WHERE ARE THEY NOW: Bubble Gang cast

by Khatrina Bonagua
Dec 31, 2019
The longest-running gag show in the Philippines has successfully honed the talents of comedians, from bombshells to big-screen actresses to wholesome hosts, for 24 years and counting. PEP.ph looks back on the careers of the Bubble Gang female cast.

Some may raise their eyebrows when we say Bubble Gang has greatly contributed to the success of some of our most in-demand actresses today.

Believe it or not, the longest-running sketch-comedy show in the Philippines has served as an avenue for newcomers wanting to be trained by industry veterans (read: Michael V. and Ogie Alcasid), as well as for sexy actresses wanting to grab more wholesome roles.

This GMA-7 show is known for taking risks when casting new Kababols—and after 24 years on the air, it has proved that taking risks is the name of the game.

And, in case you've forgotten, some of the biggest female names in showbiz—best actresses, comedy legends, much-loved hosts—were products of this comedy sketch gag show.

PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) takes a trip down memory lane, and looks back on the careers of the girls from Bubble Gang.

THE ORIGINALS

Susan Lozada

1995 to 1997

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Susan Lozada, known as the "childish tisay," was in Bubble Gang’s original cast, along with Ogie and Michael V, the show's central spirit. During those times, Susan had also been part of That’s Entertainment and appeared in films: Og Must Be Crazy in 1990; Cedie: Ang Munting Prinsipe in 1996; No Read, No Write in 1997; and Dyesebel in 1996, where she was one of the mermaids keeping Charlene Gonzales company.

In an interview with PhilStar.com in 2001, Susan revealed that she decided to take a break from showbiz after getting only offers to do bold films. "If I accept the offer, I know it’s not me," she explained. So, instead of accepting the offer, she relocated to the United States to pursue other careers.

Now Mrs. Schaefer, Susan resides in Omak, Washington. She is now also the owner of Indulge Salon and Day Spa, where she puts her Cosmetology degree to good use.

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Aiko Melendez

1995 to 1998

After her Eat Bulaga! stint, lasting from 1989 to 1995, Aiko Melendez was chosen to become one of Bubble Gang’s OG girls. She stayed with the gag show for three years, and this is where her friendship with co-star Sunshine Cruz began.

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Aiko has always been part of showbiz, doing projects with ABS-CBN, the Kapamilya network. But, she also dove into politics, taking her seat as Quezon City councilor from 2001 to 2010. In 2019, Aiko joined GMA-7, the Kapuso network, to be part of the afternoon drama Prima Donnas.

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Sunshine Cruz

1995 to 1999

Another That’s Entertainment baby, Sunshine was also an original Kababol. After Bubble Gang, she did one more GMA-7 show, L, before transferring to ABS-CBN.

In between TV appearances, Sunshine top-billed such sexy films as Ang Kabit Ni Mrs. Montero, Ligalig, Init Ng Laman, Magagandang Hayop, and others.

Currently, Sunshine is in a relationship with Ismael “Macky” Mathay IV, and is a proud mom to her three lovely daughters with estranged husband Cesar Montano: Angelina, Samantha, and Chesca.

Sunshine became part of ABS-CBN’s drama series, Hiwaga ng Kambat, which concluded in August 2019. She was cast as Melissa Enriquez-Baron, mom of twins Michael (Edward Barber) and Mateo (Grae Fernandez).

Sunshine is also part of the upcoming ABS-CBN teleserye, Love Thy Woman, starring Kim Chiu and Xian Lim.

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Maricar de Mesa

1995 to 2000

Maricar started her showbiz career in 1995, when she joined Bubble Gang. Her exposure in Bubble Gang opened another door, making her the first GobiGirl in the television game show, GoBingo, hosted by Arnell Ignacio.Through the years, Maricar has starred in both GMA-7 and ABS-CBN projects.

Maricar turned 40 last November, and based on her social media accounts, she is happily single and enjoys traveling with her "forever plus one"—her daughter Alianna Sky.

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Assunta de Rossi

1995 to 2004

Assunta de Rossi, who became a leading sexy star, actually first came to public attention as a comedienne, after she joined top-rating comedy shows like Bubble Gang, Ober Da Bakod, and Beh Bote Nga.

The rise of this Filipina-Italian to superstardom, however, was cut short when she found love and marriage with former Congressman Jules Ledesma. They had a civil wedding on December 14, 2002 and a church wedding on March 14, 2004. Assunta was last seen in GMA 7’s Tadhana (2017).

