It’s a Brain Game

- Maximilius T. Tuason () - April 27, 2003 - 12:00am
The seats at the Sylvia P. Lina Theatre at De La Salle Zobel in Alabang are slowly filling up, with students from different schools practicing their cheers with colorful streamers. Backstage, four teenagers are having a tense but friendly getting-to-know you session.

Then the house lights dim and the stage lights intensify, revealing a futuristic backdrop of LCD displays, large-screen monitors, and four uniquely-designed podiums. The cameras focus on the now fully-lighted stage. The audience cheers and applauds as the four teeners appear onstage for an hour of mind-boggling and head-scratching questions. In the audience, giggly girls hold up their streamers with original battle cries like "Go, Jed, Go!" and "Keep It Up, Ryan!" Welcome to another adrenaline-charged episode of the Digital LG Quiz.

Considered one of the best educational programs on local TV, the Digital LG Quiz has featured many of the brightest whiz kids in the Philippines today. Aired every Sunday at 9 am on GMA 7, it’s now on its fourth year, rare for a program of its kind. Paolo Bediones and Regine Tolentino are the show’s celebrity quiz masters.

"We’re simply amazed at the kind of contestants we have," says Paolo, acknowledged as one of the best hosts on prime time TV. "You would think we would get nerdy or boring types, but instead we have outgoing and really lively guys and girls who all happen to be whiz kids."

"The show doesn’t just entertain," adds Regine, "but it also helps educate, apart from being very modern and hi-tech!"

Both Paolo and Regine have been with the show from the very start–and both are excellent choices. Apart from being familiar faces in the entertainment industry, Paolo is actually a Top Ten graduate of Interdisciplinary Studies from Ateneo de Manila University, while Regine is MTV Asia’s first Filipina VJ and a recipient of the Gintong Ina Award in the Entertainment and Business category.

The Digital LG Quiz is sponsored by LG Collins Electronics Manila, part of the worldwide LG Collins Group. "The show is actually part of our corporate commitment to help our youth prepare for the future," shares LG Collins Manila president Henry Jang.

"To make the program as unique as possible," says director Pat Perez, "our creative team formatted it as an original concept-driven game show presented in quiz format." The program has five segments: Password, Picture Puzzle, Think-Tac-Toe, Blockbusters and Megabytes, with most of the questions coming from trivia king Bong Barrameda.

Using LG Collins’ cutting-edge technology, the show was made more appealing to the MTV generation with its combination of audio and video dynamics. "Our show can actually boast of digital production quality and formatting," says executive producer JB Bautista, "along with high-tech graphics supporting its futuristic theme."

Its hip blend of technology and education helps keep students glued to the TV every Sunday morning. For instance, during the popular Blockbusters section, movie clips are shown on the huge LCD monitor and each contestant has to answer questions related to the video clip.

The mental wizards who battle it out every Sunday come from a variety of backgrounds, dispelling the stereotype that mind games only attract the geeky set. The group includes a campus paper editor, Internet addict, computer buff, debate champion, honor student, team medalist, student body officer, club president and PC game fanatic.

And, to show the depth of its commitment to helping these young people, the show has awarded over P10 million in cash, scholarship funds and products to its weekly, monthly, quarterly and grand champions. Grand champions Bryan Lagason (2000) and Andrew John Lena (2001) are now taking up their college education at the University of the Philippines.

The show’s most recent grand champion is 16-year-old Laurence Lloyd Parial from Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology. "At first I was thinking the show wasn’t really that interesting," says the outgoing fourth year high school student, "but when I saw that it could also help bring added recognition to my school, I decided to join."

The Digital LG Quiz has been consistently nominated for Best Game Show in the Star Awards. In 2001 it not only won in the Best Game Show category but also in the Best Game Show Host category as well. "We actually bested other popular foreign-licensed game shows such as Who Wants To Be A Millionaire," JB excitedly adds.

Recently, the show received the Anak TV Seal of the Southeast Asian Foundation for Children’s Television (seafctv). Known as the "People’s Choice for Family-Friendly TV Programs," the seal is bestowed on TV programs judged worthy of support by Filipino families and of patronage by the education, business and religious sectors.

Also, the show just launched its LG Circle of Wizards, an elite club of the quiz show’s quarterly winners who are tasked with conducting youth-oriented activities aimed at making education a fun-filled endeavor. "We’re all looking forward to going out and having a great time doing these things," says club member Andrew.

"Getting to see these lively, young smart minds makes your realize that learning is really a great way for a great future," Paolo shares.

"You can also see that the prospects are indeed bright for today’s young people as they build their future in their own dynamic way," adds Regine.

Back to the show. Paolo asks the final question, "Who was the famous Nobel Peace Prize Winner for 1979?" A bright-eyed girl presses her buzzer and blurts out, "Mother Teresa!" The score display in front of her goes up to 320 points.

As soon as Regine declares her as the winner, her school’s contingent screams in glee, cheering wildly and waving excitedly.

"Remember, it’s cool to be smart!" Paolo waves back to the excited students. Indeed it is!

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