One of my fondest memories while growing up in Cebu City is lunching with the whole family while enjoying the happy banter of TVJ on television. Tito, Vic and Joey - the enduring hosts of noontime show "Eat Bulaga" which aired first in 1979 are still making millions of Filipinos laugh up to this day.
From their earliest shows with Chiqui Hollman-Yulo and Debraliz Velasote in RPN 9 they rivalled Channel 7's Student Canteen. They even managed to "pirate" the two female hosts of said rival show; Helen Vela and Connie Reyes. For a short while, Plinky Recto and Ces Quesada shared hosting parts with the trio and later, Christine Jacob and Rio Diaz became their muses.
Now, it is a whole gang of individual shapes, personalities and sizes - contributing to the pot that is filled with memories and fun, indeed their line in Tagalog says it all, "ito ang tanghalian ng inyong buhay" (this is the lunch of your life)! Who could forget seeing little Aiza strut the duckie walk in Little Miss Philippines or the many loves found and lost and found anew by 'bossing' Vic; the romantic marriage of Senator Tito to enigmatic Helen Gamboa and seeing their children especially Ciara who is now host of the same show grow up before our very eyes? Joey's own children Kempee and Chenee also made memorable appearances along with Daria Ramirez and now, Kempee joins in hosting segments of the show. The same goes for Vic's children Oyo Boy and Danica.
Last week, Vic even showed excerpts of Danica's wedding to Mark Pingris. And it was but proper having had the entire Philippines see him from that 'tikling' singer fronting then VST band to the 'bossing' that he is now. His courtship and marriage to Miss D (Dina Bonnevie) was shown in Eat Bulaga, their painful married woes and the many other loves that followed were all visible in the show - if not consciously so - then it was shared as normally as anyone who goes through lifes many journeys. And we watched, perhaps judged, but continued to watch the comedy and the drama that is Eat Bulaga because we know everyone by heart. We know them and have owned them as one of us, maybe we know they live more comfortable lives, go to more lovely homes, drive fancier cars, have assistants and servants at their beck and call - but we know their strengths, their weaknesses, their errors, we have been through the happiest and saddest moments of their lives with them; cried their sorrows, laughed their joy, even created jokes along with them, we have expressions, one-liners, banters that have come from them, popularised by them and shared with them.
My daughter is starting to dance the "itaktak mo" and watches Bulagaan along with me and my husband. The lunch of our life is being passed on to the next generation.