Eat Bulaga! is a noontime variety show in the Philippines produced by TAPE, Inc. and aired on GMA Network. The show broadcasts from The New TAPE Studios (Eastside Studio) at the Broadway Centrum in New Manila, Quezon City. Eat Bulaga! is aired on weekdays at 12:00 pm to 2:30 pm and Saturdays at 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. The show is also broadcast worldwide through GMA Pinoy TV and via livestreaming on the show's official YouTube channel.
The show celebritated its 39th year on Philippine television on July 30, 2018, holding the record of being the longest-running noontime variety program in the history of Philippine television.
The RPN years (1979–1989)
Production Specialists, Inc., a company owned by Romy Jalosjos, brought the idea of creating a noontime show for Radio Philippines Network (RPN). Antonio Tuviera, who was working for the company, thought that the comic troika of Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto and Joey de Leon, better known as TVJ (who had gained fame through GMA Network's Discorama and as pinch-hitters for Student Canteen, but subsequently left both), would be the perfect hosts for the new program. At a meeting at the InterContinental Manila parking lot (now closed), Tuviera made the offer to them; they accepted.
Joey coined the title of the show: Eat represents lunchtime while Bulaga (which means "to surprise") represents their plan to fill the show with big surprises. The title is also a play on two children's games: Eat is the transliteration of It from the game tag while Bulaga! refers to Peekaboo!. Because of this, the slogan "Hangga't May Bata, May Eat Bulaga!" ("While There Are Children, There will be Eat Bulaga!") was coined, also by de Leon.
Eat...Bulaga! premiered on July 30, 1979. TVJ, along with Chiqui Hollman and Ritchie d' Horsie as the original hosts. During its first few months on the air, the show was in danger of cancellation. Not only did it face competition against the longest-running noontime show at that time, Student Canteen, it also lacked advertisers. In addition, TVJ did not receive their salaries for six months.
Eat...Bulaga! slowly gained top-rating status in 1980 after the introduction of the segment Mr. Macho. Production Specialists soon handed production to Tuviera's TAPE, Inc. In May 1982, the domestic satellite was launched, allowing Eat...Bulaga! and other RPN programs to be aired nationwide. During the same time, Coney Reyes joined the show while Hollman moved to Student Canteen. In 1987, Aiza Seguerra joined the show after finishing as a runner-up in the "Little Miss Philippines" segment.
Its easily recognizable theme song that begins with the famous phrase "Mula Aparri hanggang Jolo" was introduced in 1982. The lyrics of the song were written by Vincent Dy Buncio and Pancho Oppus, while the melody was composed by Vic Sotto and musical arrangement by Homer Flores. These famous theme song was revised many times and was used to different opening billboards of the show.
An interview with Joey de Leon revealed that he, Tito and Vic never signed any contract with Eat...Bulaga! when they were offered to become hosts of the show. Vic Sotto confessed that he accepted the offer and would immediately stop once he had enough money to buy a personal vehicle. Joey de Leon also admitted that the show was only supposed to be a short-term employment. However, Eat...Bulaga! defeated Student Canteen in the ratings after two years and TVJ decided to stay with the show. Up to this day, no contracts bind Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, and Joey de Leon to the show or to TAPE, Inc. Friendship and their loyalty to the show are the only factors that keep them together.
The ABS-CBN years (1989–1995)
In the year 1989, Eat...Bulaga! moved to ABS-CBN (under a co-production agreement) with other TAPE-produced shows Agila, Coney Reyes on Camera and Okay Ka, Fairy Ko! due to problems brought about by the sequestration of RPN.
On February 18, 1989, the show premiered on its new home of the said network, which was staged at the Araneta Coliseum aside its celebration on its 10th anniversary on September 23, 1989.
The GMA years (1995-present)
First decade on GMA and silver anniversary (1995–2004)
By the 1990s, ABS-CBN wanted to buy the airing rights of Eat...Bulaga! from TAPE Inc. However, Tuviera and Malou Choa-Fagar rejected the deal, leading ABS-CBN to decide not to renew its contract with TAPE, Inc. and remove Eat...Bulaga! and its sister shows Valiente and Okay Ka, Fairy Ko from its roster (with the exception of Coney Reyes on Camera) and to reformat its Sunday show Sa Linggo nAPO Sila into a week-long show, 'Sang Linggo nAPO Sila.
