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GOSSIP GIRL: Are U-tols the new Gwapings?



Whatever happened to the Gwapings ?

Composed of three handsome young men in the ’90s that made girls scream and throw underwear at them during shows, one of the members, Mark Anthony Fernandez, is in the cast of “FPJ’s Ang Probinsiyano.” As for Jomari Yllana, he is a councilor of Parañaque. Eric Fructuoso? Well, he still accepts acting projects from time to time even as he focuses on multi-level marketing.

I was fortunate to be cast in their first movie as the best friend of Mark Anthony’s onscreen and offscreen mother (played by Alma Moreno) hence they called me “tita.” I was very young then, just in second year college. I didn’t mind being called tita as I knew it was just because of that role. But call me tita now and the truth hurts, haha.
So, anyway, what some people say are the new Gwapings have arrived in the persons of Julian Trono, Andrew Muhlach and Vitto Marquez.

(L-R) Vitto Marquez, Andrew Muhlach and Julian Trono

(L-R) Vitto Marquez, Andrew Muhlach and Julian Trono

The latter is actually the younger half brother of original gwaping Mark Anthony Fernandez. He is the son of Alma Moreno and Joey Marquez. He is also part of the Hashtag Boys on noontime TV program “It’s Showtime” and he currently has 244,000 followers in Instagram.

Andrew is son of the late Cheng Muhlach so that makes him half brother of Aga Muhlach. Now that he had lost weight from going on Keto Diet, he looks like a young Aga.

Julian is one of the hosts of the first Filipino –Korean variety show “Aja Aja Tayo” aired on TV 5. He had a blockbuster film recently titled “Fangirl Fanboy” opposite Ella Cruz and produced by Viva Films.

The three boys are collectively called U-tols. It’s actually the title of their new TV sitcom on Viva TV about three “probinsiyanos” hired by their “tita” in the city (that will be me – yes I am a forever tita) to work at the University canteen. On their first day, they save the dean from an accident and were given scholarships in return. It begins their funny adventures at the UTI university or University of Teodoro Ignacio.

Working with these boys is a riot and whole-day laughtrip. Vitto is exactly like his dad Joey, throwing punchlines like these were dime a dozen. I asked him about the work environment on the set of “U-tol” and he said, “Having comic rapport with Andrew and Julian is very easy because I have worked with them in ‘Squad Goals.’ I kind of imagine the three of us not like the Gwapings but more of my dad, Richard Gomez and John Estrada on ‘Palibhasa Lalaki.’ They were my idols growing up and I never missed an episode of that show. They called each other ’tol or brother and now we are the ‘U-tols.’”

Andrew thinks Aga is iconic. “I was very young when Aga was a teen sensation. But as a younger brother, I would always watch his movie ‘Bagets’ and, so I see this ‘U-tol’ series as something like that. ”

Julian thinks differently from the three.

“I am a fan of ’80s and ’90s music and TV shows. My dad loves music and comedy and would record all types of music and comedies from both eras. If I may compare ‘U-tol’ to a TV show back then, it would be the classic ‘Iskul Bukol.’

“But, of course, we are no match to comedy legends Tito, Vic and Joey. But they are my idols and ‘Iskul Bukol’ and ‘T. O. D. A.S.’ will always be my favorite comedy shows.”

“U-tol” premieres March 30, 8 p. m. on Viva TV available from all Cignal cable providers.

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