Photography: Stephen Capuchino
Pinoy Big Brother Otso has a truly unique setup for their latest season. It will have five batches, with each batch of the first four batches having its own Big Four.
The fifth batch shall be comprised of all Big Four winners of the previous batches, that shall compete for the ultimate Final Four.
The Big Four for the first batch of teens in the ongoing Pinoy Big Brother (PBB) Season 14 were announced early January 2019. But their adventures had just begun.
It’s girl power for this first batch, which is refreshing for the reality show. The first Big Four are Jillian Pilones from General Santos City, Angelie Reposposa from Tagum City, Karina Bautista from Isabela, and Kaori Oinuma from Japan.
The four ladies recently had a brief chat with StarStudio.ph to talk about their brave new journey and where they are headed to next.
Jillian was a Grade 12 working student when she entered the PBB House. As a young girl who grew up with musician parents, it’s not surprising that she turned out loving music, too. Her kind of music, however, is not as conventional as her parents’ because she goes for beatboxing.
“Grade 5 po ako nag-start,” Jillian recalls how she fell in love with music. “Lagi po kasi ako sumasama kanila Mama, kanila Papa, sa gigs po nila. Doon ko po natutunann kumanta. High school po ako, third year high school. Expected na rin po kasi matuto kasi third year na. Hindi rin po ako magaling, ’te, pero naging passion ko na din po ’yung pagkanta.”
Her beatboxing skills, she says, make her different from the rest of her colleagues. “Lahat naman po kami masipag, ‘te,” she adds. “Siguro ako, hindi po ako gano’n ka talino, pero madiskarte ako.”
The girl, who describes herself as “makulit,” “maingay” and “seryoso sa mga seryosong bagay,” also loves going to the Internet café to play video games with her friends. She mentions Rules of Survival (ROS) and Defense of the Ancients (DOTA) as two of her favorite games.
“Simple lang naman po ’yung buhay po namin na naninirahan po doon sa GenSan,” she says, referring to her hometown, General Santos City.
Jillian was about to graduate from high school when she decided to take her chances at the reality TV competition.
Entering Bahay ni Kuya, the more popular name for the house where the PBB contestants live for the duration of the competition, was a dream for Jillian and her mother.
She recalls the time when she had to line up for the PBB auditions in General Santos City: “Pinagtiyagaan ko po na makapila, maka-audition kahit wala na po sa oras, kahit sobrang pagod na po ako no’n. Tinry ko po talaga. Ginusto ko po talaga kasi naghanap ako ng paraan kasi akala po namin na wala pong magpapa-audition doon sa lugar po namin.”
“Kaya naisipan po naming lumipad po dito,” she adds, “kaso nga lang po wala po kaming nakitaang pera papunta po dito. Nawalan po ako ng pag-asa. Nag-antay po ako. Nagkaroon po ng audition sa GenSan.”
When she finally got inside Bahay ni Kuya, Jillian remembers getting astounded by the challenges she had to undergo. But she also surprised herself with her strength.
“Ibang-iba po kasi,” she admits. “Dati po pinapanood ko lang po talaga, pero hindi naman po siya gaano’n kahirap. E, no’ng ako na pong pumasok do’n, sabi ko sa sarili ko, ‘Bakit nakakaya ko ’yung malalaking hamon po?’ Puro surprising din po talaga, ’te. ’Tapos ’yung mga pinapagawa po sa amin, napaka-imposible po, pero nagawan ng paraan. ’Yun po, nakakabilib lang po talaga.”
Jillian was even more surprised to find out that there were so many people waiting for her when she left the house. “Comfortable [naman po ako sa crowd],” she says. “Performer din po ako. Pero no’ng nandito na ako [sa labas ng bahay], sobrang dami na rin pong tao. May mga nakakasalubong ka.”
Now that she’s one of the first Big Four winners, the GenSan native, who’ll turn 18 on February 13, wants to fulfill her dream to become an “artista.”
She says, “Gusto ko pang ma-improve sarili ko, ’yung pagpe-perform ko po. Gustong-gusto ko pong ma-enhance ’yung singing ko.”
Her favorite part now of her life is photo shoots. “Pinapaganda po kami lagi,” she says, laughing. And now, she’s ready for what may come, “Kahit kinakabahan,” she admits. “Puro surprising kasi ’yung nangyayari, pero gora po talaga. Sobrang nag-e-enjoy ako.”
Angeli Reposposa is the kind of person, whom people would describe as, in common Filipino slang, “go lang nang go.”
She also doesn’t mince her words whenever she wants to say something. “No’ng una po talaga, di ko po talaga trip ’yung PBB, pero no’ng nakita ko na ’yung MayWard, maganda pala,” she says, referring to the shipname of the love team of MayMay Entrata and Edward Barber, who had been contestants in the reality TV show. MayMay emerged as the Big Winner of PBB: Lucky 7.
