As part of their preparation for the newest show, Your Song Presents: Boystown, theall-male dance group Gigger Boys had a day of immersion at the Manila Boys Town in Parang, Marikina City.
In this activity, the members of the group—Enchong Dee, RobiDomingo, Sam Concepcion, Dino Imperial, Chris Gutierrez, AJ Perez, and AaronVillaflor—learned a lot of things about the place and the young boys that werebeing taken care of inside the residential care center.
Multi-awarded swimmer Enchong Dee was surprised to see that Boys Townhas an Olympic-size swimming pool. Hesaid, "Nagulat din ako actually nung unang pagdating, yung swimming pool,'tapos yung swimming pool nila Olympic-size, so nagulat ako."
Aside from the swimming pool, the 20 year-old actor alsoadded that residents of Boys Town also excel in other sports.
He described, "They have soccer fields, ang laki and magandang magandayung facility. And they're very proud of every single detail, parang kumbagaano nila, e, pinaghirapan kasi nila 'yon, e. And kumbaga, feeling ko, lumalabas din sila, e. Kumbaga, the same with the story of Boystown, lumalabas din sila para makipag-competesa ibang school."
AJ Perez, 16, said that through his observation with thekids of Boys Town, he was able to get ideas on how hewill act as the newbie in Boystown.
He explained, "I really observed kung paano gumalaw yung mgabata dun, kung paano sila kumilos, kung paano sila mag-converse sa isa'tisa. Kasi kami naman, aaminin namin,hindi kami sanay sa mga laking kanto talaga. So 'yon nga, we get to learn the craft of how a regular, how a teenageboy lives in BoysTown. Kailangan talaga namin,kumbaga ihugot yung mga emotions niya 'tapos inililipat sa scene."
Aaron Villafor, 16, and Dino Imperial, 21, shared the sameobservation as AJ. Although they werenot able to join the group during the immersion, they experienced being aresident of Boys Town when they started taping theprogram.
In fact, Aaron said, "Base sa pinagshoo-shooting-annamin Boys Town,Marikina,nakita po namin kung paano yung buhay nila. May kamadun na as in plywood lang, wala siyang foam. So siyempre, sa mga eksena namin tuwing natutulog kami sa aming mga kama siyempre masakit.
"Pero besides dun sa room nila, masaya silang magkakasamadahil hindi lang pag-aaral yung natututunan nila. Natututunan din nilangmagtanim, nagtatanim sila, may sports sila. So parang basically, regular anona rin sila, nasa regular na buhay na rin sila."
The 16-year-old singer-actor SamConcepcion was also unable to attend the immersion, but based on hisconversations with the BoysTown residents during their taping, he learned, "Hindi sila lahat ng bata na gumagawa ng kalokohan. Some ofthem are actually very, very intelligent they just need guidance. And yunnapro-provide naman ng Boys town dahil meron silang house, house parent theyhave two or three. Ano talaga siya, siyempre for kids, in a way, they are veryblessed to have [BoysTown] na nag-aalaga sakanila."
BREAKING MISCONCEPTIONS. Robi Domingo, 19,said that the immersion that they did in Manila BoysTown was not his firstexperience because he used to visit such centers for school. However, with the immersion, it broke misconceptions they held about the young men inside BoysTown.
He said, "Ngayon, because of the immersion I had with theGigger Boys together with Direk Lino Cayetano and the staff parang nabreak yungmga taga Boys Town ibang-iba sila. Ano, 'yong parang huwag n'yong gagalitinmagiging rowdy 'yan. Pero through that[immersion] nasira yung concept na iba sila.
"They are not different from who we are. 'Tapos yun, they compete even dun sa mga private schools at kadalasan nanalo sila samga private schools. 'Yon, masarap yung buhay nila dun. Yun ang mganatutunan ko dun is, they are privileged as we are privileged, but then againwe can do something to help."
Chris Gutierrez, 16, agreed that their visit to Manila BoysTown is really a learningexperience.
He said, "We have a misconception about Boys town, parangkulungan ng mga batang mga may problema, mga bad people, mga addict. Pero hinditalaga, it's more of a pamilya, it's like an orphanage or a family kasi kapag nasa labas na po sila para kasing mahahawasila sa mga ginagawa sa labas ng mga tao. So, at least dito po, may mga mabubuting tao na nagtra-train or giveguidance through sports or kahit anong bagay to take their minds [away from]doing bad things."
In conclusion, director Lino Cayetano said that theexperience and the observation of the Gigger Boys are exactly the things thathe and his team want to show in his comeback project Your Song Presents: Boystown.
He explained, "Ang mga nagpupunta dun yung iniiwan ng mgamagulang dahil hindi nila kayang alagaan, yung mga walang magulang na nahahanapna pakalat-kalat, yun yung tinatawag nila na ‘rescued kids.' 'Tapos merong mga street kids na dinadala dunng DSWD [Department of Social Welfare and Development].
"Yung sistema kasi nila dun na merong isang place na threemonths sila nire-rehab yun yung mga galing kalye. Sabi nga nung house parent, house parent angtawag sa mga nag-aalaga sa kanila, e. Sabi ng house parent, may mga batang may instinct paminsan nasanay sa kalye, so they're there for three months. After n'on, nalilipat na sila sa mgacottages. So, ang ganda ng konsepto ng cottages kasi each cottage may mgafourteen kids tapos may house parent."
Learn more about Boys Townas the Gigger Boys portray some of the real cases residing inside this residential carecenter. Meet theboys of cottage five in YourSong Presents: Boystown. See how theyinteract with the outside world starting this Sunday, May 10, after ASAP '09 on ABS-CBN.
Click HERE to view photos of Boystown cast members.