Eat...Bulaga! moved to GMA, whose efforts to dethrone it with Lunch Date (replacement of Student Canteen shortly after the 1986 People Power Revolution) and SST: Salo-Salo Together have failed. The show made its premiere telecast on its new home on January 28, 1995, again at the Araneta Coliseum, with a TV special Eat... Bulaga!: The Moving. Before this, month-long promotions (from December 1994 to January 1995) were made by coming up with the catchy advertisements, 9–2=7, Totoo ang Sie7e ("Nine minus two equals seven, Seven is really true"), alluding to the show's move from Channel 9 (RPN) to Channel 2 (ABS-CBN) to Channel 7 (GMA). It was also a homecoming for TVJ, who previously hosted Discorama and pinch-hit for Student Canteen on GMA before leaving the network for Eat...Bulaga!.
In 1999, Eat...Bulaga! became the first to give away millions on Philippine television. When Magandang Tanghali Bayan, then the noontime show of ABS-CBN, introduced "Pera o Bayong" to its audience, it became an instant hit, causing MTB to top the ratings of Eat...Bulaga for two years. This forced the Eat...Bulaga! management to give the first millions, through its segments "Meron o Wala" in the mid-1999 and then "Laban o Bawi" in the late 2000 to get the audience interest back.
Eat Bulaga! celebrated its 25th year on television on November 19, 2004 at the amphitheater, Expo Pilipino in Clark Air Base, Angeles, Pampanga, making it the longest-running noontime show in the Philippines. The television special was attended by an estimated at more than 60,000 spectators and enjoyed the highest daytime TV rating in the Philippines. It won the Best Entertainment (One-Off/Annual) Special at the Asian Television Award in Singapore on December 1, 2005. The event was hailed as the most successful on Philippine television, narrowly matched only by the 1st Starstruck Final Judgement. The presentation, titled Eat Bulaga Silver Special, was broadcast on November 28, 2004. By this time, Eat Bulaga! had modified its title, dropping the three dots.
Second decade on GMA, 30th anniversary (2005–2014)
In 2005, Eat Bulaga! was aired for the first time worldwide through GMA Network's international channel, GMA Pinoy TV.
In 2006, the SexBomb Girls left the show due to a dispute with its producers. The show, in turn, opened auditions for new in-house dancers, under the name 'EB Babes', as a reality competition. The group officially debuted on August of that year. In March 2007, the SexBomb Girls returned as regular cast members.
On March 6, 2009, Francis Magalona, one of the show's long-time co-hosts, succumbed to leukemia. The following day, the show produced a tribute episode in which the whole cast performed his songs dedicated to his memory. During the tribute, it was revealed that Magalona coined the word 'Dabarkads', a popular name to the Eat Bulaga family. Magalona is also known for shouting "Seamless Na!" to initiate from Eat Bulaga's Saturday edition to Philippine showbiz talk show Startalk. After his death, the Eat Bulaga! and Startalk hosts continued with the seamless tradition until it was stopped in the later part of the year by her Dabarkads in later 2009.
In 2009, Eat Bulaga! celebrated its 30th anniversary, dubbed as Tatlong Dekads ng Dabarkads (Three Decades of the Dabarkads). The show focused on honoring and helping remarkable people, including 30 poor, hard-working students and other everyday heroes as a gesture of paying back to the public who supported them.
In February 2011, the SexBomb Girls along with the group's choreographer Joy Cancio left once more, this time for ABS-CBN's Happy Yipee Yehey!.
On October 6, 2011, Eat Bulaga! launched its coffee table book called Ang Unang Tatlong Dekada (The First Three Decades). It was written by veteran columnist and TV host Butch Francisco and designed by Joey de Leon's son Jako de Leon. Alongside the book, Eat Bulaga! gave away 3000 limited edition CDs of the 2004 Silver Special Anniversary celebration. Additionally, GMA News and Public Affairs produced a documentary titled Kuwentong Dabarkads hosted by Dingdong Dantes.
On August 18, 2012, Eat Bulaga! aired a special episode celebrating its 33rd anniversary without commercial breaks, the first time in its history. A soundtrack, Dabarkads D' Album: A Party for everyJUAN, featuring songs popularized by the Eat Bulaga! cast, as well as the theme tunes used by the show, was released in July 2013.
On July 16, 2012, Indonesia's SCTV Network aired the show's first international franchise, Eat Bulaga! Indonesia (later The New Eat Bulaga! Indonesia). The network, which had considered securing the rights for a local version for the past five years, started formal negotiations with TAPE Inc. in April 2012, with approval given in June that same year. SCTV Network's Eat Bulaga! Indonesia ended on April 3, 2014 due to poor ratings caused by the sudden departure of their main head host in 2014. However, the show eventually returned to the airwaves on November 17, 2014 on its new home network, antv, with the new title, The New Eat Bulaga! Indonesia until its final episode in 2016.
