And the Eat Bulaga! saga continues

EYES WIDE OPEN - Iris Gonzales - The Philippine Star

There goes another plot twist. The house that tried to build a new Eat Bulaga!, Tahanang Pinakamasaya! has aired its last show. The news is all over social media and by the time this piece comes out, an official statement, I’m told, will be released.

Happy days are over, indeed. This was just roughly nine months since the new show started. Financial difficulties were among the reasons for the short-lived run, sources say.

Eat Bulaga! meanwhile, in its new home, TV5, is winning the ratings – and earnings – war. Tycoon Manny Pangilinan is happy about it, say my sources.

The art of entertainment

At the end of the day, Eat Bulaga! the variety show that media tycoon Antonio Tuviera or Mr. T., as he is known in the entertainment industry, has built, remains unbeatable. Why is this? Because he knows production like the back of his hand. He started from the ground up, holding those long snaking cables for the cameramen, doing film editing and scoring etc., to earn a living.

Indeed, what this latest plot twist shows is that television production is primarily an art first before it is a business.

Many of the successful top honchos of successful entertainment entities have extensive production background. They have mastered the art of entertainment production.

For instance, Charo Santos-Concho, former CEO of ABS-CBN, started as a production assistant with the pre-martial law Radio Philippines Network.

Even the so-called Mother of Creatives, Malou Santos, former head of Star Cinema, started as a production assistant in the 1984 movie “Pasukuin si Waway” top billed by Rudy Fernandez.

As for Mr. T, the Eat Bulaga! he founded premiered on July 30, 1979. It was he who pitched the idea to the triumvirate Tito, Vic and Joey, whose fame rose to meteoric heights because of the noontime show.

This was what I wrote last year: “As the co-owner of Television and Production Exponents Inc., the company behind Eat Bulaga!, Mr. T. handled the show’s day-to-day operations and steered the ship through different competitors and changing audience preferences.”

These real life stories tell us that producing an entertainment show, as I said, is an art. And hard work. It’s also about building relationships with the staff and the celebrities. It’s not about the bottomline, at least at the start.

You have to do it right first – which means pouring in serious money – without expecting to earn right away. Now if you successfully produced a good show, which has a bigger chance of happening if you come from a production background – then big bucks will follow.

It’s not for the fainthearted. Some tycoons who ventured into the world of television production had to unplug shows almost as soon as they started.

Even Eat Bulaga! wasn’t built overnight.

On his Instagram page yesterday, Joey de Leon, who is also an artist and poet, posted this, “Here’s another Eat Bulaga story to the tune of our theme song.”

Mula sa parking

Nun ng Intercon

The deal was sealed

Later one afternoon

The year nineteen

Seventy nine

Nag toast kami...

Italian wine.

Hindi pa nga yun

Kay Mister T.

The bottle of

Asti Spumante

Baon yun ni Mister B.G.

of Iskul Bukol na nahuli!

Sina Tito, Vic and Joey

‘Bahala na’ ang sabi

Basta paki lang ni Ek-Vi

Makabili lang ng kotse!

Nagsimula na nga

Eat Bulaga

Wala ngang sweldo

For one year yata

Nang meron na

ang balita –

sa taxi daw...

ay nawala!


Syempre walang


Kaming tatlo...


This, at the very least, shows that Eat Bulaga!, the longest-running show on Philippine TV, didn’t become a sensation right away.

If there’s a show that wants to follow in its footsteps, proponents should first start by mastering the art of entertainment production – of how to run things on the studio floor and on and off camera.

The legacy of Don Geny Lopez Jr.

From entertainment, I now move to heritage art as I put the spotlight on the late Don Geny Lopez Jr., because of his family’s legacy of patronage of the arts.

Don Geny’s father, the titan Eugenio Eñing Lopez Sr., believed that preserving and promoting Filipino heritage through art could develop a national soul across generations.

Like his father, Don Geny imbibed this and embraced a love for the arts with the aim of promoting our heritage.

The result is a stunning Don Geny Lopez Jr. Collection and some of its pieces will go under the hammer on March 9 in yet another art auction by León Gallery.

“Gems from the Don Eugenio ‘Geny’ Lopez Collection, the man who had a ringside seat to the best of Philippine modern art across several generations, are also an important highlight. The Lopez Collection includes a rare heptatych (or 6-part) painting by Arturo Luz, a wonderful BenCab of dancing Sabels, among many others. Fine furniture from a kamagong cabinet and a long dining table crafted by Omeng Esguerra are just some of the highly covetable lots,” says Jaime Ponce de Leon of León Gallery in the auction catalogue he sent to me, along with an invite to the upcoming Asian Cultural Auction (ACC) 2024.

There are also other art pieces to be auctioned off. I won’t be surprised if León Gallery breaks records once again.

Congratulations Team León and ACC for yet another adventure in Philippine art.

*      *      *

Email: [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @eyesgonzales. Column archives at EyesWideOpen on FB.

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