Apr 18
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Star Magic Batch 15: Ready for their close-ups

Author: Isah V. Red
Column: Life & Entertainment

In April 1992, Star Circle was born. It was an idea borne out of a need to develop young talents that would become the backbone of ABS-CBN’s programs.

Then ABS-CBN president and chief operating officer FrEddie Garcia and director Johnny Manahan agreed to establish a center within the broadcasting complex that would enlist, train, and polish young talents to a professional level.

In October that same year, Ang TV, an afternoon youth show, was launched. It became such a big hit every kid in town (or at least their parents thought so) wanted to be part of the show.

Johnny Manahan didn’t anticipate he was creating the new generation of TV and movie stars with kids like Claudine Barretto, Jolina Magdangal, Camille Prats, Victor Neri, Paolo Contis and many others.

Three years later, in November 1995, the first Star Circle Batch was launched, led by the late Rico Yan.

From then on, Manahan and his team of star builders have launched a battalion of young men and women, many of whom have become the country’s biggest names in show business.

Who isn’t familiar with John Lloyd Cruz, Piolo Pascual, Sam Milby, Diether Ocampo, Bea Alonzo, Kristine Hermosa, Gerald Anderson, Kim Chiu, Geoff Eigenmann, Rayver Cruz, and Shaina Magdayao, among others?

Star Magic has been making television watching more magical in the last 15 years. And Manahan hopes this would continue for the next 15 years or so.

To celebrate the 15 starry and magical years, Star Magic has launched 18 new stars who are now slowly carving a name for each of them as singers, actors, and commercial models.

Age: 14 years old
Birthday: Aug. 28
Hobbies: yoga, dancing, singing and hanging out with friends
Talents: drawing, writing, hosting and acting

Filipino-American Isabelle Abiera lived in California until she was 10 years old. A typical teener who loves to hang out with her friends, she was discovered when she accidentally walked in a shop reserved for a shoot.

Shy yet excited, Isabelle can’t resist the offer of becoming a celebrity.

At the age of 11, Isabelle started doing commercials. She loves acting but given a choice, she would like to pursue her career in hosting. With her lovable angelic face, she is no doubt a star waiting to shine.

Height: 5’7 1/2’’ Weight: 112 lbs. Hair: Black Eyes: Hazel

Age: 16 years old
Birthday: Aug. 31
Hobbies: ice skating
Talents: singing, dancing and acting

A performing arts graduate, Jordan Aguilar was born and raised by his Filipino parents the in United Kingdom. At an early age, this amiable guy has appeared in TV shows and movies in London and has worked with Lea Salonga in Miss Saigon. He also started writing songs when he was three years old. He was also nominated in the Annual Children’s Awards as Best Child Actor for The King and I. Barely a year in Manila, Jordan decided to pursue his passion in performing. He dreams of becoming a versatile actor and recording artist like Sam Milby.

Height: 5’6’’ Weight: 130 lbs.
Hair: Black Eyes: Brown

Jon Avila
Age: 21 years old
Birthday Sept. 1
Hobbies: boxing, watching movies and playing video games
Talents: dancing, modeling and acting

This half Irish-half Filipino hunk was born and raised in London. He had participated in various fashion shows here and abroad. Aside from modeling, Jon has also appeared in several commercials. He is the newest underwear model with sizzling hot ads in various glossy magazines.

Admittedly, he still has difficulty speaking Tagalog but he is giving his best and learning it fast for his entry in showbiz. He would love to be part of an action flick like his idol Al Pacino. He regularly does boxing to relax and de-stress. Because of his handsome looks and well-built body, he definitely has what it takes to be the next hunk to watch out for.

Height: 6’1’’ Weight: 178 lbs. Hair: Black Eyes: Green

Benjamin Besa

Age: 18 years old

Birthday: June 12

Hobbies: playing video games and hanging out with friends

Talents: singing and acting

Half Spanish-half Filipino Benjamin Besa is the typical guy who loves to cook his favorite Pinoy dishes like adobo and caldereta. A potential chef, he tried acting on television before but chose to finish his studies instead. Fondly called Benj, he is back on track to continue what he has enjoyed. This kind and reserved guy idolizes John Lloyd Cruz and Aga Muhlach. A potential character actor, this sweet- smiling hunk hopes to play contravida roles in soap operas.

Height: 6’1’’ Weight: 170 lbs. Hair: Dark brown Eyes: Hazel brown

Daphne Cortes

Age: 15 years old

Birthday: Sept. 3

Hobbies: cooking, watching TV, writing poems and reading books

Talents: singing, dancing and acting

What lies beneath the young and seemingly carefree Daphne Cortes is her persistence in achieving a long-time dream of becoming a celebrity. She likes to remember how she mimics her favorite actress Maricel Soriano. For Daphne, the greatest feeling is when people are entertained when she performs on and off stage. In school, Daphne is very active in theater which she considers a good training ground. She is set to prove her talent as the next versatile actress to hit the local scene.

