The ’90s was wild. It was an era that brought the celebration of sexuality in the mainstream—for better or for worse. More people started showing skin and sexy celeb mags became less taboo. What was it like for queer batang ’90s growing up during that cultural shift? Instagram page The ’90s Kabaklaan answers just that.
The ’90s Kabaklaan is managed by a soon-to-be 29-year-old batang ’90s who has been working in the finance industry for their entire career. We had a chat with them about the what it’s like to go vintage magazine hunting in Recto, local film recommendations, and gay awakenings.
What’s the story behind the birth of The ’90s Kabaklaan?
The ’90s Kabaklaan page is a love letter from myself to the glorious ’90s decade. I grew up gay in the province surrounded by much, much older cousins. Para akong bunso ng family, so I was exposed very early to the “vibe” of that era.
For me, the ’90s represented liberation and youth. People went out and had fun! It didn’t pretend to be anything else—what you see is what you get talaga.
Are the photos on your page from a personal collection? Take us through your process.
Back when I bought Funny Komiks every week, I always noticed the sexy showbiz magazines. I would end up buying a few and hiding them under my bed. I wanted to buy more pero I couldn’t afford to and I was running out of space to hide them. When I started working, my personal collection grew. I bought a lot of vintage issues from the “older” generations and I hunted in bookshops along Recto. Most of my magazines were bought way after the ’90s.
A few months ago, I noticed that the magazine pages were getting old. Sayang naman. It’s what really triggered the entire process—scanning the magazines, color correcting, editing, and curating the feed. I also make sure that the captions are accurate. I don’t really have a particular theme. If it feels like “kabaklaan,” I’d post it. Open din ako sa suggestions ng followers since it’s a shared experience. Of course, madaming sexy photos ng ’90s men. Hindi nawawala! Some magazines are too sexy so I crop some photos. But I try to add variety din.
Did you have a celebrity gay awakening?
Thalia’s telenovelas! When you’re gay and young [tapos] napanood mo si Marimar, you feel conflicted kasi she’s so pretty and you admire her. But at the same time, you want to be her and embody her. Parang you want to dance like her, pretend you have long hair, etc. That was my gay awakening for sure.
My favorite actor from that era is really Albert Martinez. He is such a good actor and he really transforms into his character. Sa actresses naman, probably the teen stars then—Judy Ann Santos, Claudine Barretto, Angelika Dela Cruz, and Jolina Magdangal.
Can you give us some film recommendations?
Some of my queer film recommendations from the ’90s are “Pusong Mamon” and “Burlesk King.” These are really good.
I don’t have any message to the followers except thank you! I really, really didn’t expect this attention. Nakakaloka talaga! What started as just a way for me to preserve and share my personal collection has turned into a safe space for my fellow ’90s kids and sangkabaklaan to reminisce.