From baggy get-ups and dashing boybands to portable pagers and Nokia cellphones – the ‘90s was quite a wild ride for those who were old enough to experience the era.
The decade is also fondly remembered for—no, not the massacre movies—giving Philippine showbiz some of its most beloved and memorable love teams.
Those screen pairings of yore made fans blush and swoon, and never failed to elicit that kilig feeling in their collective hearts.
What’s even more fascinating, these love teams thrived before social media, making them perhaps the last remnants of celebrity pairings that achieved fame via traditional mass media outlets.
So without further ado, here are some of the most unforgettable ‘90s love teams that to this day continue to hold our hearts captive.
John Lloyd Cruz and Kaye Abad
Before Popoy and Basha, there were Rovic (John Lloyd Cruz) and Eds (Kaye Abad) from the ABS-CBN teen drama series, Tabing Ilog.
John Lloyd and Kaye onscreen romance was followed by teens who themselves were going through the confusion of growing up and young love.
The pair would become real-life sweethearts, with Kaye admitting later on that John Lloyd was her first boyfriend.
“Sa akin special kasi he was my first boyfriend… yes, first love,” she told Boy Abunda in March 2019.
The ex-love team would reunite in 2015 for an episode of Maalaala Mo Kaya.
John Lloyd, who would rise to become one of the top young stars in the country, is currently on hiatus since 2017 to focus on his relationship with actress girlfriend, Ellen Adarna, and their son, Elias. It has been rumored that the two are no longer together.
Kaye, meanwhile, is now based in Cebu with her actor-businessman husband, Paul Jake Castillo, and son, Joaquin.
Marvin Agustin and Jolina Magdangal
The Marvin Agustin and Jolina Magdangal pairing had all the right ingredients of the ‘ideal’ Pinoy love team.
With his funny and boyish charm, her bubbly personality, and their knack for comedy and drama, Marvin and Jolina projected a wholesome image that was so loveable to both young and adult viewers.
Their onscreen chemistry was first tested in the youth-oriented series Gimik, where they played the roles SC and Joey.
They later did the film version of ABS-CBN’s romance anthology Flames in 1997 in which they portrayed the roles of classmates Leslie and Butch.
That movie was followed by Kung Ayaw Mo, Huwag Mo! (1998), Labs Kita… Okey Ka Lang? (1998), Hey Babe! (1999), and their own drama series, Labs Ko Si Babe (1999).
In 2002, Jolina transferred to GMA-7 and Marvin followed in 2006.
GMA-7 also banked on the popularity of Marvin and Jolina's love team by pairing them in the shows I Luv NY (2006), Adik Sa 'Yo (2009), and Iglot (2011). They also hosted the weekly anthology Dear Friend (2008-2010).
In 2014, Jolina and Marvin returned to ABS-CBN and did the afternoon series Flordeliza, which aired in 2015.
Today, Marvin is a successful restaurateur, while Jolina is seen in the Kapamilya morning talk show Magandang Buhay. She is married to Rivermaya drummer Mark Escueta; they have two kids.
Fans of the love team went into a frenzy when it was reported in 2019 that a Marvin-Jolina reunion movie was in the works. Initial details said the two were looking to reprise their Bujoy and Ned roles in Labs Kita… Okey Ka Lang? to mark the movie’s 21st anniversary.
Unfortunately, the supposed reunion movie was pushed back owing to production and scheduling issues.
Jolina said, “Ayaw naman namin ng hilaw kasi comeback yun, di ba? Ang tagal namin bago gumawa ulit ng movie.
“Definitely matutuloy yun. Tapos mas pinagtutuunan pa namin ng pansin yung istorya.”
Bobby Andrews and Angelu de Leon
GMA-7 struck gold in 1995 when it launched its youth-oriented series T.G.I.S. (Thank God It’s Sabado). It was a co-production between the Kapuso network and VIVA Television.
The weekend show was a big hit, and at the forefront of the show’s success was the tandem of Bobby Andrews and Angelu de Leon.
Teenagers fell in love with the characters of Wacks (Bobby) and Peachy (Angelu), rooting for the reel couple navigating the highs and lows of young romance.