Height: 5’3’’ Weight: 97 lbs. Hair: Dark brown Eyes: Dark brown


Age: 18 years old

Birthday: Dec. 11

Hobbies: swimming, playing soccer, work out in the gym

Talents: singing and dancing

Puma de Borja may have gotten the looks of the next action hero but he is actually a funny guy who loves meeting new people. No stranger in the business, he has done ramp modeling and commercials so he decided to pursue a career in showbiz. Puma is very excited to be part of this batch as he is set to do things he never tried before—acting, something he considers very challenging. This sporty dude aspires to be doing action movies like Brad Pitt and Al Pacino.

Height: 5’11 1/2’’ Weight: 153 lbs. Hair: Black Eyes: Black

Martin del Rosario

Age: 14 years old

Birthday: Nov. 25

Hobbies: reading and chatting with friends

Talents: acting, dancing and writing essays

Simple, quiet and shy are three words that best describe Martin del Rosario. This cutie has a very charming smile that made him a councilor of their school’s student council. Martin is a good speaker who loves writing essays, joining elocution contests and theater acting. A potential heartthrob, Martin will continue his studies. He promises to work hard in managing his time and energy. He wants to venture into acting and dreams of doing more serious roles. Martin finds comedy very challenging.

Height: 5’5’’ Weight: 128 lbs. Hair: Brown Eyes: Dark brown


Age: 20 years old

Birthday: Dec. 20

Hobbies: playing tennis and basketball, rock climbing

Talents: dancing, singing and acting

Tim Espinosa is the Amboy hottie who lived in California with his parents. He likes playing tennis, basketball, rock climbing and going to art galleries. A singer and dancer, his interest includes folk dance which is one of the reasons why he decided to come home. He started doing commercials and became visible in several Kapamilya shows as one of the Freemales dancers. His early taste of acting was via an indie film called Jupit. This outgoing guy who finished business and theater courses is nervous yet excited to be part of showbiz. He knows the expectations are high but he knows he could to handle it well. Tim would love to be doing roles of his favorite actors like Edward Norton and Cesar Montano.

Height: 5’11’’ Weight: 154 lbs. Hair: black Eyes: brown


Age: 17 years old

Birthday: Jan. 6

Hobbies: watching TV

Talents: singing, dancing and acting

Expect Jenna Estrella to blush and laugh when she hears the name of Piolo Pascual. Her day won’t be complete without staring at the picture of her favorite actor. Now that she is a certified Star Magic Kapamilya, Jenna is so excited to finally have the chance of meeting him in person. She hopes to become her ultimate crush’s leading lady in a teleserye or movie someday. This Batangueña mestiza who loves to sing and act comes from the famous Padilla clan. She is also excited to be acting on camera like her favorite actress Claudine Barretto. With her charming smile and talent, Jenna will surely catch your attention.

Height: 5’3’ Weight: 100 lbs. Hair: Brown Eyes: Brown

Bryan Homecillo

Age: 15 years old

Birthday: Nov. 28

Hobbies: reading books, watching TV and playing computer games

Talents: singing, dancing and voice dubbing

At the age of nine, Bryan Homecillo entered showbiz by joining various TV contests. He later became part of several ABS-CBN shows like Epol Apol, Ang TV2 and Sineskwela. Bryan is very lucky to have worked with famous actors, namely, Judy Ann Santos, Piolo Pascual and Maricel Soriano. This Famas Best Child Actor is an active member of Repertory Philippines where he played the role of Friedrich in the 2006 Sound of Music. Bryan dreams of working with his idol Aga Muhlach. His star will continue to shine as he is set to do more challenging roles very soon.

Height: 5’5” Weight: 130 lbs. Hair: Black Eyes: Black


Age: 14 years old

Birthday: Dec. 3

Hobbies: playing volleyball, badminton, basketball and soccer and reading books and magazines

Talents: dancing, singing, acting and modeling

Born in the United Arab Emirates, Jessy Mendiola was first discovered in an acting workshop before she was introduced to Star Magic’s Mr. M. Jessy has been part of several TV commercials and has always been interested in joining show business. A fanatic of Maging Sino Ka Man, she also loves any kind of movies especially those of starring John Lloyd Cruz or Kristine Hermosa. Now that she is part of the elite Star Circle 15, Jessy has her best foot forward to prove her worth. With the right attitude and determination, Jessy is giving her best in whatever project entrusted to her. A versatile actress, Jessy has her heart set on drama.