“Maganda ’yung PBB. Interesting,” she beams. “Kasi gusto ko din maging artista, makita sa TV, gano’n, gano’n.”
“Gusto ko makita sa TV, uy! Artista ba!” she repeats.
In the course of our interview, we begin to agree with her description of herself, and we laugh with her as she goes on: “Madaldal, makulit, feeling close kahit hindi naman kakilala. ’Tapos energetic. Wala pake sa ano talaga sa buong ano. Makalat. Magulo. ’Tapos masiyahin. Positive lang.”
The natural comic is also a hardworking girl. Born on October 22, 2003, Lie, her nickname, attended Sunday school and worked on anything where she could use her talents to help her family.
“Rumaraket lang po ako ng kanta-kanta,” she says. “Kahit ano pong raket basta may tumawag sa amin na may contests or guestings, kahit ano po. Hilig ko talaga kumanta.”
It is for this experience that she is used to facing an audience: “Minsan po kinakabahan din kasi minsan ’yung mga pagkanta mo… Baka di maganda ’yung pagkanta mo. Pero masaya. Pero di talaga maiwasan ’yung kaba din. Pero sanay na po.”
Before entering Bahay ni Kuya, Lie thought that the whole experience would be a breeze because, she says, she watched the past seasons: “Puro lang saya kasi nakikita mo doon, parang wala sila problema, enjoy lang.”
She was, of course, mistaken. “Pag pasok ko doon, iba pala talaga, halo-halo—’yung emosyon, ’yung mentally, nakakabaliw,” she now says. “Hindi lang puro saya nando’n e, marami ding lungkot. Maraming challenging na di mo ine-expect. ’Tapos nakaka-excite kasi araw-araw iba-iba ’yung nagaganap, ’tapos may pasabog talaga doon. Nakakabaliw!”
She learned a deeper lesson along the way. “Mas masakit ang salita kaysa gawa,” she explains. “Kasi pag sa salita kasi, mararamdaman mo, ’tapos masakit talaga. Lalo na pag kinikimkim mo talaga, kasi doon, bawal sabihin ’yung mga pinag-usapan. Kaya wala kang mapag-open. Pag sinuntok ka lang kasi, maya-maya mawawala lang. Mas masakit ’yung salita talaga, ’tapos lagi pang merong iniisip. Nakakabaliw!”
Those challenges made her ready for the world outside of the house, which may or may not be as difficult. But she is excited to find out.
“Handang-handa po ako,” she says. “Maraming tao, come here! Mas maganda mag-perform pag maraming tao talaga. Kasi nakaka-boost siya ng confidence and energy, and make your strategy, make perfect, gano’n, gano’n, sabog-sabog, bongga!
“Kung magbibigyan ako ng pagkakataon sumikat, maganda po. Pero kung di naman po ipagpakaloob sa akin, okey lang din po. At least nakita ako sa TV. Papakita ko lang po kung ano ’yung talent ko at kung sino talaga ako.”
When asked how she would stand out in a crowd of celebrities, she brings her sense of humor to the mix. “Di ko po masabi na iba ako sa kanila,” she says. “Hindi ko po alam. Magkaiba kami ng personality pala, magkaiba kami ng height, edad. Magkaiba kami ng pagkaka-isip talaga. May iba-iba din kaming angking talento.”
Karina Bautista is proud of herself for being independent—and she should be. The pride of Isabela province has been away from her parents for quite some time now. “Ako po ’yung nag-bu-budget ng money, gano’n po,” she says.
Her parents both work abroad, and she only has one sibling, a stepbrother on her father’s side, whom she hasn’t met. “Pero alam ko po 30 years old na siya,” she reveals.
She is also a rare find in that for her age, 16, she has no social media accounts, such as Twitter or Instagram. She tells us: “Kaya lagi akong nasasabihan, ‘Saang lupalop ka ba galing?’ Kaya hindi ako masyado active. ’Yun lang, parang low lang, wala masyadong attention.”
While her parents send her money, sometimes, she says the money isn’t enough. To make ends meet, she joined beauty pageants. “Ginagawa kong business,” she admits. “Doon po ako kumikita.”
She also loves joining debates (in fact, she was supposed to attend a debating event in Baguio City, but chose to join PBB instead). She is also active in school (and is part of the student council) and sports, mentioning swimming as her current sport. She also played soccer and American football before.
