They say that friendship is always the best foundation of a lasting romantic relationship. It will make the love sweeter and stronger.
Host Toni Gonzaga opened the show by giving the spotlight to Edgar and Mary Grace Cortez, a married couple who started as friends. They’ve been together since 2018. They met at a resort for a wedding event wherein he was the videographer and she was the coordinator.
They were introduced by a common friend who thought Mary Grace can be one of Edgar’s models in future shoots. He acted uninterested and made up an excuse. Deep inside, he found her pretty but he had second thoughts before getting to know her due to their 15-year age gap.
Mary Grace continued, “Grabe siya that time, hindi niya ako pinapansin. After noon, wala nang nangyari. After two years, nagkita kami ulit.” Apparently, when Edgar felt that he’s ready to look for a wife, Mary Grace was the only girl he thought of.
Mary Grace remembered Edgar as the snobbish guy at the resort. They started going out and they officially became a couple after just a few months. As a single mom, she had qualms about jumping to a relationship too soon. But she saw his perseverance.
Now that they’re growing a family together, Edgar and Mary Grace work hand in hand to survive the effects of the pandemic. They combined their expertise – his cooking skills and her background in marketing – to manage a small food business since the events industry was greatly affected by the crisis.
Yeng and Yan
Five years into their marriage, Yeng Constantino and Yan Asuncion are having the most fights during this pandemic. On the bright side, the challenges allow them to work as a team and strengthen their bond in the process.
The couple thinks they both changed a lot after five years, a sign of individual growth. So, when the first round of hard lockdown was imposed, they were surprised to discover new things about each other, sometimes leading to serious arguments.
The changes combined with the struggles spawned by the crisis crystallized into bigger concerns such as Yeng’s insecurities. She knew they needed to sit down and sort out the deep-seated issues. The talk was helpful, with both of them learning each other’s needs and boundaries.
“Kailangan mo talagang ilagay sa table ‘yun tapos pag-usapan ninyo. And ‘yung trust ko kay Yan na mahal niya ako enough and makikinig siya and he will try to change or at least compromise with me,” said Yeng.
Before the pandemic, long talks weren’t their thing. They were too busy to notice the little things. So, when the lockdown happened, Yan was surprised by the issues. As a man, it was hard for him to empathize and understand where her oversized emotions are coming from.
“Kasi bilang lalaki, logical lang kami, medyo dense din bilang lalaki. But when I started opening up my heart, which is very hard for a man to start feeling emotions, iintindihin mo talaga where the insecurity is coming from, where the pain is coming from. It took hours and hours of conversation and active listening,” he said.
As they came out better and stronger after those challenges, they realized that their love is real. Yan shared a recent incident that made him thank the heavens for his wife.
“Yesterday, I woke up tapos nakita ko si Yeng, sabog-sabog ‘yung buhok niya. Tapos tinitingnan ko lang siya habang nagsasalita siya. Parang nag-well up lang sa heart ko na sobrang blessed ako to have Yeng as my wife. Everything that happened to me mula noong naging kami, sobrang amazing talaga all the ups and downs,” he shared.
“If there’s one word to put up ‘yung experience ko, such an adventure. All the things na na-experience ko just being with her, sobrang panalong–panalo talaga ako. Sobrang blessed na blessed talaga ako to have her as my wife,” said Yan, sending Yeng into tears.
Simple times like sharing stories about their childhood already feels like an adventure for him. And as they get to know each other deeper these days, he can’t help but fall for her even more. He doesn’t know how not to. “Sobrang love na love talaga kita,” he told her.
These words warmed her heart, considering that her husband isn’t a natural talker. Tearful and feeling loved, Yeng replied, “It feels so nice to be appreciated kasi you’d feel at times na… ‘yung mga taong ine-expect mo that would appreciate you, hindi ka naman na-aapreciate tapos may isang tao na tahimik lang tapos biglang ganun ‘yun nafe-feel niya sa’yo.”
They go through a lot of challenges as a typical couple would. But amid all the negativities, Yeng knows she would be all right because God gave her a husband who is also her best friend. This bond is something she’s truly grateful for, as artists like her often go through harsh judgment.
On their love story, Yan admitted that it was a case of attraction at first sight for him. He first saw her at a common friend’s house. He liked her beauty and attitude but he didn’t see her as a girlfriend, thinking she’s out of his league. They met again at church. “Gusto ko ‘tong girl na ‘to pero kung wala akong gagawin, maglalaho lang siya tapos hindi ko na siya makikita ulit,” he told himself then. As they got closer, Yan just had an unexplainable feeling within him, something that was telling him ‘she’s the one.’
It was a different case for Yeng who didn’t remember Yan until he finally had the guts to introduce himself on their second encounter. She noticed him more when he volunteered as the church’s musician, while she served as part of the vocals. And his service to God captured her heart even more.
Through their marriage, Yeng and Yan learned to just be present and enjoy life together, saying plans and dreams don’t have to steal the “now.” The couple loves traveling and taking adventures together, listing down Japan, Hawaii, and Africa as their favorite destinations.
