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For DonBelle, love doesn’t always have to be convenient

Jannelle So Productions
For DonBelle, love doesn’t always have to be convenient

DONBELLE. Donny Pangilinan and Belle Mariano promote their new film during an interview with Janelle So.

Screengrab from Janelle So Productions

As glamorous as life has been for the young actors, there’s been plenty of sacrifice that has gone into it

This story is published in partnership with SoJannelleTV, a magazine show about Filipinos in North America

Life is good for DonBelle, the new “it” romance duo who recently visited the United States to promote their latest movie, An Inconvenient Love.

Rom-com team Donny Pangilinan and Belle Mariano arrived in Las Vegas and then traveled to Los Angeles, speaking with reporters, watching an NBA game, and even played some Topgolf. But as glamorous as life has been for the young actors, there’s been plenty of sacrifice that has gone into it.

“There’s a lot of hard work. Even in this movie, a lot of emotions involved, a lot of blood, sweat and tears,” said Pangilinan in an exclusive conversation with FilAm media pioneer Jannelle So Perkins on So Jannelle TV, which airs US-wide on cable channels The Filipino Channel (TFC) and ANC; as well as on local Southern CA digital channel KNET 25.1. It’s “so exclusive” that it was done in Pangilinan’s hotel suite, no less.

For DonBelle, love doesn’t always have to be convenient

Pangilinan’s thoughts were echoed by Mariano, whom he also starred with in the 2021 film Love is Color Blind.

“We’re also human, we also make mistakes, we also fail,” said Mariano.

That isn’t to say they don’t have high expectations behind them. The film, which is the first released by Star Cinema in three years, was released on November 23, in 160 cinemas throughout the Philippines, and in select theaters around the United States on November 25. Other media stops include Singapore and Dubai. 

The story follows the blossoming romance between Manny (Pangilinan), a florist and company heir, and Ayef (Mariano), who works in a convenience store owned by Manny’s family. The two agree to date one another – but with an expiration date.

Filming took place on a locked down set, which isolated them from friends and family. Mariano was tasked with getting into a character which Pangilinan says bears no resemblance to her true personality, while Pangilinan learned how to make terrariums.

The film highlighted the undeniable chemistry between the two actors, who have worked together on different projects over the past three years. They credit their ability to be natural, on and off cam, with how they project in their work.

“We don’t really think about it. Like, we’re just ourselves, what they show is just who we are. It’s like, what you see on cam and what you see off cam, it’s genuine,” said Mariano.

“We get each other, we get how each other moves. With the scenes, we know how to support each other, we know how to help each other,” added Pangilinan. “That’s the good thing about working with someone for three years already is that you get to see and you get to be familiar with how each other works.”

Viewers of So Jannelle also took note of how well they gel together, with one YouTube commenter calling the segment “one of the best interviews,” adding, “Walang fan service, very genuine lang lahat.” Another commenter wrote that she was “just smiling throughout the interview. Their chemistry is something we can’t explain.”

What have DonBelle learned about love? 

The movie poses difficult questions about the lengths people should go to in the pursuit of love, and DonBelle have answers of their own. Mariano says that romance can be inconvenient, but it’s only love if the people are willing to make adjustments to let it be. Pangilinan believes the inconveniences are part of the journey.

“I think you should see that the inconveniences are actually worth it,” said Pangilinan. “I think you shouldn’t see inconveniences as actually inconveniences because if you love the person you’re willing to do those things.” –

Rappler is partnering with Jannelle So Productions Inc (JSP), founded by Filipino-American pioneer and Los Angeles-based journalist Jannelle So, to publish video and written stories from SoJannelleTV about the journeys, successes, and challenges of Filipinos living in America.

Sundays, 4:30 pm PT / 7:30 pm ET on The Filipino Channel (TFC)

Mondays, 6:00 pm on KNET Channel 25.1 Southern California

Replay on Saturdays, 7:30 pm PT / 10:30pm ET on ANC North America

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