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So You Think You Can Join
"Kapamilya Deal or No Deal," Part I

When I first showed up at the ABS-CBN gate to try and become a contestant on "Kapamilya Deal or No Deal" (KDOND), I had no idea I was going to make it all the way to the show. But I started taking notes anyway because I thought that, at the very least, it would be worth blogging about. Well, I've posted so much about KDOND that it now has its own label on this blog =)

Before I continue, however, I should probably explain the relevance of my KDOND experience to the readers of this blog. Aside from the fact that I am the owner of the blog (read: I can post whatever I want hehe), I think that other librarians—especially those applying for jobs—can pick up a few things from the lessons I learned from joining KDOND. But that will come later. Let me outline the different stages first:

1 Sending and receiving text messages

Occasionally, instructions on how to become a contestant on KDOND are flashed during the show, but these are so fleeting that you'd need a photographic memory to remember everything written on the screen. Thankfully, a blogger posted "How to Join Kapamilya Deal or No Deal," which allowed me to send the appropriate text message.

Just text:

DEAL Name/age/gender/address/landline number

DEAL Juan dela Cruz/25/M/980 Masipag St. Pasig City/024441234

Send to:
2331 - Globe/Sun/Touch Mobile
231 - Smart/Talk & Text/Addict Mobile
Everyone gets a reply that their text message was received. But if you get lucky, you'll get another message in the next few days or maybe even weeks telling you to report to ABS-CBN's central gate, with a specific date and time. I didn't realize I was really lucky that I only had to send the initial text message once until I was told that many people send texts regularly without ever receiving the message to report to ABS-CBN. Some even resort to borrowing other people's phones because only one text message per phone number can be sent during a certain period.

Note: If you receive a message telling you to go to ABS-CBN, all it means is that you have a shot at becoming a contestant. It does NOT mean that you have already been chosen to appear on the show. The text will be accompanied by the name of a staff member and a landline. You can reply to the text message to say that you can make it on the appointed date, but I suggest you call the landline, where you can verify that the text wasn't sent by a prankster. Do NOT under any circumstances delete the text message you received because you will be asked to show it when you get to the ABS-CBN gate. Also, only the message recipient will be allowed to enter the premises, so there is no need to bring anyone with you.

2 Lining up and waiting

I showed up at the ABS-CBN gate on 29 December 2008 at exactly 9 am because that's what the instructions were in the text I received. I was surprised to learn that I was one of the last to arrive. It was one of the few instances when I felt that I came embarrassingly late for an event—even though I was right on time! It seems that becoming a game show contestant was too important to risk getting there on "Filipino time"—when Filipinos arrive 30 minutes to an hour late for their appointments. But whether early or on time, it didn't really matter because being first or last in one of the many lines didn't make a difference; we all still went to the studio at the same time.

There were probably about 250 people waiting with me, but I later learned that there was a batch ahead of us with even more people. I was told that usually there are three batches, but since we were there during the Christmas season, perhaps less could make the trip due to other priorities. This, of course, seemed to be good for us, since we had less competition, but as I went through the process, I realized that those behind KDOND could choose as many of the people in line as they wanted... or decide that none fulfilled their criteria.

Only 12 of us from Batch 2 made it to the "interview portion." At least 6 of us made it to the mock game, 4 of whom actually taped episodes that have already aired.
We waited for more than two hours, under big tents, before we were instructed to re-form our lines so that we could get huge name tags taped to our clothes (see photo above), fill up forms and sign a document saying that we agreed to abide by the rules. The process was very organized, and certain considerations were made for those who were pregnant or had given birth recently. But if you are pregnant, I would suggest that you try your luck after giving birth because we were informed during the later stages that the lights and sounds in the studio are so strong that they may affect an unborn child's formation.

There's no need to dress up, but it probably wouldn't hurt to wear something that will make you stick out of the crowd—just don't overdo it or you'll be dismissed as a crackpot. Don't bring food and drinks—you can't take them past the guards—but bring money so you can buy from the stores in the building. Bring something to do—I brought a book—or start talking to the person next to you, which I also did. I learned quite a bit from the second-timer who was in line with me. She had previously made it to the second round of exams, she said, but didn't make it further. She also told me not to fold the form we were told to hold on to because, just like in a job interview, a crumpled application form may be used as an indicator of the applicant's (un)suitability for a position.

The first time I thought that I might actually have a shot at being chosen for the show was when the person receiving the forms (one of many) asked what I was doing at University of Toronto. She was very interested, not hostile at all, which made me think that perhaps it wasn't only celebrities or those who desperately needed money who could make it to the show.

Continued in "So You Think You Can Join "Kapamilya Deal or No Deal," Part II"...

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