Donny Pangilinan and Belle Mariano — dubbed as the “New Gen Phenomenal Love Team” — have deeply resonated with viewers and fans. They achieved this by starring successfully in projects like “He's Into Her,” “Love is Color Blind,” and “An Inconvenient Love.”
Today, fans of the DonBelle love team have the opportunity to witness their growth as they try to redefine the Gen Z concept of love in their first teleserye, “Can't Buy Me Love.”
The series revolves around teenagers Bingo (Donny), a hard-working seller who wants to save up to P1 million after his mother left him, and Caroline (Belle), the black sheep of a wealthy Filipino Chinese family. Their worlds will collide after Bingo saves Caroline from the kidnappers who left her almost drowning.
Director Mae Cruz-Alviar herself acknowledged that “the struggle is real” for Pangilinan as he portrayed a young man struggling to make ends meet in everyday life.
“In the jeep scene, I told him that he should be in a hurry. Donny, on the other hand, waited in line! I told him, 'This isn't a line,'” Cruz-Alviar said in the grand media conference.
The director reminded Pangilinan to temporarily forget his gentlemanly manners in those scenes, saying, “Because you're too polite in real life, but in a dog-eat-dog world, you need to hurry.”
He apparently asked the young man when he noticed that he wasn't catching on to the scene, “Is this your first time riding a jeep?” To which Pangilinan quickly responded, “Yes.”
“It was his first time, so he really was unfamiliar with it,” she added.
According to Pangilinan, he was able to immerse himself in the environment by touring Binondo and Divisoria.
He mentioned, “Direk and I scheduled an entire day to tour Binondo and Divisoria. It was my first time going around with her. We just went incognito with the team.”
Pangilinan shared that Cruz-Alviar encouraged him to observe the people and learn how they work and interact with others.
He said, “Bingo has a lot to go through in this series, so I want to make sure I understand what Bingo goes through and how he talks. I also get a lot of help from my co-actors here – like kuya Ketchup [Eusebio], Hyubs [Azarcon], and Anthony [Jennings].”
On the other hand, it is Mariano's first time playing the role of a rich Chinese girl in a series. To prepare, she and her co-star, Darren Espanto, who portrays her best friend, had to learn Chinese.
She said, “Until now, I'm still getting to know Caroline, but I did seven days of Hokkien classes and immersed myself in Chinese culture because Caroline comes from a wealthy Chinese family. So, director Mae and I had a kind of 'date' where we talked about Caroline all day.”
Now more than ever, DonBelle is even prouder of their partnership as they successfully conquered the challenges they faced in this newest series.
Pangilinan praised Mariano for improving as an actress.
“I was able to discover that she can be even better. She's amazing. I thought that, you know, she's been in the industry for quite some time. Since she was a kid, she knows her craft, and her approach is just great. But no, she always surprises me and everyone with the performances she gives,” Pangilinan said.
He further stated, “It's more of a surprise to me that what she brings to the scenes, she can do more, she's better, and she brings a different approach. It's always a proud moment for me when I see that,” he added.
Mariano, meanwhile, returned the praises for Pangilinan, “For me, it becomes more evident how determined he is in what he does. Like, the more I work with him, it actually inspires me to work even harder, so I'm happy to go through this journey with him.”
Joining Pangilinan and Mariano in this Star Creatives-produced series are veteran actors Nova Villa, Celeste Legaspi, Agot Isidro, Rowell Santiago, and Ruffa Gutierrez.
The cast also includes Maris Racal, Albie Casiño, Kaila Estrada, Joao Constancia, Karina Bautista, Vivoree, and Espanto.
“Can't Buy Me Love” first premiered on Netflix on October 13. It's also available for streaming on the iWantTFC app (iOS and Android) and iwanttfc.com beginning today, October 14. The broadcast premiere is set for October 16 on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, A2Z, Jeepney TV, Cinemo, TFC IPTV, and TV5.
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