Seeing action with the Kung Fu Kids
Gian Carlo Vizcarra (The Philippine Star) - February 1, 2008 - 12:00am

Nine-year-old child wonder Jairus “Jomar” Aquino almost instantly caught the public’s fancy when he played support to Makisig Morales’ Budong in the more than 16-week-run of the first installment of the hit ABS-CBN fantaserye Super Inggo. He was eventually known by fans as the Pambansang Best Friend ng Pilipinas, proof of the success of the Budong-Jomar tandem.
After Super Inggo 1 ended early last year, Jairus landed roles on teleseryes like Lastikman, Rounin and Super Inggo 1.5, where he reprised his Jomar role, and even co-hosted Little Big Superstar with Sarah Geronimo and Makisig.

With the premiere of Kung Fu Kids recently, Jairus takes on the responsibility of playing lead star of the kapamilya network’s first action animé series.

“Jairus was so effective on Super Inggo that he made people cry and laugh,” says Kung Fu Kids Business Unit head Enrico Santos. “Over time, Jairus has not just proven his talent, but his appeal to fans, so it should come as no surprise he is now topbilling Kung Fu Kids.”

Asked what motivated ABS-CBN to do the show, Enrico recalls, “When Super Inggo ended, parents strongly conveyed to the management how the show served as their bonding time with their family and how they want a show with the same format to be part of the Primetime Bida. Heeding their request, the idea of Kung Fu Kids was born with Jairus as lead star Lembot.”
Kung Fu Kids tells the story of Lembot, a sickly nine-year-old boy who learns Kung Fu to defend his younger sister and himself from the bullies, and measure up to his father’s expectations. His desire to learn martial arts led him to be in the middle of an ancient battle until everyone dear to him — family and friends — was put in danger.

“I’m very happy ABS-CBN trusted me with this project,” admits Jairus. “Ibang klase ‘tong show na ‘to. It’s high tech.”

Santos adds that the show boasts of the most advanced Motion Capture technology with 360 degree, 12 camera set-up — a first in Philippine entertainment history.

More than the sophisticated technology Kung Fu Kids is using, he clarifies that, “The main objective of the show is to tell the story of seven different kids, whose life experiences can entertain, inform and touch kids of all ages. We are more than happy that advanced technology is helping us realize the show’s objectives.”

According to production manager Raymund Dizon, Kung Fu Kids, written by Wali Ching and directed by Malu Sevilla and Richard Arellano, also serves as a vehicle to introduce the new batch of child stars.

In the first episodes, viewers seem to be fond of Joseph Andrei Garcia’s character Chubbs, whose funny character is constantly being hounded by hunger.

“They gave me the role because I’m not as thin as Jairus,” says Joseph. “At least, I don’t hungry on set.”

Eliza Pineda, who recently starred on Maria Flordeluna, plays the scam artists’ daughter Sarah, whose only wish is for her parents to lead peaceful lives.

“After doing drama, I’m happy I can do a little action here,” says Eliza, who played opposite Judy Ann Santos and Piolo Pascual in blockbuster ‘Til There Was You. “I’m also happy that I get to work with kids my age.”

Just recently, Eliza and Kung Fu Kids ­co-star Joshua Dionisio topbilled the Puppy Love episode of Maalaala Mo Kaya.

In Kung Fu Kids, Joshua plays Jazz, the kid whose mysteriousness will lead to the group’s downfall.

Joshua, who was Ken on Super Inggo, reveals that he is challenged with his newest TV assignment saying that, “ nakakagulat ang mga gagawin ko dito, pero hindi naman ako sobrang sama.”

Little Big Superstar finalist Kristoffer Danggulos plays Benjo, an orphan who secretly supports an orphanage, while Jane Oineza, the young Kristine Hermosa on Prinsesa ng Banyera, receives her biggest TV outing as Moira, a spoiled brat envious of her younger sister.

Reality show winner Paul Salas makes a kapamilya debut as Uragon, a brave kid who aims to provide for his impoverished mother.

“I’m happy to be a kapamilya,” says Paul. “I hope people will support our show because everyone did his best for the televiewers.”
Kung Fu Kids also stars Jodi Santamaria, Mariel Rodriguez, Sid Lucero, Wowie de Guzman, Allen Dizon, Matteo Guidicelli, Erich Gonzales, Kian Kazemi, Asia Agcaoili, Arlene Muhlach, Christopher Peralta and Gerard Pizarras.

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