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Remembering Inday Badiday, The OG Queen of Philippine Intrigues

Ate Luds was a giant in the world of entertainment journalism.
IMAGE YouTube / screenshot
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Because news and information today are available right at our fingertips, many people don’t need someone to deliver these to our households through radio and television. But there was a time when we tuned in to our TV sets nightly to watch these personalities report the news, everything from politics and natural disasters, business and lifestyle, sports and showbusiness. 

In the colorful world of entertainment, there was one name that people looked up to and respected as the undisputed “queen of intrigue.” Lourdes Carvajal, aka Ate Luds, aka Inday Badiday, was a larger-than-life host who revolutionized the way people consumed showbiz news. It’s only fitting that we look back at her amazing life on the anniversary of her death. 

Who was Inday Badiday

Carvajal was born on August 6, 1944 in the town of Balingasag, Misamis Oriental. Her parents were former Ambassador to Korea Narciso Jimenez and Maria Clara Vega. The couple had nine children: six girls and three boys. Carvajal’s sister Letty Jimenez (later Magsanoc) would go on to become the editor-in-chief of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. All their other siblings would eventually move to the US.

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Carvajal and her husband Ernie met and got married when they were teenagers. In a 1985 interview with Ricky Lo for the Weekend magazine of the Daily Express, Carvajal said it was an on-again, off-again marriage. 

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“We’d break up and then we’d kiss and make up again,” he said. “We were then living next to my parents’ house in Pasig kaya dinig na dinig ng Mommy at Daddy kapag nag-aaway kami. Maya-maya, babawiin ako ng Mommy, pagkatapos pupuntahan ako sa bahay ni Ernie to apologize. Balikan uli kami. When we transferred to Meycauayan, Bulacan, talagang dumating ang biggest test sa marriage namin. He (a sales representative) was always out in the field; I was always out of the house.”

The two eventually split up, but not before they were blessed with two children: Dolly Ann and Ricky Boy. 

According to a university paper, Carvajal was raised in an upper middle class family. The paper quotes a Lulu Reyes, who said that when Carvajal began her broadcasting career as a radio host in the 1960s, she took on the name Inday Badiday “to save her family from the potential embarrassment of being associated with such working class proclivities as movie stars and Tagalog movies.” 

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Whether this is true or not is beside the point. What is indisuptable is how Carvajal eventually started becoming a household name, especially when she began to promote the iconic Guy-Pip love-team of Nora Aunor and Tirso Cruz III in the 1970s. 

“She is the high priestess of Guy and Pip love team,” Cruz told The Philippine Star. “She would devote time on her radio program for question and answer regarding our love team. She gives out the latest developments and knows the truth from the rumors.” 

Shift to television

Although Carvajal hosted a radio program and also wrote for a variety of entertainment magazines like Eyebugs: Bigay Hilig sa Balitang Showbiz, Modern Romances and Tsismis, it was in television where she would eventually become a household name.

One of her first TV programs was Nothing But The Truth, which debuted in the late 1970s, and became a template for many other showbiz-oriented TV shows that came after. Nothing But The Truth was abruptly pulled from the air just three years later, however, when it became embroiled in a court case involving actress Amalia Fuentes and Romeo “Bobby” Vasquez.

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The show was replaced by Would You Believe, and later, See-True, which aired Thursday evenings from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. on IBC Channel 13. Carvajal defended the show from accusations that it appealed to gossipmongers from those in the lower economic class, although, in truth, it actually attracted viewers from all social classes, including those in AB households. 

"Kasi siguro ayaw ng tao ’yung pagdating sa bahay from the office ay tinuturuan pa sila (I think people don’t want to be lectured when they go home from the office). Bakit nagkli-klik ang John en Marsha (a highly successful TV sitcom, now off the air, starring Dolphy and Nida Blanca)? Because the people identify themselves with Dolphy and Nida and Rolly and Maricel. Parang escape, you know.

"Siguro nakukuha ko ang kiliti ng tao dahil kinu-combine ko ’yung mga stars na matalino at ’yung hindi, ’yung mga may laman ang utak at ’yung wala (I think I attract viewers because I combine stars who are intelligent with those who are not, those who have something in the brain and those who don’t). See-True is an arena for a free exchange of ideas. Diyan hinihimay-himay ang mga showbiz issues and controversies, kaya nga ang catchline ng show ay ‘Kung may gusot, may lusot’ (That’s where we dissect showbiz issues and controversies. That’s why the show’s catchline is, ‘If there’s trouble, there’s a way out of it.’). In the show, everybody is free to do his/her thing, kanya-kanyang drama sa buhay. Kung gusto nila magpa-smart-aleck, okey lang. Kung gusto nilang mag-e-e-English, kahit mali-mali, okey rin lang. Bahala sila kung ano ang gusto nilang gawin (If people want to be a smart-aleck, that’s okay. If they want to speak English, even if it’s twisted, that’s okay. They’re free to do whatever they want to do).”

"See-True, I dare say, shows the real face of show business, presenting the stars as they are, walang pretensions at pagkukunwari. Masaya, di ba? (That’s fun, right?)"

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The show has had its fair share of controversies, but always, Carvajal got out of them with her dignity and integrity intact.

LoCa Productions and promoting showbiz reporters

The hostess eventually put up her own production company, LoCa Productions, that churned out other entertainment programs over the years. After See-True went off the air in 1987, Carvjal resurfaced on GMA Network with the program Eye-To-Eye, which added a public service component to the usual mix of showbiz-oriented content.

“Of public service, she wrote: ‘There was a time when public service weren’t watchable,” she said in an article in The Philippine Daily Inquirer. “But Eye-to-Eye changed that. It makes me happy to say this show helped institutionalize the Filipino’s innate gift of generosity. I’ve always been amazed by how the number of people needing help is always matched by the people willing to give it.” 

In addition to putting showbiz news in the mainstream, Carvajal also helped elevate the reputation and visibility of entertainment journalists.

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“Before, showbiz reporters were taboo on the air, she said. “Ipinaglaban ko ‘yun (I fought to change that). My point was, they are the people who know what questions to ask the stars, who know what’s happening. Many people did not like that idea, putting sho biz reporters on the air. At least ngayon tanggap na tanggap na sila (Now, they’re accepted).” 

“Before Inday Badiday, entertainment writers were mere by-lines in fan magazines and the movie pages of newspapers,” entertainment columnist Butch Francisco wrote in July 2000. “But through the trailblazing efforts of this woman with a vision, some movie journalists have become personalities themselves, hosting their own showbiz talk show on TV.” Francisco proceeded to enumerate Inday’s “creations” – Cristy Fermin, Aster Amoyo, Lolit Solis, Nap Gutierrez, and Francisco himself. 

Carvajal continued working until the early 2000s. After she was diagnosed with a kidney ailment that required dialysis three times a week in 2002, she bounced back with a new show called Inday, Heart to Heart. But it wasn’t to last.

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About a year later, Carvajal suffered from two strokes. She was in a coma for a month before she eventually succumbed to diabetes, renal failure, and heart problems. She died on September 26, 2003 and was laid to rest about a week later at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañque City. In addition to her two children with her first husband, she was survived by a third child, Clara, with her second husband and love of her life, Gene “Bo” Palomo, to whom she dedicated her signature parting shot, “Saranghamnida, Bo.” (Korean for “I love you.”)

Today, news and information is far different than how it was during Inday Badiday’s time, but the basic tenets of journalism she espoused is always relevant.

“There is no need to invent news,” she always said. “You just have to dig deeper, and there’s always a gem out there waiting to be found.” 

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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