Boobay Recalls Trials In Life

Eldest among four siblings, Boobay or Norman Balbuena in real life relates that his life was never far from challenging. During grade school, their house in Zambales was wiped out by lahar overflow from Mt. Pinatubo leaving his family with no choice but to relocate in a bahay kubo at the foot of a hill. Spending two years as evacuees, it was not until DSWD provided housing facilities when they found a more decent place to stay in one of the nearby towns in Zambales.

His high school days were also as demanding. Every single day, he had to walk two kilometers going to the nearest school and another two going back home. Boobay endured all this being the resilient person that he is and he made a promise to himself that one day, he will be able to give his family the good life that they deserve.

Boobay went to college taking up Communication Arts in St. Louis University (SLU) in Baguio City where he earned a scholarship upon joining theatre group Tanghalang SLU. Interested in performing arts and entertainment, he borrowed his classmates' video camera and asked one of his friends to film him for the KiliTV Comedian Hunt contest of GMA.

His comic antics served him well as he made the cut and became one of the top 15 finalists. Boobay then became a regular 'extra' in the set of Idol ko si Kap doing character spoofs of Rufa Mae Quinto and Ethel Booba, until he adapted the name Boobay as he proved to be more effective mimicking the latter. His passion for performing was so strong that he did not mind commuting to and from Baguio every Tuesday for the show's taping.

After graduating, he submitted his resume to GMA hoping to become a production assistant. While waiting, it was Direk Cesar Cosme who gave him his break when he was referred to become a part of Takeshi's Castle. His stand-up comedy gigs followed shortly after.

Today, he is part of different Public Affairs programs such as "May Tamang Balita," "AHA!," "Poptalk," "Day-Off," and the GMA-7 original reality show hitting Philippine TV soon-"Extra Challenge."

Boobay was caught by surprise saying he cannot bring himself to imagine how from being an "extra" he is now a part of the big reality game show side-by-side with GMA's top-rated stars Richard Gutierrez and Marian Rivera. He was even teary-eyed revealing that "Extra Challenge" came in such perfect timing. His most recent challenge is his mother's condition who has been suffering from kidney failure for the last two years. Undergoing dialysis, Boobay has sought help from the PCSO apart from working double-time in order to pay for his mother's medical expenses and to financially support his family.

Challenging as life may be, Boobay believes everything happens for a reason and he will remain steadfast proving himself to be a victor in the end.

Laugh away with Boobay's comic relief on the epic premiere of "Extra Challenge" on Oct. 27 on GMA-7.

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