Love teams help a great deal in making a movie more interesting, more colorful and marketable. That’s why movie producers do not stop discovering and developing potential money-making pairs.
These onscreen partners in turn become unforgettable icons of each era in Philippine show business. Representatives of generations of movie fans.
Here are some of the most unforgettable love teams from each decade in movies and television.
1920s to 1930s Silent Movies
MARY WALTER & GREGORIO FERNANDEZ. Probably the first love team in the history of Philippine cinema, Mary Walter and Gregorio Fernandez were romantically paired in the local silent movies Ang Lumang Simbahan (1928), Desperation (1929), Dimasalang (1930), Don Juan Tinoso (1930), Ang Gayuma (1932), and Ang Lihim ni Bathala (1934).
1930s to 1940s “Talkies”
ROSA DEL ROSARIO & LEOPOLDO SALCEDO. Although both were already popular as solo artists in the early 30s, it was in 1937 after being paired in Gamu-Gamong Naging Lawin that they became more popular as a love team. Their popularity continued with the box-office success of their next movies: Ang Kumpisalan At Ang Batas (1937), Biyaya Ni Bathala (1938), Walang Sugat (1939), Huling Habilin (1940), Magpakailan Man (1940), and Ilang-ilang (1941). Their partnership was temporarily put on hold during the Japanese Occupation. But after the war, their fans still loved them in movies like Tandang Sora (1947), Bakya Mo, Neneng (1947), Kundiman ng Luha (1950), Panata ng Puso (1950), and Neneng Ko (1952).
ELSA ORIA & ELY RAMOS. Elsa was dubbed “The Singing Sweetheart of the Philippines” while Ely was considered the best-dressed screen idol of his time. They made only three movies together (the musicals Bituing Marikit, 1937; Madaling Araw, 1938; and Isumpa Mo, 1947), but all were box-office hits.
LUCITA GOYENA & FERNANDO POE. Newcomer Lucita gained popularity when she was paired with dashing Fernando in Punit na Bandila (1939), Leron-Leron Sinta (1939), Biyak na Bato (1939), Alaalang Banal (1940), Dilim at Liwanag (1940), and Dalagang Filipina (1940). Their movies were all box-office hits, earning their love team the title “1940 Queen and King of Philippine Movies.”
1940s to 1950s First Golden Age of Philippine Movies
CORAZON NOBLE & ANGEL ESMERALDA. Before the Japanese Occupation, Sampaguita Pictures’ “Drama Queen” Corazon and her partner matinee idol Angel were raking in profits for the studio with their movies Estrellita (1940), Kahapon Lamang (1940) and Mariposa (1941). Their onscreen love team ended up in real-life marriage, just before the World War II broke out. Corazon endured a brutal tragedy during the last few days of the Occupation-she was stabbed nine times by a Japanese soldier and her 10-month old baby killed during the attack. After the war, she and Angel raised their family again and became the parents of one of the most revered and much-lamented actors in local cinema, actor Jay Ilagan.
CARMEN ROSALES & ROGELIO DELA ROSA. “Mameng at Roger” is no doubt the most popular and most loved tandem of this era. Although they did not like each other at first in real life, they became very successful as a love team and starred in hit movies of this era: classic movies like Takipsilim (1939), Senorita (1940), Lambingan (1940), Colegiala (1940), Tampuhan (1941), Camelia (1949), Maalaala Mo Kaya? (1954), Ang Tangi Kong Pag-ibig (1955) and Lydia (1956). Their romantic scenes while singing as a duet under a tree became their trademark.
