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Taragis ‘prank’ continues to stoke controversy after admitting it was ‘scripted’ and planned

In just a span of a week, local takoyaki store Taragis has been making headlines with their 2024 April Fools’ Day prank, and they still continue to do so as controversial revelations surrounding their April Fools’ Day prank continue to come to light.

In another round of discourse on the Filipino side of the internet, more and more people continued to raise suspicions on the legitimacy of Ramil Albano’s tattoo on the forehead, the challenge participant who took on Taragis’ April Fools’ Day prank.

Their investigation drew up one conclusion: it appeared that the man had already inked the Taragis logo tattoo on his forehead way before April Fools’ Day came.

In a post by Facebook user Rhadson Mendoza, he shared a screenshot of Albano’s video which appeared to be covering Lani Misalucha’s “Saan Darating ang Umaga.” The photo showed Albano with black ink visible on his forehead, but what made it more controversial was that it was uploaded on March 28—a few days prior to Taragis’ April Fools’ Day prank.

Taragis FB post
via Facebook

Kung totoo ‘to. Never na ako maniniwala sa mga vlogger na ‘yan. Next level poverty corn. [If this is real. I will never believe in [Taragis]. [This is a] next level [of] poverty corn],” [corn–a play on the word porn] Mendoza, the OP, wrote, saying that the time stamp reflected in the screenshot wouldn’t lie.

He then described the incident as a disgrace to the bayanihan act shown by Filipinos, adding: “Na-prank ang lahat ng may mabubuting loob. Next time wala na tutulong sa mga taong mas totoong mas nangangailangan. [Those generous people [who helped Albano] were pranked. Some people will no longer help those who are truly in need next time.]”

The OP also pointed out the possibility of the Taragis’ owner and Albano knowing each other way before the prank was posted. This, of course, led to another investigation where it was discovered Albano had already become a participant to one of Taragis’ challenges in 2023.

In an interview with Frontline Pilipinas, Albano was asked for his response about his involvement in Taragis’ past challenge and whether the two knew each other. The latter only said, “No comment,” and walked away from the camera.

The video created a great deal of flak and ire from many Filipinos, with more and more people expressing their disappointment at the owner of the local takoyaki store and Albano and calling for accountability. Some even went as far as to say that this was all a publicity stunt.

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Their suspicions were, unfortunately. confirmed to be true as the local food brand confirmed that the April Fools’ Day prank was indeed a “marketing stunt” to create some online buzz and promote Taragis.

In a video uploaded to the Facebook page of Taragis, owner Carl Quion admitted that they already planned the stunt back on April Fools’ Day in 2023, saying: “Kailangan ay maging involved ang maraming tao rito para kumalat sa buong Pilipinas [Everyone needs to be involved [in this prank] so it can spread across the country].”

via Facebook
via Facebook

He then shared that in August of the same year, he asked a tattoo artist to look for a challenger who was willing to get a Taragis logo tattooed on their forehead—and this is where Albano came into the picture.

Quion shared some screenshots of his and Albano’s conversations where the former asked Albano if he was really sure to do the stunt as he might regret it in the future. Albano, who has a son with special needs, responded, “Okay lang—para sa anak ko [It’s okay–this is for my son].”

As agreed, Albano had the logo inked on his forehead in March, and come April 1, their “marketing stunt” began—and we all knew what happened next. The prank, indeed, created some noise online with many brands and personalities reaching out to Albano to offer help.

Quion also revealed that they have also anticipated some backlash when they stressed that Taragis was not accountable for the tattoo fiasco. The reactions they garnered online prompted them to release a video where they gave Albano P100,000.

“Mula sa video na ‘to, kumalma na ang lahat at naging masaya na ang lahat ng tao [As we released the video, it made a lot of people calm and happy],” the local food brand owner shared.

“Oo, nagsinungaling ako sa inyo at gusto kong humingi ng tawad [Yes, I lied to all of you and I want to apologize],” Quion added.

He then elaborated on the negative effects of the marketing stunt they pulled.

“Una, nagmukha kaming nanloko dahil planado ito. Pangalawa, maraming brand ang naapektuhan at nagpakita ng kabutihang loob sa isang marketing stunt lamang [First, the prank made us look like frauds because everything was planned. Second, a lot of brands showed their generosity],” he said.

On the other hand, Quion pointed out how the stunt showed the goodness of the Filipino people as it showed their willingness to help Albano. The brands’ act of generosity also led them to become more known as their following on their social media pages increased.

Quion also said that Albano received over P200,000 in donations and while they want to return it, the brands who helped insisted on using the money for Albano and his family. The food brand owner also clarified that all proceeds were given to Albano and that he didn’t share some cut.

“Gusto ko lang sabihin sa inyo ang mga salitang salamat at salitang patawad [I just want to say thank you and I’m sorry]” he said. “Hindi ko naman sinasabing naging perpekto at napakaganda ng dulo nito. Siguro, mayroon pang ibang mas maganda pero at least nagawa kong subukan [I’m not saying that the outcome of this prank was perfect and good. Perhaps there are other ways to do this [promote Taragis] but at least, we tried].”

Welp, after a whirlwind of events and controversies surrounding this Taragis fiasco, we finally got the answer, and it’s safe to say that we all got punked.

And could you imagine the feeling of those who genuinely helped Albano and rallied behind his back only to find out that this was all for show and clout? That this tattoo fiasco was only created because someone just wanted to promote his brand? It’s infuriating, isn’t it?


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