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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Oct 6, 2023


‘UNANG HIRIT’ is the longest running morning show in the country. It will celebrate its silver anniversary next year as it started airing in 1999.

After stirring much curiosity online with various “lilipat na kami” posts, the cat is finally out of the bag! “Unang Hirit” (UH) now redefines the way viewers and netizens start their day.

 Yes, the UH Barkada has indeed moved into their new home – that is, their new studio set that was revealed to viewers last Monday (October 2). 

With world-class design, the new studio set seamlessly blends innovation, technology, and aesthetics while remaining deeply committed to the values of public service. 

Indeed, in UH, ‘Laging Una Ka! (Viewers are always first!) – the latest news and information are readily available to the public at the start of the day, coupled with entertaining segments and surprises for loyal viewers.

And what better way to enjoy these than having these complemented by a studio set that has been meticulously designed to offer a more engaging experience for today's viewers. 

The show's 'new home' mirrors its vibrant personality, combining aesthetics and function with innovative elements.

These include a 360-degree rotating platform, LED video walls, and differently-oriented plasma displays, including an interactive monitor. 
In addition, the new set enables Unang Hirit to effectively illustrate content through the use of RedSpy, an optical tracking system that allows immersive graphics executions.

The new UH studio set was designed by the U.S.-based company FX Design Group, renowned for its use of cutting-edge technology in projects for some of the world's top broadcasters.

FX has claimed numerous Emmy awards for its set and lighting designs, along with several PromaxBDA awards for broadcast design and four Newscast Studio Set of the Year awards.

Kevin Vicker of FX Design Group shared his inspiration behind the set: "My inspiration for the studio is really the GMA team. They are a world-class team, so I knew FX should give them a world-class studio… I think what makes it unique is the combination of both beauty and function – it’s a beautiful set, very colorful, bright, modern; it really reflects the personality of the studio and the Filipino people.”

The new set was constructed with the help of Script2010, the in-house construction arm of GMA Network, and GMA’s Engineering Department, which has been responsible for the creation of GMA’s studios over the years. 

GMA Public Affairs Vice President Arlene Carnay underscored the importance of constantly infusing new offerings to a household morning show that is Unang Hirit.

 “This studio marks a milestone for Unang Hirit,” she says. “With its world-class technology and thoughtful design, we are set to elevate our presentation of news, information, and public service.

"Each area is intentionally crafted to provide a more dynamic morning viewing experience. Para mas lalong gaganda ang gising kasama ang Unang Hirit.”

While Unang Hirit's studio set undergoes a transformation, the show's core values remain the same. The brand of public service journalism that Unang Hirit is known for continues to be at the forefront of everything. 

Unang Hirit has become part of Filipinos’ lives for more than 23 years already, and mornings are incomplete without the UH barkada.

Anchors Arnold Clavio, Susan Enriquez, Ivan Mayrina, and Mariz Umali remain dedicated to bringing stories that matter, ensuring viewers are well-informed to kickstart their day. 

The entire UH Barkada expressed their excitement over their new ‘home.’

 “This major transformation is to level up ang paghahatid ng balita at impormasyon, saya at pagpapatuloy ng Serbisyong Totoo. Sana pati ang mga viewer namin natuwa,” says Igan.

 And Susan Enriquez adds: “Sobrang maaliwalas, parang maraming space na pwede puntahan.” 

Their first day on the new set also set a positive vibe among the hosts and staff. “Iba yung energy ng tao, Nakaka excite, nakaka up ng mood,” says Ivan. 

“Yung umiikot na set, hindi lang sya high tech. It also symbolizes UH being well-rounded – hindi lang pang balita at pang kasiyahan,  lahat-lahat [na] ng kailangan ng viewers,” says Mariz. 

Netizens also praised the new look of the UH studio.

“WOW Ganda Naman po ang bagong bahay Unang Hirit,” shared Facebook user Connie Vivic Mesias.

“It's always been world class pag GMA 7!” commented Gary Alonzo, Bea’s relative.

 “Congrats po sa #UnangHirit kinalakihan ko na po ang show na ito, kaya masaya po ako sa bagong bahay po ninyo...more power po,’’ posted Rossana Cruspero-Roque.

 Viewers can also look forward to more fun, exciting segments, and surprises as the UH Barkada invigorates their mornings. 

Suzi Abrera and Lyn Ching provide practical tips for every household, while Matteo Guidicelli introduces inspiring stories of ordinary Filipinos in his interviews. 

Keeping viewers updated on the latest food trends and business ideas is Chef JR Royol, while Attorney Gaby Concepcion's "Kapuso sa Batas" continues to empower the public by helping them understand their rights. Further, Weather Presenter Anjo Pertierra keeps everyone updated with the latest weather conditions.

Bringing an extra dose of morning cheer and surprises are "Morning Sunshine" Shaira Diaz and "Morning Oppa" Kaloy Tingcungco.

The other young and vibrant UH Funliners are Roxie Smith, Michael Sager, Jenzel Angeles, Anjay Anson, Kim Perez, Sean Lucas and Cheska Fausto.

Start your day off right with Unang Hirit Barkada in their brand-new home. 

Catch Unang Hirit weekdays at 5:30 a.m. on GMA and its official Facebook page.

Global Pinoys can also catch the program via GMA Pinoy TV. For more stories about the Kapuso Network, visit www.GMANetwork.com. #