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THE NEXT GEN

Shirley Fuentes

1996 to 1998

This That’s Entertainment star also got a chance to steal the spotlight in Bubble Gang. But even before her stint with the gag show, Shirley had already starred in a handful of films, including Hulihin: Probinsyanong Mandurukot (1993) and Tomboy: The Movie (1995). She had also co-hosted Walang Tulugan with Master Showman.

In October 2019, viewers saw Shirley in It’s Showtime's "Tawag ng Tanghalan" segment. Unfortunately, the singer-actress failed to advance to "Tawag ng Tanghalan's" next level.

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Alma Concepcion

1996 to 1998

Another proud alumna of Bubble Gang is beauty queen Alma Concepcion. After her short stint as a Kababol, the Bb. Pilipinas International title holder appeared in various shows and movies. Eventually, Alma also pursued a degree in BS Interior Design at the University of the Philippines.

Just this year, 25 years after joining Miss International, Alma, now 44 years old, again competed in a beauty pageant—and was crowned Ms. Grand Universe 2019. The pageant was held at the Tanghalang Pasigueño in Pasig City in October 2019.

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Amanda Page

1997 to 2000

Fil-Am beauty Amanda Page was a Bubble Gang mainstay for three years. In 2000, she left showbiz to start anew in the United States. There, she met her now-husband Dr. Lee Mendiola. They had a son, Mason, in 2013.

In 2017, Amanda visited the Philippines and guested in the Kapamilya shows Magandang Buhay and ASAP. In the latter, she did a sizzling dance showdown with Maja Salvador.

Aya Medel

1998 to 2000

Dubbed "Papaya Queen," Aya entertained Bubble Gang viewers when she joined the show in 1998. The affable, buxomy lady was already a bankable bold star at the time, but she managed to cross over to comedy through the gag show.

In 2002, Aya left showbiz and married Japanese businessman Yoji Hayakawa. They have two kids. Today, Aya is a respected chef and restaurant owner.

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Sherilyn Reyes

1998 to 2002

After her success in 1992 in the ABS-CBN series Home Along Da Riles, Sherilyn continued to showcase her comedic talent as part of the Bubble Gang crew from 1998 to 2002.

Fast-forward 15 years, or 2017, and Sherilyn was seen guesting again in Bubble Gang, an experience she shared in her Instagram post below.

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“Mama Shey,” as she is known on her vlogs today, has been married for 18 years now to Chris Tan, former PBA player turned assistant coach for the Meralco Bolts. She is also the mother of Hashtag member Ryle Paolo Santiago. An enterprising woman, Shey can manage big events and launches when she chooses.

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Toni Gonzaga

1998 to 2004

Before her commercial hit with Piolo Pascual for a softdrink brand, her hosting gig at Eat Bulaga!, and her Pinoy Big Brother days, did you know that Toni was once a Kababol?

In an article also in PEP.ph, we were able to find some snapshots of Toni’s moments in the show. In 2002, she became part of the Kapuso drama series Habang Kapiling Ka; and, in 2003, she appeared in an episode of Love To Love.

Toni made the big network transfer—from GMA-7 to ABS-CBN— in 2005, and remains a star today at the Kapamilya network, where she has turned in excellent performances in rom-coms. She is married to director Paul Soriano, with whom she has a son, Seve.

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Ara Mina

1998 to 2008

Ara is another Kuya Germs' That’s Entertainment mainstay who dabbled in comedy, via Bubble Gang, when Kuya Germs' show ended.

For a decade, she was a Bubble Gang cast member, all while successfully making a name for herself on the big screen. Her outings include Mano Po in 2002 and Ang Huling Birhen sa Lupa in 2003, where she bagged the Best Actress awards in MMFF for those years. She was also lauded for the film Minsan Pa (2004), which earned her the 21st PMPC Star Awards for Movies’ Best Supporting Actress trophy.

On December 17, 2014, Ara gave birth to a baby girl she named Amanda Gabrielle, her child with then-partner Patrick Meneses. Ara is now busy with various businesses, such as her skincare line, Ara’s Secret; makeup line, Ara Colours PH; and Hazelberry Cafe, which prides itself in having an array of sought-after cakes.

Ara has been invited to guest on Bubble Gang, such as in 2017 and 2019.

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At present, Ara is set to be part of FPJ's Ang Probinsyano's new cast.

Sharmaine Arnaiz

1999 to 2000

That’s Entertainment alumna Sharmaine Arnaiz was an in-demand TV host and movie star before she committed to join Bubble Gang. After a year on the show, the actress decided that she wanted to explore other options and joined the top-rating TV series, Saan Ka Man Naroon, starring Claudine Barretto.

