Not too long ago, my contemporaries and I used to be kids who would go to school to study and have a good time with friends. We were exposed to the ’80s and ’90s lifestyle: the playthings and events that helped growing up (and going to school) more exciting and enjoyable, before the year we started paying P90/hour dial-up access at internet cafés, so we could post things like this on the Net. 😛

I tried to put it as chronologically as possible. So, without furthur ado, I present to you this list…

ZIGGY
Who can forget this pudgy character stuffed inside those Tang orange juice glass containers? The only use of Ziggies, as far as I know, was to decorate pencil tops.

BATIBOT D.I.Y. TOW TRUCKS
Ordinary tow trucks that our parents bought for us at toy stores weren’t as much fun as watching Batibot one morning and showing you how to build your own out of an empty large can, 4 used tin cans and barbecue sticks!

A ‘CASE’ OF MISTAKEN IDENTITY
Yeah, I know! Neon-colored pencil cases that have 6 or more compartments that can be twisted and turned into a shape of a gun or something. Weird!

JUNK FOOD DELIGHT
Open a bag of those chips and you’ll find those teeny-tiny toys. Amazing! You get 2 for the price of one! I remember assembling a grasshopper toy that could actually jump almost 3 feet off the floor. It did that for about 5 times before the rubber band wore off its elasticity. The other time, a real flying (well, not so much flying as being flung by a rubber band) toy airplane. Unfortunately, that was a one-time deal on account of after launching the toy, it flew so far and high that it reached the top roof of our house. Bye-bye birdie. The other toy was a strange one: a gelatinous or rubbery mini toy monster that grows when you place it in a glass of water that you let sit overnight. I didn’t really see any purpose except you could bend and stretch it once it had fully grown.

GUMAMELA+TIDE BUBBLES
Why buy when you can make one just by picking hibiscus flowers from your garden and mashing it up; adding a spoonful of powdery detergent soap, and mixing it all up with water.

THE ‘MAGIC’ TATTOO
These were just the transfer-on ones—usually brightly colored drawings of animals and gaudy texts. Though, rumors spread that these contained small traces of hallucinogenic drugs.

PLASTIC BALLOONS
Now, here’s why you buy a balloon. Inside this tube of goodness you squeeze out the goo and wrap it around a thin, short straw that comes with the package. You mold and wet it with your lips and tongue, and blow. The best part’s the taste!

WATCHAMACALLIT
I think they got the idea from those Transformers robot toys. These bulky digital watches were equipped with a detachable body that you could transform into a robot with your basic 4 points of articulation.

PENDONG!
The sight of those “kotseng kuba” or Volkswagen Beetles once became a constant source of annoyance. Each time someone saw a Beetle, he would say “Pendong,” followed by his hands tapping—to the point of slapping—the receiver on the back of his/her head, just because.

THE FLYING ‘T’
Woo hoo! This was a real hit for me! It worked on a very simple principle of flight: just rub it between your palms to make the plastic blade spin and let it go. And this simple T-shaped toy flew high, too.

MAGNOLIA ICE CREAM HOUSE
After school, on Fridays, I remember my dad used to bring me there and buying me my childhood favorite flavor: Rocky Road. Yum!

OH, DEAR! SATANISTS!
It did give us quite a scare in grade school. Imagine, the campus giving a warning about the threat of these certain individuals supposedly having supernatural powers, trying to infiltrate and steal elementary students away from school premises. My classmates claimed they witnessed one of them trying to enter the room through the window. Creepy!

JOSEPHINE “BANIG” ROBERTO
Yup! I had a schoolmate who became a sensation here and in the US after ousting a certain Christina Aguilera on “Star Search.”

GAME-N-WATCH
These were the original electronic handheld gaming devices back then. Though you can only play a single, repetitive game per device (with a clock with alarm function to boot), this was what made young kids addicted to video games. “Donkey Kong,” anyone? 😀

UP, UP AND DOWN
I’m not talking about just any typical balloon. These balloons were tubular in shape and long. You would inflate ’em up with the use of a blowing aid. As soon as air filled the space inside, release and enjoy. Sometimes these made fart sounds as it expels air.

HABULANG PULIS
With all that long chasing and evasive maneuvering, it’s no wonder why our elementary advisors twitch their nose to the smell of foul stench in the air from our dripping wet uniforms, when entering the classroom.

THOSE LEAFY BEATS
Once we got addicted in making big leaves crack. What you do is pick those really wide leaves from your school’s garden, and then curl the fingers of your hand to make a semi-closed fist. Position your fist so that it looks like you’re holding a glass of water, then place the leaf on top of it and smash it hard with your other hand and wait for that popping sound! And since you have a large leaf, it’s kinda like popping a bubble wrap!

KICKBALL
The popular game I played as a kid with my classmates. It’s like baseball without the bat.

HERMIT THE CRAB
Aside from the usual gold fishes, ambulant vendors used to peddle these around school, and kids started buying it as pets. And just like the fish, hermit crabs suffered the same fate, usually around a week a later, hehe.

