All photos by Alexa Villano/Rappler
Editor's Note: The story below, published back in June 2014, details Jam and Mich's appearance at a YouTube event, about 3 months after Jam's cancer diagnosis. Jam Sebastian died March 4, 2015, following his brave battle with lung cancer.
MANILA, Philippines – On a wet and rainy Thursday afternoon, fans entered White Space in Makati for the gathering of popular Pinoy YouTube artists. This was the perfect opportunity for fans to interact with their favorite stars.
As soon as Ramon and Jun introduced Jamich, I heard everyone shouting with excitement. Minutes later, Paolinne Michelle Liggayu, one half of the famous duo came out and sang "Let it Go," from Frozen and got the crowd pumped during her dance number.
Jamvhille Sebastian meanwhile was in one corner backstage, watching his partner perform.
If television has the KathNiel tandem, then Jamich is one YouTube's popular love teams. The best part? Their love is palpable.
In an interview in the July 2014 issue of StarStudio Magazine, both Jamvhille Sebastian and Paolinne Michelle Liggayu narrated how their story began. A video titled “By Chance” was the first video uploaded and shared initially on Facebook with friends and family.
“Nag-start kami 2008 as a couple tapos pagdating ng 2011, doon na kami gumawa ng videos,” Sebastian said.
(We started as a couple in 2008 then when 2011 came, that’s when we started doing videos.)
Sebastian said there was no script and no plans, with the two of them serving as writers.
“Nilabas namin sa Facebook for friends. Hindi pa uso dati ‘yung for the public. Puro friends lang nakakakita. May nag-comment na ‘ba’t hindi n’yo ilabas sa YouTube?’ Mas maraming viewers.”
(We just posted it on Facebook for friends. Back then sharing with the public wasn’t really in yet. It was only our friends who saw it. Someone commented ‘why don’t you show it in YouTube?’ There are more viewers.)
In the same interview, Liggayu said that they were watching a video called “Strangers Again” produced by Wong Fu Productions. Inspired by what the video, this led them to start making their own videos despite having no formal training in editing, movie-making, and acting.
The couple were surprised when they saw that the video they posted had 3,000 views since they only had around 1,000 friends on Facebook back then. They soon started making more videos detailing their love/hate relationship with titles such as “TEXT,” “Classmates Loves Story,” and “The One” among others. To date, many of their videos have more than a million views.
Their most recent video, “Girlfriend Proposes to her Boyfriend” uploaded last May got 1,966,068 views. The video showed how Liggayu, with the help of their friends and followers proposed to Sebastian to marry her during a church service on May 11. Although surprised by his girlfriend’s big gesture, he said yes.
Watch the video below:
Their exposure on YouTube has given them opportunities to travel, as well as endorsements, and TV guestings.
But fame also comes with criticism and dealing with bashers. The couple in the same magazine interview said that they’ve learned to take it in stride.
As of June 29, their YouTube account has 507,126 subscribers, with close to 900,000 followers on Twitter.
Dealing with cancer
Last March, the couple announced that Sebastian was battling lung cancer. Liggayu, in an interview with Startalk, said she was devastated because they both found out about the diagnosis during her birthday. (READ:Jamich: 'Happy thoughts' of marriage help in cancer battle)
But despite the ailment, Liggayu never left his side. She would accompany him to his chemotherapy sessions and would stay with him during the course of treatment. Following the announcement of his condition, the couple have updated their followers about Sebastian's condition through Instagram photos.
Still together, staying strong
After Liggayu's performance at the YouTube event, she called in Sebastian on stage. Wearing a mask and a cap, he was soon next to Liggayu as an assistant came in with the wheelchair for him to sit.
Liggayu said they knew that their story has inspired a lot of YouTube followers. When asked what is love for them, she said: “Love is about giving sacrifices.”
“Yung trials nagpapatibay sa inyo. Syempre may ibang relationships dyan na hindi nila nakakyanan so they tend to give up on the relationship,” Liggayu said.
(The trials make you strong. Of course there are relationships that some cannot handle, so they tend to give up.)
During the YouTube event, Sebastian was also treated to a special message by the other YouTube stars encouraging him to get well.
Although tired and weak from his treatments, Sebastian still appeared optimistic and happy. As Liggayu helped him up to address the audience, he told the crowd that he credits God for everything that has been happening to him, saying that for a relationship to survive, one must lift it to God.
He said that he was also grateful for the support given to them by their followers in social media, having changed their lives forever.
“Social media, sobrang grabe ang nagawa. Ang daming nagbago ang buhay dahil sa social media so sana tuloy-tuloy ang suporta ninyo and para talaga sa inyo etong ginagawa namin. Maraming, maraming salamat.”
(Social media has done so much for us. Many lives hav e have changed because of social media so we hope that you continue to support us; what we are doing is all for you. Thank you so much.)
Liggayu said that she is looking forward to the day when their fans will join them in their videos.
“Sana makasama rin namin kayong lahat. Dreams come true,” she said.
(We hope you'll get to join us. Dreams come true.)
Through ups and downs, Jamich stays strong, as fans wait for the next chapter of their stories to unfold. – Rappler.com