The show celebrated its 36th year on Philippine television on July 30, 2015, holding the record of being the longest-running noontime variety program on air in the history of Philippine television.
The hosts form the letters T and Y to thank the viewers for making them number one in the ratings.
Production Specialists, Inc., a company owned by Romy Jalosjos, brought the idea of creating a noontime show for Radio Philippines Network (RPN). Antonio Tuviera, who was working for the company, thought that the comic troika of Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto and Joey de Leon, better known as TVJ (who had gained fame through GMA Network's Discorama and as pinch-hitters for Student Canteen, but subsequently left both), would be the perfect hosts for the new program. At a meeting at the InterContinental Manila parking lot, Tuviera made the offer to them; they accepted.
De Leon coined the title of the show: Eat represents lunchtime while Bulaga (which means "to surprise") represents their plan to fill the show with big surprises. The title is also a play on two children's games: Eat is the transliteration of It from the game Tag while Bulaga refers to Peek-a-boo!. Because of this, the slogan "Hangga't May Bata, May Eat Bulaga!" ("While There Are Children, There will be Eat Bulaga!") was coined, also by de Leon.
Eat...Bulaga! premiered on July 30, 1979. TVJ, along with Chiqui Hollman and Richie Reyes (a.k.a. Richie d' Horsie) were the original hosts. During its first few months on the air, the show was in danger of cancellation. Not only did it face competition against the longest-running noontime show at that time, Student Canteen, it also lacked advertisers. In addition, TVJ did not receive their salaries for six months.
Eat...Bulaga! slowly gained top-rating status in 1980 after the introduction of the segment "Mr. Macho." Production Specialists soon handed production to Tuviera's TAPE, Inc. In May 1982, the domestic satellite was launched, allowing Eat...Bulaga! and other RPN programs to be aired nationwide. During the same time, Coney Reyes joined the show while Hollman moved to Student Canteen. In 1987, Aiza Seguerra joined the show after finishing as a runner-up in the "Little Miss Philippines" segment.
Its easily recognizable theme song that begins with the famous phrase "Mula Aparri hanggang Jolo" was introduced in 1982. The lyrics of the song was written by Vincent Dy Buncio and Pancho Oppus, while the melody was composed by Vic Sotto and musical arrangement by Homer Flores.
An interview with Joey de Leon revealed that Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, and Joey de Leon never signed any contract with Eat...Bulaga! when they were offered to become hosts of the show. Vic Sotto confessed that he accepted the offer and would immediately stop once he had enough money to buy a personal vehicle. Joey de Leon also admitted that the show was only supposed to be a short-term employment. However, Eat...Bulaga! defeated Student Canteen in the ratings after 2 years and TVJ decided to stay with the show. Up to this day, no contracts bind Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, and Joey de Leon to the show or to TAPE, Inc. Friendship and their loyalty to the show are the only factors that keep them together.
First decade on GMA and silver anniversary (1995–2004)
By the 1990s, ABS-CBN wanted to buy the airing rights of Eat...Bulaga! from TAPE Inc. However, Tuviera and Malou Choa-Fagar rejected the deal, leading ABS-CBN had to decided not to renew its contract with TAPE, Inc. and remove Eat...Bulaga! and its sister shows Valiente and Okay Ka, Fairy Ko from its roster (with the exception of Coney Reyes on Camera) and to reformat its Sunday show Sa Linggo nAPO Sila into a week-long show, 'Sang Linggo nAPO Sila.
Eat...Bulaga! moved to GMA, whose efforts to dethrone it with Lunch Date (replacement of Student Canteen shortly after the 1986 People Power Revolution) and Salo-Salo Together (SST) had failed. The show made its premiere telecast on its new home on January 28, 1995, again at the Araneta Coliseum. Before this, month-long promotions (from December 1994 to January 1995) were made by coming up with the catchy advertisements, 9-2=7, Totoo ang Sie7e ("Nine minus two equals seven, Seven is really true"), alluding to the show's move from Channel 9 (RPN) to Channel 2 (ABS-CBN) to Channel 7 (GMA). It was also a homecoming for TVJ, who previously hosted Discorama and pinch-hit for Student Canteen on GMA before leaving the network for Eat...Bulaga!.
In 2000, Eat...Bulaga! became the first to give away millions on Philippine television. When Magandang Tanghali Bayan, then the noontime show of ABS-CBN, introduced "Pera o Bayong" to its audience, it became an instant hit, causing MTB to top the ratings of Eat...Bulaga for two years. This forced the Eat...Bulaga! management to give the first millions, through its segments "Meron o Wala" and then "Laban o Bawi" to get the audience interest back.
