'Wowowillie' host Willie Revillame. File photo
MANILA -- TV host Willie Revillame turned emotional Saturday during the live telecast of "Wowowillie," as curtains closed for the controversy-fraught noontime program after seven months on air.
Speaking with the live audience, Revillame recalled the different iterations of his variety shows -- the primetime offerings "Willing Willie" and "Wiltime Bigtime" -- which preceded this latest revamp as "Wowowillie."
"Galing 'no? Dalawang programa na 'yan na nagbibigay ng saya, at ito 'yung panghuli, at ito 'yung magbababa-bye na ngayong araw na 'to," Revillame said.
Addressing the TV5 management, he continued, "Medyo mag-o-overtime. Nakikiusap lang ako, for the last chance, huling araw na ho namin. Huwag niyo muna kami putulin, para naman po 'yung samabayanan, makita nila 'yung pinagsamahan nating programa."
A montage of contestants' winning moments and Revillame's interaction with his fans was then shown. This included scenes dating back to his debut as a TV5 host.
The trouble with hosting
Revillame transferred to the Manny V. Pangilinan-owned network in 2010, after the controversial end of his five-year program with ABS-CBN, "Wowowee."
His first TV5 show, "Willing Willie," similarly drew controversies, among them involving allegations of child abuse when a 6-year-old contestant was supposedly made to perform as a "macho dancer."
The controversy, which involved advertisers pulling out from the show, prompted Revillame to announce it would go on hiatus. A month later, it resumed as the reformatted "Wiltime Bigtime."
Yet another revamp as "Wowowillie" marked the program's transfer to a noontime slot in January this year.
"Tatlong programa po na nagbigay talaga ng saya sa inyong lahat," Revillame said on Saturday. "I'll be honest with you. Hindi ako nagsisinungaling sa inyo, alam niyo pagkatao ko, nagkakamali ako, naggalit ako sa TV, lahat, dahil hindi po ako pwede maging hipokrito sa inyong lahat. Kung ano po 'yung pagkatao ko, pinapakita ko."
"Intindihin niyo nalang ako, dahil lagi naming iniisip po ay kayo. Lagi namin pong iniisip ay kayo. Dala-dala po namin iyon araw-araw," he said.
Revillame went on to relate the difficulties of hosting a daily variety show live, which he said entails keeping up energy and an all-smiles front despite having personal problems to deal with.
"Hindi po biro ang mag-show araw-araw, na kahit wala ka sa mood, may sakit ka, kailangan mo ngumiti. May namatay, may sakit ang anak mo, may sakit ang pamilya mo, may sakit ang staff mo, hindi po biro 'yon dito sa amin sa 'Wowowillie.'
"Kailangan paglabas namin, sumisigaw ka, nakangiti ka kahit nagdurugo ang puso mo. Iyan po ang aming obligasyon, at iyon po ang aming kaligayahan, ang magbigay saya sa inyong lahat," he said.
He then proceeded to sing some of the hit songs popularized on his program. While singing "Ikaw na Nga," Revillame cried with his voice breaking.
Proceeding with his farewell speech, Revillame thanking several officials and executives of TV5 for allowing him to continue his program over the past three years. He also thanked former Sen. Manny Villar, who was in the audience, for being a partner in giving away some 28 houses as contest prizes.
Referring to the show's many contestants, Revillame continued, "Dito po, ang pinapansin ay 'yung mga hindi nabibigyang-pansin."
"Ang importante po dito, binibigyan ng halaga kahit sino ka, lalung-lalo na 'yung mga taong kapus-palad, 'yung mga tao pong nangangarap. Akala nila walang pangarap. Meron po, basta may mga programang katulad nito, na may pag-asang binibigay.
"Nandito kami hindi para lang maging masaya kami. Nandito po kami dahil nagiging masaya kami pag nakakapagbigay kami ng kasayahan sa inyo araw-araw," he said.
Not goodbye after all?
Revillame proceeded to thank the behind-the-scenes staff of "Wowowillie," as well as his female co-hosts who appeared to be in tears as he gave his speech.
He also mentioned former co-hosts Ethel Booba and Ate Gay, who quit the program after Revillame went on an on-air tirade in March criticizing them for supposedly being disrespectful toward him.
"Ako po ay taong hindi nagtatanim ng galit kahit kanino. Ako po 'yung taong wala sa akin 'yung hatred, 'yung bitterness, wala po sa akin 'yon," he said.
After showing another montage showing the entire "Wowowillie" crew waving goodbye, Revillame told the audience, "Wala ho ako dito kung wala kayong lahat. Kayo pong lahat ang nagbigay sa akin nito, kayo pong lahat ang nagdala sa akin dito."
Although he had previously announced the end of the program to mark his retirement, Revillame appeared to sing a different tune in his closing statements on Saturday.
"Sarado na po ang 'Wowowillie.' May bubuksan para sa magandang pag-asa at magandang buhay. Abangan niyo po 'yan... Wala pang kumakausap sa akin," he quipped, laughing. "Kung may kakausap, pag-iisipan."
"Salamat! I will return!" he said.