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It was August 2005 when a new TV show was launched in ABS-CBN Channel 2. It was an interesting TV show for the cast were not celebrities but ordinary people. It was an intriguing one for they had to live in one house for 100 days wherein all their moves were being captured by a number of cameras and in no time, aired on national TV. It was the Philippine version of the most celebrated TV show worldwide, the Pinoy Big Brother (PBB).
It was a very unique show because it was reality-based. It was the very first in the Philippines and Filipinos were astonished with all the surprises the show brought. Even me, I was hooked on it.
I was having my review for the Chemical Engineering board exam in Cebu at that time. Me and my classmates/boardmates religiously watched PBB everynight. We loved it because we were always entertained by the housemates. We also got carried away by each housemates’ emotions. We reacted and we commented on their behavior that led to debates sometimes. In fact, we also felt that we were also Kuya’s housemates.
After the 100 days, Filipinos couldn’t just get over the show. So the network decided to open a second season and started to scout for possible housemates.
By June 2006, there was an audition in Cebu. This time, I was already working. It was a rainy early morning when I rode a jeepney to work. I lived in Labangon and I had to take one ride to the city proper wherein our company’s shuttle is waiting to fetch us (the company where I worked in offered free rides for the plant was located at Mandaue City).
But before my jeep reached our meeting place, I stopped it, went down, and hopped into another jeep to SM Cebu. I brought my biodata with me as well as food and water to get me through the day. On impulse, I decided to have the day off and line up for PBB audition.
When I arrived at SM, the mall was still closed but there were already a number of people outside. The people were diverse from all walks of life. Some were students, some just graduated, some were young professionals, and some were “tambay”. Then I asked myself, “Do I really have to be here?” I thought that if I would commute to the plant, I would already be late. Better be absent than to be late. “You’re already here. Just carry on,” I answered myself.
After a few minutes, the ABS-CBN staff arrived and motioned us to go at the back of the building for the entrance. After the security guards checked our bags, we lined up. Upon lining up, I came to meet a few people.
One was a very friendly guy who was so loquacious. He was so excited for the day. He initiated the conversation first and opened up himself for everybody. He also attracted two other persons aside from me to listen to him. According to him, he was a musician. He hadn’t finished college for the love of music. His father actually disowned him for his stubbornness. So he lived alone and made music his living.
However, being in Cebu meant having a lot of competitors. He just had small “rakets” in small-time bars. His earnings were not that good but it was fine with him. I understood. His battle was for the pursuit of his happiness and being happy is not that always easy.
The other two persons were students – one girl and one gay. Both were good looking and I could see some potential in them. They were just silent and like me, they were also unsure of what were they doing there.
After a while, another loquacious person came into the scene. Her name was Angel – the only person I knew of the name. She was such in a hurry to catch up for she just came all the way from Bacolod. “My God! She traveled just to audition? So, I was not the only stupid person there,” I realized. Then she told us that she already auditioned in her hometown but unfortunately didn’t get in. So she opted to try again in Cebu. It was just a ferry boat ride for her so why not take the risk? She talked about her audition experience and while she did, I thought to myself that I didn’t belong there.
Based on the people I met, there was one with talent, two good lookings, and one with experience. I didn’t have any one of those. So I must not be there.
Then the staff gave us numbers and branded us with a stamp that we were aspiring housemates. There were cameras around us. They took a fanning of the very long queue. Everytime there were cameras, I turned my back from them because I didn’t want anybody to know that I auditioned. It would be a shame!
Eventually, the audition started. The process was so fast. Ten people would go to the stage. They would just stand there without nothing to do. Only the cameras were moving. With the scrutinizing eyes of Derek Laurenti Dyogi, he would select those who would pass his taste.
Ten after ten, and only a few were chosen. Then came our turn. The only one who got in from our group was the pretty student. So I just laughed. If I had wasted my time there, it was much more for Angel. She then told me not to go home yet. She requested me to stay with her and I said yes immediately for I already had the day off. We agreed to just watch the audition.
I didn’t know how Derek Lauren did the selection. Definitely, looks mattered most as always but there were also instances when he didn’t choose the pretty and the handsome ones. Maybe, it was the charisma. You know that sort of thing that makes you stand out and shine from the others? The X factor as they said!
After phase 1 of the audition, ten people (from those chosen) were hailed to the stage. The same thing happened. Those numbers that were mentioned stayed while those that were not were eliminated. How pitiable. They were already given hope but it vanished instantly.
When they were done, ten were called again. This time, Derek Lauren gave them a thing to do. They were asked to sing the PBB theme song with their tongues out! Then he selected and eliminated. Another ten came and he just let them twirl and twirl. Another ten and he let them bark – just any task that first comes out from his mind, he let the aspirants do. And he selected and he eliminated.
For phase 4, the group of ten was given a situation to act out. It was so funny for everything was impromptu. It was a test of quick thinking of what to say and do. Angel and I enjoyed watching “the show” so much until it was time for lunch. Then we took a break and ate at Chowking.
There, we had a chance to talk. She told me that she was desperate to get into Big Brother’s house for she had just broken up with her long-time boyfriend. They were about to get married when her boyfriend had another girl pregnant. As she was relating to me her sentiments, I almost cried. I felt her pain and her lost. She was so disheartened and frustrated with her life. That was why she was trying to do various things to let her forget the dreadful thing that happened to her.
After eating, we went back to the activity area. As we went down, we noticed that the line shortened. Angel and I looked at each other and she said, “Let’s try again!” I laughed and agreed with her. With hope in our hearts again, we lined up. The same process happened and luckily this time, Angel passed phase 1. We were so happy! So I didn’t have any business there anymore but I hadn’t said goodbye to my new friend. So instead of going home, I stayed there as a supporting friend. Phase 2 came and Angel passed again. For phase 3, the group was asked to sing the PBB song like a crazy person. Perhaps Angel’s acting was not that quite good and she got eliminated. So I just met her down the stage and hugged her. Then we laughed hard – so hard that the people were staring at us.
After getting back to our senses, tears fell down her cheeks. She then told me that it was the happiest day in her life after her break-up. For months, she hadn’t laughed and even smiled heartily. She embraced me and thanked me for the company. I was so touched and thanked her also. People were again watching of the drama that was happening. And we laughed again! They just didn’t have an idea of the realizations that we just both had.
Alas, she had to go. Bacolod was too far a place to go home to. We said goodbyes and good lucks. We wished each other happiness in our respective lives. Both of us left SM with light hearts though we didn’t passed the audition.
It was already twilight on my way home. It was just like an ordinary day computing home from work. But before I went to bed that night, I laughed at myself for the craziness I made that day. Though I felt like an idiot for lining up just like the others who had nothing to do with their lives, I felt fulfilled. At least, I did it! At least, I tried.
Like Angel, I had at least risked a day in my life for the pursuit of happiness like the musician was doing. And the good thing was, I had shared with the lives of strangers. They came in an instant and they were only passers-by in my life but I couldn’t forget them. From them, I learned to be true to myself and to follow my heart as the theme of the show, “Ang storya ng totoong buhay.” Though I hadn’t got into Kuya’s house, I had found my housemates with whom I had bonded with in just a very short time.
As PBB opens again today, I hope that it would touch plenty of lives as it had. For everything that we do with an eager and pure heart would never end up in vain. As what I did, lining up five years ago for the show had not come in vain. So I’m sharing this story to you for the lessons learned. Henceforth, my private baliw-baliwan had now gone public!
Finally Got Outside the PBB House!