On the Spot: Bekimon
The Youtube sensation on teaching Bekimon to Piolo Pascual, befriending Lady Gagita + more
Bern Josep Persia a.k.a. Bekimon. Click for more photos.
"Koreksyunal babaeng kriminal nahulog sa kanal, patay!" No, that’s not a morbid headline, just Bekimon’s favorite becky (gay) term, which simply means "Correct!" (Koreksyunal, correct, get it?) Bekimon, in case you’ve been living under a rock, refers to both hardcore gay lingo and Bern Josep Persia, the 24-year-old former call center agent and now part-time photographer who coined the term.
It has been less than three months since Persia’s first video went viral on the very same day it was uploaded on Youtube. He has followed up the hilarious recorded bit with dozens and dozens of videos. Take, for instance, his most viewed post entitled "Mudak (mother) Bekimon’s Excuse Letter for Junakis (child)." In the video, Persia, garbed in a pink wraparound, reads aloud a beki-nized excuse letter that his junakis’ teacher rejected. Part of the letter reads: "Bet kong ipagsabi sayels na wititit makakapasok sa iskulembang si Junakis ngayonchi. Rarampa kami ngayonchi at bet kong ka-join force si Junakis." Persia, in character, defends his letter: "’Yong ibang parents nga doon, no read, no write. Ako nga, more, more write!"
Persia has made the TV show rounds because of his infectious gayspeak. To focus on his budding entertainment career, he resigned from the call center agency he worked for. The Puerto Galera native will soon make waves on national television in a new teleserye. Everything is still under the wraps but he says you can expect to see his new show in October.
How did you develop bekimon?
Chika chika lang lahat. Kahit ano na lang ma-vera-vera namin pero dapat nakakalurkey pa rin at dapat ma-getchikola ng mga utaw.
Whose idea was it to post the bekimon videos on Youtube?
We shot the very first video in May but it wasn’t uploaded until June because I did not find the video that entertaining and funny. My friend uploaded the video from my mobile phone, which I left beside my computer. I was actually unaware that he uploaded the bekimon video; I thought he just uploaded some photos.
What did your friends and family think?
My friends thought the video was hilarious, and my family didn’t know anything about it until they saw me on TV. Sabi ng mga mudak at pudak kez, keri keri lang naman. Dedma lang sila.
Is there a script or do you ad lib most of the time?
Waley! Kahit anik na lang matalak.
Persia beki-nizes classic Pinoy lines. Can you guess which ones they are? Hint: The first is by Cherie Gil, the second by Vilma Santos and the third by Mike Enriquez.
Tell us about Junakis 1 (his cameraman who doubles as his pretend child)
Best friend ko si Junakis 1. Siya actually ’yong nag-start ng mga bekimon na video at nakaisip na i-post ’to sa Internet. Dumating ’yong point na Junakis 1 and I had a really huge misunderstanding. Inaayos kami ng mga parents namin kasi nga we need each other. Our friends say we complement each other. May kumakalat kasi na tsismis na mag-jowa daw kami ni Junakis 1. Hindi naman totoo.
Magkasama kami sa bahay at sa work pero nung nag-away kami, naghiwalay muna kami ng bahay. Pero lalo kaming sobrang nahirapan. Magkahiwalay nga kami ng bahay, magkasama naman kami sa work. Magkatabi pa kami ng stations. Dedmahan kami.
But Junakis 1 is back now?
Nagka’ron kami ng space. Nakapagpahinga ’yong mga galit namin, mga inis namin sa isa’t isa. Noong isang araw, nag-usap kami at na-realize namin na mas mabuting bumalik ulit kami. Although hindi na kami magkasama sa bahay, we can still do videos together. Medyo nahihirapan, naninibago kami. Parang bago na ulit ’yong setup.
Bekimon video: Junakis 1 returns
What about Junakis 2?
Well, ayoko muna siyang pag-usapan kasi ibang part siya ng story namin. Since nandiyan na si Junakis 1, siya na lang muna. Parang ginamit lang namin si Junakis 2--not literally used him--parang gusto lang naming ma-update ’yong mga fans. Parang may point of comparison, kung sino ba talaga ang deserving na Junakis.
Si Junakis 2 naman actually... (laughs) Kinikilig? (points to self) Basta, he’s somebody na willing mag-give way sa pagbabalik ni Junakis 1. Tinry lang talaga namin noon habang wala pa si Junakis 1. Pero mukhang hindi magwo-work out kasi kino-compare siya ng bonggang-bongga na parang minsan naloloka siya. Gusto (ng fans) si Junakis 1. Sabi ko, "Sige, ’wag na muna nating ituloy." Kawawa din naman si Junakis 2.
Persia on Junakis 1, Junakis 2 and Beki-friends
What if fans ask for a video featuring you, Junakis 1 and Junakis 2?
