It is with profound sadness and a heavy heart that I share with you that international studies show that Filipino students placed the lowest in reading comprehension and second-lowest in math and science among 79 countries. But hey, there’s one thing we topped, we ranked first in spending the most time on social media. That’s a hard pill to swallow.
If that isn’t alarming enough, celebrities and influencers confuse history with ~chismis~. And netizens blatantly smart-shame those who correct their mistakes. It’s really hard to ~educate~ people nowadays. It makes us wonder, what can we do about it?
Us ordinary citizens might not be able to do much to address the educational crisis, but the media certainly can. Remember when TV used to actually air educational content? When game shows actually celebrated people who knew their stuff? I think it’s time to look back at these old gems. We listed down eight classic Pinoy quiz shows that celebrated Filipino intellect — this genre badly needs a revival.
Battle of the Brains (RPN 9, 1992-1999 & PTV 4, 2000-2001)
Hosted by David Celdran, Battle of the Brains is one of the most influential shows in the country. It was open to all elementary, high school, and college students, bringing the classic quiz bee into everyone’s homes. The show was like the academic counterpart of the UAAP where schools go wild in cheering their representatives. The questions were actually challenging, and they took it really seriously. There was even a panel of judges (most of them professors from top Philippine universities) to settle disputes under their respective expertise.
There are thirty questions grouped into three rounds (easy, average, and difficult). Points are allotted based on difficulty. Contestants hit the buzzer and are given five seconds to answer. If they get the answer wrong or run out of time, other teams are given a chance to steal. The host recaps the score at the end of each round. If there is a tie, sudden-death questions are asked. The first team to answer correctly wins.
Science, Mathematics, History, General Information, and Arts/Literature
Pilipinas Game Ka Na Ba? (ABS-CBN, 2001-2009)
Hosted by Kris Aquino and then replaced by Edu Manzano in 2007, this trivia game show managed to be educational and entertaining at the same time. It had a total of seven formats throughout its eight-year run and one of the most popular was the Atras-Abante format.
Ten players are in for the eliminations but only half of them will advance to the next round after a series of questions. In the Atras-Abante round, they will race to reach the yellow line. Every correct answer will give contestants the option of ‘Abante ako’ or ‘Atras si ___’. Two winners will move forward to the last round where they will play with the defending champion. One wrong answer and you will be eliminated. The winner will play in the jackpot round where s/he has to answer six questions correctly in 60 seconds.
Literally anything under the sun, from anatomy to pop culture.
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire (IBC, 2000-2002 & TV5, 2009-2015)
Hosted by Christopher De Leon and then Vic Sotto, this is the local adaptation of the British game show of the same name. The contestant had to answer fifteen multiple-choice questions to win one million pesos.
The player has to climb up to the million mark by answering multiple-choice questions. There are three safe havens where they will be asked if they want to continue or go home with the prize. There are available lifelines to help them answer like 50:50, Phone-A-Friend, or People Speak. They also added Switch and Double Dip in some seasons.
General knowledge from TV shows to Mathematics.
Kakasa Ka Ba sa Grade 5? (GMA, 2007-2009)
Hosted by Janno Gibbs, this is the local version of Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? One contestant would go against a Grade 5 student in answering questions. These were categorized into several categories based on the current Philippine primary school curriculum approved by the Department of Education.
The contestant chooses a classmate and category (grade level and subject). They will battle to answer the questions but the player has three ‘cheats,’ peek, copy, or save their classmate’s answer. The player has to successfully answer ten questions and once they are incorrect, they will ‘drop out’ and say ‘Hindi ako kakasa sa Grade 5’. The loser is given a Kalabasa Award.
English, Science, Mathematics, Filipino, Sibika at Kultura, Edukasyong Pangtahanan, MAPE, and Spelling
1 vs 100 (ABS-CBN, 2007-2008)
Hosted by Edu Manzano, this was the Philippine version of the Dutch game show of the same name. One player would go against a hundred contestants called The Mob. The contestant would then earn money for every mob member eliminated.
The player has to answer multiple-choice questions with three possible answers. After every question, mob members who answered wrong are eliminated so the money is divided among the members left in the competition. The player is given three forms of assistance or ‘helps,’ Poll the Mob, Ask the Mob, or Trust the Mob. He/she has to take advantage of this to beat every member of the mob.
Anything under the sun, from pop culture to theology.
The Weakest Link (IBC, 2001-2002)
Hosted by Edu Manzano and then Allan K, this was the Filipino version of the British game show of the same name. Contestants had to answer twelve multiple-choice questions to win the jackpot prize of one million pesos.
Eight contestants take turns in answering general knowledge questions within a time limit. They have to create chains of right answers in a row to increase their prize. After each round, they vote out the weakest link in the game until two players are left. They will then go head-to-head in answering five questions. Whoever has the most points wins the game.
General knowledge, from Greek mythology to rock bands.
Digital LG Quiz (GMA, 1999-2004)
Hosted by Paolo Bediones and Regine Tolentino, this quiz show featured four contestants (either sophomores or juniors) from different high schools. In order to become the season’s champion, the players must qualify for the monthly and quarterly finals.
Each contender starts with 100 points. They have to go through five different rounds namely password, picture puzzle, think-tac-toe, blockbusters, and megabytes. Players have to answer multiple questions in every stage to accumulate points. The person with the most points at the end of the episode wins.
Science and Technology, Mathematics, English, Culture, General Information, Sports, and Politics & Current Events
Campus Challenge (UNTV, 2011-2013)
Hosted by Jonathan Sibulo and Zahra Bianca Saldua, the show was produced in response to DepEd’s challenge to upgrade children’s literacy through high-standard educational television programs. Participating schools send two representatives from elementary and high school.
Four schools compete against each other in every episode and whoever scores the highest at the end of each episode is the winner. Contestants stand on podiums with mic, buzzer, pens, and papers. The one who buzzes first has to answer. Their first answer is their final answer, other teams can buzz in once they answer wrong or run out of time. There is a corresponding point awarded per category.
Sci-tech, News, Mathematics, Word-o-Poly, Literature, Filipiniana, Around the World, Kalikasan Para sa Kabataan, General Info, Health, Sports, and Fitness, Music & Arts, and Pop Culture
These quiz shows really hit different. And while we all love mindless fun every now and then, we hope that television networks revive these shows so our brains won’t completely turn into mush.
What’s your favorite Filipino game show? Share it in the comments below.