Paolo Bediones Talks About The 18 Castaways of Survivor Philippines

You can never think of anyone else who fits the hosting job of Survivor Philippines other than Paolo Bediones. The man is born to host the local version of the hit reality series Survivor, which has been franchised by close to 50 countries.

And Paolo is taking his job very seriously. Aside from testing for himself the grueling challenges, Paolo knows each and every castaway—all 18 of them—in the first-ever Survivor Philippines.

"All of the castaways went to the auditions, all of them have a number, none of them were favored. They were chosen among 40,000, brought down to 400, down to 120, down to 60, down to 32, down to 16, and then 18.

"Each and every one, puwede naming sabihin kung saan nag-audition ‘yan. Ako, dun ako proud na isa-isahin mo lahat ng castaways, kunin mo ang back story ng lahat ng mga ‘yan, where they auditioned, where they come from, I assure you, matutuwa kayo. We really gave a chance to all sectors of society, to all working classes... Nakakatuwa talaga," says Paolo to PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) during the press launch of Survivor Philippines last Wednesday afternoon, September 10, at the GMA Network Center.

The select members of the entertainment press, including, PEP, had the privilege of watching the rough cut of the first few gaps of Survivor Philippines that will be aired on September 15 in GMA-7. It was the first time that the press people were able to see the 18 castaways who will compete for the cash prize of three-million pesos and the title of the first-ever Pinoy Sole Survivor.

"We have a couple of favorites... We call them favorites kasi parang ang dating is all 18 have distinct personalities, e. So we have a favorite way of calling them rather. Ang importante sa castaway nung audition, dapat unang tingin ko pa lang sa kanya—pagkatapos ng interview and getting to know him more—may personality," Paolo points out.

THE 18 CASTAWAYS. But even before the video presentation, Paolo already gave a random description of the 18 castaways solely based on his recollection.

"We have Zita who is a labandera, forty-seven years old. In her youth, she rescued three people from drowning; she just wants the best for her kids. She has seven kids and 12 apos. Very strong woman.

"We have Gigit, who is 49 years old, we call him the Renaissance Man. He tried everything alone and now he is in a tribe. Paano ‘yon? I mean, he's tried all the suns, all the activities—mountain biking, trekking, canoeing, kayaking...mga ganyan.

"Then we have Kiko, he's an island boy, we call him. He left everything in Manila, lived in Boracay for a while and finally decided to go back to Manila to open up a restaurant. So, siya yung dreadlock guy.

"Jace naman is a 19-year-old who has a body of a...ang ganda ng katawan and everything. He grew up in Brunei with the royal family, his mom was like the fitness trainer there. He hobnobbed with the rich in Brunei, then went to Hawaii, joined a few gangs, got into a lot of fights. He's into martial arts, medyo may pagka-loverboy ang dating. He joined ‘coz he feels like, ‘Puwedeng-puwede ‘to sa akin.' He's the youngest, and for me, I wouldn't be surprised kung pasukin niya ang showbiz because he has the looks, he has the demeanor, he has I think the passion also.

"Then there's Vevherly, anak naman ng isang farmer, and she's also a farmer girl herself. She's from Cebu and from a very, very far part of Cebu yung kinalakihan niya. She's a Criminology student. Very strong girl also.

"Kaye is a student leader/underwear model. She's one of those girl-next-door types on the outset, but then there's a deeper and more interesting aspects of her.

"Chev naman is a former GRO. She has one kid, she's one of those really, really funny characters na when she starts opening her mouth...yung mga lumalabas sa bibig niya nakakatuwa. She's from Iloilo.

"Patani is from Camotes Island in Cebu. Patani is a yaya who wants to join showbiz. Pero ‘pag nakita mo ang hitsura niya, ang dating niya, exotic, sexy yaya. ‘Pag nagsalita siya, nakakatuwa rin.

"Then there's NiƱa, she's a supermom. She has three kids, she has tried all extreme sports and very strong ang personality niya. She's an architect.

"John is an auto-mechanic/part-time model. He made a name for himself in the modeling industry somewhat, but his passion is for cars. For me in terms of physique, ganda ng physique niya, yung skin tone niya...siya yung talagang Pilipino-Pilipino ang dating din.

"Then there's Cris, he's a company driver, who, of course, wants the best for his kids. He has something to prove to his dad. According to him, he wants to prove to his dad that he is a winner.

"Emerson is a machine technician, na laking-Tondo yata ‘tong guy na ‘to, e. I think he lives in Caloocan now. He has a very strong personality din in terms of speaking his mind and in terms of what he thinks should happen.

"Charisse works in the corporate world. Of course, she's smart. She's a fan of the show and sabi niya, ‘This is how I'm gonna play the game.'

"Marlon naman is medyo matabang waiter. I call him ‘the fat waiter with an attitude.' So you just have to wonder, ‘What are you gonna do with this guy?' I mean, he cooks great food, tatanggalin mo ba siya? Napapadali yung buhay n'yo isa isla, e. Matiyaga siya, he does all these things.

"Nikki is a call center agent. Nikki wants to escape the graveyard shift.

"There's JC, he's a basketball player from San Sebastian. Twenty-three years old. Boy-next-door looks, good physique as well, very strong din sa mga challenges."

