education, game show, Philippines, television

Throwback: Battle of the Brains in 1994

Before David Celdran toured the world in a suit on ANC’s ‘Executive Class’, he was a young and fresh-faced host of one of the longest-running quiz shows on Philippine television.

The 1990s will always be remembered for ‘Battle of the Brains’, a quiz show pitting public and private students from the elementary, high school, and college levels. The program was a fixture on RPN-9 every Saturday morning, and the now-defunct retail giant Uniwide Sales was its major sponsor.

The popularity and success of the program led to an equally successful parody called ‘Battle of the Brainless’. The skit was featured on ABC-5’s ‘Tropang Trumpo’, and was later revived on the renamed TV5 via the gag show ‘Tropa Mo Ko (Unli/Nice Di Ba)’.

Back in 1994, the college grand finals of ‘Battle of the Brains’ was held at the Philippine International Convention Center. The contestants were Giovanni Claveria of Don Bosco Technical School, Oliver Tungol of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, and Alfonso Gonzales of the University of the Philippines-Los Banos.

The three-part series of videos, the entirety of which run for over 45 minutes, can be viewed below.

‘Battle of the Brains’ would survive into the new millennium, albeit with a new sponsor in AMA Computer College and a new network in PTV-4, before leaving the airwaves in 2001. Meanwhile, David Celdran became a news anchor on the ABS-CBN News Channel, and as mentioned earlier, he is currently the host of ‘Executive Class’.

Unfortunately, programming changes, changing demographics and budget concerns would take the steam out of this type of game show. The last of these programs, GMA’s ‘Digital LG Quiz’, bowed out in 2004.

Although Eat Bulaga attempted to revive this format with the elementary, high school and college editions of the popular ‘Pinoy Henyo’ game, they were essentially segments of the long-running noontime variety show, and not standalone programs like ‘Battle of the Brains’ and ‘Digital LG Quiz’.

No one knows when will this type of game show returns, considering the frequency of the big stations to air Tagalized movies and teleserye re-runs. But one thing is for sure: ‘Battle of the Brains’ was a great show, and will never be replaced.


19 thoughts on “Throwback: Battle of the Brains in 1994

  1. Although, there is a small trace of these formats of a very intellectual game show. I don’t know of this airs or under hiatus or already in the PHTV History books.

    “Campus Challenge” is like BotB but it is aired on UNTV 37. The challengers are usually on basic elementary and secondary schools, regardless of sectarian ownership.

    We’ll just hope that the glory of Sir David Celdran’s game show will rise again in the nation even as a one-off special. With major sponsor: S&R. #JustSaying

    • Hopefully yes. The annual National Super Quiz Bee that is sponosred by DepEd only occurs near the end of the year, unlike the aforementioned quiz shows that air every week, even during the summer vacation.

      • That said Quiz Bee’s sponsor as I watched before is Uni Pens. Thus the host reminded: UNI MARKERS UP. It aired on Studio 23 then. With its channel renaming and restructuring this year, I couldn’t say whether the Quiz Bee will push through to the usual end of the year broadcast.

    • Nameless says:

      So sad to say that these kind of programs doesn’t exists anymore sa major TV networks. These programs advocates education awareness. Kaya ang present-day youth today… Tsk3. More on FB-Twitter-fangirling, etc and even online games. Sino kaya ang maglalakas-loob na ibalik ang ganitong program? Pinoy Henyo seems so nakakasawa na although I’m an Eat Bulaga follower.

      • Nameless says:

        Speaking of Ogie’s another job to head tv5’s music department, why don’t they try to create a music label, similar to Kapamilya’s Star Records & Kapuso’s GMA Records?

      • Nameless says:

        Why don’t they re-hire P.O.5. singing stars nila like Jan Nieto, Gerald Santos, Jay Durias, and even Ogie can make his own album too. Pero for me naman, if ever na magkakaroon ng record label ang tv5, dapat open ‘yan sa lahat ng artists since 3rd player lang sila, and besides since may SPINNR sila (and I received a SMART MUSIC-inspired CD gift from my friend in tv5) eh di dapat SPINNR RECORDS na lang ang name ng magiging label nila. An then they collaborate it with SMART MUSIC.

    • Kaso, nagbabago na ang panlasa ng mga Pinoy. Saka marami na ang naka-subscribe sa cable, kaya nagiging pang-masa na ang programming ng mga big networks.

      Pero every once in a while, there is hope, na sana’y bumalik ang mga ganitong programa kaysa sa magsawa sa nagiging generic na produkto sa TV.

  2. Jake-jake Jacinto says:

    I saw in a February 18, 1978 issue of the Bulletin Today (now the Manila Bulletin), in their Entertainment Section’s TV Guide, that there was a show on GTV (now PTV) called “Pamantayan ng Talino,” which was aired every Saturday from 12:15-1:00 PM. I don’t know if that’s also a quiz show, just like “Battle of the Brains” and “Digital LG Quiz.”

    • Another possible program is the annual National Super Quiz Bee. I wonder what happened to the event nowadays. Either way, legit quiz shows are no longer present in TV these days.

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