Kilig Pa More: Filipino Love Teams

Lately I’ve been watching a ton of Filipino television – courtesy of DirecTV’s FilipinoDirect which carries The Filipino Channel (ABS-CBN), GMA Pinoy TV (GMA) and a slew of others channels – with most of American television still on summer break. I was born and raised in Los Angeles and we spoke both English and Tagalog in our household. So with that and the combination of Filipino television, I’m pretty proud to say that my Tagalog is on point. If you were a Filipino and heard me speak, you’d be shocked to your core that I’ve lived all my life in the States. *tooting my own horn*

Moving on… My dad is a religious watcher of GMA’s Eat Bulaga which is a noon-time variety show airing Monday through to Saturday. Any Filipino with access to a TV or even social media has by now heard about the accidental love team “AlDub” (fusion of Alden Richards and “Yaya Dub”).

Let’s rewind, what is a “love team”? The American film and television industry don’t really use this, or at least not one popular enough for me to pull off the top of my head. Whereas, in the Philippines, the industry thrives on it. A love team is when two actors are paired together in projects – often times multiple ones depending on their success. Sounds simple enough. By having the perfect love team partner you can certainly make your career.

Let’s rewind even more, back in the late 90’s Filipino television made its way to the American screen via a satellite dish. My grandmother watched that one channel and only that. I naturally watched along side her and fell in love two love teams. I was still in middle school when I caught wind of Marvin Agustin and Jolina Magdangal (top photo). Their on-screen tandem was perfect. Their movies totally give you kilig to the bones or, for short, kilig. What is kilig? A year ago trying to explain kilig to a non-Tagalog speaker took way more effort that needed, often times needing multiple sentences to get the full scope of the word across. Thankfully, I can now easily equate kilig to what we now call the feels. Even now, though it’s almost 20 years since they first started as a love team watching them today together on screen can still give you kilig.

The other love team in the above photo is the late Rico Yan and Claudine Barretto. Both incredible actors whose TV dramas and movies gave you the feels so much that it makes your arms tingle – yeah, that hard core. Sadly, Rico Yan’s untimely passing cut that train ride short. There isn’t a time when I hear the song “Dahil Mahal Na Mahal Kita” (translated: Because I Love You Very Much) that I don’t hysterically cry to the point my diaphragm spasms left and right. Hope that paints the picture.

I was inspired to write about love teams because of the aforementioned “AlDub” phenomena. Alden Richards is a Filipino actor currently hosting Eat Bulaga, whereas Maine Mendoza plays “Yaya Dub” in their “give back to the community” segment of the show. Maine’s popularity was achieved by her flawless Dubsmash postings on Facebook. On one episode, by some fluke where Maine broke character and showed a bit of consciousness and kilig that Alden was watching through a monitor, an instant love team formed. As I’ve said before, the Filipino entertainment industry thrives on love teams and this was no different. Both neither using words, they communicate through signs and lip-synching (a la Dubsmash) to songs. Although this segment is pure fictional, I’m sure most fans of the show can agree they wouldn’t mind this reel love story to become a real love story.

So I’ve blabbed on for a bit too long. But thought I’d give an update on what’s been sparking my interest lately. Here’s a little food for thought: When was the last time you felt kilig?

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