Throwback Thurdsay: The Hunks vs. Barako Boys
By Joseph Peter R. Gonzales
The Hunks and the Barako Boys. Undoubtedly, at some point in time, these two male groups created waves in the local ‘biz and dominated the scene with their sexy sing-and-dance repertoire. Their avid supporters swooned over their magnetic charm and macho appeal. Showing some skin like exposing their abs or wearing tight jeans in their live performances, particularly concerts and musical stage shows became a key factor for their success. Their magazine covers, posters and pin-ups sold like hot cakes. They were objects of fantasies then of most girls and gays alike.
This male group was comprised of five of ABS-CBN’s most exciting and prized possessions, namely, PioloPascual, Jericho Rosales, DietherOcampo, Carlos Agassi and Bernard Palanca. Originally, they starred in the 2005 Kapamilyasitcom titled Bora: Sons of the Beach. The management realized that apart from their sexy built, they can also carry a tune, the reason why they were packaged as a singing quintet. It can be remembered that at the height of their popularity, they travelled a lot doing concerts both in the local and foreign scenes. They were also a staple fixture on ABS-CBN’s longest-running Sunday musical variety show ASAP and did major guest stints in many of their mother network’s hit programs during those times.
As in any group, it was inevitable that fans would have disputes as to who’s the most popular, handsome, sexy, talented, appealing and enduring among the members. Of course, it was clear from the start who the front runners were: Piolo, Jericho and Diether were the leading men material. Apart from being members of The Hunks, they’ve also made hit silver screen projects and top-billed chart-topping soaps. Piolo and Jericho also showed great promise to eventually turn into fine thespians. Carlos made a rap album and was given the moniker “Prince of Philippine Rap” while Bernard made major supporting roles in various soaps and films.
Sexy but classy. This best describes the Barako Boys: Jay Manalo, Christian Vasquez, Carlo Maceda, Luis Alandy, Paolo Paraiso and Reggie Curley. They were all sexy studs who made the adrenalin of girls and gay fans soared high. Every time they graced the cover or pin-ups of various glossy magazines, expect that issue to be sold-out. Compared to The Hunks, this group is far more daring as they didn’t have qualms wearing skimpy underwear during their photo shoots.
Being daring is like second skin to most of the members of the group considering their initial exposure. Christian and Reggie for one, first started as models before joining the ‘biz. The latter even bagged the Body Shots title in 1996. They also became centerfolds for Cosmo mag. Carlo, on his part was Mossimo Bikini Summit’s grand prize winner way back 2002. Paolo was a top PMPA model and of course, Jay was a renowned sexy actor and until now that he has evolved into an award-winning actor, people still remember him as Totoy Mola.
Interestingly, the group was formed due to the success of the critically-acclaimed sexy stage play called Penis Talks where all of them first collaborated in the early 2000’s. Their respective managers got inspired to form a group for the six gorgeous men. Called Barako Boys, they recorded an album whose carrier single titled “Hot na Hot” became a modest hit. Despite their success, the group didn’t last long as they disbanded in no time at all.
LIFE AFTER DISBANDMENT
When The Hunks got defunct, all five members still continued their solo endeavors. As everyone knows, Piolo is still a premiere leading man. He gets paired with both younger and older actresses, as in the case of his latest hit potboiler Love me Tomorrow. He’s still a major force to reckon with at the box-office. Already a Best Actor awardee, he continues to dazzle the screen with his sterling performances.
The same can be said of Jericho. His projects are well-chosen. He might not be regularly visible in soaps, but when he makes one, it’s a definite winner, like The Legal Wife. He appeared in the 2015 MMFF entry Walang Forever in which he won the Best Actor trophy. Like Piolo, he is one of his generation’s best thespians.
Meanwhile, Diether is still considered a major leading man until now. He just appeared in TV 5’s remake of the Danny Zialcita classic Bakit Manipis ang Ulap? opposite Claudine Barretto. He will be seen next in ABS-CBN’s Someone to Watch over Me where he shares stellar billing with Judy Ann Santos and Richard Yap.
Carlos and Bernard both do well as character actors. Along with Diet, the latter was also part of the cast of TV 5’s Bakit Manipis ang Ulap? and currently appears in ABS-CBN’s Ang Probinsiayno top-billed by Coco Martin and My Super D headlined by Dominic Ochoa. As for the former, he presently plays an important role in Richard Gutierrez’s Panday remake over at TV 5.
On the part of the Barako Boys, some of them are still active in the ‘biz, like Jay Manalo who has become one of our more dependable character actors. He was part of the cast of TV 5’s Bakit Manipis ang Ulap?and is still doing Ang Probinsiyano. Jay is an award-winning actor who has shared the screen with some of the industry’s brightest female luminaries like Vilma Santos-Recto, Kris Aquino and Maricel Soriano.
Christian Vasquez is another past member who’s still visible in the scene. He does projects for the three top networks in the land. His last show for the Kapamilya was the afternoon soap NasaanKa Nang Kailangan Kita? opposite Vina Morales and Denise Laurel. Presently, he is a member of the cast of GMA’s hit soap Princess in the Palace top-billed by Ryzza Mae Dizon.
This can also be said of Luis Alandy who can be seen in different high-profile soap operas like GMA’s The Millionaire’s Daughter headlined by Rhian Ramos and TV 5’s My Fair Lady starring Jasmine Curtis-Smith. Paolo Paraiso meanwhile does supporting roles as well in various soap operas.
While Reggie Curley just disappeared into the scene, Carlo has become a successful family man and businessman, at the same time. He directs and produces educational and historical films (Gabriela, Sisa, Batang Rizal, etc), does part-time acting, too. He popularized the role ofMangGener in Kapamilya afternoon soap Flordeliza(with Jolina Magdangal and Marvin Agustin), and a father role in ABS-CBN’s teen-oriented show titled Luv U.