Jerry Donato – The Philippine Star

October 7, 2021 | 12:00am

Kim Atienza continues his nearly two-decade broadcasting career with GMA. Like the eagle in his then iconic program, he soars and widens his horizons to do what he loves best: Engaging audiences by providing interesting information.

As a Kapuso, Kuya Kim will be known as Ang Oppa ng Trivia, Ang Idol na Laging May Bagong Kaalaman and Kuya ng Bayan.

“Ang matawag na kuya, to begin with, ay isang malaking karangalan na merong pressure na kasama (Being called a brother is a big honor, but it comes with pressure),” replied Kuya Kim when asked about his latest “titles” as a TV personality during a recent virtual media call on Tuesday. “Kasi ang kuya ay palaging nasa tama yan (He should be always on the right side).”

His image as someone, who can “dispense” fun facts and informative trivia with ease, said the host, began when he replaced Ernie Baron, a walking encyclopedia and weatherman, in his former station 17 years ago. “Since then, people have seen me now as ang bagong walking encyclopedia,” said Kuya Kim, “na ito naman ang aking dinadala sa bago kong tahanan (in which I’m bringing to my new home) na Oppa ng Kaalaman o pinaka-idolo when it comes to information.”

Kuya Kim reiterated that being a kuya or idolo comes with responsibility, “hindi ako pwedeng magkamali, dapat lahat nang sasabihin ko ay tama.” He is banking on his knowledge and experience in giving the right information to children and adults. The TV host will also have a reliable team to fact check everything he presents in his soon-to-be revealed segments or shows. It seems that the Kuya ng Bayan will be busy doing entertainment and news and public affairs programs. Based on reports, Kuya Kim is expected to be seen in Mars Pa More, Dapat Alam Mo! on GTV and 24 Oras.

“That’s something that I’m really excited to do,” said Kuya Kim of the projects and hectic schedule that await him. “I really want to be busy and I want to be doing a lot of things. My purpose is (doing) television. I know early on that my purpose is television, my passion is television… And GMA 7 has given me the opportunity to be able to pursue that purpose and that passion, which is to be the Kuya of Television. I’m excited, I’m really excited.”

During the event, Kuya Kim also shared his thoughts about retaining the word “kuya” in his monicker and a possible rebranding in his new network.

“When you call me by another name, maninibago ang tao,” said he. “Kinasanayan na nang tao yung kuya (People get used to know me as kuya). Kumbaga, hindi basta tinatawag na kuya, ang matawag ka nang kuya, you earned it.”

Being recognized as everyone’s kuya, added Kuya Kim, is a blessing.

“I would still like to be called kuya,” said he, “Even my dad and grandfather call me kuya. Hindi naman siguro kailangang baguhin.” His father is Buhay Partylist representative and 2020 vice-presidential aspirant Lito Atienza.

As far as his packaging or image is concerned, Kuya Kim said he would leave that to the GMA creatives. “Dapat ibang Kuya Kim naman ang makita nila dito (Viewers should see a different Kuya Kim on GMA),” said he. “I’m sure they have plans and I’m sure the plans will be exciting and will be good. But the essence will be the same, the old Kuya Kim that you know but 2.0, rebranded and repackaged.”

Among his Kapuso well-wishers are couples Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera, and Drew Arellano and Iya Villania. According to Kuya Kim, he met Dingdong about eight years ago when the actor wanted “to get into fitness and to run.” The Kuya ng Bayan encouraged him to join his triathlon team. From there, they would run every day and compete in Ironman Cebu and Subic editions and in the Berlin Marathon. Kuya Kim also became part of Dingdong’s motor cycling group Euro Monkeys Philippines.

“We had dinners together,” said Kuya Kim, whose wife Fely became close to Marian after the Atienzas and Danteses attended the Hayden Kho-Vicki Belo nuptials in France. Drew Arellano and Kuya Kim, on the other hand, bonded together because of their shared interest in endurance sports and triathlon. He became Drew and Iya’s wedding godparent.

Given his weatherman work, some netizens couldn’t help but compare Kuya Kim to Nathaniel “Mang Tani” Cruz and even think of Kuya ng Bayan replacing 24 Oras resident meteorologist.

“Mang Tani was my mentor,” said Kuya Kim. “When he was in PAGASA, he was a spokesperson and head meteorologist. I was a beginner in ABS-CBN. It was my first year as a weather anchor, ang puntahan ko palagi sa PAGASA was Mang Tani and even walang bagyo.” Kuya Kim would visit Mang Tani to ask about precipitation, Intertropical Convergence Zone and low pressure area. “He would give me one-on-one lessons,” said he. “How can I replace my mentor? He taught me my weather and I look up to him. To be able to work with him, for me, is an honor.”

As for the chance to be part of the Kapuso network, Kuya Kim had this to share: “I am just stepping into an opportunity that is so good… This opportunity in GMA 7 makes me feel like 17 years ago (na) parang akong nagsisimula na naman at ang dami kong pwedeng gawin, ang dami kong pwedeng i-explore (I have a lot to do and to explore).” What’s good about Kuya Kim is he remains grateful to his former network and colleagues.

Now, Kuya Kim is ready to begin another chapter in his TV career. Viewers look forward to what he can bring to the table as Kuya ng Bayan.





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