Eat Bulaga! celebrated its 25th year on television on November 19, 2004 at the Expo Amphitheater in Clarkfield, Angeles City, Pampanga, making it the longest-running noontime show in the Philippines. The television special was attended by an estimated at more than 60,000 spectators and enjoyed the highest daytime TV rating in the Philippines. It won the Best Entertainment (One-Off/Annual) Special at the Asian Television Awards in Singapore on December 1, 2005. The event was hailed as the most successful on Philippine television, narrowly matched only by the 1st Starstruck Final Judgement. The presentation, titled Eat Bulaga Silver Special, was broadcast on November 28, 2004. By this time, Eat Bulaga! had modified its title, dropping the three dots.
Second decade on GMA, 30th anniversary (2005–present)
In 2006, the SexBomb Girls left the show due to a dispute with its producers. The show, in turn, opened auditions for new in-house dancers, under the name 'EB Babes', as a reality competition. The group officially debuted on August of that year. On March 2007, the SexBomb Girls returned as regular cast members.
On March 6, 2009, Francis Magalona, one of the show's long-time co-hosts, succumbed to leukemia. The following day, the show produced a tribute episode in which the whole cast performed his songs dedicated to his memory. During the tribute, it was revealed that Magalona coined the word 'Dabarkads', a popular name to the Eat Bulaga family.
In 2009, Eat Bulaga! celebrated its 30th anniversary, dubbed as Tatlong Dekads ng Dabarkads (Three Decades of the Dabarkads). The show focused on honoring and helping remarkable people, including 30 poor, hard-working students and other everyday heroes as a gesture of paying back to the public who supported them.
On February 2011, the SexBomb Girls along with the group's choreographer Joy Cancio left once more, this time for ABS-CBN's Happy Yipee Yehey!.
On October 6, 2011, Eat Bulaga! launched its coffee table book called Ang Unang Tatlong Dekada (The First Three Decades). It was written by veteran columnist and TV host Butch Francisco and designed by Joey de Leon's son Jako de Leon. Alongside the book, Eat Bulaga! gave away 3000 limited edition CDs of the 2004 Silver Special Anniversary celebration. Additionally, GMA News and Public Affairs produced a documentary titled Kuwentong Dabarkads hosted by Dingdong Dantes.
On August 18, 2012, Eat Bulaga! aired a special episode celebrating its 33rd anniversary without commercial breaks, the first time in its history. A soundtrack, Dabarkads D' Album: A Party for everyJUAN, featuring songs popularized by the Eat Bulaga! cast, as well as the theme tunes used by the show, was released in July 2013.
Due to public demand, Eat Bulaga! revived its traditional Lenten season drama specials during the 2014 Holy Week after an eight-year lull. Unlike its previous productions, the six heartwarming stories produced each year are inspired by true-to-life stories of former contestants of the popular segment, "Juan for All, All for Juan." Two episodes are shown each day from Holy Monday to Holy Wednesday.
On July 16, 2012, Indonesia's SCTV Network aired the show's first international franchise, Eat Bulaga! Indonesia. The network, which had considered securing the rights for a local version for the past five years, started formal negotiations with TAPE, Inc. in April 2012, with approval given in June 2012. SCTV Network's Eat Bulaga! Indonesia ended on April 3, 2014. However, the show eventually returned to the airwaves on November 17, 2014 on its new home network, antv, with the new title, The New Eat Bulaga! Indonesia.
Voyager Innovations, Inc., a Philippines-based technology company, released the official Androidmobile app of the show on January 23, 2015. Eat Bulaga! is the first noontime show to launch their own mobile application that would allow their fans to stay connected with the hosts. The app also contains exclusive videos from the show's thirty-five years on television as well as a mobile version of one of its most memorable game segments, "Pinoy Henyo."
Bulagaan is a segment of "knock-knock" jokes in a classroom scenario, with the hosts divided into groups, dressed in school uniforms, and singing their answers to the teacher's question. After performing, the group spins a giant roulette (numbered from 00 to 100) which is the basis of their score.The group with the lowest score will be punished at the end of the segment and later going free-for-all, throwing cream pies at each other. This segment occurs once in a while, usually during special occasions.
Bulaga PA MORE!
A talent-themed showdown contest between two celebrity contestants. The winner of the day is determined by a panel of Dabarkads judges, and will win P20,000 and will move on to the weekly grand finals for the chance to win the prize of P100,000. Recent week themes have been about "Aegis" and "Hip-Hop".
