May Bukas Pa director Jerry Pobocan says of their show, "We're very, very hapy na nafu-fulfill pa rin namin, up to this day, yung goal naming yun na nakakapag-inspire kami ng mga tao. Nakakapagbigay kami ng konting hope in this time of crisis." This ABS-CBN starring Zaijian Jaranilla (in photo) marks its fourth season on air. Photo: Noel Orsal


May Bukas Pa, the leading primetime series on Philippine television according to the Taylor Nelson Sofres nationwide survey results, has marked its fourth season on ABS-CBN. On July 20, 2009, the primetime show posted its highest rating of 42.7 percent based on overnight ratings of TNS among national households.  


Its lead character, child star Zaijian Jaranilla portrays Santino, Bro's instrument in performing miracles. Week after week, Zaijian teams up with the biggest stars of the Kapamilya Network in order to present inspiring stories that fill other people with faith and hope.


"We're very thankful, kasi originally when we started out, this is supposed to be an eight-week filler show for primetime. Tapos ngayon na we're extended, we're on our fourth season, so we're really, really happy. Pang-six months na namin," enthused Direk Jerry Pobocan.


He added: "So we're really, really happy because gustung-gusto kami ng manonood, at nafulfill namin yung goal namin to come up with a show that is inspirational, aspirational, and at the same time, something that will bridge the faith of the Filipino people. Yung faith kay God na despite the crisis, meron tayong makakapitan."


May Bukas Pa revolves around the life of an innocent boy, Santino, who has been brought up in an orphanage under the tutelage of priests.


How did they maintain their strong hold on the ratings despite the stiff competition with other primetime soaps on television?


Direk Jerry speculated that perhaps the ongoing slowdown of the economy has prompted people to look for sources of optimism and hope. "Dahil ang mga tao, e, nababalutan ng hirap, ng gulo, kailangan nilang humanap ng inspirasyon, ng kakapitan sa mga oras ng pangangailangan." 


"Ang aral lang naman na pinapakita namin lagi is, laging may bukas pa, laging may hope. Don't give up because we have God, we have Jesus who will guide us."


"Lahat kami, from the cast, sa staff, crew, directors, the creative writers, and even the management of ABS-CBN, when this was conceptualized, we really wanted to come out with a show that is going to promote hope and faith."


Every week, May Bukas Pa features different artists with different stories. How did they make it a hit?


"Well, basically it's because may opportunity yung show namin na ganun. Because it's a story of a little boy and how he touches the lives of people around him, how he helps other people na hindi kailangan, sabi nga dun sa show, pag may taong nangangailangan na lumapit sa 'yo, kailangan tulungan mo. Hindi siya namimili ng taong tinutulungan. That alone, that is a very ideal instance in dealing interpersonal relationships with other people."


"Katulad minsan, yung kay Maricar Reyes na episode, mga taong grasa, mga taong lalagpasan lang natin, pero may istorya yang mga taong yan. We have to see beyond what is the physical. Hindi lang isang taong grasa yan. Sa likod ng taong grasang yan, may isang tao na nahirapan at kailangan ng tulong. So yun, yun yung opportunity namin na magpakita ng iba't ibang artista."


In the span of six months, actors such as Ms. Susan Roces, Lorna Tolentino, Claudine Barretto, Ai-Ai delas Alas, Gabby Concepcion, Christopher de Leon, KC Concepcion, Toni Gonzaga, John Estrada, Anne Curtis, Cristine Reyes, Maricar Reyes, Gardo Versoza, Johnny Delgado, Robert Arevalo, Dante Rivero, Boots Anson-Roa and Vhong Navarro already participated and graced the show.


"Per guest, merong istorya which is what I believe in, nagiging interesting sa May Bukas Pa dahil hindi ka nakakahon sa isang istorya. May isa kang istoryang tumatakbo, ang istorya ni Santino pero ang istorya ni Santino ay nakabase kung ilang tao ang natutulungan niya at kung sinu-sino at kung pano niya tinutulungan, kung paano nabubuo yung pagkatao niya," Direk Jerry explained.


Direk Jerry revealed how doing the show affected his own well-being.


"Nasa spiritual aspect ng buhay ko. So, sabi ko, ‘to do something that will be inspirational to my viewers would be very, very uplifting for me.' So, sabi ko, ‘Lord, thank you!' Napakasarap ng pakiramdam na yung pinaghirapan mo, kasi naaappreciate ng manunuod at tatakbo pa ng isang taon. Parang bihira na yung ganung pagkakataon ngayon, e." 


"It's a gift from God. Our cast, staffs and crew, nakapagbond na kami ng husto, para talaga kaming isang pamilya. So we are really thankful nabigyan kami ng trabaho, pero aside from that, from the bottom of our hearts, we're thankful that we're doing something na makabuluhan. Something that is inspirational, something that little children can watch, relate, and learn from." 


As a way of thanking avid viewers of the program, this ABS-CBN primetime series will soon feature the King of Comedy, Dolphy.


May Bukas Pa airs weeknights right after TV Patrol on ABS-CBN Primetime Bida.