On July 30, 1979 the TV network RPN9 (now CNN Philippines) launched a new noontime variety show primarily hosted by the comedy trio and hosting veterans Tito, Vic and Joey. It was “Eat Bulaga!” now the titleholder for longest-running noontime variety program. Through several decades of near-uninterrupted airing “Eat Bulaga!” made Filipino lunchtime fun from RPN9 to ABS-CBN to GMA7, where it makes its home to this day. And while the old legend is locked in fierce competition with the noontime show of network rival ABS-CBN, it still has time to prepare for an epic birthday celebration, with “Eat Bulaga!” turning 40 years old at the end of the month.
Inquirer.net tells us that one of the pioneering “Eat Bulaga!” hosts, none other than Joey de Leon himself, has launched a photo blitz at his Instagram page in anticipation for 40 decades of their noontime variety show, which will happen this July 30. In these photos that he posted on Wednesday July 3 , featuring the current “Eat Bulaga!” host roster for GMA7, Joey gave a heartwarming salute to the two major elements of the program’s years-spanning longevity: his fellow co-hosts and the loyal fandom, colloquially known as the “Dabarkads.”
“Four decades of EB!” de Leon exclaimed in the caption for one Instagram pic, emphasizing the show’s initials where they might be found. “EB will never disappear from the heart of ‘telEBision!’ And EB can be found in the heart of forEBer! And to us, you come first…EBerybody!” The photo in question showed the “Eat Bulaga!” hosts waving at the camera with the image taken during the Holiday season, judging from the snowflake motif of the stage in the background.
In subsequent posts, Joey de Leon also talked about changes that “Eat Bulaga!” will be recently undertaking. For one, their production will be transferring to a new venue, at APT Studios. Even here the comedy master found a target for humor by equating “APT” to “apat” (four), referencing the new venue move happening on their fourth decade (prior venue transfers had been between host networks). He also spoke of the passing of time and what it means for the show and its hosts, particularly the core trio of TVJ. “We will get old, you will get old, everyone will get old, but you will remember us,” de Leon said in another Instagram entry. “Remember that. Happy four decades to the whole gang! And to all “dabarkads,” much blessings to all of you! Thank you, God!”
Such has been the national iconic status of “Eat Bulaga!” that it became the first Philippine program to franchise to another country. “Eat Bulaga! Indonesia” ran from 2012 to 2014 on Indonesian network SCTV, before moving to antv and continuing shows there up until 2016.
Image courtesy of SunStar