Paolo wasn't able to mention two castaways, Vern and Rob, only because he was asked another question. But according to the press kit given to the entertainment press, Vern is a taekwondo champion who is unlucky in love while Rob is a sales officer and a businessman who doesn't want to stay in his brother's shadow.

INTERESTING MIX. "All of them, if you look at them," Paolo continues, "hindi naman prerequisite na they look good—guwapo, maganda. But of course, because it's television, they have to have personality na either kaiinisan mo, maaakit ka, kaaaliwan, can serve as an inspiration...yung mga ganyang bagay. With all of them, I'm really proud na iharap ko sa inyong lahat, endless kuwentuhan ‘yan.

"You have a mix, e. May mga taong magkakaroon ng mga fans in terms of how they look, how they play the game, because wala lang, nakakaaliw lang panoorin. It will be interesting each week to see kung ano yung thinking process ng mga tribo to vote people out. Kasi in this case, wala tayong kinalaman dun, it's all them, it's all the tribemates to decide. Sabi nga, ang Survivor is a game that you can never prepare for, never."

Paolo says one of the things that make his job more fulfilling is that he is not only a host, but also a producer.

He says, "Kumbaga, si Jeff Probst [host of Survivor U.S.] mismo nagsabi na... Ang advice niya sa akin was that, ‘You're not just a host, you're a producer.' Meaning, there are times that you will dictate the tempo of your show. There are times wherein you will have a finger on each and every castaway to know what button to push. So, isipin mo 18 castaways ‘yan, iharap mo sa akin lahat ‘yan, kilala ko lahat ‘yan."

PAOLO'S DISPOSITION. What was the hardest part of being the host of Survivor Philippines?

"For me, the hardest was yung disposition ko, na hindi tulad sa Extra Challenge, sa Tok! Tok! Tok! na lagi akong naka-smile. Dito, bilang ang beses na ngumiti ako. If ever ngumiti man ako, it's for sarcastic reason. Suplado. Kasi pati ako, maiinis ako sa sarili ko, e."

How did the castaways react to his disposition?

"There are times na parang that they feel they have a point of contention, I'll put them in their place, ‘No!' ganun. If you ask any of them... I think it was important na from the get-go, I established na, ‘Laro ito, pero hindi ito larong bata. It's not child's play. We're here for three million [pesos], let's make that clear. Sabi ko, ‘I'm not here to make friends with you. After 39 days, sige maging kaibigan tayo. Pero dito, sorry...' And a lot of them experienced where I really get mad at them, I get mad at them.

"There are times na they're forgetting the reason why they're there or there are times na nag-aaway sila, physically fighting... And you know what, sometimes the start of the fight, differences of opinion on how to handle the challenge. So you're talking about among your tribemates, nag-aaway kayo and then, isasama mo pa yung tensiyon na may kalaban kayong tribo. And there are some challenges that are very physical, may physical contact, na siyempre bawal ang suntok, bawal ang mga sipa, mga ganyan. Pero hindi maiwasan na magkasakitan minsan. If it's a show of power, strength, di ba?

"So yung mga instances na ‘yan, if I think they're going overboard, parang nakakalimutan nila, I scream at them. I really scream at them and I tell them, ‘Nakakalimutan n'yo!' And it's funny it happened early on [in one of the challenges] and it shook the whole program, na ‘So, ganun pala siya, siya ganun pala.' Yung ganun. Then, parang naging milestone siya for the succeeding challenges and the behavior also. Kasi parang na-realize na, ‘Shucks, puwede palang mangyari ‘yon.' We have to be in check, pero at the same time, hindi mo maiwasan, e, ‘pag gutom ka, inis ka, e,"

Paolo may be the envy of several other TV hosts for landing the job as the host of Survivor Philippines, but Paolo, in turn, envies the castaways.

"Nakakatuwa yung mga castaways because they'll ask me for advice, ‘What's gonna happen to us?' And sabi ko nga sa kanila, ‘You know what, inggit ako sa inyo kasi you will experience something that I will never experience in my lifetime. Thirty-nine days in an island, no food, you have to build your shelters, you have to provide for yourselves, unbelievable!

"'Inggit ako sa inyo because I will never feel the first time again na nakita ko yung mukha ko sa billboard or yung unang kilig ko when I first saw my face on TV. Or I'll never feel the first time the happiness I feel when someone came up to me to ask an autograph or a picture.' It's gonna happen to this people. I'm really, really excited for them," says Paolo.

The 18 castaways were divided into two tribes: Naak (snake in Thai) composed of the women and Jarakay (crocodile in Thailand) composed of the men. So, it's gonna be a battle of the sexes for the first few episodes.

Survivor Philippines will air nightly on GMA-7 after Ako Si Kim Samsoon beginning September 15. Wow, I'm so excited on this series! Who doesn't right? Just looking at the trailer, it sure looks good. I hope this one will not be liked the previous GMA-7 franchise of American Idol. We all know what happened there.

2 Comments on "Paolo Bediones Talks About The 18 Castaways of Survivor Philippines"

itot54joni on September 13, 2008 said...
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itot54joni on September 13, 2008 said...
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