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KathNiel on love, passion, success & money secrets, overcoming temptations & crisis

By WILSON LEE FLORES, The Philippine Star Published Jul 24, 2022 5:00 am

The Philippines’ most popular loveteam — “KathNiel” (actress Kathryn Bernardo) and actor Daniel Padilla of ABS CBN 2 — has a new teleserye entitled 2 Good 2 Be True on television, Netflix and Viu.

In 2017, when Francis Zamora (now mayor) invited me to opening night of his District 8 gastropub in Greenhills, San Juan, I was shocked when I walked into the place, lots of cameras exploded in flashes taking photos of me and people were cheering! Seconds later, I realized it wasn’t for me, but for the famous KathNiel duo just behind me! Daniel is a business partner in the gastropub and that’s where I also first met the humble loveteam.

Daniel plays Eloy, a law student who sidelines as an auto mechanic for his tuition and who hopes to help free his father who’s been jailed due to false accusations for a major crime. Eloy uses various identities to con and befriend real estate magnate Hugo Agcaoili (Ronaldo Valdez), whom he heard has something to do with his father’s imprisonment. Hugo’s intern Ali (Kathryn) busts Eloy, though Ali herself is not an intern but a private nurse for Hugo due to his secret sickness.

Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo in ‘2 Good 2 Be True’: ‘It gives hope, especially now that life is so chaotic.’

Kathryn and Daniel recently granted this writer an exclusive interview. Here are excerpts:

PHILIPPINE STAR: Your loveteam will be 11 years long this year. What do you think are the reasons KathNiel has become very popular? 

KATHRYN BERNARDO: Maybe because we are very particular in our choices of projects. Maybe one factor is we do not accept a project if we do not like it. So I think that’s very important: every year and every project, we have something to offer, and we try.

DANIEL PADILLA: Ako, ano na lang (For me, anything goes), the loyalty of our supporters towards us. That is what has kept us going strong for this long.

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KATHRYN: That’s true. Malaking part talaga kaya (They’re a big part)... and we’re very lucky because not all have this kind of fandom. And with KathNiels talaga, grabe the love that they give us, so they are the main reason.

What about you, Daniel? What are your qualities or what did you do for success?

Always, babalik ka sa values. And tsaka hindi naman na gano'n kababaw 'yung pagsasama natin, namin ni Kathryn.

DANIEL: Ganon naman every time the hard work and passion na binibigay din naman natin, diba (that we give, isn’t it)? We always give our 100 percent to every project.

KATHRYN: And kahit anong mangyari (whatever happens), success or failures, dapat you stay humble and kind to people. Those are truly very important.

The KathNiel love team: Eleven years and counting.

What are the secrets behind the durability of your reel- and real-life loveteam, especially in the showbiz world with lots of good-looking people and temptations?

DANIEL: Siguro babalik yun sa kahit (Perhaps we should go back to even)... what do we call it... ano nga yun?

KATHRYN: Values.

DANIEL: Values, yeah. Dun. It’s always values. Always, babalik ka sa (you go back to) values. And saka hindi naman na gano'n kababaw 'yung pagsasama natin, namin ni Kathryn, para ano lang (And our relationship, Kathryn and I, it’s not that shallow, just for)...

KATHRYN: And agree naman, maraming artista (many actors and actresses), there are many temptations, especially in this industry. But it’s up to each person how you will handle all that. So siguro in our case, we take care of what we have together and others see that so that’s why they respect us. Yeah, yun lang. Ano pa ba (that’s it, what else)?

DANIEL: Tsaka may plano kasi tayong dalawa for the future, hindi lang para ngayon, diba (And also, we both have plans for the future, not just for now, isn’t it)?

Why is 2 Good 2 Be True exciting? What do each of you like the most about this story and project?

KATHRYN: Well, sa akin personally, I said yes to this project because of the material, because of the story. So if meron talagang isang... if there’s something to be proud of, that’s really the story and yung quality na mabibigay. And that’s very special kasi nga like na-mention na namin sa past interviews na first collab ‘to with Netflix. So, alam mo yun, for us to be given a chance to start this… Nakaka-pressure siya but at the same time nakaka-proud. So yun, siguro yung sa 2 Good 2 Be True, because it has many values, it has so many learnings about friendship and family, then it also tackles many other topics including Alzheimer’s, which was shown in several past episodes. Very important yun na viewers can learn much, yung no matter what age viewers can relate, and every episode, they will enjoy and they can get lessons. Those are the reasons we are proud of this show.

DANIEL: I agree... Bakit exciting?

KATHRYN: Baka yung timpla rin kasi (maybe also the good chemistry) with Direk Mae (Cruz-Alviar).

DANIEL: Oo. The cast, yung kay Direk Mae. And siguro something light, fun to watch for the people. Lalo na, susko, kagulo ng mga buhay natin ngayon. So, you know, sarap lang magpa-feel good ng mga tao with the show (Especially, oh, God, life nowadays is so chaotic. So, you know, it’s so nice to help people feel good with the show).

KATHRYN: Nagbibigay ng hope (It gives hope).

DANIEL: Yeah. And we’re also excited since it’s been a long time that we’ve not been seen in a teleserye, so personally excited din kami sa mao-offer ulit namin sa mga tao, with the expectations from both of us. And we’re very happy na maraming natutuwa sa show namin (that we’re delighting many with our show).

KATHRYN: With the script, too, we ourselves are excited about what’s happening in the story, where the story is going. The script is not predictable.

I’m just curious, how and where do you save or invest your earnings? Do you have a family member or a professional who is you financial adviser?

DANIEL: Tita Min, the mother of Kathryn. Tapos ang usapan (End of conversation). (Daniel smiles.)

KATHRYN: Yeah, si Mama. Parent. It’s because we know how important it is to save for the future, for the security of everyone. So I’m very lucky kasi si Mama, she guides me on those matters, especially financially. Of course, we need that kind of guidance, because I’m 26, Deej is 27, and slowly, you know, we are learning and we really need to learn for the future. So yun, thank you Mama.

DANIEL: Ako, based on experience, dahil lumaki ako sa wala (Me, based on experience, because I grew up with nothing). That’s why if I have earnings, I need to take care of them, because I already knew before how it was when we had nothing. So yun lang yung sagot ko (So that’s my answer).

And we’re also excited since it’s been a long time that we’ve not been seen in a teleserye, so personally excited din kami sa mao-offer ulit namin sa mga tao, with the expectations from both of us.

During the two-year global pandemic crisis, how did you cope and survive physically and emotionally?

KATHRYN: Ang laking bagay ng family for me (A big reason for me is the family).

DANIEL: Yeah, family sa ating lahat. Pangalawa (Family for all of us. Second)...

KATHRYN: You (looking at Daniel).

DANIEL: ...ayoko ring maging (I don’t want to be) selfish because at that time, it was good that we didn’t suffer COVID, our families were okay, because in that period a lot of people got sick. In those times, life was also hard for many people, they didn’t know how they could eat. So parang... we’re just happy na andito pa tayo (that we’re still here). And now we’re working on a series and we are working again.

KATHRYN: Ako naman, siguro during the pandemic, the people who really helped, first yung family because we’re together in the house. Family, because they’re who we really had more time for bonding with. And then si DJ kasi di ko rin alam kung pano mag-survive kung wala si Deej, especially yung mga first months. Super challenging because we had no men in the house. So si Deej talaga helping us with groceries, in almost all things. And lastly, of course, your friends. It was that time you will know who your true friends are, those who were asking how we were then and all. So yun, we could appreciate people, especially after all this.