Those were the days.
When girls unwittingly contributed to the destruction of Mother Earth’s ozone layer by spraying Aquanet on their hair to achieve the Triplets look (the singing group of Manilyn Reynes, Sheryl Cruz, Tina Paner) or the Ana Abiera hairstyle…
When boys showed off their “brush-up” hair, a la Ramon Christopher, with a mullet a la Jestoni Alarcon (thick curly top and long “tail” down the back like Mel Gibson’s in Lethal Weapon 1) and donned their baston pants with zippers on both sides of the trouser legs, a la Aga Muhlach…
When kids used agua oxinada to sport cool blonde hair or apply something funny, like shampoo mixed with egg white or Depp hair gel with glitters to make the hair hard, sticky and, uh…glittery, a la-Rey “PJ” Abellana and Leni Santos in the movie, The Punks…
Yup, we did a lot of scary things during the ‘80s—on our hair mostly. And celebrities surely influenced the way we wanted to look, sound, and act in those days.
Join the ride as we go back to that era of new wave music, Michael Jackson’s Thriller and MTV, to look back at the things that made ‘80s showbiz memorable. Not necessarily in order of importance or impact, but just a list of things that can still put a smile on a lot of ‘80s movie fans out there who used to think Gabby and Sharon would last forever and that Aga Muhlach was the cutest thing that happened to Philippine Cinema.
Bagets on the loose. Movies by directors Joey Gosiengfiao (Blue Jeans, Katorse), Ishmael Bernal (Bilibid Boys), Mike de Leon (Alpha Kappa Omega, Batch 81), and Gil Portes (High School Scandal) were supposed to reach out to the youth and warn them of the dangers in joining fraternities, doing pre-marital sex, drugs, and teen violence. But their movies were just too serious, too sexy, and too dark for the carefree generation.
Enter Maryo J. delos Reyes (Annie Batungbakal and High School Circa ’65) with Bagets. Suddenly, everyone’s wearing multi-color combination clothes, girls tease their hair high with “spray net” and kids are groovin’ ‘n shakin’ to the Jo Boxers’s British groove pop hit “Just Got Lucky.” Bagets breaks through the prevailing “bold” genre in Pinoy movies and starts a new pop culture that embraces the colorful, fun-filled, cool, confused and carefree life of adolescent Pinoys in the ‘80s.
Bagets also started the “bubble-gum, teenybopper” trend in Philippine cinema. The likes of Ninja Kids, Hot Shots and The Punks followed, hoping to duplicate the success of Bagets. This movie also jumpstarted Herbert Bautista’s career when he couldn’t break free from his serious, dramatic Rene Boy character in Flordeluna. Bagets showcased Herbert’s funny side and his flair for comedy.
Bagets gave teenage girls a new matinee idol to go loco for in Aga Muhlach. Raymond Lauchengco successfully crossed over from singing to acting in Bagets. JC Bonnin proved he could do better than Scimatar in this movie. William Martinez showed everyone he could wing it with fresher and cuter guys, and he found his new love in Yayo Aguila, who later became his wife.
That’s Entertainment. Before StarStruck and Star Circle Quest, Pinoy youth in the ‘80s couldn’t get enough of Master Showman German Moreno’s young talents in That’s Entertainment. Fans queued at the entrance of Broadway Centrum with their banners, posters, and placards of their favorite teen stars, waiting to get seated and conditioning their larynx for their major screaming performance once their idols took the stage.
Kuya Germs’s show produced some of the most successful stars we have today. Superstars like Judy Ann Santos, Piolo Pascual (known then as PJ Pascual), Rufa Mae Quinto, Ara Mina (then Hazel Reyes), Francine Prieto (then Anna Marie Falcon), and Carmina Villarroel. Even international stars Lea Salonga and Billy Crawford were once That’s members. The highlight of the show was the performance every Saturday of the weekdays’ “Groups.”
Menudo quintet. Sure, they were not and aren’t Pinoys, but no kid in the ‘80s can deny the influence these five youngsters from Puerto Rico had on teenagers, especially the girls. The teeners’ raging hormones seemed uncontrollable at the sight of these five Latinos. Boys, on the other hand, tried to copy the look of the most screamed-at members like Robbie Rosa, Charlie Mazo and young Ricky Martin by wearing tight pants, rolling the sleeves of their shirts high, and even tying a band around their parlor-styled curly hair while singing “If You’re Not Here (By My Side)” or “Please Be Good To Me.”
Inseparable Trio: Tito, Vic & Joey. Everything these three jesters did in the ‘80s seemed to get picked up by their audience, especially the young ones. Expressions like “Palpak!,” “Papa’no naman kame?!,” “Butaw-butaw,” and “A-che-che!” became part of the everyday lingo of that generation. Joey de Leon, particularly, always came up with something the kids imitated, like the way he walked, the dance steps he created (Body Language and Cha-cha Buena), and the way he wore his clothes (different caps every day, T-shirts with cool designs or slogans, low-waist pants, and different colored pair of Chuck Taylors). Their movies were always box-office hits, and the artists they helped or supported—and even bit players—made names for themselves afterwards.
The trio’s Iskul Bukol, Eat…Bulaga!, T.O.D.A.S., and 2+2 became institutions and proto-types of present TV shows. As in any successful showbiz act, Tito, Vic & Joey had their share of intrigues and scandals during the ‘80s. But they made it through the storm and here they are still, surviving the business that made them, as they continue to influence local showbiz and the way the Pinoys live.
Maricel-William & Sharon-Gabby Love Teams. No other love teams in the ‘80s showbiz but these two held the crown. Fans laughed and giggled at the comedic chemistry between William Martinez as Kulit and Maricel Soriano as Marya. Sharon Cuneta and Gabby Concepcion’s love team always left fans sighing and dreaming of the day the two would marry. The romantic pair did get married, but separated later after having their daughter KC. Marya and Kulit had other partners and went their separate ways.
