This July, Maine Mendoza marks her third year anniversary in the longest running noontime variety program in the country, Eat Bulaga.
In these three years, she has evolved from the timid “Kalyeserye” character named Yaya Dub, to a spontaneous and engaging host in “Sugod Bahay” segment of “Juan for All, All for Juan.”
The 23-year-old celebrity recalled that when she was just starting in the business—when she did not do talking lines for three months and only communicated through songs that she lip-synced on national television—it somehow prepared her for the job ahead.
She was able to observe how co-hosts Jose Manalo, Wally Bayola and Paolo Ballesteros, collectively known as JoWaPao, work together on screen.
"At first I was really nervous but they gave me enough time to absorb everything.
“It's a big adjustment for me but I received a lot of help and good advice from the people I work with.
“They know when to intervene and to give support when I am having a hard time," she said.
From Mondays to Saturdays, Maine and JoWaPao are out in different barangays and other locations to deliver special gifts and cash prizes to lucky Dabarkads.
They've been out in the sun, crossed rivers, and even traveled to remote places just to provide "isang libo't isang tuwa” to the show’s loyal fans.
Maine said that being out every day and meeting new faces from different walks of life were all new to her.
“To be honest, I'm not used to this new environment but I love connecting with people. I want to know their stories and what they are going through,” she said.
MAINE IS A NATURAL. Her co-hosts, Jose and Wally, noticed that she’s a natural and has her way of reaching out to people.
"You wouldn't feel that she grew up from a different background. She is grounded, has empathy for others and is always willing to lend a helping hand,” Jose was quoted as saying in a release sent to PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal).
He added that while Maine is the youngest and latest addition among them, she was able to adjust swiftly.
“We listen to each other because we treat each other as family.
“We’re together six times a week so it’s only normal that we learn each other’s quirks.
“The good thing about this team is that we are all open to suggestions.
“We share what we know and we really work together for the benefit of the audience.”
Wally also shared that Maine is not afraid to get her hands dirty and would always pay attention to the people they interact with.
“She's open to new things,” he said.
“She's not afraid to try anything and you'll really feel that she's enjoying this job.
“She loves hosting and she excels in it."
He recalled one episode where Maine was moved to tears by the story of one “Sugod Bahay” winner.
"There was this guy who was neglected by his family and was in the worst living situation.
“She cried to us after because she couldn't believe that someone would do that to a person.
“During times like this, what we do is listen to everyone's plight and we try to relay it to the audience and let them draw their own realizations from the people we meet every day."
LEARNINGS IN EAT BULAGA! Maine, on her part, said the people they meet made her re-evaluate what’s important in life and also taught her the value of hard work and to be grateful always.
"I learned that life is hard and sometimes extra difficult for some.
"I've seen the real picture and I realized that I am so blessed to have been given a complete family, supportive friends and a career.
"We all know that this blessing came by me so fast, so I try to be grateful always,” she said.
In her three years in the industry, and after trying her hands in acting, Maine admits that hosting comes more naturally to her. She said there's a different sense of fulfillment after talking to people, learning their stories and seeing happy faces in every barangay they visit.
Maine said her regular hosting gig in “Sugod Bahay” gave her a newfound passion for hosting. She sees herself doing this profession for a long time and is looking forward to meeting more people and making the audience happy.
"I want to be in touch with reality and this is one way of doing it. I also want to try other things and I’m excited with what I’ll be doing in the future.
'Right now, I see myself doing this for a long time.
'This is what I want to do: hosting. I can't imagine myself leaving 'Juan for All' or Eat Bulaga.
“I see myself doing this every day because I love my job and the people I work for and work with,” she ended.