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TV REVIEW: Pokwang and Jose Manalo’s ‘Fill In The Bank’

FILL IN THE BANK is a one fun game for a game show that does not engage live audience for participation


HOSTS: Jose Manalo, Pokwang

PREMISE: Players try to make as much savings as they can in three rounds to be able to play the jackpot round

TIME SLOT: 7:30 pm, Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays


TV5 is poised to meet the increasing demand for new content as local audiences crave for something different from what they usually see on television these days—reruns of previously aired-shows and Tagalized movie blocks, for example. Comedians Pokwang and Jose Manalo’s wit and quirkiness create a beautiful rapport, allowing their brand of humor to make the game more vibrant and fun.

Screengrab from Aug 19 episode on Youtube

Like Bawal Na Game Show, the other APT Entertainment-produced game show premiering on TV5 this week, FILL IN THE BANK, is a part of TV5’s effort to spice up the current television landscape, which has been deprived of fresh content.

Restrictions imposed by the ongoing pandemic has been limiting production units to create new shows with ease. Since the filming of soaps and other dramas present more challenges to showrunners, TV5 is wise to focus on non-scripted entertainment to bolster its bid to be the new direct competitor of GMA-7 on free television, after media giant, ABS-CBN, lost its new franchise application on July 10 of this year.

The game has two players and consists of four rounds, the last one being the jackpot round. Known as “clients”, players will try to make as much ‘cashings’ as they can in three challenging rounds. In the first round -or the Enter Your Pin Code round-Jose Manalo, also called ‘Manedyer’ and Pokwang, also called Madam Poky, challenge the players to grow their savings by entering as many right ATM (Ayuda Teh Machine) cards on Juan Bank’s ATM Machine. There are three types of cards, namely, Gold, Silver, and Bronze.

One out of four bronze cards is worth 10,000 cashing-cashings, one out of six silver cards has 20,0000 cashings while one in eight gold cards costs 30,000. The player has to enter a unique pin code for each group. They can try to find all those priced cards within two minutes. Since time plays the biggest constraint for players to win the round, they will have to think of better strategies for them to save as much cashings as they need to get to the final round.

Screengrab from Aug 19 episode on Youtube

In the second round, also called ‘Cheque or X’, the hosts ask the players to guess the price of an item. or set of items that they will put on display. The clients will have to jot down their guess price on a giant cheque. Their guess can not go higher than the actual price. If both players guessed higher, they will have to erase their old guess and replace it with a new price. The player whose guess is closer to the actual price wins 10,000 cashings, while the player who loses takes 5,000. Their total savings for that round will be added to their first round savings.

In the third round, players are asked to transfer as many ‘baryables’ (coins) as possible from the coin bowls to the weighing scale. A kilogram of baryables costs a thousand cashings, which will be added again to their saving from the previous rounds. The player with the most amount of cashing-cashings will proceed to the jackpot round, while the other player takes home PhP15,000.

In the jackpot round, known as Huli Cash, bills representing the player’s total earned cashings will be blown around inside a vault. One of the bills is colored blue and costs PhP10,000, while the gold bills cost PhP1,000 each. The winning client takes home the total amount that corresponds to the bills he is able to get inside the vault in one minute.

Screengrab from Aug 19 episode on Youtube

The set is just right for this format of game show. There is enough right lighting to make the whole set look more than decent. Although should the time come when a studio audience is allowed, they may need to expand it and have more space to let the players move more easily.

For a game show that does not necessarily require audience interaction and participation, FILL IN THE BANK, is one fun game. While its three rounds are familiar, there are enough creative modifications in each of those rounds, to make them more exciting and interesting. Jose Manalo and Pokwang also have hilarious banter that add enough energy to make up for the absence of live audience.

FILL IN THE BANK is an APT Entertainment-produced show and airs on TV5 and CignalTV


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