What Nikko? What McCoy? What Zeus? What Hashtag? In the 90s, the following heartthrobs ruled even without the help of social media. Fandom was more palpable—instead of hashtags and viral memes, posters, “song hits,” and cassette tapes became their way of winning the hearts of then tweens who are today’s titas.
Almost two decades since, these heartthrobs can still make any girl's heart beat fast. They may have aged, in a family, and gained a few pounds enough for the #DadBod label, but their presence still merits a squeal. Here’s a treat to those who grew up idolizing these hotties!
1991: Jomari Yllana. Together with fellow Gwapings members Eric Fructuoso, Marc Anthony Fernandez, and Jao Mapa, they rose to popularity as teenage rascals on Palibhasa Lalake shown in the early 90s. Presently, Jomari serves as councilor in Paranaque City, with son Andrei following in his footsteps as an actor and even as a car enthusiast.
1992: Basti Artadi. Then-long haired Basti led rock band Wolfgang, with Wolf Gemora, Manuel Legarda, and Francis Aquino. Wolfgang’s popularity extended beyond local shores, that the band even released albums in Japan and in the US!. Basti's band remains active, as he deals with a brain tumor and a health condition.
1993: Vhong Navarro. Before becoming It’s Showtime’s resident host, Vhong was with dance group Streetboys. Vhong, along with fellow Streetboys members Jhong Hilario and Sphencer Reyes, helped propel the group’s popularity with his show-stopping moves and dance floor angas. (The group even produced an album—Turbulence Wild StreetDanz—in 1997!) Vhong hosts the noontime show with Jhong, and is now a father of two.
1994: Bamboo Mañalac. Bamboo and his skinhead have long been seen as iconic. The former Rivermaya and Bamboo front man is hailed as The Prince of Filipino Rock for his vocals and his songwriting skills. Presently, he is a coach for The Voice Philippines and a mainstay on ASAP. He still sings as a solo artist.
1995: Vince Hizon. Playing for Ginebra San Miguel under Robert Jaworski's "Never say die" mentality made him one of the most popular PBA players of the 90s. Vince was not all skills; he had the jock vibe going on to attract girls beyond those within the gates of his Alma mater Ateneo. He is married to sportscaster Patricia Bermudez with two kids, and coaches for Blackwater Elite.
1996: Rico Yan. Arguably the most popular matinee idols in the 90s, Rico top-billed several TV hits—Mara Clara, Gimik, and Whattamen to name a few. He was paired with Claudine Barretto, the love team becoming one of the most-adored that time. His untimely death in 2002 only drew nationwide sorrow, as it was the time his career was at its peak.
1997: Jericho Rosales. Prior to his breakout performance in Pangako Sa 'Yo, Jericho started his career in 1997 via Esperanza and Oka Tokat. He is now happily married to blogger-influencer Kim Jones, and is a loving father to Santino. Aside from acting, Jericho is a car and motorcycle enthusiast, and is busy curating content for online lifestyle site Mr. Manileño.
1998: Kenneth Duremdes. This baller was a tour de force on court: during his stint with the Alaska Aces, Kenneth brought the team to three championships. His skills also earned him a season MVP award, two final MVP awards, and several All-Star appearances. Kenneth still plays professional basketball once in a while, with his son Kenji following in his footsteps.
1999: John Lloyd Cruz. He whooshed to stardom through his pairing his Bea Alonzo, but John Lloyd got his first big break through Tabing Ilog. There, he was paired with Kaye Abad. Since then, John Lloyd has appeared in several movies and won awards for it, and is now more focused in promoting indie and art cinema.
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Banner artwork by Gio Vibar. Photographs from News.ABS-CBN.com, Entertainment.ABS-CBN.com, Instagram.com/vhongx44, Instagram.com/vincehizon12, and Instagram.com/1kd9