TITA DURAN & PANCHO MAGALONA. They were the first to prove that even after marriage, a love team can still produce box-office hits. Hit movies like Tatlong Puso (1948), Dahil Sa Iyo (1948), Bulaklak Na Walang Pangalan (1948), Milagro ng Birhen (Ng Mga Rosas) (1949), Huwag Ka Nang Magtampo (1950), Kay Ganda Mo, Neneng (1950), Kasintahan Sa Pangarap (1951), Sabas, Ang Barbaro (1952), Ang Ating Pag-ibig (1953), Sa Isang Sulyap Mo, Tita (1953), Sa Isang Halik Mo Pancho (1953), Maria Went to Town (1955), Bella Filipina (1956), Mr. ‘n Mrs (1956), Tatak ni Solomon (1958), Sino’ng Kapiling, Sino’ng Kasiping (1977) and Alamat ng Bundok ng Susong Dalaga (1983). Tita Duran and Pancho Magalona were excellent dancers. In some of their movies, they had dance numbers choreographed by both of them and, sometimes, with the help of their best friend Dolphy.
1950s to 1960s Big Studio Movies
DELIA RAZON & MARIO MONTENEGRO. No other love team in Philippine cinema looked as good together as a dashing prince and a lovely princess in those big costume-adventure-romance studio movies, than the tandem of LVN Pictures’ tall, dark and handsome Mario Montenegro and the very beautiful and photogenic Delia Razon. They starred in 15 successful movies before Delia got married in 1958. Some of their successful movies were Bohemyo (1951), Rodrigo de Villa (1952), Tatlong Labuyo (1953), Dose Pares (1954), Lapu-Lapu (1955), Ilaw Sa Karimlan (1956), Topo-Topo (1957), and Balae (1958).
NIDA BLANCA & NESTOR DE VILLA. Hands down, theirs was the most popular love team of the 1950s in Philippine movies. They starred in romance-comedy hit movies that always had excellent musical and dance sequences. Movies like Tumbalik Na Daigdig (1953), Hiyasmin (1954), Waray-Waray (1954), Ikaw Kasi (1955), Handang Matodas (1956), Bahala Na (1956), Sebya, Mahal Kita (1957), Wala Kang Paki (1958), Anak ni Waray (1959), My Serenade (1961) and Bakit Ka Nagtampo? (1961). Their love team was so successful that they even had their own TV show in the 1960s, The Nida-Nestor Show. Years later, their love team was reunited in the movie Forgive and Forget (1982) with Sharon Cuneta and William Martinez, and Saan Darating Ang Umaga? (1983) with Maricel Soriano.
GLORIA ROMERO & LUIS GONZALES. It was already in the late 1950s that this tandem became a hit. But Gloria and Luis starred in hit after hit from 1955 to 1969. Before they became a love team, Gloria was paired with other leading men: Ramon Revilla and Ric Rodrigo; Luis teamed up with Lolita Rodriguez or Rita Gomez. Some of their hit movies include Despatsadora (1955), Artista (1955), Hootsy Kootsy (1955), Pagdating ng Takipsilim (1956), Colegiala (1957), Alaalang Banal (1958), Sinisinta Kita (1963), Ang Rosaryo at Ang Tabak (1964), Iginuhit ng Tadhana (1965), Till The End of Time (1966), and Pinagbuklod ng Langit (1969).
1960s to 1970s Shing-A-Ling Bang-Bang
AMALIA FUENTES & ROMEO VASQUEZ. Although they started their love team in 1956 (via the movie Lydia), they had more hit movies in the 1960s. Some of their hits were Wedding Bells (1960), Isinakdal Ko Ang Aking Ama (1960), Siete Amores (1961), Ako’y Iyong-iyo (1963), Walang Wakas Sa Matapang (1964), Aloha (1965), Fiesta South America (1966), Hani-Hanimun (1967), Yes I do (1967). They got married but soon separated when Amalia discovered that Bobby had a previous marriage. By 1973, they starred again in the movie Sa Aming Muling Pagkikita, and partnered again in 1976 for the movie Puwede Ako, Puwede Ka Pa Ba?. Their last team-up was in 1996 in the movie Reputasyon.
