It’s 5:00 a.m. on a Thursday morning, yet an area right outside TV5 studios’ lobby is already exploding with laughter. In front of the camera is a group of people welcoming the morning with viewers who are preparing to start their day. In its midst is a short-haired, spunky lady whose every word makes people crack up; beside her is a classy lady who, although poised, emanates so much youthful energy. A few minutes pass and they are joined by a third lady, her trademark smile never leaving her face on- or off-cam.
Welcome to a morning with the tres kumares of TV5’s Good Morning Club: Amy “Chang” Perez, Tintin “Mamu” Bersola-Babao and Chiqui “Nyora” Roa-Puno.
“Welcome to our timezone!” Chiqui begins, her eyes alight with energy. One thing’s for sure: The three were meant to work with each other and become friends, having been colleagues in their former network. They had always crossed paths, but this show gave the trio the opportunity to know each other better, allowing their friendship to deepen. They jive and gel even if their personalities are different.
“What you see on TV is really what they are,” says Chiqui of Amy and Tintin. “We get each other; we know our differences, we adjust and bring out the best in each other.”
“It’s like a big reunion with friends you haven’t seen for a long time and now you have the chance to get together every day,” chimes Tintin, who would pinch-hit for Amy in the latter’s former weekend entrepreneurship program in the station they used to work for. Amy would do the same for Tintin when she had a morning program, also in the same station.
Before Good Morning Club, there was Sapul and then Kumare Club. All three kumares say that doing a morning program has changed their lives, careers—and even sleeping habits—for the better.
“I really got excited at the prospect of doing a morning show because, even before, I knew it was a venue where I can show all aspects of my personality,” says Chiqui, the sportscaster who also happens to be a great dancer. The fact that they can share things they knew not just as media personalities but also as moms and women appealed to her. “For everyone, save for the 3:00 a.m. alarm, it’s our dream job.”
Amy clams her sleeping habits have changed, contributing to her resolve to be healthier this year. “I have to sleep at 8:00 p.m. so that I can have at least six hours of sleep every day,” says the trio’s comedienne. Chiqui and Tintin are unanimous in saying that Amy lights up not just their moods but their entire team’s as well. “You cannot be without sleep when you do a morning show like this,” Amy adds. “You have to know everything, what’s happening. It’s a different responsibility for me,” admits the veteran showbiz personality who had to adjust to also being a news anchor in the program.
“I’m the mommy. Nyora is the athletic one. Chang is the entrepreneurial one,” says Tintin of their roles in the show. A pioneer of early morning news and lifestyle programming, the eternally-cheery mom is happy that her segments in Good Morning Club involve her children. Thus, she is able to spend time and bond with them while working at the same time. She has her own web program (ParenTIN.tv), a bi-weekly parenting column in a local broadsheet and children’s books she has written and is still writing.
“Here at Good Morning Club, they don’t try to make you something you’re not,” posits Chiqui. “There’s not much effort that goes into how I play my role because that’s really my lifestyle. I stand for the fact that even if a woman is already a mom and growing more mature, it doesn’t mean she has to give up the things she likes doing, like staying active.”
“I’m the cook,” says Amy, who is also the one who makes people laugh. “It’s not easy to wake up this early every day and have a happy and positive disposition. It’s a choice you have to make every day.”
Chemistry cannot be faked, and this is one reason why Chiqui thinks they provide a refreshing option to early morning viewing. “Even after the show or beyond it, we all stay connected, as if the show extends into our lives off-cam,” says Chiqui. “We are constantly in touch. We even know what [each others’] kids are doing.”
Indeed, there is nothing put on, contrived or forced in the way the kumares relate with each other. All of them have been in environments where relationships are strictly professional. With Good Morning Club, they look forward to going to work because it doesn’t feel like work for them. It has become an extension of their own families.
The art of self-deprecation is alive in all three, who’d be the first to laugh at themselves. “I’m the messy one, and they’d always remind me to close my legs,” Chiqui laughs. “Mamu steps on people’s toes anywhere she goes. Chang has always been open about her personal life. She embraces her mistakes and is generous with advice.”
“Mamu is clumsy. Everywhere she goes, something falls or spills. During our pictorial, she and I almost fell to the floor,” Amy says of their cover shoot for HealthToday. “I try to be like Nyora when it comes to eating habits. You’ll really admire how she fits in dance lessons [into] her hectic schedule almost every day.”
“Nyora always carries a big bag. We compete in that,” chimes Tin. “She leaves her gadgets at the edge of tables. I always move them inwards,” says Tin. “Amy is OC, so organized. [She’s] poker-faced but she’s always funny.”
Away from the program, the kumares say their main priority is to be moms to their kids. Chiqui is mom to Randy, 18; Nick, 16; and Sabrina, 5. Amy is mom to Adi, 14, and Kyle, 3. Tintin is mom to Antonia, 7, and Neo, 2.
“I try to really be present; it’s more challenging to be a parent today,” says Chiqui. “You really have to know them and their friends, understand what they do and their language.”
“The moment I see the door of our house, I transform into a simple mom,” says Amy. “When I don’t have work after Good Morning Club on Mondays and Tuesdays, I stay home and cook lunch and dinner as much as possible. Creating a menu for the week is always challenging for me.”
Tin involves her kids in her segments for the program, and they tape these segments after the show airs. On early evenings, she makes time to be with her husband. “That we are now in different networks did not affect our relationship at all. Family is a constant,” says Tin.
For more about the kumares, their fitness routines and advocacies, get your copy of the May issue of HealthToday, out now in bookstores and major newsstands.