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Sharmaine continues to be active in showbiz, with guestings in various shows. She was part of the recently concluded GMA-7 Afternoon Prime’s Hanggang sa Dulo ng Buhay Ko.

Angelika Dela Cruz

2000 to 2001

Angelika dela Cruz had a short but sweet stint in Bubble Gang. She already had a name at the time, having been part of the much-viewed Mara Clara (1992) and Esperanza (1997). After Bubble Gang, she was visible in the Kapuso shows Ikaw Lang Ang Mamahalin (2001) and Habang Kapiling Ka (2002).

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She transferred to ABS-CBN after that, but returned to GMA-7 in 2008. Angelika is tapped regularly for Kapuso teleseryes. She has been married for 14 years, and has two lovely kids.

Rufa Mae Quinto

2001 to 2016

The sexy comedienne is one of the longest mainstays on the show, during which time she bagged a total of seven PMPC Star Awards for TV Best Actress (Comedy) trophies for Bubble Gang.

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Even before this, Rufa Mae Quinto was already making audiences laugh in comedy shows on television: Ober Da Bakod, Super Laff-in, Mixed N.U.T.S, Tropang Trumpo, and Kool Ka Lang. On the big screen, her claim to fame is her film, Booba, in 2001, and, of course, her self-made lines “Todo na ‘to!” and “Go, go, go!”

Rufa Mae continues to be active in showbiz. She was part of iWant’s digital series Jhon En Martian. She has also ventured into vlogging, where she gathered 300,000 subscribers just one year after launching her vlog.

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Maureen Larrazabal

2002 to 2013

Before being known as part of the Bubble Gang barkada, Maureen Larrazabal was popular for her sexy flicks: Ekis (1999), Unfaithful Wife 2 (1999), Bulaklak ng Maynila (1999), Sugo ng Tondo (2000), and Blood Surf (2000). She got her first breaks in the comedy genre when she became a part of Viva TV’s Iskul Bukol and Gags Must Be Crazy. She also appeared in Home Along Da Riles and Kool Ka Lang, before finally making it to Bubble Gang.

Following this, Maureen began accepting more serious roles and appearing in TV shows like Darna (2005, 2009); Bahay Mo Ba ‘To (2007); Ako Si Kim Samsoon (2008); Zorro (2009); Encantadia (2017); and more. She is currently part of the Kapuso primetime show, One of the Baes, and the long-running program, Pepito Manaloto, alongside former Bubble Gang mentor and co-star Michael V.

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Diana Zubiri

2003 to 2009

Like Maureen Larrazabal, Diana Zubiri top-billed a number of sexy movies prior to joining Bubble Gang, including her 2002 movies Kasiping, Bakat, and Itlog. After joining the GMA Network, she appeared as a regular cast member of Bubble Gang.

While still a mainstay of the gag show, Diana was seen regularly in Encantadia, where she played the role of Sang'gre Danaya. She was with GMA-7 until early 2012; she became a Kapamilya talent from 2012 to 2013.

Upon returning to the Kapuso network, she was cast in Marimar (2015), Encantadia (2016 remake), and Dragon Lady (2018). Her most recent guest appearance was in the ongoing Kapuso prime-time series, Beautiful Justice.

Diana is married to TV host Andy Smith. They have two children.

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Francine Prieto

2005 to 2010

That’s Entertainment alumna, professional model, and beauty queen Francine had already appeared in a number of movies as Ana Marie Falcon (her real name), prior to doing comedy in All Together Now, and, eventually, in Bubble Gang. She became a mainstay of Bubble Gang for five years, and bagged wholesome roles during this period. She appeared in Etheria in 2005 and Carlo J. Caparas’ Kamandag in 2007, among others, proving that she was welcome in both the Kapuso and Kapamilya networks.

In 2016, Francine married her American scientist partner Frank Shotkoski.

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Jackie Rice

2008 to 2019

Jackie paved the way for Starstruck alumni to join the show, being the first talent from the reality show to join the Bubble Gang barkada. Being a loyal Kapuso, Jackie was given several shows where she got the title roles, including Ilumina (2010), Sisid (2011), and Kasalanan Bang Ibigin Ka (2012). Currently, she is part of GMA 7’s Beautiful Justice.

In an interview with PEP.ph in June 2018, Jackie said that she was taking a leave from Bubble Gang to focus on the teleserye Hindi Ko Kayang Iwan Ka, where she is to play the villainess.

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THE NEW DECADE

Ellen Adarna

2010 to 2013

Ellen officially started her showbiz career in 2010, when she joined Bubble Gang. Before this, however, she had become known to the public as an internet personality, with her various photos trending in social media. She had also become known as one of the contestants on the reality show Survivor Philippines: Celebrity Doubles Showdown.

