Filipino love teams

If there’s one thing that we Filipinos love too much, it may be celebrity love teams. After all, love teams tap into what we ultimately desire as individuals, which is to love and be loved. 

Love teams are so popular that our biggest TV shows and movies are dominated by the actors and actresses’ combined names or portmanteaus. Some pairs even go so far as to transcend their peak era to be timeless on-screen couples who find fans from across age brackets. Here are 10 iconic Filipino love teams beloved by many fans. 

1. Kathryn Bernardo & Daniel Padilla (KathNiel) – starred in the second-highest grossing Filipino film

Filipino love teams - KathNiel
Image credit: @bernardokath 

After first starring in the Sunday afternoon teen-oriented series Growing Up in 2011, Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla would prove to be one of the most enduring pairs on-screen. Today, with their countless TV shows and high-grossing films, the KathNiel duo has indeed cemented their status as one of the timeless love teams of Philippine showbiz.

The Princess and I (2012-2013) is their first primetime TV show after the success of Growing Up. In the royal teleserye, Bernardo plays Mikay, the long-lost daughter of King Anand (Albert Martinez) from the Kingdom of Yangdon. Daniel Padilla’s character Gino comes into the scene after Mikay was taken to the Philippines from the kingdom. 

Among their other TV shows include Got to Believe (2013-2014), which made phenomenal TV ratings and social media trends, and La Luna Sangre (2017-2018), a horror-fantasy series they starred in alongside Richard Gutierrez and Angel Locsin.

The Hows Of Us Official Trailer | Kathryn Bernardo, Daniel Padilla | 'The Hows Of Us'
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The Hows Of Us Official Trailer | Kathryn Bernardo, Daniel Padilla | 'The Hows Of Us'

Video credit: ABS-CBN Star Cinema

Their chemistry extends to the box office, as their films from She’s Dating the Gangster (2014) to Barcelona: A Love Untold (2016) to The Hows of Us (2018), to name a few, have received massive success. The Hows of Us has also been the second highest-grossing Filipino film to date, and tells the struggles of George (Bernardo) and Primo (Padilla), two lovers who are in a long-term relationship. 

After much speculation, the two confirmed their real-life relationship in August 2018, to the delight of fans.

2. Dingdong Dantes & Marian Rivera (DongYan) – best known as Sergio and Marimar

Filipino love teams - Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes
Image credit: @marianrivera 

Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera first charmed us when they played the lead roles in the 2007 Pinoy adaptation of Marimar. In the show, Marimar falls in love with the wealthy Sergio Santibañez (Dingdong Dantes), but conflict arises when Sergio’s family disapproves of Marimar and goes out of their way to separate them.

The success of Marimar paved the way for more primetime shows for the two, such as Dyesebel (2008), and Endless Love (2010), and in cinemas, they starred in movies One True Love (2008) and You To Me Are Everything (2010). 

Wedding Film of Dingdong and Marian “The Journey”
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Wedding Film of Dingdong and Marian “The Journey”

Video credit: Mayad Studios

Proving that there is forever indeed, the two tied the knot in a grand wedding ceremony in December 2014, with VIP guests such as former President Benigno Aquino III. They are now living as a happy family with their two children, Maria Letizia Dantes and Jose Sixto Dantes IV. 

3. Rico Yan & Claudine Barretto – king and queen of the ‘90s

Filipino love teams - Rico Yan and Claudine Barretto
Image credit: @ricoyanclaudine 

Even though their tandem was short-lived due to Rico Yan’s death in 2002, former real-life sweethearts Rico Yan & Claudine Barretto have been a timeless duo who’ll forever make us feel what kilig is all about. 

Got 2 Believe | Claudine Barretto and Rico Yan | Supercut
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Got 2 Believe | Claudine Barretto and Rico Yan | Supercut

Video credit: ABS-CBN Star Cinema

Yan and Barretto were the lead actors in some of the most enduring movies and record-breaking TV shows in the ‘90s and early 2000s. The movie Got 2 Believe (2002), for example, is considered one of the best local rom-coms, and Mula sa Puso (1997-1999), their first TV show, is one of the highest-rating TV shows of all time. 

The pair has still been a hot topic even in the age of social media and even years after the actor’s death. For instance, Yan’s letters to Barretto went viral when the actress posted them on her Instagram account in 2015 and 2016, and anything new from Barretto related to the dear actor, whether she is visiting his grave or talking about him in interviews, will surely make trending news. 