Due to public demand, Eat Bulaga! revived its traditional Lenten season drama specials during the 2014 Holy Week after an eight-year lull. Unlike its previous productions, the heartwarming stories produced annually are either original stories or inspired by true-to-life stories of former contestants of the popular segment, "Juan for All, All for Juan." Either one or two episodes are shown each day from Holy Monday to Holy Wednesday. In addition to the return of the drama specials in 2014, Eat Bulaga! began to hold an annual awards ceremony called "Dabarkads Awards" to recognize excellence in stories and performances for the year's Lenten presentation.
Third decade on GMA and AlDub phenomenon (2015–present)
Voyager Innovations, Inc. (owned by PLDT), a Philippines-based technology company, released the official mobile app of the show on January 23, 2015. Eat Bulaga! is the first noontime show to launch their own mobile application that would allow their fans to stay connected with the hosts. The app also contains exclusive videos from the show's thirty-five years on television as well as a mobile version of one of its most memorable game segments, Pinoy Henyo.
The popularity of Eat Bulaga! was greatly increased in July 2015 following the accidental formation of a new love team between co-hosts Alden Richards and Maine "Yaya Dub" Mendoza, and the eventual development of Kalyeserye, a parody soap opera built around the couple. The new loveteam, popularly known as AlDub, tripled the show's normal AGB Nielsen Mega Manila and nationwide television ratings, and #AlDub became the top daily trending topic on Twitter in the Philippines and even worldwide. The milestone moments of the phenomenal loveteam helped the show garner some of its all-time high ratings. Its August 8, 2015 episode, which was supposed to feature the first meeting of Richards and Mendoza in real life but didn't occur because Mendoza unexpectedly fainted during the episode and had to be taken to the hospital, registered a Mega Manila rating that is above 30%, a television rating that has not been achieved by Eat Bulaga! since its 2004 Silver Anniversary Special.
Its August 12, 2015 episode, which showcased a Cinderella-like story and the near-meeting of Richards and Mendoza, posted a rating of 36.1%, which was an extraordinary accomplishment for a weekday episode. Its September 5 episode, the day when Richards and Mendoza finally saw each other for the first time, registered a rating of 39.5%. Its September 19 and September 26 episodes, the first and second dates of AlDub, garnered ratings of 41.3% and 45.7%, respectively, which are the highest-rated episodes of 2015. These episodes were also the first times that Eat Bulaga! tapped the 40 percent mark. Due to the AlDub phenomenon, Eat Bulaga! holds 10 out of 10 highest-rated episodes in 2015.
On October 24, 2015, Eat Bulaga! held a benefit concert at the Philippine Arena to thank the fans of AlDub and to raise funds for building libraries in certain schools across the Philippines and for the victims of Typhoon Lando. The most awaited event for the loveteam also marked a major turning point of the Kalyeserye story; the couple were able to see and interact with each other without any hindrance from Lola Nidora (Wally Bayola's character in Kalyeserye ) The special show dubbed as "Sa Tamang Panahon" (At the Right Time) attracted an estimated 55,000 people, becoming the largest indoor audience ever of Eat Bulaga!. Ticket sales for premium seats were sold-out three hours after Lola Nidora announced the concert on October 17, 2015. The rest of the tickets were sold-out after three days. After 24 hours, #ALDubEBTamangPanahon, the official hashtag for the event, reached 41 million tweets, becoming the third most tweeted topic for the TV category worldwide in 2015 and the most used hashtag within 24 hours on Twitter. According to AGB Nielsen, the live airing of the event was able to garner a 50.8% Mega Manila household rating, becoming the most watched show in 2015. For the first time in the show's history, Eat Bulaga! was able to breach the 50% mark.
Kalyeserye went on hiatus on September 3, 2016 and returned on October 15 after a month-break. Once again, the segment ended on December 17, 2016, having a total of 400 episodes.
- Jimmy Santos (1981-present)
- Ruby Rodriguez (1991–present)
- Jose Manalo (1994–present)
- Allan K. (1995–present)
- Anjo Yllana (1998–present)
- Wally Bayola (2000–present)
- Paolo Ballesteros (2001–present)
- Pia Guanio (2004–present)
- Pauleen Luna (2005–present)
- Ryan Agoncillo (2009–present)
- Ryzza Mae Dizon (2012–present)
- Baste (2015–present)
- Alden Richards (2015–present)
- Maine Mendoza (2015–present)
- Luane Dy (2017–present)
- Coco Martin (2018–present)