Played by Jerome Ponce and Yves Flores, the characters of Phil Panganiban and Benjie Arguelles of A Soldier’s Heart prove that sexuality is never a measure of one’s worth, skills, and the ability to love. They also represent the comforting feeling of having a buddy who you just connect with. As the series near its final episode, let us look back on the moments when Phil and Benjie defied social stigma and gave us cute, heart-warming ‘bromance’ feels.
Since the moment they made their first appearance as cadets in training, viewers had an inkling of Benjie and Phil’s opposing personalities. The former was quite aloof and ‘softer’ while the latter displayed signs of arrogance. This changed little by little when they were led to each other as training buddies. Thus, their friendship grew deeper.
Benjie’s heart was soused in compassion for his friend. He cared for him and showed it in the little ways. There was a scene wherein he volunteered to wash Phil’s undergarments and helped him relieve a skin infection.
Benjie stayed by Phil’s side until he was fully recovered after sustaining wounds in an intense battle. He anxiously stared at him, let him hold his hand in the middle of a nightmare. He didn’t expect anything in return despite all his sacrifices. Just to hear his sweet praises and express sincere gratitude were more than enough to keep him inspired.
Phil might not be as showy at first but he nonetheless learned to reciprocate the friendship. He reminded Benjie not to let other people trample on his emotions upon seeing him cry one night at the barracks. Tough as he is, he told the heartbroken soldier to just get over someone who doesn’t care.
There came a point, however, when Benjie, Phil, and the troop’s brotherhood was put to the test. It was Phil together with Michael (Nash Aguas) and Abe (Carlo Aquino) who didn’t give up on Benjie, and the friendship.
Amid the trouble, Phil excitedly headed to the training camp to check on Benjie and hand him Alex (Gerald Anderson)’s letter, hoping to change his heart. His face lighted up upon the sight of the buddy he truly missed.
A heartfelt conversation happened when Phil caught the other soldiers insulting Benjie’s sexuality. He told him not to give others the license to mock him, regardless of his gender preference.
Phil also emphasized that no amount of trouble can destroy their brotherhood, even if the group was going through tough times. He was hoping Benjie would see their concern and find his way back to their company. We witnessed the two exchange text messages that night, hinting at Benjie’s change of heart, leading to the bunch’s reunion. The compassion and care little by little soothed everyone’s pain. While Benjie would try to deny how much Phil influenced his decision, the latter poked fun at the group’s prodigal member.
Benjie mustered the courage to ask Phil about their status, just in case the compassion meant something more to him. It would have been awkward if Phil didn’t care about his friend’s feelings. But he is concerned about his happiness. So, as gentle as he could, Phil defined their relationship as mere buddies or ‘tropa.’ Ending the video is a scene wherein Phil checked on Benjie while he was resting. He adjusted Benjie’s hea
d to make him more comfortable.
In a recent interview on Kapamilya Chat, Jerome hinted at an exciting finale to Phil and Benjie’s story. Everyone’s excited for PhilJie! Watch the A Soldier’s Heart final week on Kapamilya Channel and Kapamilya Online Live.