|Posted by News Online on February 24, 2013 at 1:10 AM|
Some of us Visayans may still recognize the hilarious goofball duo of Teban and Goliat as the original Bisdak counterparts of Laurel and Hardy or the mainstream Eat Bulaga comedians Wally and Jose but many of us seem to have forgotten the legacy they left behind - the hit famous Cebuanovela "Si Goot da Wanderpol" (The Wonderful Goat). Examine how this once-obscure Visayan experiment on television transformed the lives of the people and raised Bisdak ("Bisayang Dako") pride to new heights.
There has always been an issue of being "Bisaya" on national spotlight especially in the cruel world of show business. All the shows we see on television are in Tagalog because our favorite artistas from Angel Locsin to Dingdong Dantes and even to the likes of our homegrown talents Kim Chiu and Vina Morales are forced to speak in the "national" language but because it is the only way to further their careers. The formation of our national language during the 1935 Commonwealth government under Manuel L. Quezon has sidelined the language spoken by most people from Visayas and Mindanao.
In the advent of television, Tagalog remained the dominant medium in the dissemination of information and Visayan remained on the periphery of our national consciousness. Speaking Visayan on air is a rare occurrence and even if it there is someone speaking on television, dubbing and subtitles are needed. The rest of the country know less of our deep cultural roots in television dramas and plays. It seems that producing a Cebuano-language television series with all Cebuano actors can be a risky and stupid idea because it has never been done before.
Whenever a Visayan role is present in our favorite staple telenovelas, these roles are always relegated to typical subservient "katulong" (house maid) roles. Oftentimes, non-Visayans portray us in a stereotypical, caricaturish, and funny way possible to the point it is somewhat similar to "blackface" in America's deep racist South. A cultural genocide of some sorts!
Why it became a Hit?
Si Goot became a viral phenomena that fueled the upsurge of Visayan consciousness and pride during a time of uncertainty as a consequence of a stagnating economy and a sequence of devastating national disasters. For the first time, Visayans see themselves on television as what they really are. People would have goose-bump whenever they see Teban and Goliat on the flesh because they look like any ordinary guy on the streets but are larger-than-life characters at the same time. They may not be the typical artista in the mold of half-Cebuano Richard Guttierez but they surely bring the house down.
The dynamic duo, Julian Daan and Alan Nacorda in real life, were the toast of the city because of their stomach aching and jaw straining funny jokes. During the time when Thalia (of Marimar fame) and the rest of sexy Mexican telenovelas were ruling the airwaves, Si Goot was on a class of its own. Some have even said that its TV ratings far outperformed even the most popular television show at that time. Unfortunately, mainstream media dismissed it as a small and local show that would never catch on fire. But it did! In fact, many people even have it copied on VHS tapes with Visayans from all corners of the archipelago watch it and some OFWs smuggle copies of it to keep themselves refresh of what they missed back home.
The story is quite familiar because it was lifted from our favorite fairy tale of the goose that lays golden eggs. The show revolves around the adventures, oftentimes misadventures, of Teban and Goliat with their goat that literally defecates coins instead of that smelly digested and regurgitated grass bullion. A brainchild of brilliant Cebuano producer Marcos Sacol, the show mixed drama, fantasy, and comedy elements so that we could have seen the forerunner of the fantaseryes that we see on national television today.
In a Horatio Alger tale like fashion, who would have thought ordinary bums Daan and Nacorda would be transformed into instant celebrities Teban and Goliat and created a mass hysteria of the Si Goot legend. Even without heavily-marketed "mestizo-looking" actors, the Cebuano telenovela captured public attention that many people would rush to find television on carenderias at lunch just to watch the latest episode and even school children running home to make it!
Where were you when Si Goot was the most popular show?
After Si Goot
During the height of its popularity, fellow actor Kriss Relatado and the whole cast were said to be mobbed in Ozamiz. According to Sacol, Si Goot posted a 61% audience share - the highest rating ever for a local or national program aired in Cebu.
The show lasted for two years and for reasons not everyone knew, it ended without a bang and eventually faded into oblivion. It was believed that there was trouble as who would take over the creative process after the death of the producer. Daan's popularity propelled him to provincial politics as board member and Nacorda still continues his funny acts until this day. After Si Goot, there was a huge interest in Manila to transform local Visayan radio plays and teleserye into mainstream TV shows and movies like "Milyonaryong Mini," "Gintong Kristal," "Ang Manok ni San Pedro," and "Flor De Luna." Unfortunately, there are no Visayan-language shows on television and movies today!
Its Long Lasting Legacy
Being the cultural heartland, Cebu has always been looked up by Visayans that practically occupied most of the islands sans Luzon. Although some people would not admit it, there are more Visayans than Tagalogs and obviously, it should have been our country's lingua franca. Si Goot da Wanderpol has captivated the Visayan people all over because for the first time, it was proud to be a Bisdak. There is an obvious resurgent of the love of the Visayan language in the younger generation as the fascination of old Teban and Goliat jokes reappeared on the Internet. The world-wide-web also intensified creative talents mixed with the desire to learn the language that we could see countless viral videos that involved foreigners speaking Cebuano or popular movies dubbed in the language like the funny Apocalypto movie transformed into "Paksiw: Ang Bangiitang Irong Boang" and the hilarious 300 version with the title "300, The Lost Kanding" (an obvious reference to the goat in Si Goot).
During the 1990's, Cebu was on the state of rebuilding and economic resurgence after the disastrous typhoon Ruping that devastated much of the Visayas region. Although much of Luzon was still reeling from the disastrous earthquake and the Mount Pinatubo eruption that followed the next year, Cebu was left on its own to survive on itself. It was that hit local television show that bind Visayan-speaking people together -- from Masbate to General Santos, from Leyte to Zamboanga, and from Negros to Davao. Self-reliance and non-dependence on national government has transformed Cebu into one of the fastest growing province in the country. CeBOOM! was born and to this very day, new buildings and shopping malls have been rising up to fill the needs of its ever-growing cities. Tourism is on the rise brought about the growing influx of Koreans and other foreign visitors.
Nowadays, television networks now started airing local news programs in our own language and even the national news started adopting some of our words but on a different way. Ever heard Mike Enriquez or Noli de Castro say "kawatan" on air? Some have started to understand some of our words as more and more Visayans now populate Metro Manila and more Tagalogs uproot to major cities in Visayas and Mindanao.
Looking forward, Cebuano artists or a Cebuano-made production can become successful even without national exposure.
Finding Marcos Sacol (http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=364757)
Si Goot da Wanderpol Forum (http://www.istorya.net/forums/tvs-and-movies/15379-si-got-da-wanderpol-13.html)