The Boysâ Love story of PhilJie
Jerome Ponce’s character Phil Panganiban (left) and Yves Flores’ Benjie Arguelles tackle the same-sex relationship inside the military in A Soldier’s Heart. Their PhilJie tandem had created a resounding buzz on social media.
The Boys’ Love story of PhilJie
DIRECT LINE - Boy Abunda (The Philippine Star) - September 25, 2020 - 12:00am

Before the so-called BL (Boys’ Love) story became a byword in reference to the cinematic storytelling of a romance between two male characters, bromance was then the commonly used term that comfortably fit the category.

The Boys’ Love story made an interesting subplot in the recently-concluded Kapamilya war drama series A Soldier’s Heart. It tackled the same-sex relationship inside the military through Jerome Ponce’s character Phil Panganiban and Yves Flores’ Benjie Arguelles. Their PhilJie tandem had created a resounding buzz on social media and led many netizens to sit up and notice their convincing onscreen display of affection for each other.

Jerome and Yves described how careful they were in respect to the army uniform since the beginning of a brewing bromance between their characters.

Jerome said it initially crossed his mind that the PhilJie love angle might create an issue “but even in other parts of the world, there’s this kind of story that we do not expect yet it happens. And while we were in training, we heard stories from real-life soldiers. They told us na meron talagang ganito (gay soldiers) and revealed that they are braver compared to the straight (men).”

The actor added that he was confident that the writers also did their research regarding the topic to be able to come up with a story based on facts.

Headwriter Jerry Gracio validated Jerome’s statement by telling that prior to the start of their taping, thorough research had been done. “Parang three years itong ginawa, so napaka-kapal ng research including that part of the story of PhilJie na kwento rin ng ating mga sundalo.”

Yves, on the other hand, shared how he consciously acted out his role. “I kept on asking many questions to the production, to our director kasi maingat talaga ako sa character ni Benjie because I do not want to offend the soldiers na baka ma-over act ko. That’s why, I was very careful on our every scene together while in uniform – from the way I move to how I speak.”

Unlike those usual scenes in BL series, Yves added that he and Jerome were not too touchy. He, too, expressed his admiration for gay soldiers, saying, “May nakakwentuhan akong rangers sa Bulacan proving that it was a reality and they mentioned na mas matatapang sila at mas madiskarte sa laban kaysa mga straight soldiers.”

Jerome and Yves were equally delighted by the positive feedback from netizens. There were even video clips from the series uploaded on YouTube showing the 10 scenes that revealed the tandem’s unexpected “chemistry.”

“I think, our acting came out natural compared to what we usually see on BL series. Phil and Benjie’s story began without any of us knowing where their friendship would lead. It started with brotherhood then later on, to love. Add to that the kind of affection we displayed but in a subtle way. Perhaps, that’s the reason why a lot were hooked to their story,” Jerome said.

For Yves, “Mas may pakilig probably because everything was just subtle; ‘yung hawakan namin ng kamay ni Jerome, tipong pasimple lang at simpleng tingin at simpleng usap lang din. We still put priority on our being soldiers in the show and we wanted to show our respect to the uniform so we avoid being too touchy. ‘Yung pasundot na kilig, I think, truly appealed to the viewers.”

If and when similar role landed on his lap in the future, Jerome said he would gladly do it again.

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