Jake Cuenca is one of the busiest actors in the industry, often doing several movies and at least one TV series each year. His love and devotion for his craft show in the varied characters he is willing to portray in his projects. Jake’s no-fear approach at tackling any part has made him one of the very few actors who are able to shine in both “bida” and “kontrabida” roles. And we have seen it in his past teleseryes; Jake can easily make you fall in love with him as the leading man or compel you to hate him with a passion as the evil antagonist.
Now, as he reunites once more with Kim Chiu and Gerald Anderson in the much-awaited Kimerald reunion drama series Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin, let us look back at Jake’s remarkable teleserye journey. Here are 10 of his most unforgettable roles yet.
1. Brandon Johnson, Sana Maulit Muli (2007)
Sana Maulit Muli was Kim Chiu and Gerald Anderson’s first primetime TV series ever, at the same time, it was Jake’s first drama series on ABS-CBN. It revolves around the ill-fated love between Jasmin (Kim) and Travis (Gerald) who first met as stowaway children aboard a ship bound to Cebu. They meet again years later, but Jasmin chooses to break it off with Travis because of her sister, Camille. Jake plays Brandon in this series, the brother of Travis who inadvertently brings about Jasmin’s death. Travis then travels back in time hoping to change destiny and be with the one he loves.
2. Giancarlo Caranzo, Palos (2008)
Jake next stars as Giancarlo, the lead in the Philippine TV adaptation of Palos alongside Cesar Montano. Giancarlo grows up believing that Neptune Agency’s top agent and the original Palos, Fabio (Cesar), is the one responsible for his mother’s death. He is taken in by Neptune’s Director Alessandro Canavarro (Jomari Yllana) who recruits him to the agency. Driven by vengeance, Giancarlo emerges as one of the top agents of Neptune, earning the moniker of the new Palos. But in his quest to avenge his mother’s death, he finds out the truth about his identity and the secret behind Neptune.
3. Dave Garcia, Tayong Dalawa (2009)
Jake reunites with Kim Chiu and Gerald Anderson in the 2009 action drama series Tayong Dalawa. Gerald plays David “JR” Garcia, Jr., while Jake portrays David “Dave” Garcia, Jr., estranged brothers who, unaware of their relationship, become best of friends. They both graduate at the top of their class in the Philippine Military Academy. Their rivalry begins when the truth comes out that they are half-brothers after their father, David Sr., attends their graduation. The conflict between JR and Dave intensifies because of their love for the same girl, Audrey King (Kim). But they are forced to resolve their issues as they face a powerful syndicate that also seeks to destroy their families.
4. Alejandro Cardenas, Rubi (2010)
Rubi is the Philippine remake of the Mexican telenovela of the same title about a beautiful woman who will stop at nothing to achieve her ambitious dreams. Angelica Panganiban plays the role of Rubi, the stunning social climber who befriends the insecure and handicapped Maribel (Shaina Magdayao) because of her wealth and then steals her fiancé Hector (Diether Ocampo). Meanwhile, Jake plays Dr. Alejandro Cardenas, Hector’s friend, who is seduced by Rubi first, but later abandoned after she finds out that he is not, in fact, rich. Although he still had feelings for Rubi, Alejandro eventually falls in love with Maribel.
5. Edward Fuentebella, Green Rose (2011)
Jake then joins the ensemble cast of the Kapamilya remake of one of the most successful Korean dramas ever, Green Rose. Here, Jake goes all out in his “kontrabida” role as Edward Fuentebella, a man who will do anything to reach his goals. When Edward fails to win the heart of Angela Tuazon (Anne Curtis), the daughter of the company chairman, he sets out to frame her boyfriend, Jerome Delgado (Jericho Rosales), with the attempted murder of Chairman Ricardo Tuazon (Ricardo Cepeda). Jerome presumably dies after trying to escape from the police, but he comes back years later to clear his name and uncover the truth behind the attempt on the chairman’s life.