4. Aga Muhlach & Lea Salonga – LDR couple in Sana Maulit Muli

Filipino love teams - Lea Salonga and Aga Muhlach
Image credit: @msleasalonga 

While they have only acted together in two movies, Aga Muhlach and Lea Salonga are making our hearts flutter up to this day. 

Sana Maulit Muli | Aga Muhlach, Lea Salonga | Supercut (With Eng Subs)
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Sana Maulit Muli | Aga Muhlach, Lea Salonga | Supercut (With Eng Subs)

Video credit: ABS-CBN Star Cinema 

Their chemistry was palpable in two memorable ‘90s hit movies Bakit Labis Kitang Mahal (1992) and Sana Maulit Muli (1995), their most enduring film which follows the challenges of couple Agnes (Salonga) and Jerry (Muhlach) in their long-distance relationship. 

In real life, the two actors have stayed good friends over the years while growing their families. For instance, Muhlach even wrote in a famous letter in 2013, which went viral in 2017, about how Salonga was to him ‘the one that got away.’

Fans have since been shipping the two in the hopes that they do a reunion movie, and in an interview with G3 San Diego, Salonga revealed that she would only do a movie with Muhlach again if the movie would surpass Sana Maulit Muli’s success. 

5. Richard Gutierrez & Angel Locsin (ChardGel) – reigned in TV and cinemas in early 2000s

Filipino love teams - Richard Gutierrez and Angel Locsin
Image credit: @richardgutz 

From their humble beginnings in the teen-oriented series Click (1999-2004) where they played fraternal twins, the love team of Richard Gutierrez and Angel Locsin has gone on to become one of the most iconic pairs on-screen. 

They were the lead actors behind some of the most memorable TV shows and movies in the 2000s. They were also noted for playing as a pair in various genres – in Mulawin (2004-2005), for instance, the two played humanoid birds, and in Mano Po 5: Gua Ai Di (2006), they played a Filipino-Chinese couple. In the horror film Sigaw (2004), which follows a man who had moved into a new apartment but later found out it’s haunted, they also played as a couple. 

In 2017, the fantasy TV series La Luna Sangre paved the way for the iconic love team’s comeback project. Alongside Bernardo and Padilla, Gutierrez played the role of vampire Sandrino while Locsin played two mortal roles. 

6. Carlo Aquino & Angelica Panganiban (CarGel) – teen stars from the ‘90s to the early 2000s

Filipino loveteams - Carlo Aquino and Angelica Panganiban
Image credit: @TWBAofficial 

With their on-and-off relationship in real life throughout the years since they were cast as a love team in the ‘90s, Carlo Aquino and Angelica Panganiban have indeed left us wistful about all the could-have-beens. 

CarGel all started in 1999, when they starred in the teen series G-mik (1999-2000). Throughout the 2000s, they were a popular pair in TV shows such as teen-oriented show Berks (2002-2004), and they starred together as a couple in the 2003 movie Ang Tanging Ina led by Ai-Ai de las Alas. 

Exes Baggage Official Trailer | Angelica Panganiban & Carlo Aquino | Exes Baggage
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Exes Baggage Official Trailer | Angelica Panganiban & Carlo Aquino | Exes Baggage

Video credit: Black Sheep

In 2018, they did a reunion movie Exes Baggage, which was a big hit because of Aquino and Panganiban’s relationship history as real-life exes. The movie follows Pia (Angelica) and Nix (Carlo) as they take a chance to believe in love again despite the baggage they carry from their previous relationships. 

In the same year, they were spotted in public several times so fans became hopeful that they would rekindle their relationship. However, in early 2019, the two had a falling-out and Aquino is now happily raising a family with his non-showbiz girlfriend model Trina Candaza. 

7. Nora Aunor and Tirso Cruz III (Guy and Pip) – big stars of the ‘70s

Filipino loveteams - Tirso Cruz III and Nora Aunor
Image credit: IMDb 

Before the love teams of today, there were once the iconic Guy (Aunor) and Pip (Cruz) who were the craze among our parents and grandparents back in the ‘70s. 

The former real-life flames both starred in several movies such as Young Girl (1969), My Blue Hawaii (1972), Bilangin ang Mga Bituin sa Langit (1989) and the movie Guy and Pip (1971) cemented their status as an iconic duo when it became a huge box office success and was shown in theaters for six months. A doll named Maria Leonora Theresa, given by Cruz to Aunor, also became the symbol of their pairing. 

When I Fall In Love
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When I Fall In Love

Video credit: Jojo Devera 

In 2014, they did the made-for-TV movie When I Fall in Love as a reunion project. The movie follows Fely (Aunor) and how she struggles to take care of her ailing husband Armando (Cruz) who has Alzheimer’s disease. 

