Before I begin I think it should be explained to our friends outside the Philippines just what Eat Bulaga is so they have the proper context with which to read this caper. Eat Bulaga (from here on to be referred to as EB) is a local noon-time variety show, the longest running of its kind on Philippine television. Let’s just say I used to watch (and enjoy it – what, I had simple needs and wants back then *snort*) the show way back when I was a child. Apart from having tons of guest actors and singers, the main reason the masses flock to see the show each day is to join the games where sizable amounts of money can be won. Entry into the studio to watch the show is free, but one either has to line up on the day of the show, or make reservations ahead of time, or have a contact inside. Word has it that on any given day, lines start to form at midnight. Yeah, you read that right. Imagine our horror upon finding that out the day before the scheduled guesting of DC. We were told a few days before that 6am was an early enough time to get in line, and that was hard enough, but gah , midnight? *insert imaginary groans here*
In any case, we had been trying for days to try the other method (i.e., find a contact who can get you in without having to line up), but to no avail. uber_cookie also had gone out of her way to go to the EB office several times to get us a group pass, but was told that that particular privilege was given only to “excursionists” who could present proof of residence or some such certification from a barangay captain (these excursionists normally come from towns and provinces around and outside of Metro Manila), so that option too, went down the drain. By the time May 15 came, only a few brave souls were willing to take a chance. Note that the Meet & Greet event at the SM City Skydome was on May 14, the day before.
To cut a long wearisome story short, while the Cookistas who had agreed to line up outside Broadway Centrum were there early as 5:30 am (jackievincennes, we salute you!), even 4:30 am (Anakin of The Dash, did I get that right, or was it earlier?), Cha Park and I woke up at about 7 am or so and discovered to our horror that we had the Cookista banner in our hands – that same banner, as it turned out, that would have been the others’ (probable) pass for getting into the show. After much hurrying (which didn’t help very much on account of the slow traffic), we were finally able to give the banner to flygirl24 and jackievincennes, who rushed with me to the head of the line, where there was already much moaning and groaning (from the crowd) and irritated finger-pointing and more (from TPTB at the lower gates, so to speak). No one got in without the gatekeepers’ say so. At that point there were about 40 excursionists entering the gates. All around were many more people standing and gawking and milling about. It was hot and crowded. flygirl24 and jackievincennes tried to catch the gatekeeper/namecheckers’ attention by displaying the banner and introducing themselves, but things didn’t seem hopeful. After several minutes Vera arrived and it was already time for us to go in. Sometime between my troubled sleep and the trip to Broadway Centrum I had accepted the challenge (*snort*) of going – what, I wanted to see Cooky sing live too, as soon as I could! Never mind the not-being-seen-on-television problem, I would figure out a way out of it (sleep deprivation makes for faulty judgment, you know that). Besides, I was tasked with taking video from inside the studio. Back at the Cookista homestead, we already had people ready to record the show during the telecast.
Host: Palakpakan po natin, ang Pamilya Garcia! [Let us all applaud the Garcia Family!]
Garcia Family, with signs indicating their name, arms flailing happily, shouting wildly: Wooo!!! Woo!! Yeeeey!!!” *whistles* *claps* *much flailing and other signs of enthusiasm*
The pre-show guy -- maybe the EB fans can help me here, I’ve forgotten his name – really funny gay guy, kinda round-faced... no? Maybe he was called Kim or something like that, let’s call him Kim, and there was another pre-show gay guy – Kim came out and talked to the audience and prepped us for the show. Oh joy. He basically told us about the different segments which needed audience participation (yep, there’s the horror, read on). He said we were supposed to be happy people; those who weren’t happy can simply go outside and join the countless others who can’t get in no matter what they do. For the 1st segment, I believe it was called the Close-up smile segment, he taught us the steps: we were to stand up and dance to the music with our arms held high, and on cue, stop, hold our fingers just so, framing the prettiest Close-up smiles we could muster on our perfectly happy faces, which the cameras would pan through to find the most winning smile. Now understand, I’m all for fun and games and the like, but, well, it’s just not me. Let’s face it, I do participate in games on occasion, but certainly not always, and much less so with people I had never seen in my life – that’s just how I am. So there I stood hatching up my evil plan to sit myself down and hide among the multitudes when the time came, when Kim loudly remarked that anyone found uncooperative would be escorted out of the studio. Since the cameras were on us, weeding out the ungrateful would be fairly easy. Haaaaaah! Yeah yeah laugh your faces off, this is what I did for the love of Cook: I held my arms up and danced like an idiot (not to imply that all who danced were idiots, that’s just me, it happens when I try something like this, out of the natural see, you get the picture), and smiled (more probably grimaced) as much any person who’s about to hyperventilate could smile. What, after all the bother and the stress and the strings we tried to pull, and knowing that my fellow Cookistas were outside waiting under the heat of the sun without any assurance of entry, I wasn’t about to be ordered outside before I’d seen the Cook, hell no.
So one would think David Cook would finally come out next, right? A series of commercials were running, and then the Sexbomb girls (or are they called the EB girls now, somebody somewhere knows the answer to that) came out. Again, I sat in horror and nearly short-circuited mah brainz: what, would there be sexy dancing girls as Cook sang? What! No need to string this out longer than need be, besides, you've all seen it anyway, so yes, let’s just say mah brainz must have been lacking oxygen too at that point, because, no, the dancing girls (who gyrated to Boom Boom Pow) were brought out on their own, no David Cook in sight, and then there was some other segment, until finally it was time for the Cook.
By the time the last commercial ended and Cook stepped on stage, the studio was packed to the rafters. The minute he began singing, the crowd (those unencumbered by seats blocking their way) surged forward and half the audience seemed to have pushed their way right in front of the stage. As I took video, I looked behind me and saw that the people behind my bench minutes before were already right there standing on it (why did I not have the sense to stand there too? Oh wait, I was so afraid I’d be ushered out. Silly me, who in that crazy packed crowd would even get near enough to kick me out?). In the section above me, there was an actress and her daughter sitting (or most probably standing, I really couldn’t see that part of the studio anymore) amidst ordinary people, having asked to get in because they knew David Cook would be the guest. Near the stage, right in front, were many “VIPs” – actors and actresses, even those who had nothing to do with Eat Bulaga, or their families or relatives who had asked favors, and various other people from the upper classes who had never set foot in that studio before, and were there solely because of David Cook. Cha Park, I later learned, was near where Vera was, and stood next to a lurker of our PEx thread, a virtual Cookista who happened to be someone who could have gotten us some seats had we known about her (I am not mentioning her exact situation on purpose in case she does not want it revealed. Madame, hello in case you’re reading this. *wink*)! Cha was able to find her way right up to the stage, as so many others did, and took excellent video – which unfortunately, cannot be seen at this time due to a possibly damaged memory card. She saw how the actors and actresses in front stood so close to the stage, that by the time Pia Guanio interviewed Cook they were already actually encroaching on stage area that should have been left clear of people.
(Very special thanks to Vera of Illusions of Cook, without whom I couldn't have had this experience; to Cha Park for giving up her seat for me; to uber_cookie, who got us information about the show fairly early on, and had tried her best to get the Cookistas some passes; to miakka, jackievincennes, dew_delight, anakin and friend, who came so very early to line up under the heat of the Manila sun; to flygirl24 who proudly held the Cookista banner for all to see; to clandestine and her mom, for making sure the Cookista banner made it into the studio, and for many other things besides *wink*; to me_lovin_dc for taking charge of having the banner made; to all Cookistas who initially planned to be there, and all those who watched Eat Bulaga that day. Remember, you didn't see me. *snort*)