For more than his 20 years in the industry, Michael V. (whose real name is Beethoven del Valle Bunagan), has been one of the Filipino audience’s favorite artist. What made him a mark in the industry were the characters which he himself created and gave life into. One of them is BITOY which also became his known nickname aside from his stage name Michael V.
For some who has been recently following this actor’s talent path, Bitoy is also a singer-songwriter, actor, director and artist. Among the talents titled on him, Bitoy is most popular in comedy. His signature comedy stint was making a character and giving life to it in front of the camera. He has been doing it for years, especially when he entered the longest-running gag show in the country, Bubble Gang, and allowed him to explore more characters. In his long journey, as of now, this comedy genius came up with a book.
Last, December 6, 2015 at Glorietta 5 Atrium, Makati City, Bitoy launched his gag book. During the conference and book signing, several media personalities and fans of this man became a witness to it.
RECIPE IN MAKING THE CHARACTERS
During the question and answer, the audience asked Bitoy if what his recipe is in making these characters exist, Bitoy simply answered INTEGRITY, “When you are doing the character, dapat hindi makikita ng mga tao yung artistang gumaganap. Dapat mas makita ng audience mo yung character na ginagampanaan mo.” He further explained that to be called effective in portraying a specific character, you should be true to the character itself. He also elaborated that an effective portrayal of a character comes when people called you by your character’s name and not by your real name. “Kapag hindi ka na tinatawag na Bitoy o Michael V, tinatawag ka na Tata Lino (his old man character in Bubble Gang), that means successful.”
In the span of incarnating different personalities, this 45-year-old artist, pointed out his most favorite: he is Junie Lee, the intellectual and easy-to-talk-with persona. “He is like the opposite of myself,” Bitoy explained to why he picked that character, “kapag may nakakaharap ako na hindi ko kilala, nahihiya ako e. Tapos, kapag may iniinterview akong mga tao, o mga celebrities na hindi ko kakilala, naiilang ako sa magiging impression.” He pointed out that this shyness in facing these people he is not familiar into vanished every time he allows himself to exist as Junie Lee.
INSPIRATION IN MAKING THE CHARACTERS
As what they say, everything a person does, has an inspiration to it. As for this comedy icon, he may be able to play different characters, but it is not as easy as it is. This man shared his inspiration on how he played these characters effectively. “Yung mga inspiration ko ay yung mga taong nakilala ko in my own life, doon sa Tenement Building na kinalakihan ko sa Taguig.” He further said that the presence of his relatives and the people around him gave him the trigger to do well in playing the characters loved by his audiences.
IN MAKING PEOPLE LAUGH
They say making someone laugh is hard. So true, even this talented comedian who is known for it, admitted that he had a hard time doing it. All thanks to the advice of his mentor, known actor-director Edgar Mortiz, he was able to deliver those punch lines effectively, wholeheartedly, which were being remembered by his fans. “Play for truth”, as how Bitoy defined Direk Mortiz’s advice to him, “‘how would a normal person react?’ Ganun palagi ang inspiration.” He then told that in making someone laugh, it should be something relevant in every person, “mas maganda yung natural, mas maganda yung mukhang totoo, para mas marami yung makakarelate.”
In making his audience laugh, Bitoy also revealed that his inspiration were his kids. For him, making people happy is like paying it forward as how his kids were to him. He also contradicted the belief of some people that if someone grew up in hard life, he grew up with sadness. “I am out to prove na hindi naman kailangang maging mayaman para maging masaya, kasi hindi naman material things ang nakakapagpasaya sa mga tao,” he defended.
Since his incarnated personas have different characters and identity, Bitoy admitted that he gets confused too, most of the time, “there are times na nalilito ako, totoo yun, especially sa pagsasalita.” He admitted that during that time, he needed a guide for him to be able to know which-is-which in the characters he portrayed. Aside from the guide, he specifically stated that in order to give life to the character, he needs span of time for him to transform from one character to another. Aside for the time or the guide, he stated that his co-actors and crew also helped him to switch characters without getting confused, “with the help of the internet saka syempre yung mga cast and crew ninyo, sila yung nagreremind sa’yo na ‘Oh, bakit nag iiba na boses mo?’” With that, he was able to return the original voice or characteristic of the character he is portraying.
Indeed this man will never stop in making characters. According to him, there are still a lot of existing and will be existing characters in the future. Playfully, he mentioned of impersonating some political personalities for his future works. “Hindi ko pa sure, pero sigurado meron nga’ng character diyan e.”
“Yung mga ultimate na goals daw ng isang tao is to have a child, plant a tree and write a book,” Bitoy confessed as he presented his book to the crowd, “so parang sineryoso ko yun e, na parang at one point, I need to write a book.”
At first, he decided to make his autobiography, however, his friends discouraged him to, so he come up with the idea of making this book. “So I thought of something na medyo madaling gawin, medyo mabilis with the time contrasted that we have and yung medyo malapit sa puso ko,” he explained. With the help Summit Media (publishing company), this book, Bubble Bible By Bitoy happened.
This book contains the wisdom and funny thoughts of 12 of his incarnated characters from the gag show he has been into for more than years, Bubble Gang. Being tagged in showbiz as “The Man In Million Faces”, Bitoy and the publisher conducted a poll stating if which among his characters would stand out as the best. With this, he further elaborated, “Yung top 10 nga dapat actually yung kinuha namin e pero sa sobrang dami, so we have to choose at least hanggang 12.”
The lucky twelve being included in the book were Cecilio Sasuman, Junie Lee, Yaya, Tata Lino, Mr. Assimo, Madam Rocha, Don Miguel, Mr. Matapobre, DJ Bombay, Doña Yna Morgan, Bongbong and the Sexballs.
Currently, the book was being sold in different bookstores all over the country in just affordable price of Php 250.00.
As for his future projects, Bitoy stated his plan of coming up with an album, probably next year, to release the musical side of himself. We know it, he has been one of the best singer-songwriters in the industry too. With his hits, Sinaktan Mo Ang Puso Ko, Mas Mahal Na Kita Ngayon, and a lot more, fans would surely look forward for his return in the music scene. However, he revealed that this might be a “Free Album”. “I figured something out na pagka gumawa ako ng album I will be forced to promote it, I will be forced to do a concert and we have to produce the album na or made me do launching somewhere, that would mean a lot,” Bitoy explained himself. For him, rather than making an album for money sake, he will make one for the people who wanted him to have so.
Aside from the album, Bitoy also revealed that one of his hopeful plans was to release an animated version of one of his gag shows, Bitoy’s World, using the same voices used in the gag show back those days.
With these things this multi-talented artist reveals, surely his fans would always look forward to it, may it be a show, a book, an album or a film. **