Today being Valentine’s Day, I am inspired to do a list of my favorite love teams on screen. I have some personal favorites and here they are below:
Pancho Magalona and Tita Duran — Although they had a Saturday night sitcom in the old ABS-CBN (Pancho Loves Tita), I only came to appreciate how good they look together only a few years ago when I started watching VHS tapes of their black and white Sampaguita films that I borrowed from Marichu Maceda. Yes, they made a good team, not only onscreen, but also in real life — having been together till the very end.
Nida Blanca and Nestor de Villa — TV viewing wasn’t complete in the ‘60s without their Nida-Nestor series that aired Thursday nights on Channel 3 and reruns of their old LVN movies in the afternoon.
Gloria Romero and Luis Gonzales — They, too, had a series — The Gloria-Luis Show — on ABS-CBN, but their team-up was really anchored on their old Sampaguita movies.
Pugo and Patsy — They weren’t exactly a love team with fans swooning over them. But wasn’t there an entire generation of TV viewers that thought they were really husband and wife because they went through their roles convincingly in Wanted: Boarders, Boarding House and My Son, My Son?
Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces — They didn’t really start out as a love team (having belonged to different studios), but when they started working together and fell in love and got married, they became local showbiz’s royal couple.
Nora Aunor and Tirso Cruz III — I detested their early films and discovered the magic between them only when they reunited in the ‘80s in Till We Meet Again, Together Again and especially in the critically-acclaimed Bilangin ang Bituin sa Langit.
Vilma Santos and Christopher de Leon — These two don’t only look good together, they also make good movies that win acting accolades for them. Their onscreen chemistry is incredible. Surely it helps that both are great actors and versatile, too. Vilma, like rival Nora, can carry a film by herself, while Christopher can also be paired with other leading ladies. Doesn’t he also look good with Lorna Tolentino with whom he made several film projects?
Rudy Fernandez and Lorna Tolentino — They had separate careers and worked together only in a few films — starting with Sa Init ng Apoy where the romance developed. But they complement each other — with Rudy as the pillar of strength and Lorna as the partner to be cared for (although she has also played strong women roles with even bigger success). It’s really most unfortunate that they weren’t able to do another film together before Rudy’s demise in June of last year.
Sharon Cuneta and Gabby Concepcion — I wasn’t exactly a fan of their films in the early ‘80s but I began to love them together in Tayong Dalawa in 1992. By this time they had both matured as performers. However, I was still shocked when I saw the bed scene between them — even if they were already married and, in fact, had separated. Sharon in a bed scene? Somehow I always associated her with purely wholesome roles.
Maricel Soriano and William Martinez — They make a wacky pair and it helped that it was Ishmael Bernal who was directing them in some of their comedies.
Richard Gomez and Dawn Zulueta — They only did two films together: Hihintayin Kita sa Langit (where they fell in love with each other) and Saan Ka Man Naroroon (they were already on the brink of breakup by then). To this day, I still swoon (and that rarely happens to me) over their scenes together when I see Hihintayin. I guess it also helped that the photography, music and the basic story (an adaptation of Wuthering Heights) were also beautifully executed and all these contributed to make Hihintayin Kita sa Langit as the most romantic local movie in my book.
Carmina Villarroel and Rustom Padilla — They did make a good pair in the few films they did together, but apparently not in real life because they did split up eventually. Their team-up was at its best when they did Hindi Magbabago, which is about courtship and seriously getting into a relationship. That is one of Rustom’s best performances as an actor and it is one of my favorite light romance movies. When I was with ABS-CBN they made me part of a committee that would approve materials for telesines. When we couldn’t find the right scripts, we were made to come up with our own — individually. I wrote a script for Rustom and Carmina — just to show you how I liked their team-up. It was ready to be shot but a lot of things happened. For one, I left for abroad and when I came back I joined GMA 7. The biggest obstacle, however, is the fact that Rustom is now Bebe Gandanghari and so goodbye project.
John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo — Their love team doesn’t rely on mere kilig factor. They are always propped up by a good material, courtesy of Star Cinema.
Judy Ann Santos and Ryan Agoncillo — A star of Judy Ann’s stature would allow her to get away with any leading man. But my personal favorite is her team-up with real-life beau Ryan Agoncillo. Maybe it helps that they are backed up by good materials in Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo and Sakal, Sakali, Saklolo. And the fact that they are comfortable with each other and are both talented performers.
Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera — Can you imagine what would have happened if Angel Locsin didn’t move to ABS-CBN? This love team would never have seen the light of day. Now they are the first couple of television.
Richard Gutierrez and KC Concepcion — Richard had been the King of Valentine Movies for the past couple of years. Now he has taken a queen with him in the person of KC. Don’t they make a lovely pair?