Belle Mariano and Donny Pangilinan didn’t know what to expect when they launched as one loveteam. But as they worked and evolved together, they were in awe of each other’s growth, not only as actors but as individuals.
“When I first started working with her, I didn’t know what to expect,” Pangilinan recalled during an exclusive roundtable discussion for “Can’t buy me love”, which is poised to be DonBelle’s first teleserye.
Noting how much they have evolved after working side by side in different projects, Pangilinan shared that he admired Mariano’s determination to “be better every day” even though she had “already proven so much” as an actress.
“(Belle) has grown so much in terms of her artistry, the way she plays with her emotions and the different recordings she makes. The way she approaches life, work and professional life is very, very different from the day I met her in ‘He’s Into Her,'” he said. “She has so much she can do, even though she has already proven so much. It’s nice to know that she shows a different side of herself with every project.”
Mariano, on the other hand, expressed her pride in seeing how much her on-screen partner has “grown in his craft” since their first day together.
“I have really seen him grow in his profession. He has improved so much. I said to myself while I was watching him (filming a scene) in ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’, ‘Grabe (Wow), I’m so proud of this man,’ she said.
“Talagang mapapa-clap sa mapapa-clap ka sa binigay niya (you really can’t help but clap while looking at him). Who would have ever thought you would play this role? You can see how he has really grown in his profession. I am so proud of him,” she further added.
When asked how their younger selves would now react to their success, Pangilinan immediately had an expression of disbelief as if he were seeing a reflection of himself from the past. “Ginagawa mo diyan, Donny?” Paano nangyari ‘yun? Anong ginagawa mo sa buhay mo (What are you doing, Donny? How did that happen? What have you done in your life),” he said, laughing.
“I think my younger self would be incredulous. At the same time, I would (want to) be an inspiration to my younger self. That’s the goal. Would young Donny now look up to current Donny,” he continued.
Mariano, a former child actress, confessed that her younger self “would probably cry.” “I feel like she would say, ‘Ohmigosh, I want that.’ Then my older self told her she would take care of it, “you will get there.” She would be so happy.”
The on-screen partners, who are eager for fans to see a “different” version of DonBelle in their upcoming series, expressed their gratitude to devoted fans and said they “ran out of words to express how blessed they are” for their support.
“Kung wala sila, wala kami rito (If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be in this position now). They are a huge factor in why we do what we do. I don’t think we would be as motivated and inspired without their support and appreciation,” Pangilinan said. The actor then seemed impressed by how their fans “formed a community” who stuck by each other’s side.
“It’s so nice of them to come together and form a community of people who really stick together on the good days and the bad, and are there for each other,” he continued.
Meanwhile, Mariano expressed the belief that their fans are more than just a community and have instead grown into a “family.”
“It is their support that gives us the drive and motivation to do better at what we do. Whenever we see comments like, “Ohmigosh, we’re happy to see Bingo and Caroline.” You’re not going to see Donny and Belle. You’re going to see Bingo and Caroline,” she further added.
DonBelle for their characters
Aside from the usual explanations of their characters, Pangilinan showed his undeniable humor by turning INQUIRER.net’s question around when asked how “Can’t Buy Me Love” will show a different side of their love team.
“I think the question should be: how will it happen? not show a different side of us because our characters are so different from our previous work,” he said with a smile on his face. “I think it’s exciting and challenging for us to work through the characters (of Bingo and Caroline). It really opens up a new portal of how we interact with each other and how our characters interact with each other.
Pangilinan also noted that he wants “Can’t Buy Me Love” to be remembered as a “journey” to “something more,” while hoping it would open new doors in the future.
“I know it’s cliché, but (I want it to be remembered) as something different for the audience. We want to give them an experience that (we) can enjoy together and hopefully it can be remembered as one of the best shows to come out of this partnership (between ABS-CBN and a streaming platform).
For her part, Mariano’s innate empathy was evident when they were both asked about the advice they wanted to give Bingo and Caroline.
“Hala, bakit nalungkot ako bigla (Oh no, why did I suddenly feel sad for them),” she began before thinking about her answer. “Huwag mong solohin lahat ng bigat ng buhay mo (You cannot carry the baggage in your life alone).”
“Money cannot buy love and happiness. It can buy happiness, but not everything. I want our show to have an impact on the audience so that you find true happiness within yourself and the people you surround yourself with,” she continued.
Pangilinan, who admitted he had the same advice as Mariano, instead chose to tell his character, “Mag-iwan ka rin sa sarili mo (Please leave something for yourself).”
The series starring Mae Cruz-Alviar tells the story of hardworking Binondo salesman Bingo (Donny Pangilinan) who encounters Caroline (Belle Mariano), an apparent outcast from her wealthy Filipino-Chinese family.
Can’t Buy Me Love also stars Nova Villa, Rowell Santiago, Ruffa Gutierrez, Agot Isidro, Maris Racal, Albie Casiño, Chie Filomeno, Darren Espanto, Joao Costancia, Kaila Estrada, Vivoree Esclito, Karina Bautista and Celeste Legazpi.
Also joining them are Ina Raymundo and Shaina Magdayao, who were recently confirmed as the mothers of Pangilinan and Mariano’s characters, respectively. EDV