We’re setting the mood for some romance as Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla recall their love story and answer fans’ biggest questions in this episode of I Feel U. Toni Gonzaga together with her ‘sizzum’ and guest co-host Alex Gonzaga also catches up with Pokwang and husband Lee O’Brien.
Before that, we got to meet couples who can prove that love can conquer distance. The pandemic and its consequences like isolation and lockdown has altered most couples’ dynamics. Let’s find out how absence can make the heart grow fonder and how too much time spent together can affect the relationship as well.
The first to share their story are Heijireh Eau, a dance choreographer, and Joan Corpuz, an HR admin, both from UAE. The couple met through Heijireh’s father in 2005. Their tale is a proof that parents indeed know best as Heijireh’s parents liked Joan even before he got to know her. Even Joan was surprised because she has a twin sister who looks exactly like her. Yet, Heiiireh’s parents liked her when they could’ve considered her sister as well. His parents are very fond of her since the beginning. They were even more aggressive than Heijireh in pursuing Joan. So, he waited for them to leave for Turkey before making a bolder move to court Joan.
For Parokya ni Edgar bassist Buwi Meneses and his wife Febe, their love story was years in the making. He liked her as early as their grade school days when they attended the same alma mater. But it was only in 2003 when they reconnected and officially became a couple. Buwi meeting an accident was a major turning point in the relationship. It was then when they realized that they would never want to lose each other, so they got married nine months after.
However, their married life in the Philippines was also full of tests because of Buwi’s life as a musician until they decided to move to California and have a fresh start.
For Ronald Manabat, it was a case of love at first sight. He and now-wife Christine used to be workmates in a software company in Makati. It took some time before Ronald mustered the courage to pursue Christine. And it wasn’t so easy because they both had to work in different countries, leading them to a long distance friendship. Fate made the romance happen when Christine was assigned in Singapore under the same company as Ronald.
The next couple, Alexis Labing and Bernadette Zamora, went viral because of their creative pre-nuptial photos that describe the beauty and hardships of a long distance relationship. Alexis works as an architect in Singapore since 2017 while Bernadette stays in Bulacan.
The adjustment was difficult at first but they eventually managed to cope thanks to technology. He only travels to the Philippines once a year. However, due to the pandemic, he failed to come home last 2020, halting their scheduled pre-nuptial shoot.
With the situation they’re in, the couple’s photographer and good friend, Carlo Pilongo, suggested a pandemic pre-nup concept. “Nag-set up si Carlo ng dalawang cellphones na naka-connect kami via Zoom tapos dini-direct niya kami kung ano ang dapat gawin,” shared Alexis.
The photos turned out artistic and heartwarming as they captured the essence of Alexis and Bernadette’s long distance love story. “Gusto namin iparating sa mga to na may pandemic man o wala, hindi natin dapat gawing hadlang ang distansya,” said Bernadette.
These couples prove that distance, however difficult, can make the relationship grow stronger as long as the love is pure.
Pokwang and Lee
Moms rule the house! Comedienne and devoted homemaker Pokwang prove that women can juggle different roles at once. Their house help went on a vacation since last year’s first lockdown, thus she’s taking on the household duties solo with a little help from partner Lee O’Brian.
Despite how uncertain times are going, Pokwang and Lee cling to each other for comfort and strength. They can surpass whatever lies ahead as long as they are together. Making the most of what they have, they even turn the lockdown season into a collection of good family memories. And the kitchen is one of their most favorite places to bond.
Lee admires how Pokwang steps up during these trying and even busier times by living up to her showbiz moniker ‘Mamang.’ He said Pokwang has been a very hands-on mother, making sure to keep the house and take care of the family. She also finds time to teach him Tagalog words.
The couple met on set of acclaimed movie “Edsa Woolworth.” Their first meeting went a little hilarious as Lee arrived late because he was given the wrong call time. Pokwang patiently waited. When he finally arrived, Pokwang was told that her leading man is “pasok sa banga,” meaning Lee has the looks.
At first glance, Lee was also captivated by Pokwang’s beauty, although he thought she’s kind of aloof. He approached her to say ‘hi’ and that’s when he realized she’s friendly and nice.
After slightly breaking the ice, they started filming their first scene together which interestingly required some kissing. It was intentionally orchestrated by Director John Lazatin to make the stars more comfortable with each other. Lee was thankfully a gentleman, that’s why Pokwang did not feel awkward or offended while doing the kissing scene. Also a real professional, he made sure not to combine work and personal affairs, so the romance just started after filming when he realized he likes her.
