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9 Barkada Movies & TV Series Filipinos Grew Up On, Including Tabing Ilog & Growing Up

Filipino barkada movies and TV series

Having a barkada or a friend group is a fundamental aspect of the Filipino teenage experience. As such, adolescent friendships have become a widely explored subject in films and teleseryes which may also portray heavy topics – from first loves to family conflicts.

If you want a throwback to your teens, we’ve compiled a list of 9 nostalgic Filipino movies and TV series. Many of these iconic coming-of-age shows have been made available on YouTube for today’s teens and teens-at-heart.

– Filipino barkada movies –

1. Bagets – starred 80s heartthrobs

Barkada Movies - Bagets
Image credit: IMDb

To bridge the generation gap with your parents, acquaint yourself with Bagets, a two-part teen comedy film released in 1984. It featured heartthrobs of the era: Aga Muhlach, William Martinez, Herbert Bautista, Raymond Lauchengco, and JC Bonnin.

The first movie centers on 5 young men expelled from high school, navigating a new one for their final year. The second installment delves into their summer before college. Both barkada movies tackled issues such as parental and peer pressure, societal expectations, and more.

In 2011, a TV remake titled Bagets: Just Got Lucky aired on TV5, featuring AJ Muhlach and Nadine Lustre. One of the original movies is available on YouTube.

2. Jologs – talks about embracing your uniqueness

Barkada Movies - Jologs-min
Image credit: IMDb

Jologs (2002) revolves around a circle of friends who identify as “jologs”, a Filipino slang for “uncool”.

Jologs sheds light on challenges stereotypes and preconceptions associated with different social groups. The film taught Filipino teens to embrace their uniqueness.

While it’s a comedy, the movie also tackled homophobia and sexual discrimination. Here, Baron Geisler plays Cher, a drag queen, who is subjected to these.

The film’s stellar cast also include Deither Ocampo, Patrick Garcia, John Prats, Jodi Sta. Maria, and Assunta De Rossi.

3. The Reunion – comedic film with Eraserheads songs as the backdrop

Barkada Movies - The Reunion 2
Image credit: IMDb

If you’re a fan of the Filipino band Eraserheads, you should add The Reunion (2012) to your watchlist.

Eraserheads’ songs are woven into the film’s soundtrack, with subplots that resonate with their iconic tunes. There are also characters whose names are inspired by Eraserheads songs such as Ligaya, Shirley, Toyang, and Aling Nena. On top of these, there are plenty more easter eggs only true Eraserheads fans will be able to spot.

The story revolves around 4 young men who attend their high school reunion and embark on a roadtrip which has them reuniting with their first loves and reminiscing their high school memories. The film is top-billed by Enchong Dee, Xian Lim, Enrique Gil, and Kean Cipriano.

If you’re curious about how the songs intertwine with the story, The Reunion is available for streaming on iWantTFC.

– Filipino barkada series –

4. T.G.I.S. – the OG that started the barkada series trend in the Philippines

Video credit: GMA Network via YouTube

T.G.I.S., short for Thank God It’s Sabado, is popular barkada series that many 90s teens tuned in on Saturday afternoons. It reflected the popular culture of the time, including music, fashion, and hangout spots which made teens resonate with the characters.

The original cast included Angelu De Leon, Bobby Andrews, Rica Peralejo, and Onemig Bondoc. When the original characters went college, fresh faces such as Dingdong Dantes and Antoinette Taus were introduced. The OG characters then moved on to a Monday night series called Growing Up which covered more complex adolescent problems.

T.G.I.S. enjoyed a successful run from- from 1995 to 1999.

Today, you can still watch full episodes of this well-loved 90s barkada TV series on YouTube.

5. Gimik – starred iconic 90s actors who are still popular today

Video credit: Jeepney TV via YouTube

Gimik was the rival network ABS-CBN’s answer to T.G.I.S.’s popularity.  The series starred prominent young actors of its era such as Judy Ann Santos, Rico Yan, Patrick Garcia, Marvin Agustin, and Jolina Magdangal who are still household names today.

Later on, Kristine Hermosa, Dominic Ochoa, and John Lloyd Cruz, among others, were added to the ensemble.

Gimik‘s plot revolved around 12 teens in university who are navigating through complicated friendships as well as romantic and family relationships.

This series, which aired from 1996 to 1999, is available on YouTube.

6. G-mik – Gimik’s successor that starred a new wave of popular actors

Video credit: Jeepney TV via YouTube

To follow up Gimik’s success, ABS-CBN created G-mik which starred a new wave of the network’s popular actors. These included Camille Prats, Angelica Panganiban, John Prats, Carlo Aquino, Anne Curtis, and Heart Evangelista.

In this new barkada series, a tight-knit group of friends who live in the same neighborhood becomes entangled in complicated romantic relationships with each other.

G-mik became Filipino teens’ raved series from 1999 to 2002. But don’t worry – you can still enjoy its full episodes on YouTube.

7. Tabing Ilog – coming-of-age TV series set in the province

Video credit: iWantTFC via YouTube

Tabing Ilog offers a different take on the Filipino teenage experience, a coming-of-age series set in the summer with the province as backdrop.

As the friend group navigates through first loves and challenging family dynamics, the tabing-ilog or riverside remains their constant hangout spot, thus the series title.

The cast included Kaye Abad, Paolo Contis, John Lloyd Cruz, and Patrick Garcia, among others.

While the series originally aired from 1999 to 2003, you can binge-watch its episodes on YouTube.

8. Tween Hearts – zooms in on the relationship of 2 young estranged sisters

Video credit: GMA Network via YouTube

Older Filipino Gen Zs grew up with Tween Hearts as one of the popular barkada TV series.

It begins with the tension between estranged sisters Bambi (Barbie Forteza) and Belinda (Bea Binene) as Bambi moves to the city and transfers to her city-raised sister’s high school. Besides Forteza and Binene, its main cast of tween stars also included Joshua Dionisio and Jhake Vargas.

The series aired from 2010 to 2012. The main actors were later on cast in a similar film, Tween Academy: Class of 2012.

Tween Hearts is available for streaming on YouTube.

9. Growing Up – touches themes of gender identity

Barkada Series - Growing Up
Image credit: MyDramaList

KathNiel fans would certainly remember Growing Up as Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla’s first project together. But this barkada series set in high school is more than just its kilig factor.

Growing Up also delved into the theme of gender identity through the character Winston, portrayed by EJ Jallorina, as he embarks on a journey of self-discovery.

Although the series aired from 2011 to 2012, you can still catch its episodes online on YouTube or on iWantTFC.

Reminisce the old times with these barkada movies and TV series

Beyond making Filipino teens’ lives exciting, these barkada movies and TV series imparted advice we were too scared to ask adults. Whether you’re presently a teenager or an adult yearning for a dose of nostalgia, you can indulge in a binge-watch of some of these iconic films and series online.

If you need a good laugh, check out these these iconic Filipino comedy shows and TV series. Or go futher back in time to your childhood with these nostalgic Filipino children’s shows.

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