang "God Gave Me You"), Charlie Puth ("See You Again"), Brandon Beal ("Twerk It Like Miley"), Vin Diesel and US President Obama—well, almost.
30) Sa Tamang Panahon (2015)
All roads led to the much-anticipated event at the Philippine Arena where the phenomenal love team of Alden and Yaya Dub finally met. Throngs of fans flocked to world's largest indoor arena, easily filling up its 55,000 capacity. Tickets sold out in mere two days, earning a total of P40 million. Proceeds were used to build AlDub libraries in various schools nationwide. The event's hashtag #AlDubEBTamangPanahon registered a record-breaking 41 million tweets, beating the 35.6 million record set by World Cup's Germany vs Brazil match in 2014. Sa Tamang Panahon, which aired for three hours on TV with no commercial breaks, earned the show its highest TV rating of 50.8 percent.
31) Bryan White
If God gave us Eat Bulaga, Eat Bulaga gave us Bryan White. Well, it actually gave him a career resurgence—here in the country at least. If kids didn't recognize this artist from before, they certainly know him now, thanks mainly to his 1999 hit "God Gave Me You," which was one of Alden's signature Dubsmash songs on the show. The singer eventually came to Manila for a show on Dec 1, 2015.
32) Bodyguards (2015)
EB has successfully utilized even their minor staff—the Rogelios (Lola Nidora), the Bernardos (Lola Tidora/Paolo Ballesteros), and the Quandos (Lola Tinidora/Jose). Just a quirky addition to the "Kalye Serye," the bodyguards maybe non-speaking extras but they do up the segment's comic quotient, especially when the Lolas hassle them.
33) HBD Girl (2015)
Patricia Tumulak was cast as the HBD Girl doing birthday greetings when she first started in Eat Bulaga. She gained more followers after her impressive aerial dance performance during the "Bulaga Pa More, Dabarkads Pa More" competition. Crowned Miss Philippines-Fire at the 2009 Miss Philippines Earth pageant, she was also one of the Top 15 at the Binibining Pilipinas 2011, and the Miss Multiverse Philippines 2014. She appeared in the Sprite "Magpakatotoo Ka" TV commercial.
34) Bae-by Baste (2015)
Like Maine, two-year old Sebastian Benedict, now popularly known as Bae-by Baste, also became an online sensation after his cute videos went viral on Facebook. Ryzza Mae spotted him among her show's studio audience and took selfies with the boy from GenSan. The EB hosts also did the same backstage as Ryzza's show drew to a close. Now, Baste is a bona fide member of the Eat Bulaga family.
35) Vic's Girlfriends
The show was not really meant to introduce Bossing's ladies to the public but somehow, and through the years, it just played out that way. Though Dina Bonnevie was the only woman he married then, he's had relationships with some of the show's mainstays: Chiqui Hollman, who said their romance was short-lived; Coney Reyes, with whom he had a son, Vico; Angela Luz, mother to Paulina Luz Sotto; Christine Jacobs; and Pia Guanio. Just last January, the then-61-year-old Vic married Pauleen Luna, 27, his EB co-host since 2011.
36) Network Ratings War
Though the war between ABS-CBN and GMA-7 started way back, the battle for noontime supremacy has been brewing for some time as well, thanks in large part to EB's popularity. Shows have been pitted against it like 'Sang Linggo nAPO Sila, Magandang Tanghali Bayan, Wowowee, and It's Showtime to topple it from the top. Though the show's ratings would dip every now and then, 37 years on air is the most impressive feat of all. Curiously, the biggest pain the ass for the rival network is not a GMA-7 production. Eat Bulaga is a block-timer program produced by TAPE, Inc. aired on GMA.
37) Twitter Battle
Millennials may be masters of social media, but the popularity of EB's AlDub led even luddites and older people to learn to tweet. In a tremendous show of fan support from all walks of life, all over the world, they consistently tweeted every hashtag from episodes of the "Kalye Serye." This spurred a Twitter war of sorts in a quest to be the No. 1 trending topic of the day. It got so heated, there were even rumors of sabotage from non-Aldub fans by making variations on the hashtag so they would not be counted.