Pokwang went on to talk about the challenges they faced, and continue to deal with, in the relationship She said people are still doubtful to this day, even after six years of being together, having a cute three-year-old daughter, Malia, and despite Lee leaving everything behind to build a family with her. She wonders why the public is still not convinced.
Nonetheless, they just choose to live a happy life, “Deadma na lang kami kasi mas kilala naman namin ang isa’t isa.” Love may not always be easy but Pokwang and Lee will make it through using their biggest weapon which is respect.
Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla
Let us take a sweet travel down memory lane us Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla share their love story in this episode of I Feel U.
The couple first saw each other during a guesting for It’s Showtime. They haven’t been formally introduced then and they even had separate squads. “Sumasayaw pa si DJ noon,” recalled Kathryn. Not long after, they officially became a love team when Daniel joined the youth-oriented show Growing Up topbilled by Kathryn and Julia Montes.
They were so young then but Daniel’s heart already beats for Kathryn. He liked her in silence and the constant bond grew his feelings all the more. He would look forward to work days knowing he’d get to spend time with her. “’Pag pumupunta akong trabaho, yes kasama ‘yung trabaho, pero kasama na rin ‘yung ano kayang mangyayari,” he said.
On Kathryn’s part, she felt Daniel was paying extra effort when he started to consistently visit her at home and get the approval of her Mommy Min, “Nililigawan niya si Mama.” The courtship stage lasted a year and there was never a day that Daniel’s persistence waned. “Naramdaman ko na sincere ‘yung tao so tinanog ko si Mama at mukhang okay naman sa kanya. So, nag-‘yes’ na ako.” It was after the first time he asked her to be his girlfriend.
Kathryn really felt special during the courtship stage, “Mararamdaman mo kung paano ka niya alagaan, ‘pag sa taping. Consistent siya. Isa sa mga reasons siguro, naramdaman ko kung gaano siya ka-caring.” It was impossible not to fall in love with his thoughtfulness.
“Yes ano?” was Daniel’s reaction, trying to act clueless, but he knew what that ‘yes’ exactly meant. He kept the happy days to himself at first. He did not tell his mom Karla Estrada about his relationship status but she just noticed eventually.
Answering more fan questions, Kathryn related how they almost gave up two or three years into the relationship. They thankfully managed to sort the issue. But, another major challenge came on their seventh year. She thinks every relationship inevitably goes through tests and fights.
Daniel admittedly thought of leaving as well but he finds himself coming back everytime. “Ang love kasi kailangan mo siyang alagaan. You have to let it grow. Para siyang halaman na kailangan mong mahalin. Hindi mo siya kayang talikuran kasi baka wala na akong makuhang pag-ibig na ganito,” he shared.
Love is patient, that’s why Daniel always reminds himself, “Hindi madadaan sa init ng ulo ‘yung mga usapan. Laging dapat klaro. Hindi pwedeng ang taas mo agad lagi. ‘Yun ‘yung isang problema ko noon ‘pag nag-aaway kami na parang, baka pag mas malakas ‘yung boses ko, mas mananalo ako.” He grew from there and realized it’s better to lose the argument than lose the person he loves. So, during big fights, he makes sure to remain calm and listen, or just let it pass if he could.
For Kathryn, it also boils down to respect. It’s that one secret that plants the seed of patience, love, and compassion. Because of respect, one would refrain from saying things that might offend the other partner.
In a vlog post, Kathryn mentioned how Daniel helped her overcome her insecurities. Asked about this, she said her boyfriend never fails to make her feel that she’s enough. Daniel would always tell her that her insecurities and people’s negative comments are no big deal.
In the next gap, the King and Queen of Hearts are joined by friends Dominic Roque, Khalil Ramos, and Patrick Sugui. Now, the ‘bukingan’ just got more exciting and a bit ‘senti!’
If there’s one thing that will keep the Nguya Squad bonded forever, it would be, well, food. They even keep in touch through Zoom meetings just talking about what they’re eating. If not quarantined, they are probably enjoying the summer on out-of-town trips.
Asked who they think between Kathryn and Daniel fell in love first, the boys teased and mentioned Kathryn. Kidding aside, they know how in love Daniel is because he’s the type to show his heart through actions.
As the couple’s buddies, they are of course part of their gimmicks and milestones like when Daniel plans sweet gestures for Kathryn. There was a time when he asked for their help to sort an LQ (Lover’s Quarrel) by surprising Kathryn in a horror house.
For Kathryn and Daniel, having a support system is also important in keeping a relationship. She lives by the saying “tell me who your fiends are and I’ll tell you who you are.” And she’s glad that they are surrounded by the right friends who are also good influence to them.
