Donny Pangilinan and Belle Mariano used to take on different career paths at different seasons. But, enter destiny, and their worlds entwined. This isn’t about their characters Bingo and Caroline in their first primetime teleserye “Can’t Buy Me Love,” rather it’s about the real story of them individually learning and growing so they could meet on the same road at the perfect time to create a phenomenon that is DonBelle.
Belle’s passion for acting and performing came knocking when she was only a kid. She remembers massaging her parents every night and being that super obedient child just so they’d allow her to go for auditions. Her effort paid off when she started to appear in teleseryes in 2012 via “Lorenzo’s Time” and was even cast in the iconic kiddie gag show “Goin’ Bulilit.” Meanwhile, Donny only entered showbiz in 2016 as a MYX VJ and eventually became a regular on “ASAP Natin ‘To,” although he is considered a showbiz royalty being the son of Maricel Laxa and Anthony Pangilinan.
In 2019, the two were announced to topbill what would become a hugely successful series, “He’s Into Her.” DonBelle was officially born. This opened new and bigger doors for the tandem, ushering them to the big screen as well.
Their journey alone is quite a spectacle. Looking back, never in their wildest dreams did they imagine reaching this far as a loveteam. Even the tag “primetime teleserye stars,” it used to be just a dream.
Thus, they feel a mix of excitement and disbelief as their primetime show “Can’t Buy Me Love” comes out. Belle gushed that she used to just watch teleseryes like “Mara Clara” and “Pangako Sa’Yo.” The same goes for Donny, whose first exposure to teleseryes was watching his mom, Maricel Laxa, in “Mga Anghel Na Walang Langit” where she played a blind woman. “Doon ako sobrang na-amaze sa kanya. Sabi ko, ‘Teka lang. Ang galing mo pala umarte, Mommy?’ I was a kid, so it was just nice to see my mom acting. She was my first inspiration talaga,” he enthused.
Now that they are starring in their own primetime series, Donny and Belle are hard at work. They’re seen collaborating with Director Cathy Garcia-Sampana on set in Binondo, diving deep into their characters and lines.
Given their busy schedules, as they also have to attend to their other duties such as pictorials and public appearances, Donny and Belle spend more hours at work than at home. Although they connect with their respective families virtually, still, they miss home.
With that, MJ brought a piece of home to the loveteam. For Belle, he brought the pretty teacup set that she and her mom use for relaxing evening tea time. They love to light candles and enjoy their tea while sharing stories.
For Donny, he got his parents’s book titled “Marriage Is A Marathon” where the couple shared their candid pre- and post-wedding experiences, as well as their family’s journey. A page in the book retells how the Pangilinan kids would slide sweet notes under the door whenever Maricel and Anthony fight in their room.
This remains vivid to Donny’s memory, “My siblings and I will have parang meeting ‘pag naririnig namin na medyo nag-aaway sila. Sabi namin, ‘Guys, we have to come up with something so they’d stop fighting.’ So we’ll get pieces of papers and write down our favorite memories of them together and like random stuff that will probably cheer them up. We’ll just put it under and we will wait. And then our parents will talk to us after, like, ‘Thank you, guys.’”
Donny and Belle miss their siblings so much, and they feel like so many things are happening at once. Donny’s sister is getting married soon, while Belle’s siblings are so busy with school that they don’t get to see each other sometimes. But they hope to make it up to them soon, and maybe create a new routine with their respective families that include watching “Can’t Buy Me Love” altogether.
To cap it off, MJ rehashed an interview with DonBelle two years ago where he jokingly asked if they were secretly holding hands under the table. Fast forward to today, no more hiding for Donny and Belle. They can openly hold hands and express how much they support one another.
“I think me and Belle are very comfortable with each other. Anything I can do to be supportive of her, make sure that she’s okay. I always ask naman what I can do to be better. How can I help you also? How can I help you be a better teammate? We have those conversations,” Donny confessed. Belle kept her response short but sweet, “All I can say is I’m always here for him.”
Support DonBelle in “Can’t Buy Me Love,” airing weeknights, on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, TV5, and A2Z.