In an industry long known for deception in the name of entertainment, a whistleblower has come forward to reveal that this covers even the most innocent of child-friendly programs.
Koko Matsong (changed, not his real name) reached out to Agila recently to reveal the truth about the show Batibot.
“Puppets. Puppets everywhere. I just have to say it. Me, my friend turtle whose name starts with a P and rhymes with Bong Bagong, the aliens, even the fortune teller? We’re all puppets. To the audience we may have looked alive, and fun, and free but in reality, there were always figures behind us, controlling our every move.”
Batibot was a popular children’s show in the 80s and 90s but it was not without its own set of controversies, including the introduction of the much-unloved character Koko Kwik-kwak, the weird love team in the making of Kuya Bodjie and Ate Siena, and the ultimate disappearance of Pong Pagong and Kiko Matsing after the Sesame Street Cartel took over.
“When we were still in Batibot, we were all basically puppets. Alin, alin, alin ang naiba? Wala. Lahat kami, papet. Bong Bagong had it worse. Outside he was a pagong (turtle) but deep inside, it’s like he’s a different person everytime I see him. His face was just a mask. His personality just an act. The real Bong Bagong was alcoholic. Maybe. Lahat fake. Kahit yung puno sa gitna. Fake. Kala mo kahoy yun? Papel lang yun.”
“It was suffocating. Somebody always had a hand in every move I make. We were all going insane.” Koko Matsong also revealed that Sitsiritsit, and Alibangbang were the first to finally break from mental pressure. “Pagkatapos ng unang season, hindi na sila nakakapagsalita liban sa mga pangalan nila. Kawawa. I could feel they’re getting to me. Inside me. It was scary. If it weren’t for me thinking about the learning of the kids, I would have gone insane.”
Koko Matsong paused, looking at an old picture of the cast. “Siguro si Ati Syena na rin, nakatulong. Ati Syenaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Wheeeeeeeeeeee!” Tears were rolling on his face as he struggled to continue. “Please don’t reveal my identity,” he requested, “ayaw kong malaman ni Ati Syena na mahal ko pa rin sya after all these years.”
Mr Matsong, a hairy ape now in his late 60s, is now living day to day as an internet content writer. “It’s a hard life,” he says, “but at least I’m free.”
The interview ended when Koko Matsong had another of his episodic panic attacks and had to comfort himself singing lyrics from the old theme song: “Tayo nang magpunta. Tuklasin sa Batibot. Ang tuwa, ang saya.“