The Bulaga 'graduates'

STAR BYTES - Butch Francisco () - July 27, 2010 - 12:00am

Like what Joey de Leon said in his column for this paper last Sunday, Eat, Bulaga! turns 31 this July 30. But for some reason, the celebrations aren’t held until the last quarter of the year. Let’s just put it this way: Eat, Bulaga! is a fun show to watch and every episode is a celebration.

This noontime show — still on top and ahead in the ratings game — had been around so long that a sizeable fraction of the current showbiz population had tried their luck in one of the show’s long list of contests. For some, that became their passport to stardom, but for the others, they took side trips and still ended up in showbiz.

Here are some of the entertainment celebrities who took part in some of Eat, Bulaga!’s past competitions: 

* Alice Dixson was a fresh-faced balikbayan from Staten Island in New York when she joined Reyna ng Santacruzan, a daily beauty search that even had a talent competition. The contest was so named because the coronation day was held in May, the month of Santacruzan, and the grand finals had the participants parading on stage like the Empress Helena (basically the Pinoy depiction of the saint who found the missing Cross of Jesus) — complete with Constantinos.

Alice was among the finalists, but failed to win the crown. Shortly after, she joined the Binibining Pilipinas, won one of the major titles, and was sent to Tokyo, Japan for the Miss International pageant, which again proved to be uneventful for her.

A year later, she became a TV sensation with her soap commercial where she says: “I can feel it.” She was cast as the first Faye in Okay, Ka Fairy Ko! (Tweety de Leon took over when Alice left the show and the role of the wife of Enteng Kabisote, as played by Vic Sotto, was portrayed by different other actresses on the movies, among them, Kristine Hermosa, now Bossing’s soon to be daughter-in-law.)

Alice also became Regal Films’ Golden Girl and her Dyesebel screen version (with Richard Gomez as Fredo) was one of the most successful incarnations of this Mars Ravelo komiks material. She is semi-retired now and is based in Canada where she is wife and mother. In 1998, she was hailed Metro Manila Filmfest Best Actress.

* Dennis Padilla tried his luck and joined Mr. Pogi. He was turned down in the auditions, but in time made a name for himself as a comedian and, later, as a local politician. The Mr. Pogi reject landed one of the pretty Barretto sisters (Marjorie) and raised a family with her until the time they decided to call it quits.

* It was the dream of a whole generation of little girls to join the Little Miss Philippines contest. Some of them may not have won the title, but still ended up in show business just the same. Here’s a short list of female celebrities who tried their luck in Little Miss Philippines and how far they reached in the annual search:

Gladys Reyes — Little Miss Philippines runner-up

Donna Cruz — Little Miss Philippines runner-up

Geneva Cruz — Little Miss Philippines semi-finalist

Maybeline de la Cruz — grand finals level

Pauleen Luna — daily search winner

Camille Pratts — daily search winner

Dindin Llarena — Little Miss Philippines runner-up

Aiza Seguerra — Little Miss Philippines runner-up

* Among the Mr. Pogi winners who ended up in showbiz were Jericho Rosales, Danilo Barrios and Edgar Allan Guzman, who established a career as an actor in indie movies.

* Makisig Morales was a That’s My Boy winner.

* Michael V. and lady rapper Lady Dianne joined the Check 2,000 singing contest (Check was a soap brand) and they reached the finals level.

* Rachelle Ann Go as a little girl was a Birit Baby winner.

* Rico Barrera, who was in the first batch of Pinoy Big Brother, was a semi-finalist in Mr. Sexy.

(Next: This writer’s own experiences in Eat, Bulaga!’s many contests.)

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