The massive success of their love team paved the way for more projects, including the TV shows Growing Up and Ikaw Na Sana both in 1997, and movies such as Takot Ka Ba Sa Dilim (1996) T.G.I.S.: The Movie (1997), Laging Naroon Ka (1997), and Wala Na Bang Pag-ibig (1997).
The love team’s successful run, however, came to a sudden end when Angelu became pregnant with her child from then boyfriend and action-star, Joko Diaz.
Bobby and Angelu continued to work together in various television projects under GMA-7 after the demise of their love team, among which were Sana Ay Ikaw Na Nga (2002) and Buena Familia (2015).
Both stars remain active in show business until today, with Bobby alternating between ABS-CBN and GMA-7 and Angelu sticking out with the Kapuso network since 2010.
Last February 27, a reunion of the ex-love team and a few former T.G.I.S. co-stars was featured in Eat Bulaga’s Bawal Judgmental segment—with Bobby and Angelu coming out with some revelations.
Bobby admitted having a big crush on Angelu even before they were paired onscreen but opted not to act on his feelings.
Angelu, meanwhile, said she used to date T.G.I.S. co-stars Michael Flores and Onemig Bondoc even before the show’s inception.
Rico Yan and Claudine Barretto
Love team partners becoming real-life sweethearts is every fan’s dream. So fans were obviously elated when heartthrob Rico Yan and young actress Claudine Barretto found themselves falling in love with each other for real.
The two first met in 1996 during the filming of Radio Romance. This was followed by a string of other notable projects such as Madrasta (1996), Flames: The Movie (1997) and Dahil Mahal Na Mahal Kita (1998).
But it was the primetime TV drama Mula Sa Puso (1997) and the rom-com blockbuster Got 2 Believe (2002) that fans would remember the love team the most.
Tragedy unfortunately put an end to one of showbiz’s most beloved and successful love teams from the past decade.
Rico died in his sleep while on vacation at the Dos Palmas Resort in Puerto Princesa City in Palawan on March 29, 2002.
His untimely passing sent shockwaves across the country. The promising matinee idol died of acute hemorrhagic pancreatitis at age 27.
Claudine would move on, marrying action star Raymart Santiago in 2006. They separated in 2013. Her showbiz career, however, has been sporadic.
She was seen last year in ABS-CBN’s Maalaala Mo Kaya and is set to star in an upcoming Star Cinema movie under the working title, 2gether Un4ever, alongside Piolo Pascual.
Claudine apparently has not forgotten her late boyfriend and screen partner.
On March 14, 2019, the actress posted on Instagram a photo collage of Rico with the caption: “My luv & my life. Always & forever.”
The date of the post would have been his 44th birthday.
Wowie de Guzman and Judy Ann Santos
Judy Ann Santos was a household name as a child star dating back to the late ‘80s.
But in the mid-‘90s, her image needed a bit of a makeover to fit her age and to keep up with the audience’s changing taste.
Enter Wowie de Guzman. He was the baby-faced dancer from the popular dance group Universal Motion Dancers or UMD looking to branch out into acting.
Together, the Juday-Wowie love team would make waves to become one of the most popular screen tandems of the decade.
The prolific pair would appear in several box-office movies, among others: Sana Naman (1996); Kung Alam Mo Lang (1996); Mara Clara: The Movie (1996); Wow Multo (1997); Paano Ang Puso Ko? (1997); Muling Ibalik Ang Tamis Ng Pag-ibig (1998); Kasal-Kasalan (Sakalan) (1998); Esperanza: The Movie, and Dito Sa Puso Ko (1999).
Juday admitted she fell in love with Wowie at the height of their love team’s popularity and he was, in fact, her first boyfriend.
She talked about it in a February 2014 interview with ABS-CBN News.
She recalled in the interview, “May part naman talaga kasi nung time na sobrang ang dami naming ginagawa, as in araw-araw, umaga, tanghali, gabi, kami lang ang magkasama from movies to tapings to out of town shows.
“Monday to Sunday kami talaga yung magkasama so walang chance na hindi kami nagkikita. Siguro doon na-develop.”
The onscreen tandem eventually split up after Juday was paired with Piolo Pascual.
Juday’s star power would continue to rise and she’d become one of the most respected dramatic actresses in local show business.
She met her husband Ryan Agoncillo while doing the Kapamilya fantaserye Krystala in 2004.
Her passion for cooking led her to put up her own vlog, Judy Ann’s Kitchen, which has 1.12 million subscribers as of today.
