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Housemates mambo with CPDRC inmates

First Posted 07:09:00 11/10/2007

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They were flown to Cebu blindfolded without a clue where they were going.

When the blindfolds were removed, the five housemates were surprised to find themselves surrounded by inmates dressed in orange T-shirts, jogging pants and new black shoes.

To the lively beat of ?Rico Mambo,? the TV celebrities danced in the jail quadrangle with 1,574 inmates of the Cebu provincial jail, whose synchronized dance routines were made world famous after being posted on the video website ?YouTube?.

It was a unqiue experience for housemates of the reality show Pinoy Big Brother (PBB) Celebrity Edition 2 of ABS-CBN Network: Victor Emmanuel Basa, Megan Lynne Young, Gabriella ?Gaby? dela Merced, Riza Raquel Santos and Marco ?Mcoy? Fundales.

It was also a thrill for their partners behind bars.

?Mura pod mi ug artista uy (We felt like showbiz actors ourselves)!? chorused inmates Mildred Abarquez and Minong Rodriguez after their 10-minute dance, which was heavily covered by TV and the local press.

The PBB housemates arrived on board a tinted van past 10 a.m. They had taken an early morning flight from Manila.

The PBB production staff instructed the few onlookers inside the CPDRC lobby to keep silent and not to call out their names as the guests were led inside single file.

But before the housemates got into the CPDRC compound, they were greeted by clapping and hand waving by prisoners of the Cebu City jail next door.

Some avid PPB fans also stood outside the provincial jail and peeped through a small opening in the main gate hoping to catch a glimpse of the celebrities.

After changing into T-shirts with the brand Pinoy Big Brother printed on the front and ?Sikat Ako? at the back, the housemates, still blindfolded, were led to the jail's courtyard where inmates were lined up in rows ready for the dance number.

Two inmates removed the blindfolds. Since they were blindfolded for several hours, the visitors at first had difficulty opening their eyes.

Byron Garcia, Capitol security consultant, welcomed them and announced over the microphone that they would be dancing with the inmates to the tune of ?Rico Mambo.?

The housemates received loud applause from the inmates after the dance number.

They were eager enough to repeat the dance when Garcia asked if they wanted to take a round two. The five guests immediately agreed.

Garcia said the visit would make the CPDRC?s dancing inmates well known not just internationally via YouTube viewers but also by local television viewers.

The CPDRC inmates gained international prominence in August when their courtyard choreography, particularly their version of Michael Jackson?s ?Thriller,? were posted on YouTube by Garcia, brother of Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia.

The ?Thriller? dance got more than a million views weeks after it was posted. The record reached 8.2 million as of yesterday.

The inmates have since been interviewed and their dances seen live by prominent visitors who were brought by provincial officials led by Governor Garcia.

But yesterday, inmates Rodriguez and Abarquez yesterday were never as giddy as when they got to dance with the PBB celebrity housemates.

They said they were so happy because they did not expect celebrities to pay them a visit.

?Wa mi magdahum nga sa among pagkabinilanggo, duawon mi og mga artista (We didn?t expect that being prisoners, we would be visited by celebrities),? said Rodriguez.

Garcia said he was glad that PBB decided to make the CPDRC the recipient of the proceeds of the celebrities? concert this evening.

The celebrities? performance with the inmates will be shown tonight during a concert of the housemates.

About 100 to 150 people will be allowed to witness after paying P1,000 each.
PBB host Toni Gonzaga earlier announced that the proceeds of the concert would be given to the inmates.

Garcia said he welcomes the cash donation but would prefer that the PBB donates goods instead since a cash donation would still go to the provincial treasurer?s office before it would reach the CPDRC.

?It?s better if it?s in kind so that it could be used immediately for items like soap, shampoo and toothpaste,? he said.

CPDRC inmates have a budget of P30 per day for their meals but there is no government budget for toiletries.

Garcia thanked the PBB for giving the inmates free exposure on TV, saying the show would boost their morale.

With all the negative news about the country, it would be good to show something positive is happening in Cebu, he said.

To reward the inmates, Garcia said he arranged a special screening tonight so inmates could watch their latst performance on TV. With correspondent Jhunnex Napallacan

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