Height: 5’4’’ Weight: 110 lbs. Hair: Brown Eyes: Light brown


Age: 14 years old

Birthday: June 18

Hobbies: swimming, playing basketball and hanging out with friends

Talents: dancing and acting

Only 14, Fil-Am Arno Morales is already 5’10”. This potential heartthrob is the guy of few words. He may be mistaken for a snob but he actually has a sense of humor and knows how to make people laugh through his funny antics. A totally newbie in the industry, Arno is both excited and nervous in entering the business. He wants to be part of teen shows or engage in light comedy roles. Arno is definitely a Crush ng Bayan in the making.

Height: 5’10’’ Weight: 130 lbs. Hair: Black Eyes: Black

Hiyasmin Neri

Age: 17 years old

Birthday: July 18

Hobbies: playing guitar, watching TV and designing clothes

Talents: singing, dancing, acting, playing guitar and bass and painting

Hiyasmin Neri exudes the true Filipina beauty with her morena skin, lovely smile and expressive eyes. This 17-year-old girl loves to design clothes. She has already worked in popular stores and has made several designs of her own. A print and TV commercial model, Hiyasmin is a product of Center for Communication’s summer workshop before she was chosen to be part of Star Circle 15. She was an indie film actor search winner who dreamt of doing both lead and contravida roles like Eula Valdez. Aside from acting, she also wishes to become a music video jockey or a talk show host.

Height: 5’4’’ Weight: 105 lbs. Hair: Black Eyes: Black

Franz Pumaren

Age: 17 years old

Birthday: June 25

Hobbies: playing basketball and football

Talents: acting

Yes, his name sounds familiar. He is the son of basketball legend-turned-politician Franz Pumaren. A jock who would spend hours training in football and bastketball, he is set to embark on a new career. Franz dreamt of becoming a lawyer-politician but for the meantime his eyes is set on acting. Shy and quiet, Franz hopes to meet the expectations of people who are watching out for him. His mind and heart is ready to face the challenges of show business. This true blooded Manileño prefers comedy roles though but can also do dramatic or action roles. Franz is out to prove that there is more to him than basketball!

Height: 5’9’’ Weight: 150 lbs. Hair: Black Eyes: Black

Marvin Raymundo

Age: 20 years old

Birthday: April 25

Hobbies: playing basketball and badminton

Talents: dancing

At 17, Marvin Raymundo was just an ordinary student. When he was discovered, he excitedly accepted the offer to become a ramp model and TV commercial talent. He enjoyed the perks of modeling. Now at 20, he is ready to conquer a new world. This human resource management major is a self confessed fan of teleseryes, especially Maging Sino Ka Man, and admits that he idolizes Bea Alonzo. He hopes to be doing roles like the ones of John Lloyd Cruz. A sports buff, Marvin is also a funny guy who can be a cool hunk in a comedy show. Marvin is the next Mr. Nice Guy on TV and movies.

Height: 5’ 11’’ Weight: 160 lbs. Hair: Brown Eyes: Brown


Age: 16 years old

Birthday: Aug. 3

Hobbies: watching TV, reading books and playing sports

Talents: dancing and acting

A typical teener, Bianca Reyes knows how to enjoy life. She is very outgoing and loves to play basketball, football and badminton. This mestiza and wacky girl have been around doing music videos, print and commercial ads. She admits that her experiences have been challenging yet fun. A Pangako Sa’Yo fanatic, Bianca would love to see herself on camera playing lead roles like her fave Kristine Hermosa. She would also like to host a variety show. Bianca’s journey has only begun and she is determined to reach her dream!

Height: 5’6’’ Hair: Dark brown

Eyes: Brown


Age: 20 years old

Birthday: Sept. 22

Hobbies: reading, watching TV and hanging out with friends

Talents: singing and acting

Sassy Caroline Riggs has her eye on modeling, acting and hosting. She is no amateur in striking poses for beauty and fashion editorials in glossy magazines. With her striking personality, she hopes to get a chance to host a lifestyle show. Born in Thailand, Caroline hopes to be doing comedy-love story movies very soon. She adores the likes of Kate Hudson, Charlize Theron and Sandra Bullock. Pretty and smart Caroline is truly a name to watch out for.

Height: 5’3’’ Weight: 100 lbs.

Hair: Light brown Eyes: Hazel


Age: 16 years old

Birthday: May 3

Hobbies: swimming and drawing

Talents: singing, dancing and acting

Half British-half Filipino Krista Valle is an active school cheerleader whose face you may have seen in the several advertisements. She has always liked to be in showbiz just like her Padilla uncles. Krista is a daddy’s girl but she is not a spoiled as she works hard to get what she wants. She has her dreams and one of which is to be an actress. This Taurian finds it more challenging to portray villain and tomboy roles since she is the “girly” type. With her refreshing face and talent, Krista will surely make it big in the industry.

Height: 5’6’’ Weight: 90 lbs. Hair: Brown Eyes: Brown

Source: Manila Standard Today