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Vicente Castelo Sotto III, better known as Tito Sotto, is a Filipino television host, musician, actor, comedian, sportsman, and politician. He is one of the five original hosts who pioneered Eat Bulaga! in 1979. Along with Vic Sotto and Joey de Leon who makes up the iconic comedy trio known as TVJ, Tito is one of the only three remaining original hosts who is still part of the show's roster.

Tito Sen is a highly respected figure on Eat Bulaga!, especially due to his position in the Philippine Senate and his notability as one of the original hosts of the noontime show. In many instances, Tito has used Eat Bulaga! as a platform to notify the public of the latest legislative actions that are relevant to the common people. Therefore, he has earned the nickname "Tito Sen" and has been promoted by his fellow Dabarkads as the "Senador ng Pamilyang Pilipino".

Currently, Tito Sotto is on an indefinite hiatus from Eat Bulaga! after being elected as the President of the Senate of the Philippines on 21 May 2018.

Early life

Vicente Castelo Sotto III was born on 24 August 1948 in Manila, Philippines. His parents are Marcelino Ojeda Sotto and Dr. Herminia Castelo. His mother was a staunch women's rights activist and the first medical commissioner of the Workmen's Compensation Commission and president emeritus of the Kababaihang Rizalista ng Pilipinas. He has one older brother, Val, and two younger brothers, Maru and Vic. All of the siblings became prominent in the Philippine entertainment industry.

The Sotto Brothers- (from left to right) Vic, Val, Tito, and Maru

The Sotto Brothers: (from left to right) Vic, Maru, Tito, and Val

Tito comes from a notable political family in the Philippines. His paternal grandfather and namesake was Vicente Sotto y Yap, who infamously authored the Press Freedom Law of 1946 during his term in the Senate. His granduncle, Filemon Sotto y Yap, also served as a member of the House of Representatives for four consecutive terms and a senator in the early 1900s.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in English at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran in Intramuros, Manila. He embarked in an Executive Program for Leaders in Development in John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University that he completed in June 2000.

Prior to Eat Bulaga!

Music ventures

TiltDownmen

Tito Sotto and his band Tilt Down Men

Before Eat Bulaga!, Tito Sotto first became prominent in the 1960s as the vocalist and lead guitarist of the popular combo group Tilt Down Men, which was the local version of the English pop rock band, The Dave Clark Five. In the group, he was joined by his brother Val Sotto as a bass guitarist.

In one of the group’s radio tours, he met Joey de Leon, who was then a DJ at a radio station.

In the early 1970s, Tito was offered the position of vice president for Artist and Repertoire of Vicor Music Corporation. He was well-acquainted with the owners Vic del Rosario and Orly Ilacad from his days with the group Tilt Down Men. Young Vic Sotto would often come to the office to see Tito after school. Vic could sing so he was put under contract with Vicor. Vic's self-titled solo album was one of Tito’s first projects.

VST&Co

VST & Co.

Eventually, Tito, together with Vic and elder brother Val, formed VST & Co., which later became one of the most successful bands of the 1970s and is considered by many to be the pioneer of the Manila Sound. Tito was a composer and vocalist of the band.

He also became a member of the short-lived band called Blue Jeans, which was well-known for its hit song "Paniwalaan".

Formation of TVJ

Tito-vic-joey-throwback

Discorama/Student Canteen days of TVJ

Tito and Vic joined their brother Val Sotto in IBC-13's gag show Okay Lang. At the time, Joey de Leon was also already part of the show. While Tito and Joey were already good friends, this was the first time Vic and Joey first met one another. Together, Tito, Vic, and Joey gradually developed a solid friendship during their time at the show.

In 1975, Joey became a co-host of GMA Network's afternoon variety show Discorama. He invited his former Okay Lang co-stars Tito, Val, and Vic to join him at Discorama. Only Tito and Vic accepted Joey's invitation. Combining their wits together, the trio further gained popularity in the segment Tough Hits where they parodied various Top 40 hit songs. Joey made up most of the lyrics.

At this point, the comic troika of Tito, Vic, and Joey was officially born.
Tough Hits

Tough Hits album cover of Tito, Vic, and Joey

The trio was soon invited to become pinch-hitters for GMA Network's noontime show Student Canteen. Here, they also released albums based on their Tough Hits segment from Discorama.

At this time, further opportunities were knocking on their door. The wacky trio was offered to star in a comedy show, Iskul Bukol (which was aired on IBC-13), where Tito and Joey became the Escalera brothers engaged in never-ending schemes to outwit their classmates, one of whom was the provincial hick Victorio Ungasis (played by Vic Sotto) and their professor Miss Tapia (Mely Tagasa) .

As an Eat Bulaga! Dabarkads

Pioneering the show

EBPioneers

TVJ with Chiqui Hollman and Richie D'Horsie forming the letters "T" and "Y" to thank viewers of the show

After Student Canteen, the trio accepted an offer made by Tony Tuviera to become hosts of a new noontime show on the Radio Philippines Network (RPN-9).

