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'24 Oras' takes a trip down memory lane as it marks 20 years in newscast

By Melanie Uson Published Mar 16, 2024 1:21 pm

GMA Network’s 24 Oras celebrated its 20th year in the industry on Friday, March 15.

For its anniversary special, the news program looked back on two decades of delivering news to Filipinos and covering major events—such as the 2004 elections, calamities, and the COVID-19 pandemic—since the premiere of its first episode.

“Mga Kapuso, mantakin ninyo, dalawampung taon na tayong magkasama gabi-gabi para tumutok sa kuwento ng Pilipino. Kayo po ang inspirasyon namin sa paghahatid ng mapagkakatiwalaang balita sa ngayo’y nangungunang newscast sa bansa,” veteran broadcaster Mel Tiangco said. 

“Kaya simula ngayon at sa mga susunod na linggo, babalikan natin ang dalawang dekada nating balitaan ng mga istoryang humubog sa ating kasaysayan,” she continued.  

The set changed to its first design during its first episode, and then showed the footage of its first OBB, with the late Mike Enriquez and Tiangco opening the news. 

Hologram of 24 Oras' first set design as shown in its 20th anniversary episode

GMA chairman Atty. Felipe Gozon recalled suggesting to combine Tiangco’s primetime newscast Frontpage with Enriquez’s late-night newscast Saksi to become one program.

“Ako talaga ang nakaisip niyan. Sinuggest ko ‘yun at salamat sa Panginoon at tinanggap naman ng manonood, nagustuhan. That's one of the reasons why 24 Oras was number one,” Gozon said.

Mike Enriquez and Mel Tiangco on 24 Oras

Gozon noted how the TV program has been committed to objectively delivering news for the public since its launch as it recalled the program's first major coverage—the 2004 national elections. 

“Kahit na sino ang presidente, objective tayo at neutral eh. ‘Di naman tayo kumikiling kahit kanino,” he said. “Sapagkat ang balita, dapat credible lalong-lalo na sa panahon ngayon na napakaraming fake news—'yan ang ating trademark at 'yan ang ating mine-maintain.” 

The 2004 national elections marked 24 Oras' first major coverage.

24 Oras also gave a look at the different segments it has aired, including Imbestigador for in-depth news coverage, Kapusong Totoo for public service, and Showbiz Time for entertainment news. 

“Feel ko ‘yung mga televiewers, inari kami na parang pamilya nila kami. Tinatanggap nila kami sa tahanan nila every night,” Tiangco said. “We have become a part of their lives.” 

Pia Guanio covering entertainment news, which was first called Showbiz Time before it was named Chika Minute.

GMA executives, social media users on 24 Oras' 20th anniversary

GMA executives and staff as well as Internet users took to social media to share their favorite memories with the news program so far.

Lee James Castel, Assistant Vice President of GMA Public Affairs, recalled his hilarious and memorable assignment for the pilot episode of the program. 

“March 2004, kasama ako sa ilang staff ng Public Affairs na pinaraket para sa pilot ng ilo-launch noong pinakabagong newscast ng GMA-7—ang 24 Oras,” he began. 

He shared that he was tasked to feature the grand champion of the network’s talent search. After conducting a profile interview, he asked the singer to perform Through the Rain by Mariah Carey. 

Everything was going well until he noticed that his cameraman looked worried. 

“Ako naman, nandilat ang mata ko nung nakita ko 'yung cameraman ko, natataranta… nasagad na pala yung tape niya!” he said.  

“Si Ate, todo pa rin sa birit. Dahil papikit-pikit, 'di niya nakita 'yung kaguluhan namin ng Cameraman ko, na parang titigan lang ni Nora at Vilma sa ending ng pelikulang Ikaw Ay Akin!” he recalled. 

Unfortunately, they weren't able record her performance so he had to her to perform the entire song again. 

“Buti na lang, mabait si Ate, pumayag na kumanta uli. Ganyan ang mga champion! Same intensity ang performance, pero 'di na siya masyado pumipikit. Parang tinitingnan na kung this time, recording na talaga kami, especially sa part ng kanyang birit,” Castel recalled. 

He later revealed that the champion he was talking about was Rachelle Ann Go. “Umabot naman siya the following day sa airing ng pilot ng 24 Oras, sa segment na tinawag nilang… Chika Minute,” he said. 

24 Oras anchor Emil Sumangil posted the same graphic on his Instagram page, noting that he's also marking his 20 years as a field reporter. "Proud to be part of this flagship newcast mula Alerto 24 nuon, hanggang ngayon," he wrote. "Salamat, Mahal na Diyos Ama."

A social media user, meanwhile, gave a look at the evolution of the news program’s OBB to mark its 20th year in the news industry.

“You know what would be nice, tho? To hear Joel Reyes Zobel’s iconic ‘NNNNNNNAAAARITO!’ VO in the OBB again,” he wrote on X.

Jeco Placio, senior program manager, said in a Facebook post that he's in awe of the show's concept and the staff’s hard work for the past two decades. 

“As a 'laking-Patrol,' I remember watching the first episode of 24 Oras exactly 20 years ago, and the goosebumps I felt from its high-concept OBB to its 'de-oras' headlines and its content. As in I was hooked,” he recalled, sharing it served as a “gateway” for him to GMA News. 

“Today, [I'm] still curious at how it started and in awe at the people who created the concept of the show. There are no words to give justice to the hard work they poured into this,” he said. 

24 Oras first aired on March 15, 2004 on GMA-7's Telebabad line-up, with Tiangco and Enriquez as its anchors for news and Pia Guanio for entertainment. Its current anchors include Tiangco, Vicky Morales, and Emil Sumangil.