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LIST: Pinoy pop culture contributions of ‘Eat Bulaga!’ through the years

By MAAN D'ASIS PAMARAN Published Jun 03, 2023 5:54 pm

With the recent developments between Eat Bulaga’s hosts and staff and producer TAPE Inc., the longest-running noontime show in the Philippines faces an uncertain future. Initially, it was show stalwarts Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, and Joey De Leon who announced their departure, and it was followed by the resignation of the show’s other cast members and its crew

What is certain is that Eat Bulaga has left an indelible mark in Filipino pop culture, entertaining several generations of TV viewers with song and dance numbers, comedy skits, talent competitions, and hilarious unscripted moments. Here is a look back at some of the pivotal EB memories from its 43 years of unforgettable show segments, pop culture moments, and showbiz discoveries.

Bulagaan (1980s, 1988, 1989, 1990s, 1995, 1997, 2005-2022)
Bulagaan 2023 episode with the Eat Bulaga hosts

The TVJ brand of comedy was highlighted with the Bulagaan segment, with knock-knock jokes delivered in a mock classroom. Each host got to spin a wheel after their joke performance and whoever got the lowest number on the roulette was pelted with cream pies.   

Maid in the Philippines (1980s, 1990s, 2000, 2002, 2009, 2019)
Maid in the Philippines 2019 finalists

As a way to celebrate the angels of the household, Eat Bulaga launched its Maid in the Philippines segment, a beauty pageant and talent competition for a chance to win exciting prizes. It served as a way to highlight the need to value their work and contributions to society.

Give Love on Christmas Day (1980s, 2000s, 2016–2022)
Give Love on Christmas Day 

The EB hosts played Santa through several Christmas seasons by fulfilling the simple holiday wishes of their viewers. The gifts included toys, clothes, and household items, plus Noche Buena packages. Many happy tears were shed in this segment.

EB Holy Week Specials (1981–2019)
Pangalawang Bukas: Eat Bulaga Lenten Specials 2022

The hosts flexed their acting skills in this yearly Holy Week break from the usual programming. In commemoration of the season’s solemnity, they mounted touching drama anthologies that highlight Filipino values with life lessons for the viewers. 

Little Miss Philippines (1984–2005, 2007, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2019, 2021)
Little Miss Philippines 2012 grand winner Ryzza Mae Dizon

So many little princesses paraded around in pretty gowns in this mini pageant. Not only did they have to look cute, but they also had to impress the judges with their talent and their charm in the question and answer portion. Among its famous alum were 1987 4th runner-up Ice Seguerra and 2012 grand winner Ryzza Mae Dizon. Several other stars who got their first taste of the limelight were Gladys Reyes, Jessa Zaragoza, Camille Prats, Lady Lee, Julie Anne San Jose, and Pauleen Luna.

That’s My Boy (1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2013, 2019)
That’s My Boy 2019 grand winners

That's My Boy served as the male counterpart to Little Miss Philippines as an answer to the popularity of the cute little boys who escorted the pageant contestants. Among the adorable contestants who made their mark in showbiz were 1998 runner-up Steven Claude Goyong and 2003 grand finalist BJ “Tolits” Forbes.

Doble Kara (1986, 1993, 2000, 2001, 2020)
Doble Kara

As proof of the Pinoys’ boundless talent for singing, Eat Bulaga launched its Doble Kara contest that required contestants to sing the male and female voices of popular duets. The segment was called Doble Kara or two-faced because the singers had one side of their body presenting as male and the other side as female. 

Mr. Pogi (1987, 1988, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2012, 2019) 
Mr. Pogi 1996 Jericho Rosales

This segment popularized the “pogi pose” that is akin to the Korean finger heart, and is uniquely Pinoy. This male pageant was a search for handsome and smart teen boys who also had potential for the runway. Among its notable contestants were 1996 grand winner Jericho Rosales and 2006 Mr. Pogi Edgar Allan Guzman.

