"Adventurous lang talaga ako," TV host Phoemela Barandasaid about her decision to join the first Pinoy Fear Factor. In an interview with her after themedia junket for six eliminated "participantes" yesterday, January 14, atthe 9501 Restaurant in ABS-CBN Compound, Quezon City, the TV Patrol star patroller saidthat she really wanted to experience the game in Argentina.
"Ano talaga kasi ako, e, adventurous,adrenaline junkie. Of course, sa TVPatrol at The Buzz happy na ako. Pero hinahanap din ng katawan ko'yong adventure. Kaya sabi ko, ‘Naku,ito na, chance ko na 'to.' Pagdating ko naman doon, sobrang hirap naman pala."
In Argentina, the TV host knew that they'd be doing the samestunts done by other Fear Factor contestants from other countries. She narrated, "Noong nalaman ko na PinoyFear Factor, the more na gusto kong sumali. Noong una sabi ko, ‘Wow, Fear Factor. Scary, nakakatakot siya.' 'Tapos noong nalaman ko na Pinoy Fear Factor, ‘Baka madali 'yan.'Pero nalaman ko, Argentina! Same stuntssa nakikita natin sa TV. Kaya siyadinala sa Argentina, it's because naka-rig na pala ang mga stunts doon,naka-ready na."
Aside from the tough stunts, Phoem also learned that theladies would not be given a special treatment during the competition. "For me, noong una, akala ko iba 'yong babae sa lalaki. Even 'yonggender, wala, babae, lalaki, pantay."
But Phoem didn't think of the no-special-treatment as hindrance inwinning the P2 million cash prize and the title El Ultimo Participante. In fact, she was confident that she could domost of the assigned stunts.
Phoem said that it was just unfortunate that the lasttwo stunts before she was eliminated were two of her weaknesses.
"Actually, 'yong stunts na 'yon, nagkasunod na medyo 'yonang weakness ko. Kumbaga, ilagay mo akodoon sa car na lumilipad, 'tapos ipapasok 'yong kotse tulad ng ginagawa nilangayon, 'yon ang gustung-gusto kong gawing stunt."
After this experience, would she still join a similar reality show?
She answered, "Gusto ko talagang bumalik. Gusto kong bumalik ng Pilipinas taposmag-aral mag-swim at mag-bike, 'tapos bumalik doon. Kasi parang naging confident ako na ‘Sige, matapang ako, matapangako.' Pero kinulang ako sa skills."
TORN BETWEEN ADVENTURE AND TV JOB. Phoem admitted during the interview thatwhen she learned that she qualified to be one of the "participantes," shefeared about leaving her hosting job in The Buzz and TV Patrol.
"It actually scared me a bit because I had to leave [TVPatrol] and The Buzz," she related. "Actually, 'yon ang pinakanakakatakot kasi I have to makepaalam. Hindi ko puwedeng sabihin kung saan akopupunta, that's the hardest part. But Ibelieve kasi at that time Pinoy Fear Factor talaga, I really wanted totry and I really wanted to join."
She continued, "Actually, pinagpaalam ko muna bago namanako... Noong tinanggap ako ng Fear Factor, sinabi ko, ‘Paano 'to?' Kasi, akala ko parang Fear Factor stylesa States na isang araw lang 'tapos tapos na. Then, noong nalaman ko lahat ng details—Argentina, one month—doon akonatakot at saka nahiya na iwanan ang trabaho ko."
Phoem didn't deny that this has somehow bothered her whileshe was in Argentina. However, sheclarified that she really wanted to get eliminated to go back to the countryright away.
As an eliminated "participante," the showbiz talk show hostrevealed that she didn't get any consolation prize. In fact, she said, "Kung natalo ka, siyempre talo ka talaga. Wala talaga."
Despite this, Phoem was still thankful that she was part of theshow because it gave her added exposure. She said, 'Yong mga nangyayari sa amin ngayon, ang dami kong nakukuhangwork because nagkaroon ako ng recognition talaga, ‘O sumali sa Fear Factor 'yan.' Sa mga hosting, ang title ko Star Patroller,The Buzz, and Fear Factor participante."
She even added later, "After doing it, it really helped mealso. Paglabas ko sa [Pinoy FearFactor] they really recognized me, ‘Sa Pinoy Fear Factor ka rin, anggaling mo pala at matapang ka rin pala'. So, it really gave me a lot of compliments. And I hope it will help me more in the future kasi talagang ibarin 'yong experience. Iba rin talaga'yong opportunity."
NO WEDDING PLANS. When she was chosen to become a participate, Phoem had to it a secret, except for some of her close relatives like herparents. Of course, she also informedher four-year boyfriend Ira Cruz, guitarist of local band Bamboo, about PinoyFear Factor.
Phoem said that Ira did not question her participation in reality show. Her mom worried about her safety.
"Pinayagan naman niya ako," Phoem said. "Hindi naman nakikialam with regard sacareer ko. Ang sabi lang niya, ‘Kaya moba 'yon?' Mommy ko naman, nagwo-worry baka mamaya ano ang mangyari saakin. Pero siyempre, sabi ko hindi konaman papasukin 'yon kung hindi ko kaya. Si Ira naman is very supportive."
Regarding her romantic relationship with Ira Cruz, Phoem was asked if they have plans to settle down. "Wala pa nga, e," she replied.
Phoem explained that they both agreed to focus first ontheir career. "'Yon ang pinagkakasundo namin, e. Pareho naming alam na ang daminaming kailangang gawin. Siya, sacareer niya, ngayon lang naman talaga sila naghi-hit. Ilang years na rin si Ira naggigitara."
In the end she noted, "For me, nowadays, angpagpapakasal kasi hindi madali. I haveto be really, really sure. Kasi masmahirap 'yong hindi ka sure 'tapos maghihiwalay kayo."