6. Paul Raymundo, Kung Ako’y Iiwan Mo (2012)
In Kung Ako’y Iiwan Mo, Jake reunites with Shaina Magdayao in a story that delves into the realities of working abroad and how it affects the relationship of a family. Jake and Shaina bring to life the characters of husband and wife Paul Raymundo and Sarah Trinidad. Paul decides to work in the Middle East in order to give his family a better life. However, in the face of hardship and loneliness, he succumbs to temptation and starts an affair with his ex-girlfriend Mia (Bangs Garcia). Their relationship comes to light when Sarah becomes an OFW as well and comes looking for Paul.
7. Rafael de Guzman, Kahit Puso’y Masugatan (2012)
Jake stars as Rafael, Miguel de Guzman’s (Gabby Concepcion) son in Kahit Puso’y Masugatan. Rafael is in love with Andrea (Iza Calzado), but the ambitious Veronica (Andi Eigenmann) will come between them. Andrea breaks up with Rafael to give way to Veronica whom she considers like a real sister. Things become even more complicated when Miguel and Andrea meet and fall in love.
8. Luis Sancuevas, Maria Mercedes (2013)
Jake plays the role of Luis Sancuevas, the leading man of Jessy Mendiola, in this 2013 Philippine remake of the Mexican telenovela of the same title. The simple and innocent lottery ticket and flower vendor Maria Mercedes (Jessy) takes notice of and falls in love with the handsome Luis. An unexpected incident brings them together and Luis starts to fall for Maria Mercedes. However, Luis’s mother Malvina (Vivian Velez) and his ex-girlfriend Misty (Nikki Gil) will do everything in their power to tear them apart.
9. Franco Hidalgo, Ikaw Lamang (2014)
In this epic period-drama series, Jake once again proves that he is the master “kontrabida.” He portrays the role of Franco, the rich heir of a sugar plantation magnate and who is fiercely in love with his childhood friend Isabelle (Kim Chiu). But Isabelle is already in love with Samuel (Coco Martin), and they make plans to elope shortly after she returns from studying in London. Unfortunately, their plans are foiled and Isabelle is forced to marry Franco, while Samuel is tortured. Things take a turn for the worse when Samuel is revealed to be the real son of Eduardo Hidalgo (Tirso Cruz III), while Franco is exposed to be the son of another man. But, Franco doesn’t give up and uses his accident to gain Isabelle’s sympathy. He eventually gets elected as mayor of Salvacion, but the power of his post makes him even more corrupt and unscrupulous.
10. Juan Samonte, Pasion de Amor (2015)
Pasion de Amor is a 2015 Kapamilya teleserye based on the Colombian telenovela Pasion de Gavilanes. It centers on the story of the Samonte brothers who set out to make the Elizondo sisters fall in love with them as part of their plan to avenge the death of their youngest sister, Livia. Jake plays Juan Samonte, the eldest brother who only wanted to provide a good life for his siblings before tragedy befell Livia. In his quest to find the truth, he seduces Norma Elizondo (Arci Muñoz), but eventually falls in love with her as well.
11. Carlos Dela Vega, Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin (2017)
Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin is the much-awaited reunion of Kimerald in a drama series. It follows the story of Bianca Agbayani (Kim Chiu) and Gabriel Villoria (Gerald Anderson), who had a special bond with each other since childhood and was bound to love each other forever. Both being athletes, their same passion for sports is what connects them. Like all of Jake’s other roles in his dramas with Kimerald, his character Carlos Dela Vega made life difficult for Bianca and Gabriel to the point of trying separate them.
12. Rocco Fernandez, The Blood Sisters (2018)
The Blood Sisters is a milestone drama in the acting career of Erich Gonzales, who played the role of triplets Erika Castillo, Agatha Magtibay and Dr. Carrie Almeda that were separated at birth. As their paths crossed, all secrets were revealed and this placed them in danger. Jake played the antagonist role of Rocco, the bastard son of a child trafficking and organ harvesting ring leader, and used the sisters in his well-planned revenge against his father who disowned him.