After leaving the political arena in 2010, ‘Kabayan’ Noli de Castro returned to the network he called home for 15 years. Just a month following his departure from the Vice Presidency, he resumed his normal broadcast duties by hosting the popular and well-acclaimed DZMM program ‘Kabayan: Kapangyarihan ng Mamamayan, Balita at Talakayan’ in the early morning. Then at night, he co-anchors the long-running ‘TV Patrol‘ on ABS-CBN with Ted Failon and Korina Sanchez. Even after a nine-year sabbatical from television and radio, he’s still the same old ‘Kabayan’, full of intensity and respect.
It was with ‘TV Patrol’ where ‘Kabayan’ became a celebrity in his own right, one that eventually propelled him to pursue politics. Consistently ranked as the top-rated news program in Philippine television, ‘TV Patrol’ changed the way news was told, using Filipino as the main tongue and focusing more on tabloid-related stories in addition to national news. TV Patrol, even after 25 years and several anchor changes, is still preferred by a majority of the Philippine population over its closest competitors. And de Castro’s return to ‘TV Patrol’ helped them solidify their position as the top-rated news program today.
In addition to ‘TV Patrol’, de Castro also hosts the DZMM morning program ‘Kabayan’, which he also started in 1987. His return to the early morning slot forced Neil Ocampo, who ran and lost in the 2010 election, to move his ‘Todo Balita‘ program to Radyo5 92.3. De Castro’s typical routine on the program consist of interviews with various personalities, commentary on current national issues, a 7:00 a.m. newscast with Ted Failon, and Louis Armstrong’s ‘What a Wonderful World’ after bidding his listeners farewell. The on-air return of ‘Kabayan’ was perfect timing; ‘Saksi sa Dobol B‘ on DZBB had been lording over the early morning slot for the past few years, and de Castro’s return helped DZMM reclaim the lead or even the gap in the early mornings thereafter.
However, what was missing from his return was his public affairs program ‘Magandang Gabi, Bayan‘. Originally aired on Saturday nights, ‘MGB’ was pulled off the air after de Castro ran for the Senate in 2001, ending a 12-year run. ‘MGB”s slot would later be occupied by other public affairs programs before ‘Maalala Mo Kaya’ was moved to Saturdays in 2008. Even with ‘Kabayan”s return, ‘MGB’ wasn’t able to make it back on-air. Nevertheless, de Castro continues to host special programs on occasion.
Three years since returning to television and radio, ‘Kabayan’ remains as strong as ever. No one in the world of Philippine mass media today can top his influence, integrity and power. For many, Noli de Castro is the benchmark of which other anchors will be measured on.