There’s no doubt the “Baes” of Eat Bulaga are fast becoming major mainstays on television. Apart from their regular appearances on the GMA Network noontime variety show, their teen-oriented show Trops continues to dominate the ratings months after its premiere in October 2016. Collectively, the Baes now have over one million followers on Instagram.
Comprised of Kenneth Medrano, Miggy Tolentino, Joel Palencia, Tommy Peñaflor, Jon Timmons, and Kim Last, the boys were first known as back-up dancers on Eat Bulaga. Now, they are making their mark in the biz as a group of talented artists living out their dreams.
Showbiz is not just about popularity for them, though. Their main goal is to become role models for the youth.
“We owe it to those who supported us from the start to be the best that we can be,” said Last, who admits that acting on television has been his dream since he was a child. “Ever since I could speak, I’ve known I wanted to be an actor. I achieved the point wherein I’m happy. Masaya ako dito.”
Medrano, the Cebuano grand winner of the Bae search in 2015, also wanted to be part of showbiz ever since he was young. Despite having classic Pinoy movie star good looks, entering the industry was not easy for him. Moving to Manila to fulfill his dream was a gamble that he did not know would pay off.
“Akala ng marami, gimikero kami. Ang hindi nila alam, kapag may free time, we make sure na we spend it with our family,” he said.
Like Medrano, Tolentino is a simple teen “na patambay-tambay lang sa labas ng bahay kasama ng mga kaibigan ko” prior to becoming part of Eat Bulaga’s contest.
Even when he was already part of Eat Bulaga before the premiere of Trops, Tolentino admitted feeling dejected as he wasn’t doing anything other than appear on the noontime show unlike the other members.
“May time na gusto ko na mag-quit,” he shared. “Ang hinihiling lang namin dati, magkaroon ng show na mag-extra kaming anim na magkakasama. Naisip ko, balik na lang ako sa bahay namin. Mag-stay na lang ako sa dati kong buhay, mag-quit na lang kami.”
But fellow Bae Peñaflor, a call center agent before joining showbiz, encouraged him to keep pushing forward. Their dream, after all, is no longer just for themselves, Tommy explained—it’s also for their family, loved ones, and supporters who have been behind them since the beginning. “Yung mga tagumpay namin, yung achievements namin, para yun sa lahat ng naniniwala sa amin.”
Clearly, they’ve gone a long way since then. “Before, when people would see us it public, they would say, ‘Uy, si Twerk It Like Miley,” said Last, referring to the dance song their group was initially known. “Now they would say, ‘Uy, si Trops’.”
This also means, as role models, that they share what they have learned from their experience in showbiz. One of the most important lessons they’ve learned recently, Joel said, is from Trops co-star Irma Adlawan.
From the veteran actress, the Baes learned that there is no point in resting on their laurels. “Sabi ni Tita Irma, ‘Mga anak, huwag ninyong iisipin na lagi kayong magaling. Ganun ako, kasi kung magaling ka, wala ka nang patutunguhan. Pero kung iniisip ko na hindi ako magaling, marami akong natutunan, marami pa akong mapupuntahan,” he said.
As role models, the Baes know that despite their current success, they have to keep working hard. “Di ba may mga group na until now kilala pa rin kahit wala na sila. People would say na magaling yung mga members ng Sex Bomb Dancers or Streetboys. We want people to say someday na, ‘That’s My Bae yan, magaling yan’,” Medrano said.
“Sana we get to leave a mark, hindi yung isang bagsak lang, tapos wala na. We’re here for the long haul. We’re here to stay,” Last ended.