I was a complete wreck. I was a hyperventilation away from a nervous breakdown. Lord knows we’ve had so many TV appearances in the past (we even had a TV show of our own back in the day), but I swear, hands down, this was the TV guesting I was MOST nervous about, EVER! I guess the stress stemmed from the fact that I was such a big fan of the series. I have to admit that I never really watched Pinoy Big Brother in the past, except maybe a few episodes when Rico Robles went in, but to actually follow the series, never. But somehow this season really got me hooked. I have foregone many a good night’s sleep just to stay up until after 11pm just to catch the show, even if I have to wake up at 4:30 the next morning.
So imagine my blood rush when they actually invited me to be part of the show! Dream. Come. True. Even if it was just a few minutes in the house, I was beyond excited. I kept myself busy the whole day Sunday, even hosting a children’s party in the morning and blogging in the afternoon, just to settle my frazzled nerves. It didn’t work. I completely skipped dinner because I didn’t want to look fat (hahaha!). I mean, with the extra 10 pounds that the camera adds, I’d be 20 pounds overweight! Anyway, when time came, and after what seemed like 12 outfit changes, I started driving towards ABS-CBN, when I suddenly realized, as I approached Timog, that I left my camera at home! I wanted some sort of remembrance, and I forget my camera! I made a quick u-turn and headed back home, with about 20 minutes before the call time, and I drove like a demon on wheels back to my house, got the camera, and whizzed back, past the cars on the northbound lane of EDSA, and was at the ABS-CBN parking lot with 5 minutes to spare.
When I got to the front of the house, there was a group of teens taking pictures in front of the gate. I texted my contact, but he wasn’t answering. I started to panic. What if it was all a prank? What if it was a nasty prank to humiliate me after I tell all my friends that I’m guesting on my favorite show? The horror of the thought! I started breaking into a cold sweat and my breathing became laboured. Then, I started worrying less about the humiliation, and more about the sudden flood of disappointment that I wasn’t seeing the inside of the house after all! But just as I was about to start bawling on the sidewalk like a little child, out came Dong of ABS-CBN to fetch me, who was by then a complete mess.
We walked into the house but not the house we see on TV, but the rest of an actually huge complex, housing offices, studios, and even the other house for their other reality show, the Dream Academy? Then they brought me into the room, and there was Maui Taylor, whom I’ve known since our diving days, and soon after Ma’am Peppin from UST, Dimples Romana and then Direk Wenn Deramas. After about an hour, we were suddenly fitted with our own lapel mics (yes, exactly like the ones the housemates use), and ushered through some dark corridors, when I suddenly realized, we were right outside the housemates’ room! From where we were, we could see their bedroom, complete with their clothes strewn about, and it was so surreal! I was just imagining how cool it would have been if they were actually in the room when we passed! Then they opened the door, and I froze. It was the confession room (*faint*).
It was much more colorful and bigger than I expected. The colors on our TV at least, were much more muted than the splash of colors that greeted us. Almost immediately, Big Brother started talking to us, and instructing us on who should sit where. It was just the most surreal experience, hearing kuya address me by name. To be honest, I had goosebumps the first time he called me. It was like half goosebumps-half scared. Kuya’s voice rang with godlike authority, yet infused with unearthly warmth. Then, someone mentioned how sayang it was that we didn’t have a camera. Then I realized I forget that I was holding one the whole time! So I told everyone that I had a camera with me. Prodded by my co-panelists, we asked kuya if we could take one picture. Since kuya was busy with the debate, we got no answer. So I set up the camera to take one shot. It turned out perfect! Then, within seconds, someone went into the room to get the camera. Busted!
Then we were instructed to just talk about anything that pops into our heads while watching the Big Debate. We didn’t really know which part of our many conversations they would actually use, so we just kept on blabbing. Then, after talking and talking and talking, the debate ended. Later we found out that we were introduced, but we had no idea because they didn’t show us how the program was going. People have told me I looked nervous – it was because I was. I just didn’t know if I understood what we were supposed to do. After the debate was over, kuya started to address us again. I really tend to jump up everytime he speaks. I find it weird when I see the housemates do it, but now I know it could be pretty disconcerting when you suddenly hear the out-of-this-realm voice of Big Brother. Then we were asked what we thought of the debate, and after we went one by one, we were asked the question that I was dreading: “Who did we think should win?” Watch tonight as to how the five of us answered, I wouldn’t want to pre-empt it. But let me just say that of the final five, take Johan out and the remaining four have always been my top four picks from the very first episode I caught. So I’d be happy if any of the four makes it as the Big Winner. Nothing against Johan, but the other four really are my favorites. Unfortunately though, kuya made each of us choose only one. After that, kuya asked us if we enjoyed the experience and then thanked us for dropping by. I almost didn’t want to leave.
On our way out, we passed by the same corridors with the one-way mirrors looking into the house and when I glanced inside the windows…THE HOUSEMATES WERE THERE. I remember when I was a kid, the first time I saw Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck in Disneyland Anaheim, I cried! I couldn’t believe I was meeting my childhood heroes. It kind of brought me back to that. It was way weird watching them in their room, as they spoke with Korina Sanchez. It almost felt illegal watching them. I felt like a pervert peeping tom, looking into some stranger’s house! Everyone got so excited that we made so much noise. Suddenly, we saw all the housemates turn their heads, and pointed to the windows where we were. Apparently, they could hear us. Paul Jake and Tibo even went to the windows and tried to listen to what we were saying! They all look much bigger in person, maybe because I’m used to seeing them small on TV. I swear, that was just sooo cool.
I hardly remember what happened after that. Everything was a blur. Maybe it was the adrenaline rush fading, but the next thing I remember, I was zooming along EDSA southbound, heading back home. Surreal was the word for it. I had a big smile when I got home. To whoever suggested guesting me on PBB: THANK YOU! The whole experience brought out the kid in me again. Being in the industry tends to jade oneself after one too many brushes with celebs. It’s nice to know I can experience wonderment in its simplest form. Thanks, kuya!
(They told us that they’re airing our full episode tonight so please watch if you’re inclined!)