Ang TV was the first youth-oriented variety show in the Philippines which was created by Johnny Manahan in 1992. It popularized the phrases “4:30 na, Ang TV na!” and “Esmyuskee!” and introduced audiences to a new generation of stars.
Years later, former Ang TV star from the show’s second season Nikka Valencia came up with the Facebook group Esmyuskee to keep everyone updated with each other. “I think it’s best na magkita-kita naman kami, so we formed this group on Facebook.”
Last August 16, Nikka spearheaded a mini-reunion for the group at Centerstage. It also doubled as a surprise belated birthday celebration for Claudine Barretto, who was part of the show’s first batch of teens. “Sol, a friend that’s close to Claudine, asked me kung pwede sana makita niya ‘yung mga dating kasamahan niya sa Ang TV, so I agreed to make it happen. I talked to the others para malaman din opinion nila,” Nikka shared.
It was Claudine’s fans day in one area of Centerstage and the group decided to hold their belated party/reunion in another part of the venue. “Walang malay si Claudine na andun na kami sa kabilang room. She was shocked and teary-eyed kasi nabigla siya sa mga tao.”
More than two decades later, these teeny-boppers are all grown up. Many have made their mark in the industry, and some have led quieter lives outside the limelight. Some have also staged a comeback, such as Ang TV Season 1’s Victor Neri. Nikka has thought of revisiting her career as well. “Masaya din ako at isa-isa na ulit kami nagiging active sa showbiz.”
The bond between cast members is still there. “Di pa sila nakuntento at gusto pa ng overnight pati mga anak namin,” Nikka said. “Baka mapuyat sa kakausap magdamag.”
The mini-reunion was attended by artists and close friends of Ang TV. Organizer Nikka Valencia and birthday girl Claudine Barretto were joined by fellow Ang TV alumni Jolina Magdangal, Jane Zaleta, Jason San Pedro, Christopher Roxas, Daniel Damascus, Ceejay Tolentino, Ian Bernardo, and Susan Hosseinzadeh with her sister, Lei. Wowie de Guzman, a close friend of the group, also attended. Director Boyong Baytion, along with then Talent Center staff Elena Dela Vega and Tina Bustamante Tubongbanua, also dropped by to show support.
For those who missed it, don’t fret. More reunions are in the works. “Kulang pa ito. Abangan ang susunod na kabanata at dadami pa kami kapag nagsi-uwian ‘yung mga nasa abroad. Umpisa pa lang ito.”