Reggie Curley and Christian Vasquez have a lot in common. They both started out as male mannequins for Manila’s top designers before going into showbiz. They were Cosmo centerfolds for quite some time. The guys came out of nowhere then: Reggie from Pampanga to beat the top models at that time in the Bodyshots 1996 contest, and Christian from Bacolod who cornered every modeling assignment in town. The boys met when they did the Vagina Monologues-ripoff, Penis Talks. After that, they formed a male act called Barako Boys, which didn’t last long as it immediately got disbanded. These days, Reggie [turning 30 this year] and Christian  are nowhere to be found, as showbiz offers are getting scarce for them. Too bad, these hot papis can still give them young actors a run for their treadmills.
I remember quite clearly the first time I saw Christian Vasquez. It was at the defunct Latino bar at the corner of Orosa and Remedios Streets in Malate District, the de facto home of the queer population in Manila. Christian Vasquez was then starting out in modeling – tall, young, mestizo and fresh. He was always in the company of this biggety designer [Paul C], who, when drunk with tequila and attention, always boasted that he was the first one who got into Christian’s pants. Much to the envy of the other patronizing guests at the time. Of course, Christian went on to become the toast of the modeling world, then tv commercials, before he leaped towards tv soaps, movies and theater [as one of the jockeyed cast of Penis Talks, a Vagina Monologues-male clone]. He even ventured into singing, as part of the late unlamented group Barako Boys. After taking on buffoon roles in the movies, Christian Vasquez has apparently gone to showbiz la-la land. Good thing his underwear billboards and ads are still up – to remind us that once, there was a fresh-faced hunk with a charming Southern accent who brought us thrills and chills.
In 1998, GMA-7 finally decided to emulate ABS-CBN Channel 2’s formula [Star Circle] for discovering unknown lookers, sort of a low-cost talent pool, for its soaps and other programs. One of the better-looking male talents who made the cut was then 18-year old Adrian Louis Alandy, or Luis Alandy. Born on 7 February 1980 in Manila, Luis grew up in middle class Antipolo City, a hilly burb outside Manila. Luis’s stay in GMA-7 was uneventful [Although, I distinctly remember his first role was a shirtless rural boy bathing in a river while lead actor Ruffa Gutierrez – it was her eponymous drama series then – was leering from the rocks. Funny.] Luis finally decided to jump ship to rival ABS-CBN in 2000. Ironically, he was included in the Star Circle Batch 9 and from then on, he eventually got noticed. The 5’8″ tall actor landed his first major acting role in the hit series “Pangako sa ‘Yo“. The drama series offers didn’t stop since then: “Sana’y Wala Nang Wakas” (2003), “Vietnam Rose” (2005) and “Gulong ng Palad” (2005). He was also a member of the male revue Penis Talks and the sexy male group, Barako Boys. Luis has also passionately kissed a man [Polo Ravales] onscreen in the gay comedy flick, “Manay Po.” By the way, the actor finished a computer course at AMA-East Rizal campus and some units of Psychology at the San Sebastian College in Manila.
The success of the Vagina Monologues male ripoff in Manila, aptly called Penis Talks, inspired the creative minds of the male leads’ talent managers to form a group for their wards. The group, resolutely named as Barako Boys, was then formed, which was composed of actors Jay Manalo [now 33 years old], Christian Vasquez , Luis Alandy , Reggie Curley , Carlo Maceda [30s], and Paolo Paraiso . The group came out with an album under BMG Records, which was a mild hit. After performing in tv shows and live concert appearances, the Barako Boys simply vanished and disbanded. Of course, some of the boys are still around in the biz, albeit no longer collectively. Jay Manalo is still acting in movies and tv series, usually in father roles. Christian Vasquez, the model turned actor, is also doing guest appearances on tv and his Liberated series for Seiko Films just didn’t get sequels anymore. Luis Alandy, who was launched originally by GMA-7 as one of its stable of actors but who eventually jumped ship to ABS-CBN, can be seen in tv soaps as a freelancer. Reggie Curley, Bodyshots 1996 titleholder, has disappeared and probably gone back to his native Angeles City. Carlo Maceda, Mossimo Bikini Summit 2002 grand winner, has married and no longer makes regular appearances in the biz. And Paolo Paraiso, one of the top PMAP models before joining showbiz, has recently separated from his live-in partner for years and is doing minor guest roles on tv.