Rom-Com Culture in the Philippines

If you search up “love teams” on Google, you will find hundreds of news sites, online magazines, and fan-made blogs centered around popular on-screen couples in the Philippines. The term “love team” has become such a widespread trend across the country that countless Filipinos have even created their own extensive fan clubs dedicated to their favorite celebrity movie duos.

So what exactly does this term mean?

Love teams are couples which producers in the Philippines put together in order to boost the number of viewers and, of course, hungry fans. Once an actor is paired up with an actress in a love team, the two will star in numerous movies together as a romantic couple, and will rarely ever be seen acting with a different love interest. They will play different characters, but will always act together as the main couple. (So imagine if Leo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet played love interests in every movie they made.)

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Missing Croatia 💙 Also, looooooveeee this dress made by @itspatriciasnts ✨

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Pictured above is a famous duo, “LizQuen”: Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil. They’ve starred in the rom-com movies, Alone/Together and My Ex and Whys, and the TV series Dolce Amore and Forevermore (their first series as a love team).

It seems like a bizarre notion, but we witness movie fans all around us fantasizing about on-screen couples, too (aka “shipping”). For example, when Zendaya and Tom Holland starred in Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home, a multitude of fans created fan pages on Instagram, tweeted about the possibility of the two actors dating in real life, and even put together compilations of cute moments between the co-stars on Youtube. Fans so eagerly wanted this dream couple to happen, which leads to the next common characteristic of love teams…

Many of them are expected to please their fans by entertaining the idea of a romantic relationship off-screen, as well; and sometimes, many of these TV pairings actually end up together in real life.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Photo taken before our flight back to Manila. Took home happy memories and heavier rimowas 😜

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Definitely one of the most popular love teams in the Philippines is “KathNiel”: Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla. They have starred in hit movies including She’s Dating the Gangster, Crazy Beautiful You, and The Hows of Us. What makes this love team so lovable, and one of the reasons why they have such a huge fan base, is the fact that the two actors have been dating for more than six years now.

As expected, love team fans are extremely against any of the partners eyeing other people. Fans in the Philippines are quite invested in their idealized fantasy of their “perfect couple,” and so they expect their love teams to remain a couple (even if they really aren’t) and always act lovey-dovey. They expect these on-screen couples to act in multiple films together, pose for magazine covers together, and of course, be caught on camera together in public.

This rom-com culture in the Philippines has a bright and dark side. Many well-known actors in the Philippines have risen to fame from being part of a love team. However, several Filipino celebrities have admitted that they feel pressure to act a certain way as a result of this, and they feel that they are not able to be their own person. Kathryn Bernado once admitted that she feels like she and her co-star/boyfriend Daniel are not growing as individual people, since they spend so much time together and the movie industry mostly just sees them as a love team rather than separate actors.




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My Careless girl ❤️

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Pictured above are James Reid and Nadine Lustre, who used to be known as “JaDine”. In 2014, they starred in their first movie together called Diary ng Panget, and eventually transitioned to becoming contract stars soon after. In 2015, they starred in the TV series On the Wings of Love and in the following year, another TV series called Til I Met You. Despite the seemingly perfect chemistry both on-screen and off, the love team confirmed their break-up just last month in January 2020, after a little less than four years of dating. Right now, the two actors want to focus more on themselves and their careers, since they are still both so young. Reid admitted in the February 2020 issue of Mega Man magazine that he wants to explore independence and figure out what he is outside of a love team with Nadine.

It is apparent that there are certain standards when it comes to romance in the movie industry in the Philippines, and with the hundreds of thousands of fan club members that root for love teams and all the online networks which bring these fans together, actors face an almost unavoidable pressure to please the public. After all, they represent the idealized image of romance. However, co-stars in love teams such as KathNiel and JaDine have spoken up to the public and taken breaks from doing movies with each other to focus on building their own careers and living their own separate lives. Hopefully, on our end, as viewers of these movies and TV shows, we can enjoy watching these couples on the screen and respect their lives off-screen, as well.