Ang Pinaka according to 1,000 kids
Anak: By M. C. Hatol
We were island hopping in Coron, Palawan when an SMS message beeped in from Augie Rivera, one of the country’s unsung children’s literature writers. He is part of QTV’s Ang Pinaka, a novel weekly program that rates fairly in the TV game despite logistical handicaps.
The show was to feature a panel of kids for the first time, Rivera gleefully announces. The juvenile panel was to corroborate or blast the choices of a thousand kid respondents from six grade schools in five cities.
We thought the episode was not worth missing that Sunday at 6 PM. After all, one of every three Pinoy’s is a child. It is always delightfully enlightening to hear it straight from the mouth of babes.
The unaided, open-ended and top of mind survey covered a thousand pupils aged 8 to 10 in Grades 2 to 4 from Ramon Magsaysay Elementary School, Cubao ES, Alabang ES, Makati ES, and the grade school divisions of Jose Rizal College (Mandaluyong) and Roosevelt College (Marikina).
Fifteen questions were fielded but we were floored by a few top choices: Kamikazee was the band of choice, chiefly because its hits are popularly followed by kids, thanks to the theme song of Darna, a famous telefantasya. FPJ was the runaway choice as pinaka-idolized politician. The panel was asked why they agreed and the answers came naturally and uninhibitedly: He is kind, sincere, enjoys employing kids in his films. Malacanang should worry that Arroyo landed number three, after Bong Revilla.
This reminded me of a similarly informal survey we did in Bulacan four years ago. We wanted to satisfy a Canadian-Filipino friend’s curiosity about which hero our next generation of leaders looked up to. We asked first graders in public schools. Bong Revilla was the number one "hero" followed by Robin Padilla. Poor Jose Rizal trailed Bonifacio at number 4.
The number one choice for female comedian was Pokwang, perhaps because she was highly visible during the period of the survey and because her monicker is simply funny. Ai-ai delas Alas figured in second spot proving the saying that "out of sight, out of mind."
When mostly GMA stars were being selected (newscaster-Mike Enriquez; telefantasya-Majika; superhero-Captain Barbell; child star-BJ Forbes; male singer-Ogie Alcasid and Koreanovela character Jang Geum of Jewel in the Palace, we suspected that it was one sneaky GMA ploy.
However, after Pokwang was cited and when Sarah Geronimo landed the top slot as favorite female singer, our suspicions vanished. Pacquiao was the expected choice for favorite athlete even if he is touted as ABS-CBN property.
Rivera explains that they try to be neutral and "hardly care about the network wars."
Pia Guanio, acknowledged as the glam showbiz gossip girl, is the concession to the show’s perceived need for stellar material to anchor the program. Her humdrum studio shoot could have been done by lesser known stars with similar effect, we thought. The kiddie episode ended up looking like a patchwork quilt because nowhere in the entire episode was there a connection between panelists and host. Rivera comes to the rescue by explaining that when her busy schedule opens up, Guanio is able to do field reportage.
The show is always a fun survey with no academic delusions, we discover. It is after all a light infotainment program propped up by its own surveys and lists: Popular tsibugans, the most fabulous celebrity weddings, almost anything under the Philippine sun. No need to ape AC Nielsen nor be armed with scientific data to satisfy skeptics. The Pinaka team simply enjoys doing the weekly feature and it shows. The day QTV programmers hit their heads on a beam is when they will finally realize that Ang Pinaka is a veritable gold mine. There is no harm assigning it to prime time and on mainstream TV.
We excitedly look forward to the panel discussion on the public’s choice for the most "malditang kontrabida," anchored by Celia Rodriguez and the forthcoming episode on the most sought-after celebrity endorser (but who else but the boxer of the season?)
We also look forward to how the prolific Rivera can rise to the challenge of putting together a trivia book containing not only the results of their pinaka surveys but also tidbits on Pinoy life and times.