Even after the love teams dissolved, fans in the remaining years of the 1980s pitted Maricel and Sharon against each other, especially during awards seasons. There’s no denying the impact and influence of both actresses in local showbiz. Every newbie actress seems to have both or one of these actresses in their list of idols or actresses they wannabe.
Penthouse Live! Everyone thought the show was not going to last. First, it aired during bedtime, just when everybody wanted to retire after a hard day at work/school; second, the hosts talked straight English, which Annaliza and Prinsipe Abante viewers would rather miss than watch. But the balikbayan “madman” with his gift of gab and golden voice (later becoming the Philippines’ Concert King) and the prissy collegiala singer from International School with the ability to fill concert halls, football ovals, and coliseums (hence her title Concert Queen), pulled it off. Penthouse Live! became a hit.
The chemistry between Martin Nievera and Pops Fernandez was so infectious that TV viewers wanted them to end up in each other’s arms, even though there was really nothing between them to start with. Pops back then was in a love team with Roel Santiago and Martin was just happy to be there hosting and singing. But eventually, the inevitable happened. They both fell for each other and soon Martin announced during the show, while Pops was wiping her tear-filled eyes, that they were getting married.
Penthouse Live! also gave the Pinoy TV viewers a taste of “high brow” stand-up comedy in Dona Buding’s (Nanette Inventor) performances. And who would ever forget that before Jojo Alejar did All The Way with Jojo A., he was already going all the way doing “pagpapa-cute” in his dance numbers with his group The Tigers. Penthouse Live! changed the viewers’ ideas about late-night viewing—that it was not only for boring “chairman of the board” lounge-music shows and late-night news programs, but also for entertainment.
“Mr. Pure Energy” Gary Valenciano. Hosting Channel 4’s Rhythm of the City and performing Michael Jackson’s Thriller songs in the show was a lame start for Gary Valenciano’s career. But things changed when he started doing originals and broke through with “Growing Up” in Bagets. Soon, everyone was calling him “Mr. Pure Energy.” Gary V was like the Energizer Bunny of Philippine Music with his funky dance moves and upbeat songs. No local R&B singer would dare scratch out Gary Valenciano from their list of influences. Now, after 25 years in the entertainment industry, Gary V still amazes his fans and audiences with his fancy dance moves and versatile music.
Lovingly Yours Helen. The white rose on the dashboard, the “Ballade pour Adeline” theme song, and Helen Vela’s cool, relaxing voice were trademarks that made Lovingly Yours Helen hard to forget. The show boasted some of the biggest names in show business as guests during those days, playing the lives of Helen Vela’s letter senders who sought her advice or who wanted to share their stories.
Stars like Nora Aunor, Christopher de Leon, Vilma Santos, Coney Reyes, Janice de Belen, Aga Muhlach and Mary Walter appeared on the show. One very memorable episode was the one with comedian Panchito playing the role of a once-popular comedian who lost his glitter and ended up poor and miserable. Before Maalaala Mo Kaya became a hit, Lovingly Yours Helen was making even the toughest goon cry with its touching stories sent in by real people.
See-True uncensored. See-True is considered the template of today’s showbiz talk shows. But See-True‘s way of presenting its guests can never be duplicated by any showbiz talk show today, just like nobody can ever replace Inday Badiday, the “Queen of Intrigues and Showbiz Talk Shows.” See-True got down to the nitty-gritty of issues by making guests answer point-blank questions from actual showbiz reporters (tabloid and showbiz magazine writers). The atmosphere was always tense with all the burning Q&A’s thrown in by both stars and reporters.
This show also popularized the phrase, “May phone-in question tayo, Ate Luds,” voiced over by now Philippine vice-president Noli de Castro. Sometimes, strange guests claimed to have extraordinary talents. In one episode, for instance, Ate Luds had a faith healer who claimed she could raise the dead back to life. She was so into her “raise-the-dead” power trip, she even said to Ate Luds, “Meron nga akong dalang patay diyan sa labas!” The shocked Ate Luds blurted, “Ay, ‘wag na ho nating papasukin!”
See-True went dead when the TV censors recommended that the show pack up for good. This was after former bold actress and Dranreb Belleza’s mother Divina Valencia hit Softdrink Beauties manager Rey dela Cruz on the head with a microphone after they got into a heated argument during show’s Q&A.
Randy “Mr. Shades” Santiago. A few years before the decade ended, hair gel, trench coat, and shades made their last hurrah as elements of looking cool, thanks to Randy Santiago. “‘Di Magbabago,” Randy’s first hit song was on top of the charts and was in every local radio station’s playlist for the whole year of 1987. His popularity was so huge at one time that he even eclipsed Philippine television’s brightest star in those days, young Aiza Seguerra. Before Randy, Aiza was a hit on every household with her “duckwalk dance” in every “Bulagaan” portion of Eat… Bulaga!.
Things changed when GMA-7 included Randy as one of the hosts and performers in its noontime variety show Lunch Date, GMA-7’s answer to ABS-CBN’s Eat…Bulaga!. Randy’s popularity caused the sale of shades to shoot up. Pinoy youngsters imitated his cool facade. Mr. Shades had sold-out concerts and crossed over to doing movies, starring in movies with the likes of Fernando Poe, Jr. and Maricel Soriano. Some of his “Hawi Boys” or entourage, later made names for themselves, like Wowowee host Willie Revillame and comedian Dennis Padilla. Before Randy’s popularity faded out, his fans immortalized his likeness by doodling his mullet hair, mole, and trademark shades on Emilio Aguinaldo’s picture in five-peso bills.
We hope the ’80s and this list have brought back a lot of good memories.