SUSAN ROCES & EDDIE GUTIERREZ. Susan was paired before with Romeo Vasquez and Jose Mari Gonzales. When the two actors left Sampaguita Pictures, Susan was paired with Eddie Gutierrez. They had their first hit as a love team in the movie Joey, Eddie and Lito (1961). Then they were paired again in Susanang Madadal (1962), Dolly Sisters (1964), Leron Leron Sinta (1964), Ang Maganda Kong Kapitbahay (1965), Romansa Sa World Fair (1965), Anong Ganda Mo (1966), Ang Pangarap Ko’y Ikaw (1967), and The Big Broadcast (1967).
SUSAN ROCES & FERNANDO POE JR. Since Susan at this time was already hailed as the Queen of Tagalog Cinema, it was inevitable for her to be paired with the acknowledged King of Local Movies, Fernando Poe Jr. The King and Queen were first paired in the movie Ang Daigdig Ko’y Ikaw (1965) and their next projects (especially after getting married) were almost always box-office hits: Bayan Ko, Lumaban Ka (1965), Zamboanga (1966), Langit at Lupa (1967), Sorrento (1968), Perlas ng Silanganan (1969), Ikaw Ang Lahat Sa Akin (1970), Salaginto’t Salagubang (1972), Karnabal (1973), Mahal…Saan Ka Nanggaling Kagabi? (1979), No Retreat… No Surrender-Si Kumander (1987), Mahal…Saan Ka Natulog Kagabi? (1992), among others.
1970s to 1980s The Superstar and The Star for All Seasons
NORA AUNOR & TIRSO CRUZ III. Their love team was phenomenal. No other love team before them ever drew so much adoration from fans than Guy and Pip. They starred in movies that were mostly musicals and sometimes done hastily. Despite this, their movies were always hits at the box-office. Some of their most successful movies were: D’ Musical Teenage Idols (their first pairing in 1969), Fiesta Extravaganza (1969), Young Love (1970), Nasaan Ka, Inay? (1970), Guy and Pip (1971), And God Smiled At Me (1972), Maalaala Mo Kaya? (1973), Memories Of Our Love (1975), Magandang Gabi Sa Inyong Lahat (1976), Pinakasalan Ko Ang Ina Ng Aking Kapatid (1977), Isinilang Ko’y Di Ko Tunay Na Anak (1978), Mahal Mo, Mahal Ko (1978), Bilangin Ang Bituin Sa Langit (1989). The height of their popularity was during the years 1970-1972.
VILMA SANTOS & EDGAR MORTIZ. Vi and Bot’s love team was dubbed “Subok na Matibay, Subok na Matatag” by their fans. They appeared in 30-plus successful movies in less than five years-a record in Philippine showbiz for a love team. Some of their box-office hits were: Love is the Two of Us (1970), Edgar Loves Vilma (1970), My Pledge of Love (1970), Vilma My Darling (1970), Renee Rose (1970), The Sensations (1971), Our Love Affair (1971), Dulce Corazon (1972), Now and Forever (1973), Biktima (1974), Kampanerang Kuba (1974), Karugtong ng Kahapon (1975).
1980s to 1990s the Regal and Viva Era
VILMA SANTOS & CHRISTOPHER DE LEON. Vilma’s love team with Christopher de Leon was not only one of the most successful love teams in Philippine movie history, but also the most critically acclaimed. They starred in movies that did well not only in the box-office but with the critics as well. During their pairing, they both matured as actors. They were first paired in Tag-ulan Sa Tag-araw (1975). It was followed by Masarap, Masakit ang Umibig (1977), Nakawin Natin ang Bawat Sandali (1978), Ikaw Ay Akin (1978), Disco Fever (1978), Gusto Kita, Mahal Ko Siya (1980), Pakawalan Mo Ako (1981), Relasyon (1982), Haplos (1982), Sinasamba Kita (1982), Broken Marriage (1983), Minsan Pa Nating Hagkan ang Nakaraan (1983), Paano Ba Ang Mangarap (1983), Imortal (1989), Ipagpatawad Mo (1991), Dahil Mahal Kita: The Dolzura Cortez Story (1993), Nag-iisang Bituin (1994), Hanggang Ngayon Ika’y Minamahal (1997), Dekada 70 (2002), and Mano Po 3: My Love (2004).
