MANILA, Philippines – While most people compare him to the late weatherman, broadcaster and inventor Ernie “Ka Ernie” Baron, Kim “Kuya Kim” Atienza said he would rather consider himself a successor.
In an interview on the ABS-CBN morning talk show “Kris TV,” where he and his father, former Manila mayor Lito Atienza, appeared as guests, Kuya Kim said Baron gave him his blessing a month before his death.
It was at this point when Kuya Kim was torn between his career on television and his political bid, as requested by his father. He initially tried TV to get more exposure – and eventually votes – but Kuya Kim slowly fell in love with reporting and hosting.
“Sabi niya, ‘upo ka sa tabi ko. Alam mo bata, ang buhay may hangganan. Si Ka Ernie mamamatay na. Pero pwede na akong mamatay dahil meron na akong kapalit. Ikaw,’” Kuya Kim shared of his talk with the late "TV Patrol" weatherman.
“’Di ba ang linaw ng sign, medyo psychic pa si Ka Ernie. So I prayed that afternoon and I asked the Lord. Sabi ko, ‘Lord, is this a sign? Napakalinaw ata na sign pero you know, Lord, you’re so powerful, give me a sign that is even clearer.’
“Thirty days after that day, on my birthday, January 24 (2005), Ka Ernie Baron died. Sabi ko, ‘Lord, napakalinaw talaga ng sign.’”
Bringing with him his passion for television and Baron’s last wish, Kuya Kim approached his father and tried to tell him that he will no longer return to politics as initially planned.
But his father already saw right through him. “Bago pa ako magsalita, pinigilan na niya ako. Sabi niya, ‘Kim, ‘wag mo nang sabihin. Alam ko na.’
“Mabigat ‘yun eh, at ‘di ko alam kung paano tatanggapin ng tatay ko. But dad just gave me a hug. Sabi niya, ‘okay ka na diyan. I give you my blessings.’”
His father, for his part, said: “I knew that he found his love already. When he was about to explain, sabi ko ‘Kim, wala na ‘yung passion sa iyo, iba na ang iyong minamahal, ‘yung profession mo [sa TV].’”
“But ako in the beginning, I felt bad. Sabi ko, Kim would’ve been a perfect mayor for Manila. He’s very intelligent, siguro makikita ng taong bayan ngayon ‘yan. He’s got a good heart. Mabait si Kim. Kaya sabi ko ‘yung pagkawala ni Kim sa Maynila, napunta naman sa media, sa buong bansa,” he added.
With his several shows on ABS-CBN, Kuya Kim has become one of the most popular hosts on television today. He owes his success not only to Baron, his father and his mother network, but also to his viewers and fans.
And this kind of success, he said, is something that he would not trade for anything else, not even a top position in government.
“I’d rather stay as Kuya Kim at matandaan ng tao bilang Kuya Kim over Mayor Kim, Senator Kim, President Kim. Masayang masaya ako as Kuya Kim,” he said.