The Baes aspire to be role models
Chuck Smith (The Philippine Star) - February 24, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - No doubt about it: The Baes of Eat, Bulaga! are fast becoming major mainstays on local television. Apart from their regular appearances on the GMA 7 noontime variety show, their teen-oriented show Trops continues to dominate the ratings months after its premiere last year. Collectively, the Baes now have over one million followers on Instagram.

The Baes — composed of Kenneth Medrano, Miggy Tolentino, Joel Palencia, Tommy Peñaflor, Jon Timmons and Kim Last — were once just known as back-up dancers in Eat, Bulaga! Now, they are making their mark in showbiz as a renowned boy group and as individual artists. They are clearly living their showbiz dreams.

But for the Baes, showbiz is not just about popularity. Their main goal is to become the new role models of the youth.

“We owe it to those who supported us from the start to be the best that we can be,” said Kim, who admits that acting on television has been his dream since he was a child. “Ever since I could speak, I’ve known I wanted to be an actor. Masaya na ako. I achieved the point wherein I’m happy. Masaya ako dito.”

He added, “I am living my dream, so I feel — the whole group feels — that we have to give back.”

Wanting to be role models isn’t just lip service. Their showbiz success is proof in itself that they are worthy to be emulated by the today’s youth.

Kenneth, the Cebuano grand winner of Eat, Bulaga!’s That’s My Bae in 2015, also wanted to be part of showbiz ever since he was young. But despite having classic Pinoy movie star good looks, entering the industry was not easy for him. Since he is based in Cebu, showbiz opportunities don’t come easy for Kenneth. Moving to Manila to fulfill his dream — and to eventually help out his family, particularly his mother — was a gamble that he did not know would pay off. “Lahat naman ito, ginagawa naming para sa pamilya naming,” he said. “Minsan mahirap. Minsan wala na kaming tulog dahil sa trabaho. Pero pamilya namin ang motivation namin.”

He added, “Akala ng marami, gimikero kami. Ang hindi nila alam, kapag may free time kami, we make sure na we spend it with our family.”

Just like Kenneth, Miggy is a simple teen “na patambay-tambay lang sa labas ng bahay kasama ng mga kaibigan ko” before entering showbiz. Despite going to several auditions prior to becoming part of Eat, Bulaga!’s That My Bae contest, he admitted feeling like that’s all he ever do — join auditions.

Even when he was already part of Eat, Bulaga! before the premiere of Trops, Miggy admitted feeling defeated since, unlike fellow Baes Kenneth, Jon and Kim, he wasn’t doing anymore than appear on the noontime show.

“Meron time na gusto ko na mag-quit,” he shared. “Ang hinihiling lang naming dati, magkaroon ng show na mag-extra kaming anim na magkakasama. Naisip ko, balik na lang ako sa bahay namin. Mag-stay na lang ako sa dati kong buhay, mag-quit na lang kami.”

But his fellow Bae Tommy, a call center agent before joining showbiz, encouraged him to keep pushing forward. Their dream, after all, is no longer just for themselves, Tommy explained — it is also for their family, loved ones, and supporters who have been behind them since day one. “Yung mga tagumpay namin, yung mga achievements namin, para yun sa lahat ng naniwala sa amin.”

Clearly, they’ve gone a long way since then. “Before, when people would see us it public, they would say, ‘Uy, si Twerk It Like Miley,” said Kim, referring to the dance song their group was initially known. “Now they would say, ‘Uy, si Trops’.”

This also means, as role models, that they share what they have learned from their experience in showbiz. One of the most important lessons they’ve learned recently, Joel said, is from Trops co-star Irma Adlawan. From the veteran actress, the Baes learned that there is no point in resting on their laurels. “Sabi ni Tita Irma, ‘Mga anak, huwag ninyong iisipin na lagi kayong magaling. Ganun ako, Kasi kung magaling ka, wala ka nang patutunguhan. Pero kung iniisip ko na hindi ako magaling, marami akong natutunan, marami pa akong mapupuntahan,” he said.

Of course, as one of today’s most popular boy groups, competition can’t be avoided. But the Baes know that there is more to showbiz than just a contest of popularity.

As role models, the Baes know that despite their current success, they have to keep working hard. “Di ba may mga group na until now kilala pa rin kahit wala na sila. People would say na magaling yung mga members ng Sex Bomb Dancers or Streetboys. We want people to say someday na, ‘That’s My Bae yan, magaling yan,’” Kenneth said.

Kim added, “Sana we get to leave a mark, hindi yung isang bagsak lang, tapos wala na. We’re here for the long haul. We’re here to stay.”

BULAGA EAT
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