8. John Lloyd Cruz & Bea Alonzo – best known as Popoy and Basha

Filipino loveteams - Bea Alonzo and John Lloyd Cruz
Image credit: @johnlloydcruztm 

One More Chance (2007) is one of the most beloved local romantic movies out there due to the lead characters Popoy and Basha, and it’s thanks to actors John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo. 

One More Chance | Bea Alonzo, John Lloyd Cruz | Supercut
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One More Chance | Bea Alonzo, John Lloyd Cruz | Supercut

Video credit: ABS-CBN Star Cinema 

Even though they don’t have a real-life romance, the iconic duo has been a showbiz pair for close to two decades now due to their natural chemistry on-screen that lead to some of the most enduring local movies such as One More Chance (2007), which tells the struggles of long-time couple Popoy (Cruz) and Basha (Alonzo) who met each other at a university, Now That I Have You (2004), and Miss You Like Crazy (2010). 

On TV, the two has also starred in several primetime shows from I Love Betty La Fea (2008-2009), a Pinoy adaptation of Colombia’s Yo soy Betty, la fea (1999-2001), to Kay Tagal Kang Hinintay (2003), their first teleserye. They’re set to star in a reunion movie soon, and as of writing, the movie is at its creative development stage.

9. Marvin Agustin & Jolina Magdangal (MarJo) – fun, quirky pair of the ‘90s

Filipino loveteams - Marvin Agustin and Jolina Magdangal
Image credit: @mariajolina_ig

If love teams like DongYan or John Lloyd and Bea are known for their serious roles, the MarJo pair of Marvin Agustin and Jolina Magdangal made our ‘90s more lighthearted with several of their wholesome movies and TV shows.

F.L.A.M.E.S The Movie: Tameme | Marvin Agustin and Jolina Magdangal | Supercut
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F.L.A.M.E.S The Movie: Tameme | Marvin Agustin and Jolina Magdangal | Supercut

Video credit: ABS-CBN Star Cinema

Agustin and Magdangal first teamed up in the TV series Gimik (1996-1999) and due to their popularity, they have also been together in popular ‘90s movies. Among their most popular include Flames, The Movie (1997), inspired by the TV series Flames and divided into episodes. They appear in Episode 1, which follows Tameme Lesli (Magdangal), a rich highschool student who doesn’t believe in love, and Butch (Agustin), Tameme’s poor classmate who has a crush on her. 

They also appeared in Hey Babe! (1999), featuring Abigail (Magdangal), who often consults a fortune teller regarding her love life, and Nelson (Agustin), who tricks Abigail that he is her Mr. Right. 

Even though their love team saw its peak from the ‘90s to early 2000s, their fandom has remained supportive and has always been calling for a reunion project between the two. The MarJo team has also remained friends through the years and even celebrate their team’s anniversary. 

10. Sharon Cuneta & Gabby Concepcion (Sharon-Gabby) – former real-life couple

Filipino loveteams - Sharon Cuneta and Gabby Concepcion
Image credit: @reallysharoncuneta 

If there’s a pair that gave us all the rollercoaster feels, it’s the Sharon-Gabby duo. Sharon Cuneta and Gabby Concepcio married each other in real life in 1984 to the delight of many fans, only to separate 3 years later in 1987. They had one daughter – actress, singer, TV host, entrepreneur, and humanitarian KC Concepcion, born in 1985. 

Dear Heart (1981) started their love team and it’s also Cuneta’s first movie. It follows April (Cuneta), a rich and smart daughter of a strict father Don Manolo (Eddie Garcia) who disapproves of April’s romance with Jimmy (Concepcion). Several movies followed such as P.S. I Love You (1981), and My Only Love (1982), two films that fans considered to comprise the Holy Grail of Sharon-Gabby films along with Dear Heart

Kumusta Ka
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Kumusta Ka

Video credit: McDo Philippines

In a much-anticipated reunion in 2018, they reunited for the first time after 26 years in a McDonald’s commercial that went viral immediately after it was released on the Internet. There have also been talks that they will do a reunion movie. 

They are now living with their own families, with Cuneta married to Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan and Concepcion married to Genevieve Yatco Gonzales.

Iconic Filipino love teams

There’s no doubt that Filipino love teams have defined our showbiz industry with their great on-screen chemistry. And their impact on our lives is indeed immense, so much so that some love teams never go out of style.

To give you more kilig, here are TV shows & movies you can watch:

Cover image adapted from: @ricoyanclaudine, @bernardokath, and @johnlloydcruztm

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