Back in the 90s, years before social media took up most people’s time, a popular option to pass the time were to tune in to noontime shows. GMA Network’s “Eat Bulaga,” in particular, drew public interest, especially for their segment “Meron o Wala,” but not necessarily because of the game.
It was because of the dancers.
Initially dubbed as “Chicken Sandwich Dancers” by host Joey De Leon, a group of female dancers—under the tutelage of founder and choreographer Joy Cancio—would take the stage to chant, dance, and encourage the audience and the contestants.
“Meron o Wala” eventually morphed into the hit “Laban o Bawi,” which served as the Girls’ stepping stone to stardom, as during one of the tapings, De Leon called the group “the SexBomb Girls” after dancing to hit Tom Jones song of the same title. The name stuck with the public, and eventually, became the official name of the group.
Despite the provocative name, it was never Cancio’s intention to be “sexy.” It was merely about taking talented girls under her wing and nurturing their skill. All she wanted for them, and for herself, was a steady income. “For me lang, [the goal was to] have a job,” she said in an interview with CNN Philippines Life.
But thanks to iconic dances and chants (the ever-popular “Get, get, aww!”), their fame grew, and so did their demand. The Girls released a debut album that garnered a multi-platinum certification from Philippine Association of the Record Industry, inevitably leading them to hold multiple concerts and sold-out shows.
Soon after, the Girls starred in a popular series that revived the normally dull “siesta” slot with “Daisy Siete,” airing close to 2,000 episodes in a span of 7 years. Cancio’s eldest son, John, served as a producer on the show.
Nowadays, many a speculation post would ask the question, “Where are the SexBomb Dancers now?”, often thinking that the group disbanded and went their separate ways.
While older members have started their own families or even left the entertainment industry, newer members—now part of the renamed SB New Gen—are still evolving in the P-Pop space. Cancio’s daughter, Jara, oversees the next generation. Following in the footsteps of her mother, she wants to nurture her talents to break free of the seemingly limited career possibilities that come with being a dancer.
SB New Gen has released music, and continues to be a regular feature on ABS-CBN Network’s “It’s Showtime.” The full interview by CNN Life with Joy Cancio about Sex Bomb and its industry can be read here.