They also appreciate how their squad is always fair and never one-sided when problems arise. Kathryn said they are never gender-biased inside the group. The girls can open up to the boys and vice versa, thus they all get wider perspectives about certain issues.
It’s worth noting how the buddies have known and grown together over the years. Daniel knows these are the people who would stick to them through ups and downs. “Itong mga taong ito ay maaasahan mo talaga. Parang mga kapatid ko na itong mga ‘to, talagang makikipagpatayan itong mga ‘to para sa akin. I’m very thankful na mayroon akong mga kaibigaaan na katulad nila.”
The ‘mapusong kwentuhan’ will not be complete without KathNiel going over their most iconic portrayals and blockbuster movies through the years.
On top of the list is “Must Be Love”, their first full-length film that was released in 2013. It felt exciting and at the same time challenging to work on something new. Kathryn is thankful that Daniel was there to help her navigate that new world. “Kailangan namin mag-adust pero ang sarap kasi kasama mo si DJ, so may kasama ka na nag-aadjust. Hindi mo mafi-feel na mag-isa lang ako dito.”
“She’s Dating the Gangster” is a personal favorite because of its unique, ‘kilig’ story and it was their first film with Director Cathy Garcia-Molina. “Sobrang tuwwang-tuwa ako sa kwento na ‘yun, eh kasi ‘90s siya, so very retro pa ‘yung mga pormahan namin. Tapos ang galing ng transition ng kwento from ‘90s pupunta sa present time,” said Daniel.
They felt the same excitement working with Director Mae Cruz-Alviar for “Crazy Beautiful You.” Kathryn mentioned that Directors Cathy, Mae, and Olivia Lamasan share powerful mastery when it comes to storytelling. Good rapport with their directors, co-stars, and crew is one factor that brings out KathNiel’s best performances. As actors, it’s important that they’re happy on set and comfortable with their co-workers.
Another thing that makes “Crazy Beautiful You” memorable is the lock-in shooting in Tarlac. The power tandem had so much fun immersing with the Aetas. It would always be a beautiful experience for them.
Finally, they were able to work with Direk Olive via “Barcelona: The Love Untold.” Kathryn and Daniel said they had to be professional and give their best at all times because they were scared of their director. There are memories that can make Kathryn cry everytime she’d look back at it, “Naka-dalawang bingo ako kay Inang sa Barcelona!”
She continued, “Noong una, ako lang. Hindi ko kabisado ‘yung script ko. Tapos ‘yung pangalawa, na-late kami ng gising lahat, so hindi namin naabutan ‘yung train. Hindi kami nakarating sa location. Naghihintay sila tapos nasayang ‘yung isang araw na ‘yun. Late kami nagising nang ilang minutes, so nag-domino effect.”
Daniel was careful not to trigger Direk Olive’s mood on that day, “Noong una, tinitimpla ko muna. Ayaw kong lapitan na galit pa. Noong una, very cold kami dahil pag nag-i-instruct siya talagang focus, hindi kami pwedeng magkamali kasi may kasalanan kami. Pero eventually, nagyakapan na kami bago matapos ang araw kasi ayaw niya rin na may ganung pakiramdam sa set.” He knows the director was also bothered by the tension and she just wanted them to learn their lesson.
“Can’t Help Fallin’ In Love” was a test of Daniel’s fear of heights as they were required to do a cliff diving scene. And he did it twice. It was also challenging for Kathryn because she’s scared of swimming in deep waters.
Working on “The House of Us” was not easy but they thankfully felt supported by the whole team. Kathryn mentioned that Daniel helped her build George’s character. The prepared through intimate off-cam talks.
For Daniel, his top favorites are “She’s Dating the Gangster,” “Barcelona: A Love Untold,” and “The House of Us” because he had to show different personas in those films. Kathryn also chose “She’s Dating the Gangster” as she got to portray two different characters from the past and present.
Before the interview ended, the tandem entertained another round of questions from their supporters. Daniel and Kathryn are both admittedly clingy. There are things they learned to love because of each other’s influence, such as Daniel’s effect on Kathryn’s love for music. She, on the other hand, influenced him to be more physically fit.
The one who commits the mistake or initiates the fight is usually the one to apologize first. But, more often, it is Daniel who makes the first move. She described their love as overflowing while he went for overjoyed. If not quarantine, they would probably celebrate their 8th year by going to the beach or travelling to Japan. On her advice to those single, Kathryn stressed that it is fine and they just have to wait for the right one.
The biggest question of all would have to be “Kailan ang kasal?” Daniel answered “four or five years from now.”