Wowie, meanwhile, drifted in and out of showbiz and would do occasional TV appearances for different networks, opting instead to pursue business opportunities.
Sadly, Wowie’s non-showbiz wife, Sheryl Ann Reyes, died on April 26, 2014, at the age of 26, one month after giving birth to their first child.
Wowie regularly shares pictures of him with his daughter, Raff, in his Instagram account to show his journey as a single dad.
Dino Guevarra and Kim delos Santos
T.G.I.S. undeniably produced some of the most recognizable love teams in the ‘90s.
The Dino Guevarra-Kim delos Santos pairing was embraced by fans, which further boosted the popularity of the youth-oriented show.
Dino and Kim would topbill their own movie titled Ikaw Lamang in 1999, a testament of their growing popularity.
Off-screen romance soon blossomed between them and, eventually, Dino and Kim tied the knot.
They separated in 2003, both of them accusing the other of infidelity and abuse.
Kim has been based in New Jersey, USA, since 2004 and works as a nurse.
Dino, meanwhile, appears occasionally on TV and just recently guested in Eat Bulaga’s Bawal Judgmental segment.
He said he’s planning to fly to the United States soon with hopes of touching base with his ex-love team partner and wife.
Incidentally, Eat Bulaga co-host Maine Mendoza it turned out was a huge fan of the love team, and couldn’t contain her excitement when she finally saw Dino in person. Maine also had a selfie taken with Kim when the latter visited the noontime show in 2017 while on vacation.
Dingdong Dantes and Antoinette Taus
Do they have a love child or not? This question continues to hound Dingdong Dantes and Antoinette Taus, which the erstwhile sweethearts have repeatedly denied.
What is undeniable though was the onscreen chemistry between the two during their love team days that started in T.G.I.S. in 1997.
Dingdong and Antoinette appeared in several projects such as Anna Karenina (1996); I’m Sorry, My Love (1998); Honey, My Love, So Sweet (1999), and Kiss Mo ‘Ko (1999).
Their romance would turn real and they became a couple much to the delight of their followers.
The love team folded after Antoinette decided to fly to the United States in 2000 and try her luck in Hollywood. However, they remained to be in a relationship until 2005.
Dingdong’s showbiz career would soldier on, dabbling from hosting to modeling and acting with much success. He would met his wife Marian Rivera in the Philippine remake of the hit Mexican telenovela Marimar in 2007.
Antoinette would spend most of her years in the States, occasionally returning to Manila to do a few TV appearances in between. She officially resumed her showbiz career in 2013.
Fans of the love team were thrilled recently when Antoinette guested in GMA-7’s Amazing Earth program hosted by no less than Dingdong himself.
Richard Gomez and Dawn Zulueta
The power couple tandem of Richard and Dawn took the ‘90s by storm, and to this day it remains one of the most memorable love teams of all time.
Their hit movie Hihintayin Kita Sa Langit (1991) would be followed by more projects, including Iisa Pa Lamang (1992), Akin Ang Pangarap Mo (1992), and Saan Ka Man Naroroon (1993).
They were a good-looking couple for a time and had long ago gone their separate ways.
Richard is happily married to actress and Leyte’s 4th District congresswoman Lucy Torres-Gomez. And Dawn is just as happy being married to politician-businessman Antonio Lagdameo Jr.
Both stars continue to make marks in show business both in TV and the movies.
Their tandem reunited in ABS-CBN’s drama show Walang Hanggan (2012). This was followed by a cameo appearance in She’s Dating The Gangster (2014). They later top-billed the teleserye You’re My Home (2015), and the movie The Love Affair (2015) under Star Cinema.
Baron Geisler and Jodi Sta. Maria
Tabing Ilog fans would remember the cute onscreen pairing of Baron Geisler and Jodi Sta. Maria.
The two had undeniable screen chemistry, with Fonzy’s (Baron) mischievous personality serving as the perfect complement to George’s (Jodi) girl-next-door personality.
Baron and Jodi would become real-life sweethearts while doing the youth-oriented show.
The love team, and their relationship, subsequently ended, with both Baron and Jodi moving on to make their own mark in showbiz.