OH-SO-STICKY
I remember this kind of toy that’s shaped like a brightly colored caterpillar or a worm that you would soak in water, then you’d throw it as hard as you can onto a wall or ceiling, and then look as it slowly—very slowly—trails its way along the surface…then DROPS!

PEN-SLASH-AQUARIUM?
It’s not so much of a toy as it was a novelty item. I don’t remember ever getting one, but when I was in grade school those were popular in our class. It’s a working ballpoint pen with a transparent body with an image of a scenic background on its side, filled with an oil-based liquid, and a boat that goes back-and-forth when you tip the pen. I think they still make these.

IT’S RAINING PLANES
There came a time in elementary when our school was literally raining paper planes made from inside the classrooms 3 or four floors up. It made sense to fly these from that height as it had a sort of calming effect, watching it “fall with style,” as Woody from Toy Story would put it. I can recall that the best paper plane design to fly farthest and longest were the rudimentary kind.

THE SLUMBOOK YEARS
Define love? I would answer, “Judge me,” hehehe. “P.A.R.I.S.,” “I.T.A.L.Y.,” “J.A.P.A.N.” Ring a bell? And the most trite concluding message of all: “Take care coz I care.”

VOLLEYBALL
High school was such fun when I was introduced to this game. I think I played a lot before and after class. On a different note, you never say “bola ng volleyball (ball of the volleyball),” you just simply say “volleyball” when you’re pointing out the actual ball, as the word refers to both the game itself, and the BALL used in this game. Very redundant! It’s just one of my childhood pet peeves, hehe.

CRAZY FOR YO-YO
Almost everyone was carrying it in school. The only stunt I had ever pulled off was kinda-walking-the-dog. 😀

SA CALTEX TAYO MAMAYA
Though it’s not engine-related, this was the venue where students would “fix” problems. It’s convenient; just a stone’s throw from the campus. Swell.

SPIDER-WRESTLING
Truth be told I’m not really a fan of arachnids, especially hairy ones. But this became popular during my 2nd year in high school, and I insisted on my dad in getting me one, complete with a match box enclosure. A duel to the death as two spiders from opposite ends of a bamboo skewer were pitted against each other, to engage in a fatal match.

POSTER FEVER
Where do I start? New Kids on the Block, Pamela Anderson, Tom Cruise, Vanilla Ice? It seemed that all of us wanted a copy of our idol’s faces on paper, and taped to our bedroom wall for others to admire!

BYOB (BRING YOUR OWN BINDER)
It’s a school project that became the in thing for male students. Illustration boards folded and decorated, and sometimes fastened with the use of shoelaces to hold books and other school items. The fewer the books you brought, the cooler you looked, hehe.

ANO BA ‘YAN?
A catchphrase comedian Vic Sotto used that caught on with the public. This expression became a movie title, too. I believe people still utter these three words whenever possible, as this well-known catchphrase endures the test of time. Hm, makes me wonder, how would guys react if they’ve been courting someone, and after saying “I love you” to the girl, she would respond by saying, “Ano ba ‘yan?” 😀

MANANANGGAL ON THE LOOSE!
The news spread like wildfire! Everyone was talking about sightings of a flying half-bodied lady who prowls the night sky with her leathery bat-like wings, preying on pregnant women. I still remember I was in my room one evening lying on my bed, when I heard a loud thump by the window. My room was on the 2nd floor, so the only logical explanation I had was that a manananggal was just outside my room! I realized later that maybe it was a bird that bumped the window and made the sound. Maybe.

PISO SA TALO
Our high school intrams was an exhibition of fiery, competitive sportsmanship among sections. On the sidelines—hecklers, usually yelling “piso sa talo,” or “piso sa wala!” Me? I was just an onlooker. Varsity players were as popular as rock ‘n’ roll stars in sporting events.

CHEERLEADING COMPETITION
I’d say the competition got intense with each passing year. Pyramid formations got higher and higher and routines became almost death-defying, to the point that some had to be banned from being executed.

BMX/MOUNTAIN BIKES
A simple mode of transportation, many were hooked into building one from scratch. It was well worth the effort when you get to show it off to your friends—your stainless steel shiny, sticker-happy, two-wheeled vehicle.

YAMAHA CHAPPY MINI-BIKES
These were a great mode of transportation for going from point A to point B. And these are quite the eye candy, too.

