The morning barkada marks 20th year

KAPUSO DAY - Angel Javier Cruz - The Philippine Star
The morning barkada marks 20th year
Over the years, the Unang Hirit barkada has grown

There is no doubt that Unang Hirit has become part of our lives for the past two decades that our mornings are incomplete without them.

Even before the sun literally rises, we already see the UH barkada on television broadcasting live from the GMA Network studio and from any point of the country, sometimes even abroad. As we begin our morning and prepare for work or school from Mondays to Fridays, they are already up and about dishing out hottest news, fun segments, and public service.

Doing Unang Hirit for more than 5,000 mornings though does not feel dragging at all for Arnold Clavio. “Wala akong maramdaman na ganun katagal eh. Every day is a new day,” he says. Together with Suzi Entrata-Abrera, and Lhar Santiago, Igan is one of UH’s pioneer hosts.

 “Magandang experience kasi it’s a different animal. Kapag nasa labas ka, yung mga plano mo pwedeng di mangyari,” says Suzi. “It’s an honor to work with the remote teams. Minsan pag nasasanay kami sa isang kind ng hosting, maganda rin ‘yung naaalog-alog din sa remote team.”

Some of the familiar faces who reminisced with the UH barkada this week included Miss Universe 1999 first runner-up Miriam Quiambao

Since Dec. 6, 1999 the UH barkada continues to get bigger, too. Joining Igan, Suzi and Kuya Lhar at present are Lyn Ching, Love Añover-Llanko, Susan Enriquez, Connie Sison, Ivan Mayrina, Mariz Umali, and Luane Dy and its team of experts, Nathaniel “Mang Tani” Cruz, Atty. Gaby Concepcion, and Mareng Winnie Monsod. The group is made even more colorful with the presence of regular UH katambays Boobay, Juancho Triviño and Joyce Pring, and also recently, with Mga Batang UH Yuan Francisco, Angelica Ulip, and Leanne Bautista.

For the present UH barkada, waking up extra early to give viewers great mornings is a blessing.

Connie, who has been with the show for 10 years already, knows all too well the challenge of being a super early morning person. “Pero once maalpasan mo yun, pagdating namin dito sa UH studio, pag nakikita mo yung mga kasama mo, parang pumunta lang ako sa isa ko pang bahay. Talagang happy ako to be part of the show,” she says.

And just like a real household, Unang Hirit also became a venue of new learnings for everyone.

“Ang dami kong natutunan dito,” says Susan. “Kanya-kanya sila ng strength na gusto mong ikaw ay maging ganun din. Si Igan stock knowledge yan, si Suzi bubbly napakasarap na all these years lahat nung mga experience nila maibabahagi nila sa amin.”

For Ivan, UH made him “evolve” as a news person. “As a group, we evolved as a more cohesive group. Ito yung samahang hindi pilit. What you see is what you get. What you see on-cam is what you see off-cam. Pag nakita mo kami sa coffee shop ganito pa rin kami sa isa’t isa.”

As the longest-running morning show in the Philippines celebrates its 20th anniversary, UH is going all-out on its special episodes for the entire week. Known for its trademark of producing in-depth interviews with people who make the headlines, UH was in Malacañang last Monday (Dec. 2) where Igan and Susan interviewed President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

On top of featuring festivals all over the Philippines, UH has prided itself of broadcasting from various parts of the globe such as Singapore, Hong Kong, and Paris. Its Unang Hirit sa Vatican and Italy and Live sa Holy Land hosted by Susan Enriquez and Rhea Santos, respectively were both a first in Philippine television and earned recognitions from the Catholic Mass Media Awards. Unang Hirit’s coverage of the Resorts World Manila attack in June 2017 also earned the Philippines its sole nomination at the prestigious 2018 Golden Nymph Awards of the Monte-Carlo Television Festival in Monaco for the Live Breaking News category.

Pia Arcangel (second from left) and UH’s ‘Boy Traffic’ Oscar Oida, with Arnold Clavio and Susan Enriquez.

Last Monday, UH brought Kapuso viewers to Korea with Mariz Umali and Joyce Pring reporting live from the Korean Folk Village, wearing the Hanbok no less.

And because it’s a week-long anniversary celebration, viewers can also expect UH alumni dropping by the studio. Some of the familiar faces who reminisced with the UH barkada this week included Miss Universe 1999 first runner-up, Miriam Quiambao, Pia Arcangel, UH’s “Boy Traffic” Oscar Oida, and yes, we missed him too Igan’s alter ego and morning TV show puppet Arn-Arn.

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