But now that she is in front of the camera, her goal is, like her fellow Big Four winners, “pag-aartista.” But she says she doesn’t want to follow anyone’s footsteps: “Ayoko po talaga na may katulad po. I want to make my own path. So gusto ko hindi lang sa isang bagay mag-excel. For example, sa acting, pero gusto ko din po mag-hosting. Gusto ko multi-purpose. Hindi lang ako makilala dahil ako ’yung sumunod sa kanila pero as Karina po.”
She mentions, however, that she loves Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil.
“Sa PBB, ’yun po, sila po lagi kong hinihiling.”
Although she’s used to facing people because of her experience with pageants, Karina admits her PBB stint is different. “Noon, meron, maraming tao, pero hindi sin-dami ngayon,” she points out.
She also admits to sometimes feeling awkward knowing that now, her every move may be given meaning. “No’ng una naman po, sobrang limitado ’yung galaw mo,” she observes. ”’Yung key is magpakatotoo. Kung ano naman ’yung mapapakita mo, ’yun naman ’yung lalabas. And kung talagang ikaw na ’yun, wala ka namang ire-regret ’tsaka at least nagpakatotoo ka sa loob.”
The first time she left the house, her family was on her mind: “Sobrang hirap. ’Tapos siyempre po, kahit isa man lang po sa kanila makita ko. Parang gift po. Parang, ‘Eto, natapos mo na.’ Parang may mag-congratulate po. Gusto ko po talaga silang makita. Nakaka-miss naman po talaga.”
Now that she’s out in the real world, her goal is to get her family together: “Gusto ko po mapauwi ’yung parents ko kasi mag-isa ako. And gusto ko po sila makasama kahit saglit. And siyempre po para sa sarili ko. Kasi pangarap ko po ito. Eto ’yung gusto kong gawin. Passion ko ’to. Gusto ko maabot at ma-prove ’to sa sarili ko.”
She admits that although the attention can be overwhelming, she wants to focus on her goals. “Ayoko talaga siya ramdamin, to be honest,” she says. “Gusto ko kung ano lang ako dati, oo may kaunting nabago, pero I want to stay the same naman.
“I’m real, this is me. Whatever you see, that’s Karina. I’ve always given by best through ups and down, and I will continue that. I will do my best in everything. ’Yung goal ko is not just for my family. This for me, myself. I want to do it for me.”
Born on July 22, 2000, Kaori Oinuma is half-Japanese, half-Filipino. One could consider her a local of both countries.
She was born in Japan, where she stayed until she was four years old. Her family then went back to the Philippines until she was 13 years old. Then they went back to Japan, where her mother works as caregiver till this day. She has a stepfather and two half-siblings, who are currently in the Philippines. In 2017, she met her real father, who denied her of financial assistance as he already has his own family.
Kaori misses her mother and her home in Japan, but she keeps going as she’s simply chasing a dream.
“No’ng una po, bata pa lang po ako gusto ko na po sumali sa PBB,” she recalls.” Pero ayun po, wala akong chance na makapag-audition. Hanggang sa edition na po nila Ate MayMay [Entrata] no’n. Doon na po talaga na, ‘Siguro sa next na audtion nila. Sumali na ako.’”
As fate would have it, PBB held auditions in Japan. “Ayun po, no’ng pumunta sa Japan, ginrab ko na po ’yung opportunity. Siyempre po nakakakaba, nakakahiya kasi wala po akong talent na ano. Pero go lang din po ako.”
She went on a six-hour trip on a bullet train from where she lives in Japan just to get to the auditions.
The shy girl, who describes herself as “hindi po ako ’yung klaseng tao na gumagala,” and who describes her everyday routine as “school-bahay,” is still in awe of how things turned out for her.
“Siyempre hindi ako makapaniwala na isa ako sa nakapasok sa Bahay ni Kuya,” she says. “Sobrang saya. Isang malaking achievement na rin ’yun. Mas nakilala ko ’yung sarili ko, na kaya ko palang makisalamuha sa iba’t-ibang tao. Mas nagkaroon ako ng confidence sa sarili ko.”
The 18-year-old is still palpably trying to figure out how to express herself. She’s also trying to learn how to speak Filipino fluently. “Sa ngayon, pina-practice ko na rin minsan ang sarili ko sa pagda-dialogue,” she admits. “Paunti-unti, sa mga guestings, sa pakikipag-usap sa mga artista, doon na ako nakakapag-prepare. Mas naniniwala po ako sa sarili ko. Mas confident po ako sa lahat ng bagay. Never po akong susuko.”
Art Direction: Alfred Amado
Make-Up: Eman De Leon, Alexandra Lisbon, and Lica Paquita
Hair: Jaymar Lahaylahay and Jhane Lahaylahay
Style: Steph Domingo and Jackie Rulloda of Vannesa Mercado Styling Team
Photographer's Associates: Ryan Dela Cruz and Tony Valete