SHARON CUNETA & GABBY CONCEPCION. In terms of popularity among the fans, there is no doubt that Sharon and Gabby’s team up is the most popular in the 1980s in Philippine show business. 1981, Sharon was 15 years old and was to be launched as a movie star by Sining Silangan productions, while Gabby had a love team with Snooky in his mother studio, Regal Films. Gabby was borrowed to star with Sharon in Dear Heart. It became a blockbuster. The next year, Viva Films was established and Gabby and Sharon starred again in its movie P.S. I Love You. It also became a box-office hit. This started Sharon’s reign as the Box-Office Queen of Philippine Movies, a title she held until 1993. They starred in other blockbusters such as My Only Love (1982), Dapat Ka Bang Mahalin? (1984), The Best of Sharon and Gabby (1984), Sa Hirap At Ginhawa (1984), Pati Ba Pintig ng Puso (1985), Bakit Ikaw Pa Rin (1990), Una Kang Naging Akin (1991) and Tayong Dalawa (1992). They got married in 1984 and separated 1987. Their daughter KC Concepcion is also now in show business.
MARICEL SORIANO & WILLIAM MARTINEZ. They were known to their fans and to the press as “Taray and Kulit,” monikers they got from being seen in their romance-comedy movies such as Bihagin: Bilibid Boys (1981), Pabling (1981), Galawgaw (1982), I Love You, I Hate You (1982), Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (1982), Daddy’s Little Darlings (1984), Anak Ni Biday vs. Anak Ni Waray (1984), Inday Bote (1985), Mga Kuwento Ni Lola Basyang (1985), The Graduates (1986), Inday, Inday Sa Balitaw (1986), Jack & Poy…Hale, Hale Hoy (1987), Maria Went To Town (1987) and Kung Ayaw Mo, Huwag Mo (1988). Earlier in their love team years, Maricel and William had an on and off real life relationship.
1990s to 2000s Teen Shows
SHERYL CRUZ & ROMNICK SARMENTA. On the afternoon show That’s Entertainment, Sheryl and Romnick’s love team was introduced. They later starred in their first movie together Puso sa Puso (1988), followed by Langit at Lupa (1988), One Two Bato, Three Four Bapor (1989), Padrina at ang mga Duwende (1989), Sagot sa Puso (1990), Kapag Nag-abot ang Langit at Lupa (1991), Takbo, Talon, Tili (1992). Fans trooped the Broadway Centrum in San Juan City where they waited for Sheryl to sing a duet with Romnick.
JUDY ANN SANTOS & WOWIE DE GUZMAN. When popular TV child star Judy Ann Santos became a teenager, she was paired with Universal Motion Dancers member Wowie de Guzman. Fans loved their team-up in movies like Mara Clara: The Movie (1996), Sana Naman (1996), Paano Ang Puso Ko? (1997), Muling Ibalik Ang Tamis ng Pag-ibig (1998), and My Pledge of Love (1999) and in the TV version of Mara Clara (1993) and Esperanza. (1997).
JOLINA MAGDANGAL & MARVIN AGUSTIN. Jolina and Marvin were part of the teen-oriented TV show Gimik (1996) which had a tremendous following. They were one of the strongest love teams on the show and it was not surprising when they were later given their own launching movie as a love team. They even had a tried-and-tested love team to help them in their launching movie-Maricel Soriano and William Martinez. Kung Ayaw Mo, Huwag Mo (1998) did well in the tills, followed immediately by Labs Kita…Okey Ka Lang. They paired again with their Gimik co-stars in the movie version of the TV show, Gimik: The Reunion (1999). They had another blockbuster with Hey Babe (2000), which even had a TV spin-off, Labs Ko Si Babes that same year. They parted ways as a love team and were reunited in the TV show, I Luv NY in 2006.