HBD: Happy Birthday Dabarkads
A portion where viewers can send their messages and/or photos to greet their loved ones on-air on Eat Bulaga!, presented by HBD girl Patricia.
I-Search Na Yan!
A homeviewer portion where homeviewers have a chance to win cash and other prizes. Ryzza Mae Dizon asks a question related to Philippine history or current events, and people can use any resource, such as an encyclopedia or an electronic source, to find the correct answer.
Juan for All, All for Juan: Bayanihan of d' Pipol
Dubbed by Joey de Leon as "Bayanihan na may kasamang swerte", this segment shows the true purpose of Eat Bulaga! — to help less fortunate Filipinos and to give happiness to every Juan who supported them throughout the years. Included in this segment is the "Plastic ni Juan Project, where the plastic bottles they collect from the barangays they visit are turned into school armchairs, to be given to their chosen school in a specific barangay.
Jose Manalo, Wally Bayola, Paolo Ballesteros, and Marian Rivera-Dantes (currently on hiatus due to her pregnancy) and are the primary hosts in this segment, who are on-location at the chosen barangay for the day, with Vic Sotto, Tito Sotto, Joey de Leon and Allan K hosting in the Broadway Studio. Maine Mendoza, known as "Yaya Dub", currently accompanies the remote trio of hosts. A studio host draws an entry from a box containing registration forms from the chosen barangay and calls that person to confirm their name and address. The barangay hosts then go to the home address to meet and congratulate the winner. The winner is interviewed shortly by the hosts about family, work, health, and other personal background. The winner is given food, cash, and other prizes from the sponsors of the show, including appliances from Hanabishi, an O+ Android smartphone, grocery showcase from Puregold, and a raffle entry for a chance to win house and lot from Lumina Homes. Aside from the sponsor's prizes, the winner also receives a final cash prize from the show itself.
Afterwards, the hosts will announce the barangay's name and the phrase, "Bayanihan na!". The Filipino term "bayanihan" refers to a spirit of communal effort to achieve a particular objective. All who wish to be eligible to win must bring specific items that the hosts mention and must then race to the numbers laid out on the streets in under a minute. The hosts pick a random number. The person standing on that number and the four next numbers receive cash prizes and gift packs from the show and its sponsors. The line with the most behaved people, dubbed as the "Bayanihan Line", receives P1,000 each (for a total of P20,000). In the event of bad weather, the studio hosts select seven entries. The seven winners must each bring plastic bottles and their registration forms to receive P10,000.
This segment is done on every show, Monday to Saturday, with locations ranging nationwide - from barangays and subdivisions across Metro Manila, all the way to provinces in Visayas and Mindanao. There, they usually have their selected contestant registered the previous day, with a copy of their entries sent back to the Broadway Studio to be drawn the next day.
Next to Juan for All, All for Juan is a special segment called Barangay Bayanihan. This applies to the chosen barangay of the day. For it to qualify, it must be well-organized, clean and well-behaved. Everyday a barangay is added to the list of "qualified" barangays, eventually summing up to more or less 20 barangays for the month. Otherwise, just one violation of the said requirements means the disqualification of that barangay. After each month, the hosts choose three barangays who will win a special prize based on their rank, with the best barangay winning the grand prize and the title of Barangay Bayanihan.
The hosts satirically answer several questions of barangay residents who seek resolution to their problems. Homeviewers may email their problem or directly call the hosts to share their problem on air. The barangay hosts also attempt to answer questions that netizens ask through the show's Twitter or Facebook page. The netizens may also offer answers or solutions to the chosen "problem of the day." This segment also features the antics of Wally Bayola's characters, such as Doktora the Explorer, and currently Donya/Lola Nidora, accompanied by her Yaya Dub, portrayed by viral Dubsmash personality Maine Mendoza. "Problem Solving" continues to be a trending segment due to the drama between the "AlDub" and "LoMmy" loveteams, appearing as a parody drama series titled #KiligPaMore.
That's My Bae: "Twerk It" Dance Contest
A male dance contest between two contestants who are referred to as bae, a popular term that is either an acronym of "before anyone else" or a slang word for "baby/babe" as a term of endearment. The two daily contestants showcase their looks and lives in addition to dancing to the 2014 hit single "Twerk It Like Miley" to try to swoon the audience, engaging in a showdown.
List of segments
AFP Search for Singing Soldiers (1986, 1992, 1994, 1997, 2000)