Banda Rito, Banda Roon: Tunog Tao (1989–2000)
Banda Rito, Banda Roon: Tunog Tao 

Another novel segment presented at the noontime show is Banda Rito, Banda Roon: Tunog Tao. The first incarnation of the contest was a rousing competition of marching bands, and as the ultimate test of Pinoy musicality, its second iteration featured groups of eight to 10 contestants making musical sounds by using only parts of their body. Armpitik, anyone?

Super Sireyna (1995, 1996, 1998, 2007, 2013, 2014, 2018)
Super Sireyna 

Eat Bulaga was one of the first to offer a platform for the Pinoy LGBTQ+ community to showcase their beauty, wit, and talent in Super Sireyna. What is even more impressive is that it also went international with Super Sireyna Worldwide, which included candidates from countries such as Nigeria, Thailand, and Venezuela in 2014.

Laban o Bawi (2000–2006, 2014–2015, 2022)
Sexbomb Girls in Laban o Bawi 

Contestants in this segment battled it out for a chance to win the P1 million jackpot prize, which was the first time for a show to give out a cash amount this big. The elimination round consisted of questions that the contestants had to answer correctly, and the winner got to choose from boxes that contained different amounts of money, egged on by the Sexbomb Girls on whether they should hedge their bets on the next box or maintain the amount that they already had, hence "Laban o Bawi."

Pinoy Henyo (2004–2007, 2009–2018, 2020–2023)
Wally Bayola and Jose Manalo in a Pinoy Henyo segment

This exciting game show segment pit the quick thinking of three-contestant teams in guessing the word flashing on the forehead of one of their partners by using only the clues "oo," "hindi, or "pwede." It was a thrill-by-the-minute game that kept the contestants and audiences on the edge of their seats.

Juan for All, All for Juan: Sugod Bahay (2005, 2010–2023)
Allan K and Jose Manalo in a Sugod Bahay episode

The Sugod Bahay segment brought the Dabarkads hosts and the TV audience to different barangays, where one lucky resident was chosen to win appliances, cash gifts, and groceries. The segment also gave the hosts a chance for unscripted repartee along with touching stories shared by the beneficiaries.

EBest (2009, 2013, 2017)
EBest scholars of Batch 2009

EBest: Eat Bulaga's Excellent Student Award was a search for 30 underprivileged but deserving students from all over the country who received financial aid towards continuing their studies. There were several batches of students that were recognized for their dedication and hard work, and what is touching was that the beneficiaries returned to Eat Bulaga when they graduated from college to share their life journey and the achievements they have had along the way.

Kalyeserye (2015–2016)
Alden Richards and Yaya Dub meet for the first time on Kalyeserye.

Eat Bulaga broke the internet and achieved its highest-ever daily ratings with its Kalyeserye subsegment that stemmed from the undeniable chemistry between hosts Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza, who formed the AlDub love team. In the 400-episode anthology, Maine played Yaya Dub, a simple and sweet girl taking care of quirky grandmothers Lola Nidora (Wally Bayola), Lola Tidora (Paolo Ballesteros), and Lola Tinidora (Jose Manalo). She fell in love with Alden but their relationship hit many highs and lows due to the meddling of the three lolas.

One of its biggest highlights was the AlDub Tamang Panahon Kalyeserye Special, a sold-out live concert held at the Philippine Arena in October 2015. The show sold tickets that raised funds for the construction of AlDub libraries for three public elementary schools.

Bawal Judgmental (2019–2023)
Buboy Villar and Maui Taylor in a Bawal Judgmental episode on celebrities following a co-parenting setup

In this segment, celebrity guests were made to choose which of the contestants fit the bill when it came to sharing a personal story related to the topic of the day. It helped to bring awareness on current issues and trivia on things that are uniquely Pinoy. May heartwarming stories have been shared, including one contestant who returned after losing his wife to cancer as well as celebrities who are following a co-parenting setup for their children.

Such are some of the Eat Bulaga moments, segments, and specials that have delighted audiences through the years. Whatever the future of the franchise holds, the noontime variety show, which aired its first episode in July 1979 and has switched through channels 9, 2, and 7, has found a place in TV history and in the hearts of its viewers by bringing its inimitable brand of “isang libo’t isang tuwa."