Okay lang naman kasi friends sila, nag-u-usap din sila. Actually, noong magkaaway kami ni Junakis 1, etong si Junakis 2 inaayos kami. Kahapon ko lang nalaman na nagme-message silang dalawa sa Facebook. Kung magkakaroon man ng pagkakataon na gumawa kami ng videos together, sige, siguro pwede. Pero ang gusto ko ngayon magkaroon ng Beki-friends si Bekimon. Gusto ko sanang i-invite ang mga becky supporters na mag-send sakin ng videos, tapos i-co-collate natin then edit. Bubuo ng malaking becky video.
During the Sawikaan 2010 ceremony in July, Prof. Jesus Federico Fernandez said, "You should not make a dictionary of gay words because it will defy the purpose of gayspeak--that is to use a language like a secret code." What do you think?
Majirap din naman gumawa ng bekinary. Paiba-iba kasi mga ispluk ng mga beki eh. Perhaps we can come up with a compilation of some of the most famous beki words and statements.
Persia on jejemons versus bekimons
What can you say about the comparison between jejemons and bekimons?
Well, parang mali na pinagco-compare ang mga bekimons at jejemons, although parehas may mga "mon." Kasi jejemons are more on texting, bekimons are more on the speaking part. Ang mga bekimons ngayon lang napangalanan pero they’ve always been there. Gay lingo has always been spoken since panahon pa ni Markova. ’Yong mga jejemons, kailan lang ’yan, although nauna sila sa mga mon-mon... Parang napagtripan namin ng friend ko itong iba naming becky friends na salita ng salita ng gay lingo na ’di namin maintindihan, parang mga jejemon. Bakit hindi na lang tawagin ang mga ito na bekimon?
Recently, nagkita kami ng mga jejemon representatives. Nag-guest kami sa isang show tapos pinagtapat kami. Ako lang mag-isa tapos ang dami-dami nilang mga jejemon. Ang nakakatuwa dito, hindi naman talaga kami nag-aaway pero pilit kaming pinag-aaway. Pilit na ginagawan ng isyu na nanggagaya daw ang mga bekimon.
Persia on beki-busters: "Dedma na lang sa kanila"
What do you think of beki-busters?
Ay dedma lang sa kanila; wala lang magawa ang mga batang ’yan. Charot. Kasi ’pag pinansin mo ng pinansin ’yang mga ’yan, lalo ka lang nilang kaiinisan, lalo lang silang hahanap ng kung anu-anong isyu, mga butas against you. So sa mga beki-busters, ay, dedma ako sa inyo.
What’s the sweetest thing a fan has ever done for you?
Lots! Somebody from Japan sent me an iPod Nano (fifth generation) with 15,000 yen. A fan made a video using pictures from my childhood to my "bekimonhood." A fan from California saw me drinking with my friends in Malate and asked to have a picture taken with me. And then she treated us to drinks!
Any chance of you finding lovelya in the near future?
I am very happy and inspired at the moment...
How do you whisper sweet nothings in bekimon?
Say "teh..." with a smile.
Growing up, what did you want to be?
I wanted to become an astronaut. But there came a point when I thought, "Ay! Totoo bang may astronaut? Kaloka mga science books na ’yan ha!"
Now that you’re entering showbiz, what kind of TV show or movie do you want to do?
I’ve always dreamt of hosting and becoming a part of a teleserye. I want to be in a dramatic movie. ’Yong very serious na movie, may patayan, iyakan then ako ’yong comic relief na pampabasag ng mabibigat na eksena.
Persia talks about his upcoming show.
What can you tell us about your upcoming teleserye?
Hindi ko pa puwedeng sabihin kung saang channel ’to pero we’re working on a teleserye. I’ll be part of the main cast. We’re going to start taping by the end of September, and it will air in October.
Who do you want to work with?
I want to work with Alessandra de Rossi.
Which celebrity do you want to teach bekimon to?
What’s the secret to your flawless fair skin?
I was brown when I was a kid. I have vitiligo. Because of this, my childhood was very dark.
What kind of photography do you do?
I do fashion and glamour photography. Masaya ako kahit mag-picture ako ng tindera sa palengke na naka-couture pose.
Where do you go for laughs in Metro Manila?
I usually go to Palawan 2 Disco/Comedy Bar because most of the performers there are my friends. I also go to Punchline, Laffline and Metro Bar because my good friend Ethel Booba performs in those places. I also go to Polari, a new comedy bar in Quezon City, with my manager.
Persia on Vice Ganda, BB Gandanghari, John "Sweet" Lapus, Jobert Sucaldito and Lady Gagita.
Who do you think are the funniest Pinoy comedians right now?
Vice Ganda and Eugene Domingo.
What’s the best becky place to hang out in that non-beckys are also welcome in and will also enjoy?
Palawan 2 Disco/Comedy Bar in Cubao. The place is so-so but the performances are totally awesome! I want to talk to their management; if they do a little renovation, they will be more profitable!
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In the Philippines! (laughs) Seriously, I see Bekimon hosting a comedy talk show or a talent show.
Any tips for Bekimon wannabes?
Gow nang gow mga ateng!
Persia thanks his supporters.
Photos courtesy of Bern Josep Persia. Interview videos taken by Summit Digital.