Eat Bulaga! premiered on July 30, 1979. Along with Chiqui Hollman and Richie D'Horsie, TVJ became the pioneer hosts of the television program. Tito was 30 years old at the time of the show's premiere.

Since then, Tito remains loyal to Eat Bulaga! even though no contracts bind him to the noontime program and its production company. For more than three decades, Tito Sotto has devoted his life to Eat Bulaga! along with Vic and Joey. Together, they remain the three pillars of the longest-running noontime show in the Philippines.

Balancing showbiz and politics

Tvjperforms

Tito, Vic, and Joey performs on Eat Bulaga!

Tito entered the Philippine political scene without permanently leaving the show. When he first came in the Senate in 1992, Tito went on a long hiatus for twelve years in order to concentrate in politics. He occasionally appeared on the show but did not fully return to Eat Bulaga! until 2004 when his Senate term ended. The Sexbomb version of the Eat Bulaga! theme song in the early 2000s even removed Tito's name from the lyrics, replacing "Sina Tito, Vic, and Joey..." with "Sina Papa Vic at Joey..." due to his absence from the show.

He bid farewell again in February 2007 to Eat Bulaga! during his reelection campaign but subsequently returned to the show after failing to win a seat in the elections. On 4 July 2008, Tito was appointed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as the chairman of the Dangerous Drugs Board.

Tito Sen in Philippine Senate

Tito Sen in the Philippine Senate

Since then, Tito has learned how to balance showbiz and politics. After being reelected in 2010 as a senator, Tito takes pride in never being absent or late in Senate sessions. In fact, he regularly co-hosted the noontime show from Thursday to Saturday when Senate sessions were in recess.

Indefinite hiatus from the show

On 21 May 2018, Tito was elected as the President of the Senate of the Philippines, taking on a much more important role in Philippine politics. As a result, he temporarily bade goodbye to the noontime show to carry out the duties of the office. Tito said that he may only appear during anniversary celebrations of the noontime show from now on.

Beyond Eat Bulaga!

Tito-sotto-oath-senate-president-may-21-2018-004

Tito takes oath as Senate President

Tito is also notable for being a musician. Among his notable compositions is "Magkaisa", which is recognized as one of the anthems of the 1986 People Power Revolution. At the height of the popularity of TVJ during the 1980s, he also partook in various television shows and movies, including TVJ: Television's Jesters (1989), D'Gradwets (1981), and Doctor, Doctor, We Are Sick (1985).

Tito cites Eat Bulaga! as a helpful boost to his political career. He first entered politics as the vice mayor of Quezon City from 1988 to 1992. Then, Tito served two terms in the Philippine Senate from 1992 to 2004. After his failed senatorial bid in 2007, he was appointed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as the chairman of the Dangerous Drugs Board. He was then elected again as a senator in 2010, becoming one of the longest-serving senators in the Philippines. On 21 May 2018, he was elected as the 29th President of the Senate of the Philippines.

Personal life

Tito sotto and family

Tito Sotto's family

Tito is married to beauty queen and actress Helen Gamboa. They have four children: Romina, Diorella Maria, Gian Carlo and Ciara.

Tito is an avid bowler and was a member of the Philippine national bowling team, representing the country several times at the AMF World Cup. He also plays golf and has won several tournaments.

Segments

Eat Bulaga's Lenten Special

Year Episode Role
2014 "Karugtong ng Puso"
2015 "Sukli ng Pagmamahal"
2017 "Mansyon" Kapt. Domingo "Domeng" Quintos
2018 "Haligi ng Pangarap" Eugene


Notable portrayals within Eat Bulaga!

Year Segment Role
2016 Kalyeserye Brgy. Chairman

Awards and nominations

The following list only includes the awards and nominations of Tito Sotto for his contributions as a host on the noontime show Eat Bulaga! as well as other notable accolades for his important contributions to the Philippine entertainment industry. His political, athletic, and musical achievements are not listed. The list also excludes awards that he received as part of a group, such as TVJ. 

Eastwood City Walk of Fame

The Eastwood City Walk of Fame is a sidewalk along Eastwood City, Quezon City that serves as a Philippine entertainment hall of fame. It is embedded with hundreds of brass star plaques featuring the names of celebrities for their popularity and contributions to the entertainment industry. In 2010, Vic Sotto was inducted to the Walk of Fame along with Tito Sotto and Joey de Leon

Year Category Result
2010 Eastwood City Walk of Fame Star Won


Golden Screen TV Awards

The Golden Screen TV Awards is given annually by the Entertainment Press Society, Inc. to acknowledge outstanding programs and personalities from different television networks in the country.

Year Category Result
2011 Outstanding Male Host in a Musical or Variety Program Nominated