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Saab Magalona and Jim Bacarro on podcasts, self-care, and unusual date nights

By Cecile Baltasar Published Mar 25, 2024 5:38 pm

Now in its sixth year, Wake Up with Jim & Saab, one of the Philippines’ first local podcasts, is starting its new season with a new home: ANIMA Podcasts. 

Aside from being wildly entertaining, this podcast has one other big thing going for it: the “Jim and Saab” behind it are real-life couple Jim Bacarro and Saab Magalona.

Married for nine years now, the witty Podparents have a strong following (128,000 Spotify followers) in their self-professed Podkids and even Podkanos (their listeners from abroad). And to think Jim and Saab started their podcast only as a way to spend more time together early on in their marriage. 

Self-care amid marriage and parenting

In 2018, Saab and Jim became first-time parents. Three years into their marriage, they were raising a son, grieving over the miscarriage of their son’s twin, and adjusting to married life. 

The difficult birthing experience, heartbreaking as it was, led them to several important realizations.

“What we went through pushed us to check our mental health,” says Jim. “We wanted to make ourselves better.”

“And while doing that, we discovered that I had ADHD and Jim had social anxiety,” says Saab. “I’d been a content creator for 20 years, but I stopped that year because I was going through stuff after that birth. Jim told me, ‘Let’s create content. I’ll hold your hand through it all. Para makapag-usap tayo.’ So we did. Naging date night na rin namin ‘yung podcast. We killed two birds with one stone.”

They had finally found a way to talk to each other beyond planning all the logistics that go with being new parents. 

“We found our calling,” says Jim. “We thought of our podcast initially because of all the stupid things we talk about. But now, we realize that one of the most important things we do on the show is to show our Podkids that it’s okay to not be okay.”

From making household budgets to beso etiquette

With 6.8 million streams of their podcast, and counting, Saab and Jim have brilliantly cultivated a community hungry for real and honest talk. Nothing is off-limits on their podcast. One day, they’re doing a deep dive into the nuances of "beso"; another day, Saab and Jim are giving tips on how to make a household budget; and on yet another day, they’re chatting with another equally popular online influencer, Phillip Te Hernandez, a.k.a. Davao Conyo. 

This year, Saab and Jim take all that wit as they move Wake Up with Jim & Saab into its new home, Anima Podcasts. 

A Philippine-based podcast production company under Kroma Entertainment, Anima Podcasts is home to several other local podcasts, including Stephanie Zubiri’s Soulful Feasts, Victor Anastacio’s Intellectwalwal, and pop culture podcast Endslate from Quark Henares, Ramon de Veyra, and Mel Alcaraz. 

The digital age can indeed reinforce social isolation. On the other hand, with podcasts like Wake Up with Jim & Saab, being online gives people the benefit of finding a community to call their own. By insisting on doing their podcast despite child-rearing issues, anxiety and ADHD, and occasional lover quarrels, Saab and Jim show their Podkids that there’s a safe space online. And everyone’s welcome.