FASHION STATEMENTS
Mighty Kid shoes
Zenco Footstep shoes
Belts (Those with metal plates at the tip of the strap)
Bandolino shoes
Bulldog shoes
Bandanas
Swatch watches
Mendrez shoes (It so had to be brown!)
Hard plastic caps(?)
Boy London and Starter baseball caps
Body Glove bags
Khumbmela bags
Tailor-made bell-bottom pants
Tailored jeans
Printed white shirts underneath the white polo (Para astig)
Leather sandals-with-sock combo! (What? Everyone thought it was cool that time)
Armando Carusso handkerchiefs (Either you owned one, or you owned and lost one)
Converse All-Star shoes (Eraserheads fanatics!)
Guess socks
Guess watches
Giordano shirts (With the frog emblem)
Dr. Martens shoes

THE USUAL HANGOUTS
7-11
– Slurpee-licious brain freeze! Oh, and the Whamos
Wendy’s – We made what I used to call “salad castles” back then
Aliw Complex – No, there’s no double-meaning for “Aliw” in this establishment. Plus, usually we head to the arcade for the video games
Nearby small home-based video gaming rental shops – For the video game rentals!
International Supermarket – What else? The video games!

FRATERNAL BONDING
G.U.E.S.S. – God Uses Each of us as good Servant and Student
D.R.I. – Dirty Rotten Imbeciles
B.M.C. – B*tlog Mobile Circuit
H.L. – Human League
S.E.M. – Sophisticated Exile Movers

SMELL YA LATER
Johnson’s Baby Cologne
Nenuco Baby Cologne
Angel’s Breath
Escape
Axe
Aspen
Drakkar
Eternity
Cool Water
CK One
Polo Sport

POOP MAGIC
Blue Magic’s most saleable novelty item: a mold of human fecal matter!

H-WORLD
Up to this very day, I still don’t know if something like this even existed in the world of showbiz. Artists like Rustom Padilla and Carmina Villaroel assuming military roles in this very hush-hush brand of armed forces. Classmates used to talk about it! So, what the hell, I’m gonna post it anyway.

POWER’S OUT
Who can forget in high school when it’s every single day we experienced five or more hours of power interruption? Sometimes when it was power out, school was out, too!

HIP-HOP VS. METAL
It’s the East Coast-vs-West Coast version on a very localized scale. It’s either you display your affinity by joining a dance group doing “tick-tocks,” “atomic drops,” et cetera, or you wear your all-black ensemble with T-shirt prints of Guns N’ Roses, Nirvana or Metallica. I was pro-metal, but I secretly liked both.

SONG HITS MANIA
It’s like philately or stamp collecting during those days! I once had a shoebox full of these when I was already playing the guitar.

BESPREN KO DOON
Tikboy (Anjo Yllana), a naive and funny character from the TV show “Palibhasa Lalake,” along with Bespren Johnny (John Estrada), became a funny tandem that showed (heterosexual) affection towards one another through a repartee for “Sinong bespren mo doon,” question, which became popular with us ’90s kids, during the show’s heyday.

BREAKER, BREAKER
Though land-line phones were already present, there was a kind of nostalgic feeling when using a radio to communicate with the outside world, or your next-door neighbor.

KEEP ROLLING, ROLLING, ROLLING…
Rollerblades were a craze during our high school years. Students sometimes brought it with them in their backpack, so they could wear those after school.

JAMMING SESSIONS
It’s almost a guarantee that one student in each classroom brought a guitar to school; the rest would sing their heart out to what’s being strummed. I believe this was the best part of my high school life. 🙂

ERASERHEADS MANIA
No, wait! I take it back! As a self-professed fan of Eraserheads, this was the best part of my high school life! Philippines’ own Fab Four making waves with their brilliant concoction of unforgettable lyrics and easy-to-the-ears rock melody. Nuff said.

SOME OF THE AIRED LOCAL TV SHOWS
“Batibot”
“Uncle Bob’s Lucky 7 Club”
“Iskul Bukol”
“T.O.D.A.S.”
“John En Marsha”
“Manok Ni San Pedro”
“Family Kwarta O Kahon”
“Pen Pen De Sara Pen”
“Coney Reyes On Camera”
“5 And Up”
“Buddy En Sol”
“Ready, Set, Go!”
“Palibhasa Lalake”
“Ober Da Bakod”
“Ang
TV”
“Tropang Trumpo”
“Bubble Gang”
“Eat Bulaga”
“Sa Linggo N’ APO Sila (Sang Linggo N’ APO Sila)”
“TGIS”
“Gimik

SOME OF THE AIRED FOREIGN TV SHOWS
“Sesame Street”
“Flying House”
“Super Book”
“Wok With Yan”
“The Lone Ranger”
“Three Stooges”
“M.A.S.H.”
“Macross”
“Voltes V”
“Daimos”
“Bioman”
“Shaider”
“Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future”
“Small Wonder”
“ALF”
“Perfect Strangers”
“Doogie Howser, M.D.”
“Parker Lewis Can’t Lose”
“Baywatch”
“Beverly Hills 90210”
“Marimar”

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Comments
  1. Rod Remetio says:

    kulang ung Giordano saka ung grupo namin SEM (Sophisticated Exile Movers).. and ung roller blades din na uso nun hehehe.

  2. mike says:

    yung habulang pulis pa nung elementary tayo bago magclass. kaya pag pasok sa class basang basa ng pawis at amoy araw kaya galit na galit si ma’am.

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