Will people get soaked to the bones as they face Bench’s “The Naked Truth?”



YOU know a show is hot when “friends” from one of your previous lives start coming out of the woodwork to ask you for tickets.


Alison Harvard

I mentioned to my friends on FB how I was PMed yesterday by a classmate of mine from college asking me for tickets to the “Naked Truth.”

Even though he’s one of my FB “acquaintances,” I haven’t heard from the guy personally since we marched up the stage to get our diplomas almost 30 years ago. In short, di kami close.

Still, he took his chances, and got no reply from me. Ignoring him was the most Christian thing I could do. I remember him badgering me years earlier, also on FB, about access to FHM’s Sexiest.


When I replied that it was beyond my power (and interest) to get tickets, he didn’t even have the courtesy of acknowledging my regrets. He was clearly done with me and was most likely working on other people to gain access.

TOM Rodriguez

TOM Rodriguez

Again, I have nothing to give him this time, and even if I do, what makes him think that I’m going to give it to him? That’s how hot access to Ben Chan’s latest peep show is. People are willing to rebuff and be rebuffed just to get in.

I just hope the rains would let up and not dampen everyone’s spirits as fans start trooping to Arena later tonight. As of this writing, I got a text from a Bench insider that the show will “PUSH THROUGH.”

I guess too much time, money and energy have been spent reinventing and perfecting the production that people behind the show have accepted the fact that they might not be able to fill up the Arena this time.

As if the monstrous traffic leading to Arena on a Friday night isn’t enough, whole communities in certain areas of the metro are now submerged in one-story high floods.

Underwear purchases

DOM Roque

DOM Roque

Apart from inviting special guests, Bench has been giving out tickets to the public for more than a month now in exchange for underwear purchases at any of its stores.

Having staged more than half a dozen underwear and denim shows since 2001, Chan and his collaborators have nothing more to prove. They could have scaled down this year’s production to a smaller, more intimate level and still create enough media buzz to push products and advance the brand.

But Chan, said an insider, was clear about the show’s reason for being. Never mind the VIP guests. They’re not the brand’s core market anyway. The biennial show starring some of the hottest public faces and bodies this side of the planet is clearly geared for the masses.



The brand that the masses built is, in a way, giving back by feeding the public’s fantasy with barely legal eye candy, if only for one traffic-choked rainy night.

The nearly naked bodies are a given, but what do you do to top what you did in previous editions and still be true to the brand? That’s the challenge for Chan and his cast of collaborators, which, through the years, have grown bigger and more international.

Gypsy flavor

This year, for instance, Filipino stage and fashion director Robby Carmona will be working with New York-based Canadian stage director Gypsy Schneider.

Also on board is Montreal-based Canadian team Seven Doigts, who would be doing the stunts and choreography. Chan and his team decided to hire the group after seeing their amazing work in the latest Broadway restaging of “Pippin.”

Joining the motley crew of foreign talents are Canadian band Geodesics and famed Dutch lighting designer Nol van Genuchten, who did the lights for such epic Cirque du Soleil productions as “O,” “La Nouba,” “Dralion,” and “Saltimbanco.”

MARTIN del Rosario

MARTIN del Rosario

Except for a suite featuring Dubai-based Michael Cinco’s designs for Bench, fashion will take a backseat tonight in favor of a circus-cum-Broadway act.

And since they’re working with people behind Cirque du Soleil and Seven Doights (that’s French for digits or fingers), I won’t be surprised if there will be acrobats defying gravity and doing heart-pounding stunts tonight.

Mainstays and virgins

And, of course, such foreplay would be meaningless without fully consummating the act, so to speak, by letting loose Bench mainstays like Alison Harvard, Jake Cuenca, Paolo Avelino, Coco Martin, Enchong Dee and Carla Avellana as well as virgins like Marian Rivera, Dennis Trillo, Tom Rodriguez, Arnold van Opstal, Dominic Roque, Martin del Rosario and Daniel Padilla.

Although it won’t be jazz singer Markki Stroem’s first time to strip for Bench, tonight would be his debut as a bonafide public figure by virtue of his many stage and TV appearances, including a shot at “Pilipinas Got Talent.” Count in him in as one of the Bench virgins.

But will the skies clear up and the floods recede in time for tonight’s show? That’s the big question. People don’t mind getting a bit wet under a roof, but getting wet and soaked to the bones on the way to the venue is a different story.

It’s time to face the naked truth. Let Ben Chan’s latest flesh on parade begin!

ARNOLD Van Opstal

ARNOLD Van Opstal





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