Asked to throw their questions for each other, Yeng asked, “Will you promise to say what you feel kahit feeling mo magiging sensitive ako about it?” He said he’ll be truthful and open as part of their growth, although there are times when he opts to hold back not wanting to hurt her feelings.
Yan’s would have to be, “Will you promise na kapag naging open ako sa’yo tsaka vulnerable, hindi ka magagalit?” She promised so, saying his feelings are also valid and important.
The sweethearts also took on the “Who’s Most Likely To” Challenge. It was revealed that Yeng is the sleepyhead. They’re both likely to forget important dates. None between them would cheat on their vegan diet. Yan’s love language is acts of service and touch while Yeng’s are words of affirmation and time.
KZ and TJ
More than the love that led them to the altar, music and friendship glue KZ Tandingan and TJ Monterde together. The couple tied the knot last August 28 amid the pandemic, proving that true love thrives even in the darkest moments.
The number 28 is symbolic for the couple, thus the wedding date. Just to pull off a wedding in the midst of a crisis is already a feat. There were lots of limitations and adjustments, of course.
The couple’s parents weren’t able to travel to Manila due to the quarantine protocols. So, Martin Nievera, KZ’s mentor and one of the godfathers, escorted her on the wedding day.
KZ still hasn’t gotten over the Concert King’s touching act. She said that Martin turned down his work for that day just to fulfill his promise of walking her down the aisle. She’s utterly grateful for Martin’s generosity.
Their wedding was a solemn and romantic bubble, with just a few guests present. “Sobrang lutang. Nakangiti lang ako. ‘This is the moment I’ve been waiting for since day one,’ ‘yun na ‘yung tumatakbo sa isip ko,” shared TJ about how he felt watching the bride-to-be walk towards him, while he was standing under a 300-year-old mango tree, and Ebe Dencel was singing their favorite song, “Bawat Daan.”
Even though not everyone was present during the ceremony, the newlyweds are grateful for the support of their families, friends, and especially that of their parents.
Not wanting to miss out on the big event, their families dressed up to attend the wedding, via Zoom. Even if it was just a virtual gathering, what matters is the love between the couple and the blessing bestowed by their parents. A digital ‘pamamanhikan’ also happened.
KZ began planning the wedding right after the engagement in December 2019, thinking that this year would be hectic. They started coordinating with the suppliers and doing oculars. The planning slowed down by March, with the first round of lockdown imposed and the COVID-19 cases rising. That was when they felt unsure. They didn’t want to appear insensitive. They waited for things to get better but the situation remained bumpy. Because of their parents’ spontaneous go signal, they decided, by June, to push through with the wedding.
They took lots of precautions, adjustments, and back-up plans. Despite the challenges, the event ended up truly beautiful and solemn. And they’re thankful to the wedding planner and everyone who helped them pull off the journey towards becoming Mr.and Mrs. Monterde.
Music has always been a big part of KZ and TJ’s lives and their love story. He was under the same record label as Martin, also KZ’s mentor in X Factor Philippines. They often bumped into each other on Martin’s shows wherein TJ would sing as the front act. They clicked right away because they’re both Bisaya and they have many things in common. But, TJ had a girlfriend at that time.
He was like a ‘kuya’ to her and he, and the rest of their friends, called her ‘baby girl.’ They didn’t have any hint of feelings for each other at first, although he looked up to her as an artist. And this admiration didn’t change even now that they’re married. So, it’s safe to say that he married his idol.
What made TJ realize that KZ is the one? TJ shared one advice he got from his mom, ‘When you choose a girl to marry, you choose somebody who loves her parents.” He was told that a woman who disrespects her own parents can treat his own the same way.
When he got to know KZ better, he realized that she’s exactly what he’s looking for. It was also TJ’s love for parents that made her say ‘yes’ to him.
The couple revealed that they went through a tough time two years ago, which KZ described as one of the darkest phases in her life. She thought she’s a burden than a blessing to him and that she was so hard to love. Yet, he didn’t give up on her.
There was a time when TJ invited her to pray. She didn’t want to. And she was surprised to hear his response. “Sabi niya sa akin, ‘Okay, ako na muna ang magdadasal para sa ating dalawa. Ako na muna ang magmamahal para sa ating dalawa.’ So, ako naman, ‘Why do I deserve this kind of love?’ Parang ganoon,” shared KZ. That was the turning point, the moment when she knew ‘he’s the one.’
KZ and TJ are each other’s best friend, thus they’re open to each other. They are not afraid to be honest and show their weaknesses, knowing they won’t be judged. TJ shared a lesson he got from his grandfather. “Sometimes the romance fades, and with age na rin. But the friendship always stays. ‘Pag nawawala ang romance, babagsak pa rin kayo sa friendship kasi ‘yun ang foundation n’yo,” he said.
To end the interview, the couple took on a newlywed game where they answered questions about their relationship. It was revealed that the courtship stage lasted for a year. They had a third wheel on their first date. TJ said ‘I love you’ first. He’s also the first one to apologize after a fight. Coffee time is their favorite bonding activity. KZ and TJ plan to have two kids in the future.