KING of Talk shows Boy Abunda ruled primetime and afternoon television for three decades until he saw himself out of the small screen during this pandemic.
Save for the fact that ABS-CBN also lost its franchise, Abunda has been notably absent from the medium for close to three years now.
He does not deny that he misses being on TV. However, a new avenue opened for him this pandemic and he discovered the digital universe.
“I landed on digital platform by circumstance and by default,” Abunda said at the launch of Sendwave, a new money transfer app that works in partnership with traditional money methods like GCash, the micro payment service that transforms a mobile phone into a virtual wallet.
“I am not a digital native nor am I a digital expert, but I learned because I wanted to do my interviews,” he said.
Admittedly, Abunda is not a techie.
“I’m used to traditional methods. Hindi ako sanay, “ he said. “Sa awa ng Diyos, napagbigyan tayo ng malaki. But as to what’s going to happen in the future, a lot of things are going to happen. A lot of movement within or without, wherever I am. I want to go back to television.”
Abunda is grateful for how he learned to adopt the digital format in delivering shows. “I went to Facebook, I did YouTube, I also learned how to do TikTok a couple of month ago,” he disclosed. “I wanted to do my interviews. I didn’t realize I could do it.”
Abunda would have been glad to have just 5,000 subscribers on YouTube.
“I was saying at the start, magkaroon lang ako ng 5,000 to 10,000 subscribers, sa YouTube, I’m okay. Just don’t remove the fact that I want to do my interviews. I want to get the chance to do what I used to do on TV,” he said.
To date, however, he has 1.7 million followers on his YouTube channel.
Surprisingly, Abunda became very busy at the time of this COVID-19 pandemic.
“There were digital conferences on Zoom,” he said.
“Maybe, if there were 100 conventions of pharmaceuticals, I probably hosted 90 of that. Financially, I wasn’t paid as much as I would be paid on live television, but God gave me a lot of blessings. I was very, very busy during the time of COVID.”
“I was teaching online. I was hosting conventions of the Philippine Medical Association, Philippine Heart Association. I was hosting a virtual awards ceremony. I hosted TOFA [The Outstanding Filipinos in America] digitally twice.
That was my life, this pandemic. I adjusted to a lot of things. Nadaan sa dasal. I didn’t know how it all happened. Everything was hard, but we all went through that. We survived. Nahirapan pero kinaya,” he said.
Abunda does not deny that he has been getting offers from different networks, stations and people. Is he transferring to another network after ABS-CBN closed down more than two years ago?
Not that it still matters, since competition between networks has blurred. However, there is nothing definite about his transfer to another station.
“I just want to move. I just want to keep on moving,” he said. “I have not much to say but I want to go back to television. That much I will say.”
“I have had conversations with various groups, but I have not signed a contract,” he added.
He will not deny it if he reaches an agreement with a network, he said.
“That will be for another presscon. I am not kidding. I will not deny anything when a contract has been signed. I will go back to TV. I am merely visiting the digital platform. I don’t know how to upload. I only do my interviews. I have my admin. Ayokong mawala ang kinasanayan kong trabaho,” he said.
“Malapit ang mga Kapamilya sa akin. Ang foundation ko ay pamilya talaga. Lahat ng ginawa ko sa buhay, para sa aking ina. So, napaka-importante para sa akin,” he added.
Abunda’s life during the pandemic was scary for him, especially at the beginning.
Many were suffering and nobody knew what would happen next, he said. Things were uncertain, and he was scared.
“At the start of the pandemic, I said hindi magtatagal ito. Siguro by the end of the year wala na ‘to. That was my feeling then. July 2020, ABS-CBN closed down. Lalong dumoble ang takot ko,” he said.
But as the pandemic went on, the uncertainty became not just about life.
“A lot of people close to us were dying. Nandoon na ang real paranoia, not just clinical paranoia. What’s going to happen to me? What’s going to happen to my family?”
“My concern was my health, that was why I kept staying at home. I went to Samar. I stayed in my rest house in Tagaytay. I farmed in Lipa [Batangas]. I was spending a lot of time in places where there were not much people around,” he said.