Monday, 11 June 2012

"Barkada Trip" revisited

"Barkada Trip" revisited

It was early morning when this writer recalled this kind of show after watching one episode in the computer. It was quite recalling since that show, although short reminds of our quite some time youth especially when watching "Wazzup Wazzup" or "Samurai X" in Studio 23, all regardless of hearing only laughs and few voices as well as cute characters in a show known simply as "Barkada Trip".

Created by Chibibo Toons producers Brando De Leon (or known as "Dok"), Regina Bengzon and Michael Bernaldez then later Fat Fingers Production, Barkada Trip was a two minute cartoon then shown on Philippines' own Studio 23 last 2005. It uses digital animation and flash, that somehow considers this as an attempt to popularize Filpino animation during those times.

In fact, upon looking at every skit, it is somhow quite recalling what others tend to call "youth", obviously, Barkada Trip tells about a group of seven teenagers with their different personality that resembles as Pinoy teenagers full of adventure and pranks as well, especially in one of its characters.

In that show, it carries an influence coming from Japanese animation, but adding some Filipino storylines and appearances; and each of them carries different personalities (as according to Sketchpride): Bok, the leader and the prankster of the group, his mysterious, black pet feline named Malas as his sidekick,Abantao a silent, skater boy who is a punk, Trixie an ultra kikay of the group, Nikki the sports and exercise buff, Marla a tough man-hater of the group, Derek a technology expert and Nori the consummate metrosexual who can't get enough of his pet tarsier named Aries.

At first, Chibibo toons, along with Studio 23 made that cartoon as a short commercial from day till night, it was just that it catches popular attention especially that it features pranks and humor, as well as characters like Bok and Marla. However, the characters of Barkada Trip didn't talk so much but instead they used grunts and laughs, even word baloons when they react or as part of their communication. It was in 2006 when Fat Fingers Production replaced Chibibo Toons as its producer, given voices over the characters and somehow made a bit long for some additional comic relief although Chibibo's version got better designs in that show.

By the way, here are the descriptions of the characters as according to Sketchpride made years earlier:

Bonifacio Andres (Bok), is a prankster and the leader of the Barkada Trip and has a pet black cat named Malas. Bok is bald and wears a red t-shirt that it's logo changes in every episode like "How can Henry Sy?" with big fonts and a brown shirt. His father who work in Saudi Arabia as OFW ( and ironically owns a cat like Bok, but only white) was his only family member appeared other than Bok's friends in one episode. As a prankster, his friends doesn't accept him at first because he made lots of pranks that made them annoyed especially Marla but some episodes they generally accept him as a member of Barkada Trip. Every episodes, Bok ended up being in trouble because of his pranks or his friends.

Abantao, is the silent person of the Barkada Trip who owns a skateboard. His physical features include his skull cap, green t-shirt with a skull logo, a strip bandage on his cheek, and pants. He is Bok's only best friend ever since they were young as seen in a flashback in one episode. Together with Bok, they make lots of pranks but Abantao make only less pranks than Bok.

Patricia Victoria Regina Lo (Trixie), a red-haired kikay girl of the group who likes to eat a lot. She wears a pink "bestida" and pants. There are some episodes hinted that she has a crush on Abantao. Trixie and Abantao once had a date but only Trixie enjoyed the date because she ordered and ate a lot of food that even Abantao's budget was gone. Even Abantao offered Trixie to ride his skateboard in the end. Trixie and Abantao were paired in a "Rapunzel" parody in one episode.

Innocencia Santiago (Nikki), is a sports and exercise hobbyist. In one episode, before she got hooked in sports she was an overweight teenager and always ate a lot of food in the past. Because she was an overweight girl, no boys liked her until Derek came along to her life. After those painful past , Nikki started to become physically fit and therefore she gets a normal weight to make boys like her. When Derek saw Nikki in a fit, he just stared at her in a distance without a word until Nikki was suddenly chased by a tarsier. It is unknown whether if Derek and Nikki liked each other even they're in a Barkada Trip group.

Maria Lavinia Flores (Marla), is a tough, man-hater in the Barkada Trip gang. She wears a yellow dress and a headband. As a tough and stubborn girl, Marla hates to be taunted by boys especially from Bok that sometimes ended up getting hurt with her physical attacks or sometimes likes to tease boys when she saw them they're ended up from trouble. Marla gets along with Nikki and Trixie as her friends and protects them from Bok's pranks. Like Nikki and Trixie, it is hinted that she may secretly likes Bok but she never reveals her general feelings to him. One episode also showed Bok and Marla had feelings for each other after eating Nissin Cup Noodles.

Federico Zaragosa VI (Derek), a technology expert of the group. He owns the latest gadgets around and made his own machines for purposes. He even helps his friends about gadgets in some episodes like changing the cellphone's language from Bok's new cellphone. He was in Nikki's past and therefore it is unknown whether if he likes Nikki or not. Both Derek and Nikki were paired in a "Cinderella" parody episode.

Norberto Felix Trinidad (Nori), the consummate metrosexual member of the group. At the early episodes, Nori seems he's a real guy that even he made into the clinic for "Operation: Tuli".As the series goes, he turns out to be only a member in Barkada Trip to be like homosexual (I believe it's because there should be a "gay" member of a teenage group). Even he admit that who he was and likes Bok in one episode.. Nori is the owner of the pet tarsier named Aries. In one episode, Nori once saved Aries from Bok's pranks outside the park and since that day, they become mutual friends.

Aries and Malas are the only animals in Barkada Trip, Malas is Bok's pet cat while Aries is Nori's pet tarsier. In one episode (that also featured Pinoy Big Brother) they played as "Big Brother" playing Bok by punishing him for his naughtiness.

Sadly to say, it gained few audiences despite people having interest in watching Barkada Trip. In fact it had merchandise once sold in SM's Toy Kingdom and other stores during its popularity as an animated short that supposedly destined to be a longer one the way Spongebob Squarepants had in Nickelodeon. Nowadays most only see Studio 23 as a station with "Fresh US Episodes" as its focus.

That made this writer think how come it discontinue the attempt to popularize Filipino cartoons in television? Barkada Trip had chances of getting popular due to the cuteness of characters given and its naughtiness such as Bok's pranks and Marla's reprisals, to think that it had merchandise being sold before.

Anyways, in an assessment, quite cute to see at first only to see that it is full of prank, humor, adventure, and perhaps a dash of love despite few ought to watch in a channel being watched by middle class viewers. In fact, this writer, during his days watching that show was somehow thinking that since Japanese animes and American ones have longer ones, why Filipinos tend to keep it a mere skit? Isn't it bacause few dare to watch and understand the way gag shows like Tropang Trumpo done earlier?

 Anyways, Filipinos aren't really into animation so to see as they prefer live action and heavy drama. But at least, that show was an attempt, like any other animated short to polarize Filipino animation at its finest.