Dec 30
A QUESTION OF LOVETEAMS by Butch Macaro  |  Posted in Articles  |  on Fri, Dec 30, 2005

Based on the history of screen loveteams from the decade of the 60s and up to the 80s, the female component of the team usually remained in the limelight or even became a superstar after the loveteam broke up. This was true for Nida Blanca (who was partnered with Nestor de Villa), Gloria Romero (with Luis Gonzales) Susan Roces (with Eddie Gutierrez) Amalia Fuentes (with Romeo Vasquez), Nora Aunor (with Tirso Cruz III), Vilma Santos (with Edgar Mortiz), Sharon Cuneta (with Gabby Concepcion) and Maricel Soriano (with William Martinez).

I am almost tempted to speculate that the male partner was always on the losing end, meaning that the actress, not the actor, was able to scale greater heights of popularity and acting excellence. Not one of the actresses I mentioned was dramatically disadvantaged by the break-up of the loveteam.

Loveteams are literally created by movie fans. Producers and talent managers might be the ones who put together a loveteam from their stable of up-and-coming stars but it is the army of fans who decide which loveteam will prosper or survive. The patronizing and approving movie fans have always the last say. Thus, producers pair newcomers in small roles in the movie they are currently making to test their appeal. If the duo registered strongly, they are paired once again in the next production. This shuffling of wannabes is intended to test the durability or viability of the loveteam in the eyes of their growing fans. Once the pair has established a strong following, more movies are assigned to them. A series of box office hits will establish them as a loveteam. This formula has been found effective and still exists to this day.

Take the case of Judy Ann Santos who has been paired with different male stars of Star Cinema like Piolo Pascual, Diether Ocampo, Jericho Rosales, Leandro Munoz. The movies she made with these leading men were box office hits, notwithstanding who the male partner is, proving the strength of Judy Ann Santos in the box office. Even those movies Judy Ann made under other productions where she was paired with other leading men also left the box office tills ringing. Star Cinema with ABS-CBN television has a more effective system of creating loveteams with their pairing of new discoveries because they can test them through ABS-CBN programs. An arrangement that also holds true for GMA 7.

ABS-CBN in its Final Love Council, through QPIDS, has launched four new love teams in the first and only reality search on Philippine television. The pairings are Paw Diaz and Mikel Campos; Mhyco Aquino and Hazel Ann Mendoza; Janus del Prado and Carla Loren; and Jill Yulo and Alwyn Uytingco. Who among these loveteams will make it remains to be seen. Mark Herras and Jennylyn Mercado are products of the Starstruck search of GMA-7 and they were paired together as a loveteam both in films and television. They were accepted by tremendous acclaim by movie fans. Their rise was helped a great lot by rumors that they seemed to be hitting it off together. The GMA publicity machine took advantage of the situation by fanning the rumors of their love affair. They started being seen together in every function of GMA-7, in public places, in parties and every occasion possible to tickle the interest of movie fans. In the beginning, both denied the relationship. Eventually, they publicly admitted they were really in love. Their love affair became the focus of their promotion and publicity in their movies together. Both did act the love-birds they were passed off to be. Jennylyn seemed serious in the affair but Mark, it turned out, has other ideas in his head. Little misunderstandings became big quarrels which usually ended in emotional reconciliations. The movie fans, puzzled and thrilled, became more curious and excited.

Some years ago, at the Regal Films stable, the loveteam of Maricel Soriano and William Martinez was the most popular and solid. But they were eventually wracked by petty lovers’ quarrels, with the expected reconciliations at the tailend. Movie reporters had coined a sobriquet for them– galit-bati, bati-galit tandem. Movie fans found the situation chillingly exciting, creating more interest and attention for their loveteam until both finally broke up. The break-up proved disadvantageous for William as he got fewer film assignments minus Maricel. He slowly but surely found himself removed from the bright lights of stardom. But this was not the case for Maricel who continued making films pairing her with different male stars. Until now, years after the loveteam’s breakup, Maricel remains sought after and is still able to make important films and capturing awards in almost every filmfest competition. At present, she is the female lead in the big budgeted TV drama Vietnam Rose directed by ace director Joel Lamangan.

It is hard to find credible explanation why the male star lost his glitter once a loveteam breaks up. Nida Blanca, until her untimely death, remained a bankable star after her breakup with Nestor de Villa. Gabby Concepcion, who was involved in an award scam, hot-tailed it to the U.S. but during his sojourn abroad, his reel and real life partner Sharon remained the megastar.

Tirso Cruz’s star magic lost its sparkle after breaking up with Nora Aunor. Vilma Santos, the Lipa City mayor, is still much in demand as lead actress making a movie once a year while Edgar Mortiz, her partner, is now directing in television.

In the case of Jennylyn Mercado and Mark Herras, the breakup was due perhaps to his rumored womanizing. Rumors had it that Mark was whispering sweet nothings to Pauleen Luna while still ‘in the arms’ of Jennylyn. Pauleen is Mark’s and Jennylyn’s co-star in Regal’s Blue Moon. Mark was reported to have showered special attention on Pauleen and was even seen by movie reporters to have gone out of his way to visit the taping of newcomer Marian Rivera at the set of Kung Mamahalin Mo Lang Ako , bringing twelve red roses for the young actress. During that visit, Marian reportedly confronted Mark about Pauleen Luna. Afterwards, Mark left the set in silence. Now, he is also rumored to be that serious with Ryza Cenon. Jennylyn was greatly affected by that revelation but the management of GMA-7 prohibited her to talk about it.

Jennylyn and Mark head the cast of Regal’s Blue Moon, an entry to the 2005 Metro Manila Film Festival directed by Joel Lamangan. The cast also includes Eddie Garcia, Christopher de Leon, Boots Anson Roa, Dennis Trillo, Pauleen Luna and Polo Ravales. This is produced by Roselle Monteverde-Teo with Mother Lily as executive producer. The mother and daughter producers are reportedly worried that the loveteam’s breakup might affect the box office performance of Blue Moon.

Movie fans are actually fed up with the running story of Mark and Jennylyn and they may turn to another loveteam in exasperation. But who will benefit and who will be adversely affected by the break up? Remember that Jennylyn has been pictured as the underdog, the aggrieved and fans will inevitably take her side and thus leave Mark alone in the lurch. There are news that Mother Lily is now moving heaven and hell to put a new loveteam pairing Jennylyn and Hero Angeles in a forthcoming Regal movie. If this materializes, we can safely say that the Jennylyn-Mark loveteam has just went up in smoke. The old cycle seems to begin. If the new tandem makes it, what will happen to Mark Herras? Some movie reporters are saying that Jennylyn is the real strong leg of their loveteam.

GMA-7 is also reported to be shifting gears. There are plans to pair Mark with Pauleen Luna. On television, the network will follow Mother Lily’s plan to make the Jennylyn-Hero tandem. Hero himself becomes a big threat to the other young male talents of GMA 7. This early, expectations are high that the Jennylyn-Hero loveteam will hit the sky. Things might end up with Mark lost in the desert. His loveteam with Pauleen might turn out to be his last card. For Jennylyn, things are actually looking bright. She is assured that her fans had not deserted her at all.

The loveteam syndrome still holds and that augurs badly for the male counterpart of the loveteam. Let us wait and find out if history will be repeating itself.