Balancing reality amid the LizQuen phenomenon

By Dr. Herman M. Lagon

The phenomenon of love teams in the Philippine showbiz industry has captured the attention of many people, especially the younger generation. This was recently highlighted with the showbiz gossip (redundancy pun intended) of the breakup of the LizQuen love team. Like LizQuen, as well as foreign love teams including those in Hollywood (even in DC and Marvel movies), have become a significant part of popular culture in the Philippines.

Love teams have a long history in Philippine cinema, dating back to the 1920s with Gregorio Fernandez and Mary Walter. Only a few Filipinos in their prime eras would have forgotten the following tandems: Rosa Del Rosario and Leopoldo Salcedo, Rogelio dela Rosa and Carmen Rosales, Luis Gonzales and Gloria Romero, Susan Roces and Eddie Gutierrez, (my mom’s) Nora Aunor and Tirso Cruz III, Vilma Santos and Edgar Mortiz, Gabby Concepcion and Sharon Cuneta, Maricel Soriano and William Martinez, (my sister’s) Romnick Sarmenta and Sheryl Cruz, Wowie De Guzman and Judy Ann Santos, Jolina Magdangal and Marvin Agustin, Rico Yan and Claudine Barretto, Jericho Rosales and Kristine Hermosa, (my mother-in-law’s) Bea Alonzo and John Lloyd Cruz, Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera (DongYan), Gerald Anderson and Kim Chiu (KimErald), Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla (KathNiel), Maine Mendoza and Alden Richards (AdDub), (my younger daughter’s) James Reid and Nadine Lustre (JaDine), and (my eldest daughter’s) Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil (LizQuen).

They are on-screen pairings of actors, usually promoted as a romantic couple, and have the power to turn ordinary actors into overnight stars. Love teams are heavily promoted by reel, TV, radio, tabloid, mags, and digital platforms. They are often given meet-and-greet, commercial, and singing opportunities, even if some barely possess any talent at all. Their merchandise such as tumblers, cards, fans notebooks, shirts, pillows, stickers, mugs, and posters are hot products in the market. Their social “pop culture” influence is phenomenal. Many fans organize themselves into clubs and engage in various activities centered around their favorite love teams. This level of fanaticism can sometimes lead to possessiveness and rivalry among fans.

The breakup of a love team, such as that of LizQuen, can be a devastating event for fans. I know one who even had difficulty sleeping last night after getting the hot news vlog from Liza’s ex-manager Ogie Diaz. It seems that people become emotionally invested in these relationships and hope for a real-life romance between the actors. The scrutiny and pressure from the public, especially hardcore fans, can be overwhelming for the actors involved. In some cases, the end of a love team can also mark the end of an actor’s career.

Filipinos are known for their romantic nature and love for love stories with happy endings. Love teams provide a glimpse into idealized versions of young love and happy relationships. They offer an escape from reality and allow people to indulge in fantasies of perfect couples and relationships. However, this illusionistic view of love can sometimes create unrealistic expectations in real-life relationships.

To transcend this phenomenon and become more circumspect members of society, it is essential to strike a balance between entertainment and reality. It might be healthier to recognize that love teams are part of the showbiz industry and are primarily driven by commercial interests. It is important not to overly idealize these relationships and to understand that they are often constructed narratives.

Furthermore, we are invited to foster a culture that values critical thinking and media literacy. Being aware of the commercial motivations behind love teams can help us navigate the entertainment industry more discerningly. We are also encouraged to have a healthy detachment from the personal lives of actors and respect their boundaries. Instead of investing excessive emotional energy in fictional relationships, we may choose to focus on personal growth, education, and productive pursuits that contribute to society.

Indeed, love teams have become a significant part of Philippine showbiz culture, captivating the hearts of many, especially the young. While it is natural and healthy to enjoy entertainment and indulge in fantasies, it is important to maintain a balanced perspective and not let it consume our lives. By being more judicious members of the community, we can appreciate entertainment for what it is while prioritizing personal growth and contributing positively to the world around us.


Dr. Herman Lagon fondly describes himself as a ‘student of and for life’ who, like many others, aspires to a life-giving and why-driven world that is grounded in social justice. He is a professor of ISUFST, a student of USLS, a retiree of Ateneo, and an alumnus of UP, UI, and WVSU.