Batibot- Ang Pagbabalik - The Filipino Rambler


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Friday, October 15, 2010

Batibot- Ang Pagbabalik

My childhood isn't complete without Batibot-- the TV show my age loved! Who can ever forget Kuya Bodgie and Ate Siena? And the characters like Pong Pagong, Kiko Matsing, Manang Bola, Irma-daldal and the sisters Ging-ging at Ning-ning?

I learned the alphabets and numbers thru Batibot. I had an appreciation of the things surrounding me through this telivision show. Yes, I miss Batibot! And today comes the good news- Batibot is returning on air!

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The Kapatid network recently inked a co-production deal with the Philippine Children’s Television Foundation Inc. (PCTVF), which created the show in the ’80s to supplement the education of pre-school children and introduce them to local culture and heritage.

“Under the agreement, TV5 was granted broadcast and line production rights to air the show,” TV5 said in a statement sent to Inquirer Entertainment on Wednesday.

Bodjie Pascua, the show’s resident storyteller, is a theater and film actor. Sienna Olaso, who played everybody’s big sister, is now director for entertainment and marketing of the Araneta Coliseum.

“This is something that today’s youth needs,” said Olaso. “Socio-cultural values like pagmamano and the use of ‘po’ and ‘opo’ should be taught constantly.”

Olaso said the show’s production team is “very open” to using modern means of teaching. “Now, we can make use of animation. We want to adapt to the demands of today’s kids. I remember how extremely careful we were before because the attention span of kids were so short, paano pa kaya ngayon?”

Sadly, the show’s main muppets, Pong Pagong and Kiko Matsing, will not be seen in the new season due to licensing issues between PCTVF and Sesame Workshop, which co-produced “Batibot” until 1989.

Pong is the baseball cap-wearing clumsy turtle, while Kiko is a brown monkey inspired by Oscar the Grouch in “Sesame Street.”

“Some characters like (the forgetful fortune-teller) Manang Bola will still be around. We will also introduce new ones,” said TV5 executive vice president and COO Bobby Barriero at a recent media gathering in Mandaluyong City. “The new season will make use of virtual sets and artworks made by kids as backdrop. The teaching method will be different but will still be as interesting as before.”

Other popular human characters were Ate Isay (Isay Alvarez-Seña), Kuya Mario (Junix Inocian), Kuya Pilo (Teofilo Pili), and Kuya Ching (Ching Arellano), the resident jeepney driver.

Twenty-two years after the show went off the air, Seña said people still call her Ate Isay. “It’s about time that the show is revived. It will definitely benefit the new generation of kids,” Seña said.

Im 30 and still excited for the come back.. Now I can sing along once again to its happy tunes, this time together with my 6-year old pamangkin!

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