Did you know that I am once a Batang Batibot? It's quite a pity that nowadays, naging laughing stock na and medyo binastos ang term na "Batibot". Thanks to that great mockery song!
I will relive here the memories of my little stint on the hit Pinoy Children's show called "Batibot". Si Ate Lea nun umaariba na sa West End with her "Miss Saigon" stint, ako naman sa Batibot. Hehe!
I was just wondering what if my parents allowed me to continue with my TV career back then. I'm a true Libran so I am really inclined to those artistic ventures. I was active in school plays during High School. I'm a gay guy what would you expect? I've played most of the lead male roles like Florante, Crisostomo Ibarra and Simon . I thought I'm in it for theater. Until computers came, and the rest is history like the period at the end of this sentence.
Around this time 18 years ago, I shot a segment for "Batibot" with Kuya Bodjie, Kiko Matsing and Pong Pagong. What a foursome! Pero in fairness, bihira lang ata maka-eksena yung tatlong 'yun huh!
It's what I call, the 'Kaimito' scene. If I remember correctly, I was wearing a dirty green shirt that day. They made me wear that actually. Of course, it's my grand shooting day so mega-bihis ako on the way to the studio. Syempre, dapat maganda suot ko sa TV! Tapos, papapaltan din lang pala.
When I am about to go in, they asked me to wear that ragged shirt. Later on, I realized why. The kaimitos were in fact greasy and smelly, it would really leave a stain on my fresh shirt earlier.
A talent coach rehearsed me prior to the shoot. Ilang lines lang naman 'yun. It was mostly counting how many kaimitos I have. As if Kiko Matsing and Pong Pagong didn't know how to count, eh? Parang gusto kong sumigaw nun ng "6 kaimitos, ah ha ha ha!" then with matching thunder claps sound effect! Bwahahaha!
I had a fun experience with the whole Batibot gang theme. From the auditions, to the castings, up to the weekly workshops & excursions.
I remember during the auditions, my aunt just dragged me into it along with my 2 other cousins. There I was standing in the middle with a huge light on me. On my front was a table with the 10-12 panelists. Including of course Kuya Bodjie & Ate Sheena. I forgot the name of the director.
All I could remember during the screening process was I was enumerating the names of each and every house pets we had, pati ata yung sa cousins ko which is our next-door neighbor eh minention ko na rin. Ang lolo nyo, bibong-bibo nung mga panahong 'yon kaya ayun, ako lang ang natanggap sa aming tatlong magpi-pinsan. Pag naaalala ko 'yun, natatawa talaga ako.
I guess they casted me because of the sharpness of my memory and my talkativeness. Yep, madaldal talaga ako nung bata at makwento, sobra.
We shot a portion of the opening sequence sa Fort Santiago, chasing a kalesa. It's a bit tiring because we had to do the same chasing thing over and over again hanggang lumawit ang dila ng mga kabayo!
But the hardest part of the entire shoot was the scene wherein we had to emerge from a low-lying treeshrubs and stare directly into the blazing sun.
Aba, inabot ng ilang takes yun. Being the smallest kid in the group of 3, I was in front. Sideways ang shot. The second kid at my back had his hands on his forehead looking at the sun (at least siya he has a bit of protection) while the third kid at the back is pointing one hand to the sun.
The director could see that I have my eyes closed that's why it took several takes. Naman! Eh sino ba naman kasi ang makakatingin ng diretso sa araw, aber!?
After lunch nun, my dad who accompanied me to Fort Santiago told me that the director wants to talk to me. Sheez! Was it about the sun-staring thing earlier? I head on, and found out he is actually giving me my TF (talent fee). It was P200. Malaki na ata nun yun. As in!
When I saw the finished opening sequence a few months later, it was well worth it. Ang saya! It looked we had so much fun back there!
ON THE SMALL SCREEN
The 'Kaimito' scene was finally aired around June of that same year, 1989.
We already have a Betamax recorder at that time. The thing was, we weren't inform of the actual airdate. I just heard my mom shouting that it's on TV right then and I came out from my room into the salas and the whole family was already there in front of the TV set.
I won't ask if anyone has a copy of that video segment. I might've well asked RPN 9 for it or so. But I would love to have a copy of that episode. Huhuhu!
PS: Ever noticed the huge trunk of a tree standing in the middle of the Batibot town? Well, it's only a tree trunk after all. And all I thought there were actually branches and leaves and everything. Sadly, there's none.