An afternoon FM radio program, the 90s, and the Filipino nation


I’m currently listening to an afternoon radio program that plays songs popular during the 90s. It’s funny how these songs bring back memories of my elementary years when everything, without any exception, was good and nice. Listeners to this program can send their comments through texts that the 2 deejays read on air. Although it’s almost bordering to being corny and chummy, I can’t help myself from smiling because I am reminded by something I almost forgot: that I actually used to watch out for the showdown between the Universal Motion Dancers (UMD) and the Street Boys, and that there was this film I watched, which I secretly liked then, on the history of the dance group headed by the 90s most famous leading man Wowie De Guzman.


Most young people of my age would writhe whenever they hear or are being reminded of what it had been in the 90s, although I know they feel nostalgic within wanting to bring back the good ol’ days when Siakol, Eraserheads, and Yano dominated the airwaves and Noli De Castro’s face occupied one-third of the television screen showing the primetime news program. I do not have a clear recollection of that decade myself since the life I lived was confined within the parochial concerns of my growing up years in the province. It must have been clearer and more affecting for somebody who spent his development years in a metropolis such as Manila.

My siblings were hooked to Saturday youth oriented programs such as Thank God It’s Sabado (T.G.I.S.) or Gimik unaware that these shows subliminally altered our perception of our small world. I remember emulating the speech, manner of dressing, and their conduct whenever they were with their friends of these 16-years-olds living in an exclusive subdivision in Manila in contrast to us who were then growing up in a closely-knit community and a pretty big household whose only source of entertainment was our black-and-white television which was, luckily, replaced by a colored model. Now, it is easier for somebody like me who grew up in the province to relate with the consciousness of somebody who grew up in Manila during the 90s.

Had there been no television, my idea of the previous decade would have been different and I might not have been able to comprehend what the deejays on this afternoon radio programs are saying. Television and the Media in general can actually create an imagined consciousness and pseudo-reality, but why has it been impossible for the media to act as a go-between for the shared understanding on the Filipinos identity as a nation? Why has it and still is limiting itself to some banal (that’s how I see it) functions but not with things of import and significance?

Probably it is not as easy as I see it, but what makes the experience of some of us who grew up in the 90s different from the grander experience of the nation, aside of course from sheer size and complexity? Well, the latter question might have already answered the points raised by the question preceding it.

The Philippine media is yet to realize its more sublime purpose in the lives of Filipinos. What I hope is a media that will not only inspire nostalgia in me of the decade that has been but also a shared experience of how it is to be a Filipino and to choose to remain as one despite and because of the challenges it has gone through as a nation.

You’re a twenty-something if…

This is one of those flop days. A flopped day is when I can’t think of anything sensible and cerebral. However, I am not saying that most of my days are inspired and I can always think as intellectually as I would want. The weather this time just adds to the gloom. The temperature outside makes someone like me who is used to the Philippines’ tropical climate of humid and hot days to be sluggish and sleepy.

So here I am writing about something that in a way is the reason why this blog exists – to celebrate life as a twenty-something. For most of us, it’s nice to go back to the past and remember the thing’s we’ve been through, laughing at the atrocious piece of clothing we wore before, being nostalgic about the better days that had been, or simply reminiscing the simple pleasures of life then.

I’m listing them down here for my readers who grew up during the same time as I did in the Philippines. Please feel free to add.

You’re a twenty-something if…

You were born between 1988-1979


You know the melody of this chocolate commercial:
Wanna see what happens to a bag of Nips?
What goes on before they touch my lips?
A Choco Rainbow, Chocolate Nips.
Nips, Nips.

You know what these acronyms stood for: WOW, SIGA. These were policies in the early 90s of Department of Education, Culture, and Sports (then DECS now DepEd) on school beautification and food sustainability.

It was possible to go to school with a 5 to 20 pesos baon.


You collected stickers of Lion King from Maggi Rich Mami Noodles and pasted them on the door of your fridge, to your mother’s horror.

You know Julio at Julia, Kambal ng Tadhana, enjoyed watching this mid-morning program, you can even sing the theme song of this anime.

You know who Pong Pagong was.

You memorized the lyrics of Sineskwela. Sa daigdig ng agham, tuklasin ang kaalaman, halina’t lumipad sa daigdig ng isipan…

You either watched Gimik or T.G.I.S. on lazy Saturday afternoons.

Your elementary school teacher was the first to have an analog mobile phone which was as big as an uncut bar of laundry detergent.

You saw on television Erap’s (Joseph Estrada) ouster or you were at EDSA that time.

Your notebooks had pictures of local stars on their covers.

You know who Judiel was. You were fascinated by the “dancing sun”, and your entire class had to go out to stare at the sky to witness the apparition of the Virgin.

You still had to go through the CAT (Citizen’s Army Training) and had to march under the sun every Thursday or Friday afternoons.

You watched TV Patrol with Noli de Castro, Mel Tiangco, and Ka Kiko as anchors, and Ernie Baron as weatherman.

You know who comprised the Apo Hiking Society and that they had a noon time show Sa Linggo na’APO sila.

You know who the main characters of Villa Quintana were.


Kapamilya and Kapuso didn’t exist yet. They were the Sarimanok Network and the Rainbow Channel respectively.

You had to suffer blackouts that lasted for 12 hours or for as long as two days.

You played Chinese garter, sipa, sungka, snakes and ladders etc.



You know how a five-peso and ten-peso bills looked like. You even used the big one peso coins and the octagonal two-peso coins.

You had a Nintendo Family Computer in your house with the huge cartridges you insert into it to play Super Mario, Pacman, or Bomber.

And the list goes on.