Close this search box.

Why we love love: a dissection of Filipino love teams

by Gaby Agbulos

In a vlog post last February, actress Liza Soberano shared how she felt unfair to herself for constantly doing what everyone else wanted, and how since she was a child, she would sacrifice her happiness just to make others happy. 

“Since I was 16, I had only really worked side-by-side with one main co-star with the same production company, rotating around the same three directors,” she said in the video. “And during all those years, I was never really asked for my input, my thoughts, my ideas. I felt like I was being told to be just a flower for so long.”

Instead of empathy, the actress, who was once dubbed as the Most Beautiful Face in the World, was slapped with harsh words, essentially, calling her ungrateful. 

She had an online verbal tussle with her former manager who claimed that Soberano never raised these issues while under his wings. Soberano, who spoke her truth about the toxicity of love teams and how it remains the main ticket to stardom in the country, was bashed to hell. 

Ironically, when Aga Muhlach called her former love team co-star Lea Salonga ‘the one that got away’ – his greatest love, fans raved. In an IG post he made of the two of them, many people were quick to comment on their support for the love team despite the years that have passed.

One said: “My LeAga heart!!! Yung inhaler ko, pakiabot, ma! #LeAgaFeels” And these two couples who were for some reason still trying to keep the hype of their love teams alive, despite both being married to other people, were praised.

And speaking of shipping former love teams who are married already, fans went cuckoo again after exes Heart Evangelista and Jericho Rosales reunited in a dinner event months ago.

Netizens were quick to say that the two better suited each other despite them both being married to other people; “Bagay pa rin si Heart at Echo,” one netizen wrote

It is hard not to wonder: what is it about love teams that we as Filipinos find so appealing? 

Seldom do we see in other countries two actors so heavily bonded together that they’re contractually obligated to only be seen with each other given each movie that they film.

So when it comes to love teams, what’s the hype?


PAGASA: LPA to develop into tropical depression Aghon by Friday

STATE weather forecasters said that the country’s first tropical depression.

Disney+ PH presents interactive pop-up event at SM MoA

DISCOVER stories and find yourself in the newly expanded content.

Tips for beginner graphic designers

AS graphic designers grow to become more and more in.

The appeal of a love team

We didn’t have cable in my home growing up, so unlike my classmates who would watch Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon, I would be sat by my grandmother’s side watching Kathryn Bernardo in Princess and I. 

That was my first time being exposed to the world of love teams, and I immediately understood the hype, especially as a young girl that rarely ever got to experience romance herself. It was like watching a fairytale come true right before your eyes.

You can’t help but swoon as you watch these couples on TV; like any other form of media, a part of you lives vicariously through them. You’re Kathryn being serenaded by Daniel, or Sharon Cuneta being hugged from behind by Richard Gomez, or Jolina being asked by Marvin “Tayo na?” in the middle of a busy crowd.

In an article written by CNN’s Andrea Panaligan, she entails that the concept of love teams is unique to Philippine media. 

Panaligan wrote: “The feeling of kilig is so distinct to Filipino culture that it is untranslatable. 

When CNN Philippines Life contributor Apa Agbayana asked love team fans what fuels their ardent support, their entire was simply: “love – mysterious, inexplicable, but entirely palpable.”

Perhaps the reason why love teams in particular are so appealing to us is because of their familiarity, not just to us but to the actors themselves. 

Whenever I watch a KathNiel film, I feel myself smiling along with them despite the cheesiness of their lines or the unlikeliness of the given scene happening in real life.

As you watch these couples act with one another, you can tell that they’re comfortable with one another and that they enjoy the company of one another. While they make you feel that kilig factor that makes your heart beat faster, their acting that doesn’t feel like acting is enough to make you think they feel it, too. 

The dark side of things

For a little over a decade, Soberano has been teamed with her real-life boyfriend Enrique Gil, with most of their movies together revolving around cheesy content. They’ve been acting together since they were first paired in the film She’s the One back in 2013.

In a podcast named ‘Get Real!’ Soberano talked about the restrictions of being in a love team: how you had to hide your relationship status from the fans, how you had to star in projects with only them and them alone.

Since the comments she’s made, many have started calling Soberano ungrateful for the opportunities she’s been given, or “walang utang na loob.”

Even Soberano’s former talent manager, Ogie Diaz, started calling her ungrateful after she decided to speak up on her situation when Soberano has time and time again cleared up that she felt the exact opposite towards her former team.

“He’s calling me ungrateful when he knows very well how grateful I was to ABS-CBN,” she said in her interview with Boy Abunda. 

“Kahit wala akong kontrata sa kanila, I was doing so much work for them.”

In an article posted by the Rappler Entertainment Team, many netizens agreed that love teams were something that helped to contribute to the success of actors and actresses alike. 

Rappler’s article included a Facebook comment from netizen Michelle Sandoval, saying that the problem here in the Philippines is that love teams don’t change.

She continued: “Hanggang 56, 789 years, fandom nalang ng love team mismo kinikilig. Sa Korea, ang mga artist nage-explore individually, not by pairing sa iisang actor or actress. Kakaumay na.”

Soberano isn’t the only one that’s experienced this after breaking away from her well-known love team. After Maine Mendoza, a former member of the love team AlDub, got engaged to her new partner Arjo Atayde, AlDub fans went so far as to say they were going to kill Atayde. 

The mother of Atayde, Sylvia Sanchez, recounts how one post begged her to break Mendoza and Atayde up. “Durog na durog na si Maine sa panggagamit ni Arjo,” the post had said.

Others would say “isang bala ka lang” toward Atayde, which is why Sanchez begged fans of the broken-up love team just to kill her instead.

She stated desperately: “Ako nalang. Tanggalin niyo ang buhay ko sa akin, tatanggapin ko.”

Whether you are a diehard LizQuen shipper or someone that couldn’t care less, the end of this conversation should be one of respect. Respect not only to those that do or don’t participate in the culture of love teams, but to the very actors who are a part of them. 

Love teams are a great way to help us escape from reality, but many people forget that these are still jobs to these people. As real as we want it all to be, a lot of the time, it seldom is.



We have the stories you’ll want to read.

RepublicAsia Newsletter