After her stint as a Kapuso, she transferred to the rival Kapamilya network, where she appeared in several TV series: Moon of Desire, Pasion De Amor, Langit Lupa, and Home Sweetie Home.

Ellen took a showbiz hiatus in 2017 after rumors surfaced that she was pregnant. The rumors became headline material because they also said that the father of her child was no other than the matinee idol and lead actor of Home Sweetie Home, John Lloyd Cruz. In June 2018, Ellen gave birth to a son, Elias Modesto, whom John Lloyd has openly dedicated poems to and whom he has been seen travelling with. She is now separated from John Lloyd, with whom she co-parents Elias.

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Sam Pinto

2010 to 2016

One of the first Kapuso shows that sexy star Sam Pinto was given after she transferred networks is Bubble Gang. Before this, she was seeen on TV5’s Midnight DJ and on Pinoy Big Brother: Double Up.

From 2010 to 2015, Sam was active in GMA-7 shows, where she was part of Party Pilipinas, Captain Barbell, Vampire Ang Daddy Ko, and more. She was last seen in ABS-CBN’s Ang Probinsyano and La Luna Sangre.

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Voted FHM Philippines Sexiest Woman twice, Sam is currently busy with her businesses Sirena Swimwear and L’Sirene: A Boutique Resort. She is engaged to basketball player Anthony Semerad.

Gwen Zamora

2010 to 2017

Gwen Zamora’s career took off after her launch as the modern-day Faye Kabisote in the 2010 movie, Si Agimat at Si Enteng Kabisote. Following this, she became a Bubble Gang mainstay, alongside Sam, who became her good friend.

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Gwen made waves once more when she appeared in the 2018 movie, Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral, where she played the role of Remedios.

Gwen is currently engaged to David John Semerad. She gave birth to their baby boy in August 2019.

Max Collins

2012 to 2016

Max was part of Star Magic Batch 15, where she was known by her real name, Isabelle Abiera. When her contract with Star Magic ended in 2010, she went back to the United States and went on a showbiz hiatus.

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After a year, Max came home, used the name Max Collins, and officially became a Kapuso and Kababol. We last saw her in the recently concluded Kapuso afternoon drama series, Bihag.

Max married fellow Kapuso actor Pancho Magno in December 2017. They recently announced that she is pregnant with their first child.

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Carla Abellana

2013 to 2014

After her successful launch as a leading lady via Rosalinda (2009), Carla Abellana was given several lead roles at the Kapuso network. She starred in shows such as Love Bug Presents: The Last Romance (2010); Magic Palayok (2011); Makapiling Kang Muli (2012); and My Husband’s Lover (2013). (It was in My Husband’s Lover that she met Tom Rodriguez, who would become her boyfriend.) Carla also hosted, in 2009, the fifth season of StarStruck.

After Bubble Gang, Carla remained a loyal Kapuso, and focused on the TV shows My Destiny (2014), Because Of You (2015), I Heart Davao (2017), and Pamilya Roces (2018). In 2020, she is set to top-bill the show Love Of My Life.

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Joyce Ching

2013 to 2015

Joyce Ching started her showbiz career when she joined the short-lived comedy show, Bubble Gang Jr., in 2005. After eight years and a few TV shows and movies in between, Joyce joined the gang again, this time in Bubble Gang itself, in 2013. She was a Kababol for two years.

She is part of the Kapuso romance comedy series, One Of The Baes. Joyce married non-showbiz boyfriend Kevin Alimon on December 8, 2019.

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Andrea Torres

2013 to 2019

Andrea Torres sharpened her comedic skills as a mainstay of Bubble Gang starting 2013.

Before that, she was already making a name for herself via sexy/dramatic roles on TV shows like Blusang Itim in 2013, Sana Ay Ikaw Na Nga in 2012, and With A Smile in 2013. She also bagged the lead role of Annasandra in 2014’s Ang Lihim Ni Annasandra, Louisa in 2016’s The Millionaire’s Wife, Venus in 2016’s Alyas Robin Hood, and Jasmine/Juliet in 2019’s The Better Woman, alongside Derek Ramsay. Derek and Andrea are in a relationship now.

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The longest-running gag show in the Philippines has successfully honed the talents of comedians, from bombshells to big-screen actresses to wholesome hosts, for 24 years and counting. PEP.ph looks back on the careers of the Bubble Gang female cast.
  • This article was created by . Edits have been made by the PEP.ph editors.
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