We all like stories about true love. That’s what makes our hearts flutter when we watch Korean dramas. Yes, “flutter” is the kilig word in K-dramaspeak.
But we see it today in real life, not just on Netflix. Like my fave royal couple, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, are showing true love as they stick together amid all the bashing by racists and anti-fans.
Theirs was described as a volatile relationship, but the life of passionate Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo together has always fascinated me. Frida told Diego: “You deserve a lover who listens when you sing, who supports you when you feel shamed and respects your freedom; who flies with you and isn’t afraid to fall. You deserve a lover who takes away the lies and brings you hope, coffee and poetry.”
In cinema, our folks often refer to Casablanca as their peg for romance. The most romantic quote there is “Kiss me, kiss me as if it were the last time.” But not really so romantic is its most famous line: “Here’s looking at you, kid.”
From literature: Did you know that the song Total Eclipse of the Heart, written by Jim Steinman and recorded by Bonnie Tyler, was inspired by Wuthering Heights? That classic Emily Brontë novel was made into a modern movie on Netflix.
Another classic given a modern take on Netflix is Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina which, by the way, became a bestseller again when Oprah Winfrey put it on her “Oprah’s Book Club” list. Its most romantic quote: “I’ve always loved you, and when you love someone, you love the whole person, just as he or she is, and not as you like them to be.”
Speaking of classics, Ang Lee did a remake of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility with six actors who went on to play parts in Harry Potter films, and the movie is also on Netflix.
Call me crazy (or just a wannabe screenwriter) but I watched Encounter eight times — yes, eight times — for its excellent script, character development, acting, music and imageries between episodes. My favorite line there comes from Park Bo-gum when he quotes a poet: “If the sea’s duty is to make waves, mine is to think of you.” That was said while Park Bo-gum and Song Hye-kyo were by the sea.
We asked seven couples how they know it’s true love: top actress-singer Sarah Geronimo and actor-racer-Swatch endorser Matteo Guidicelli; fashion stylist Liz Uy and businessman Raymond Racaza; social media-influencer Divine Lee and businessman Blake Go; media personality Bianca Gonzalez and basketball star-painter JC Intal; Karen Davila, ABS-CBN broadcast journalist and DJ Sta. Ana, Aboitiz Equity Ventures senior vice president; top dermatologists Dr. Aivee Aguilar Teo and Dr. Z Yeo; entrepreneur Marga Nograles and Cabinet member Karlo Nograles. Here are their answers:
Matteo Guidicelli & Sarah Geronimo
MATTEO GUIDICELLI: You just know it’s true love. It’s tough to explain because it’s a feeling of forever. Love takes a lot of work, passion, determination and trust. When I held Sarah’s hand onstage during a song number, I knew it was going to be the hand I’d hold forever.
SARAH GERONIMO: And I am still holding Matteo’s hand. I will never let it go.
Raymond Racaza & Liz Uy
RAYMOND RACAZA: Because I can’t imagine life without her and I couldn’t be happier. She complements most of my quirks and there weren’t any pretentions from day one. Life is wonderful as we share the same dreams and aspirations.
LIZ UY: You just know.
Jc Intal & Bianca Gonzalez
JC INTAL: Exactly a week after I met Bianca, I told her I love her already. When you know, you know. You feel it and you can’t even explain it. Now we have two adorable little girls and my love for my wife grows each and every day.
BIANCA GONZALEZ: It’s easier to love the best versions of ourselves and tougher to love the “darker” sides of ourselves. And so I knew it was true love when I realized that JC was still who I would choose to be with even on his worst days, and who I wanted to be with on my worst days.
DJ Sta. Ana & Karen Davila
DJ STA. ANA: Karen felt like home. I felt loved for who I was. The times I took care of her — when she was sick, gave birth — I knew, “I really love this woman.”
KAREN DAVILA: We dated more than six years before getting married. DJ loved me and accepted me the way I was. I didn’t have to transform myself into someone else. He was kind and loving. He let me be. I love DJ in so many ways — as a wife, friend, and as someone who wants him to know Christ.
Blake Go & Divine Lee
DIVINE LEE: Di parin ako sure! We’re the last singles of the group, so wala na kaming choice — joke! I guess because we were friends first. And we liked each other with no pretensions. That includes accepting that my battalion of beckies sleep over all the time.
BLAKE GO: Sabi nya eh. Masunurin naman ako. Hahaha! I think true love stems from being a real partner. It’s my first time to fully trust someone when she says, “I got this.”
Dr. Z Teo & Dr. Aivee Aguilar-Teo
Z TEO: In Scotland, when Aivee stayed in the kitchen to cook adobo for me for four hours while getting instructions via a long-distance phone call from her sister in Manila! That’s love!
AIVEE AGUILAR-TEO: When I met Z, he really showed me how much I meant to him. Since we had a long-distance relationship, he would call me every day on a regular phone line, in spite of the time difference (at that time there was no WhatsApp, Viber, Zoom). He would fly even just for the weekend from the UK just to see me. He would follow me anywhere and everywhere (in the world) if he had a chance, so he could be with me.
Karlo Nograles & Marga Nograles
MARGA MONTEMAYOR-NOGRALES: Karlo and I met during the Hijos de Davao ball. Lucky for him, his uncle could not dance the rigodon so he had to proxy and therefore he met me. (Hehe.) He was my partner that evening and, since then, I knew. He was the one for me then, now, forever and always.
KARLO NOGRALES: The first time I saw Marga I knew she was the one. When my parents asked me what I thought of Marga after meeting her the first time, I immediately said, “I will marry her.” Marga didn’t have to do anything; I just knew. I chose her and I will continue to choose her forever.