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Batibot directors speak on educational TV production

20 April 2012 by JTVKatigbak

The DEVC 235 class (Educational Broadcasting in Development) held a symposium that featured "Batibot", a popular and well-loved children's television program. Entitled "Muling Sisikat...Isa Pang Kembot Batibot," the symposium featured Andrew Villar, the current show's art director, and Adrian Arcega, segment director. The symposium was held March 5 at CDC Lecture Room 1. Dr. Benjamina Paula G. Flor is the class professor.

Produced by the Philippine Children's Television Foundation, Inc. (PCTVFI), "Batibot" makes up probably one of the fondest memories of most Filipino children who grew up during the 1980s. The educational format and endearing characters (humans or puppets) have made "Batibot" probably the most awarded and premier children's educational television show in the country. 

Villar and Arcega shared with the audience Batibot's colorful history, the changes that they had to make to keep up with the changing times and tastes of Filipino children, and the work involved in producing an educational television program.

In these times, Villar and Arcega admitted that children are more interested in playing video games, surfing the internet, and watching foreign shows on TV. Because of this, they had to make the show more attractive for today's children. One of their innovations was to make Koko Kwik Kwak, Batibot's main character mascot, as computer animated instead of being a puppet. They found that children related more to Koko as a computer-generated character. However, some of the well-loved characters such as Ning-ning and Ging-Ging, Irma Daldal, Manang Bola, and Kapitan Basa have remained as puppets. 

While children's educational programs often struggle to stay afloat in the midst of mainstream programming, Villar and Arcega maintained that there would always be a demand for children's shows such as Batibot. "People will always clamor for that," Villar said. They said that one of the differences of Batibot different from other children's programs is that it had always been curriculum-based, and that educators are behind the program. Its executive producer, and PCTVFI founder is Teacher Feny de los Angeles-Bautista, a multi-awarded educator and child development specialist. Teacher Feny has made sure that Batibot also imparts Filipino values to kids, aside from teaching them basic education, Villar explained. 

Villar and Arcega advised anyone wishing to venture into children's educational broadcasting to remain "geeks and kids at heart" to be able to understand the audience, who are children. "They are a smart audience. Kids are so smart these days. Do not insult them by using stupid humor. Do research. Kids learn from smart ideas." They also said that a children's show should also have the "audacity to teach Filipino values", in spite of the ratings game. 

All these efforts have not gone unrewarded, as they mentioned that Batibot has received three awards in the past year, and has been signed on for another season.

The seminar-symposium was facilitated by Mark Lester Chico, instructor at the Department of Development Broadcasting and Telecommunication (DDBT). Batibot is aired over TV5, every Saturday, from 8:30-9:00AM. HDLMercado