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.