CLAUDINE BARRETTO & RICO YAN. Although their reel and real-life romance lasted approximately only seven years, the love team of Claudine and Rico proved itself immensely popular. They starred in the following movies which did well in the box-office: Radio Romance (1996), Madrasta (1996), F.L.A.M.E.S. the Movie (1997), Dahil Mahal Na Mahal Kita (1998), Mula Sa Puso: The Movie (1999) and Got 2 Believe (2002).
2000 to Present
JUDY ANN SANTOS & PIOLO PASCUAL. Piolo was the hottest male star at that time, Juday was the young superstar. When Star Cinema got them together in Kahit Isang Saglit (2000), fans loved them and a new love team (after Juday got paired with Wowie and then the late Rico Yan) was born. They were paired again in Sa Puso Ko Iingatan Ka and Bakit Di Totohanin in 2001. The fans’ giggles continued in their next movies Till There Was You (2003) and Don’t Give Up On Us (2006). However, a rift broke up their love team. Both parties maintain they are “civil” with each other now.
BEA ALONZO & JOHN LLOYD CRUZ. In 2003, at the age of 15, Bea was cast as 20 year-old law student Katrina Argos in the TV drama Kay Tagal Kang Hinintay opposite John Lloyd. This paved the way for their team-up which resulted in four successful teleseryes: It Might Be You (2003), Ikaw Ang Lahat Sa Akin (2005), Maging Sino Ka Man (2006) and Maging Sino Ka Man: Ang Pagbabalik (2007). Their love team also gave the public the hit movies Now That I Have You (2004), Close To You (2006), All About Love (2006), and One More Chance (2007). Fans wanted their onscreen love team to become real, but Bea and John Lloyd maintained there was really nothing between them but friendship and work. John Lloyd has a non-showbiz girlfriend, while Bea was rumored to be dating Jake Cuenca. John Lloyd had a hit movie last year with singer Sarah Geronimo, A Very Special Love.
ANGEL LOCSIN & RICHARD GUTIERREZ. Their team up as Alwina (Angel) and Aguiluz (Richard) in Mulawin (2004) was a hit with the televiewers. So it was not surprising when their launching movie as a love team, Let The Love Begin (2005), also became a hit at the box office. Fans had more of them when Mulawin: The Movie was released later that year. Their fans’ clamor for another movie was answered when Angel and Richard again made a killing at the box-office with I Will Always Love You (2006). They starred together again with veteran actors Lorna Tolentino, Gina Alajar and Tirso Cruz III in the movie Mano Po 5: Gua Ai Di (I Love You) (2006). Their last movie together The Promise, did not do well in the box-office because of problems that Angel had with GMA-7.
MARIAN RIVERA & DINGDONG DANTES. It was a gamble for GMA-7 to repackage an already mother role-playing Marian Rivera and team her up with Dingdong Dantes. Never did they imagine that the team-up would be bigger than they ever expected. Marian and Dingdong’s love team in MariMar (2007) not only became wildly popular but also set a record in Philippine Television-52.6 percent rating on its final episode, beating the 52.1 percent posted by Darna on 2005. Their team-up was seen again in Dyesebel (2008) and was finally seen on the big screen in One True Love (2008), which was a blockbuster. Despite negative publicity after both Marian and Dingdong broke up with their real life partners (Eric Vijandre, Marian’s boyfriend and Karylle, Dingdong’s girlfriend), their latest team-up in Ang Babaeng Hinugot Sa Aking Tadyang continues to enjoy high ratings.
KC CONCEPCION & RICHARD GUTIERREZ. The Richard and KC love team was drum-beat long before the showing of their first movie together, For The First Time (2008). That’s why when When I Met You was shown last February 11 of this year, the “kilig” factor had already sunk in and the movie was an instant hit among their fans, just like their first team-up.
(References: “The Top Love Teams of Local Cinema” by Mario E. Bautista, Hi! Magazine, Issue No. 59, Vol. 4, February 2008 ; “Empyrean of Love Teams of Philippine Cinema” A Movie Album Quizbook, researched, compiled and edited by Jessie B. Garcia, Erehwon Books & Magazine, December 2004)