Jodi’s versatility as an actress would land her various roles in drama and comedy. Her hit teleserye, Be Careful With My Heart (2012), took Jodi’s career to new heights. The show also gained a big following outside the Philippines, particularly in Africa and the Middle East.
In 2015, she revived the strong-willed and vindictive character of Amor Powers (originally popularized by Eula Valdes) in the remake of Pangako Sa ‘Yo tob-billed by Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla.
Baron, on the other hand, went on to take on off-beat roles and villain characters. His last notable kontrabida appearance was in the long-running Coco Martin starrer, FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano.
To this day, Jodi and Baron are good friends, and would talk fondly about each other in interviews.
Chubi del Rosario and Anne Curtis
Anne Curtis’s career has come a long way that we tend to forget about her start-up years in showbiz.
As a teenager, Anne was paired with another teen actor Chubi del Rosario. Together they were part of the third batch of T.G.I.S. and formed part of the show’s roster of love teams at the tail end of the ‘90s.
The two worked together in the horror film Ika-13 Kapitulo (2000) and Ang Iibigin Ay Ikaw (2003).
Chubi was Anne’s first and only love team partner. He was also her first boyfriend at the age of 14.
Anne’s career would only grow strong, and she’s now one of the bankable stars in show business. The Fil-Australian actress appear in numerous movies, including the box-office hit No Other Woman (2011), Blood Ransom (2014), Sid & Aya: Not A Love Story (2016), Buy Bust (2018) and Just A Stranger (2019).
Chubi, meanwhile, left showbiz and now manages a performing group for parties and birthdays. He is also a strong advocate of plant-based diet and yoga.
In 2018, Chubi surprised Anne during her showbiz anniversary concert, Annekulit: Promise Last Na ‘To, by appearing in a video greeting.
Carlo Aquino and Angelica Panganiban
The Carlo-Angelica love team, or CarGel, started in ABS-CBN’s youth-oriented show, G-mik (1999), where they portrayed the roles of Jun-Jun and Jelai.
Their screen partnership would continue onto the next decade in Sa Puso Ko Iingatan Ka (2001), Berks (2002), Ang Tanging Ina (2003), and Mano Po III: My Love (2004).
The two would fall in love with each other, with their relationship being an on-and-off affair until they broke up for good.
Angelica’s next known romantic relationships were with model-actor Derek Ramsay and fellow Kapamilya actor John Lloyd Cruz.
Carlo and Angelica revived their onscreen tandem via the romantic drama film, Exes Baggage in 2018.
The film ignited hopes of rekindled romance between the two ex-lovebirds as both Carlo and Angelica were seem to be very close even off-cam, hanging out and posting pictures in social media.
CarGel fans, however, were heartbroken after Carlo confirmed being in a relationship with model Trina Candaza. The admission once more dashed any hopes of a happy ending for the Carlo-Angelica love team.
Red Sternberg and Rica Peralejo
To say that T.G.I.S. gave us many memorable love teams would be an understatement. And one product of the show was the onscreen tandem of Red Sternberg and Rica Peralejo.
They both exuded youthful charm and looked so cute together in the movie It’s Cool Bulol (1998) under VIVA Films that Red himself topbilled.
His last teleserye was the Dingdong Dantes and Tanya Garcia starrer, Sana Ay Ikaw Na Nga (2002). Red would eventually leave the Philippines to settle in Florida, USA, with his family.
Rica would stay in showbiz, transitioning from teen star to a mature actress and was seen in the TV dramas Kay Tagal Kang Hinintay (2001) and Sa Piling Mo (2006), among others.
Today, Rica is married to pastor Joseph “Joe” Bonifacio, with whom she has two kids. She also has a YouTube channel with 116,000 subscribers to date.
Polo Ravales and Sunshine Dizon
Another product of T.G.I.S was the tandem of Sunshine Dizon and Polo Ravales. Both entered the show as part of the show's second batch of talents that included Kim delos Santos, Antoinette Taus, and Anne Curtis.
Together, they appeared in the movies Honey, My Love, So Sweet (1999) and Kiss Mo ‘Ko (2002). Sunshine and Polo also did numerous TV guestings.
After years of not working together, they are currently reunited in the GMA-7 drama series, Magkaagaw.
Sunshine has two kids with former husband Timothy Tan. Piolo is engaged to non-showbiz girlfriend and blogger, Paulyn Quiza.