‘Boys’ Lockdown’ leads open up about personal crises, LGBTQ rights and love in the time of pandemic | Inquirer Entertainment

‘Boys’ Lockdown’ leads open up about personal crises, LGBTQ rights and love in the time of pandemic

/ 12:50 AM October 13, 2020

During the quarantine period, we saw a steady increase in locally produced BL (boys’ love) series, and the latest addition to this list is “Boys’ Lockdown.” The six-episode series launches on Oct. 15 via special paid screenings on the Ticket2Me ticketed video player, and will be shown on YouTube for free on the Ticket2Me channel starting Oct. 18.

Produced by the Bit by Bit Company, led by founder Darwin Mariano, “Boys’ Lockdown” is a feel-good take on the challenges that the general public is experiencing during the lockdown: anxiety, isolation, privilege, connection and hopelessness.

It touches on the social issues driving the motivations of its characters, played by its lead actors Ali King (as Key Kalungsod) and Alec Kevin (Chen Chavez), along with “Rak of Aegis” and “Starstruck 7” alumna Crystal Paras (Dev), who plays Key’s ex-girlfriend.


During our recent interview with the cast, we asked Darwin what made him jump on the BL bandwagon and muster the courage to produce during these trying times.


“My journey with ‘Boys’ Lockdown’ began after discovering the boys’ love genre during some of the darkest days of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila. Ticket2Me had just helped raise around P20 million for various nongovernmental organizations and yet we ourselves were facing the risk of closing down if we didn’t find a more viable way forward, especially given the total collapse of live events in the Philippines.

“Personally, I was still grieving the loss of my mom, who died from colon cancer on Christmas Day in 2019. BL helped me find happiness during what was a terrible time for my family and the rest of the world. And I was convinced that if our show could do for others what BL did for me, I knew that producing the show would be worth it.”

Ali King

Unknown to many, BL has been around since the ‘70s which originated from Japan and showcased romance between boys and young men, but the genre became more popular in the ‘90s, particularly in Thailand.

In “Boys’ Lockdown,” helmed by Jade Castro (“Endo,” “Zombadings,” “LSS”), architecture student Key has isolated himself inside his dorm, fearful of the virus. In a twist of fate, he crosses paths with Chen, who is his polar opposite in terms of personality and social status. Social media personality Macoy Dubs portrays his famous Auntie Julie persona, who’s responsible for Key and Chen’s chance encounter.

When asked what sets “Boys’ Lockdown” apart from other local BL shows, Ali said, “Although we’re conveying similar messages, what makes us unique is a story focused on how the characters are finding ways to cope with their respective problems, especially during the lockdown.”

The cast revealed that during the shoot, while there were constant script revisions, they were also consulted for their inputs and insights into their characters.


“The script was able to dig deeper into the story, making each character multifaceted,” Alec said. “It’s a very special project for me and Ali. Given that we’re both new in the industry, it was a thrill to work with a great production team.”

The two male leads admitted to having initial awkwardness when they first met, considering that this was their first time to do a BL series. But they quickly got over that after the workshops they took prior to filming.

Alec Kevin

For her part, Crystal likes the show’s attempt at injecting realism into the story. “The plot happens in real life—it’s not at all exaggerated,” she noted. “It’s hard to explain without spoiling it for viewers. From the writing to the execution, ‘Boys’ Lockdown’ underwent a meticulous process to present a story that is appealing to everyone, not just for the LGBTQ community.

“What makes us distinct is that this entire thing is the result of collaboration. They trusted us and gave us enough elbow room to create our characters, define our respective roles in the series and make them relatable to our audience.”

To bring its themes closer to home, we asked the trio how the pandemic has changed them.

“It was both humbling and eye-opening,” Alec said. “I was finishing my last semester in UP (the University of the Philippines), and that was all that I was focused on. But the pandemic changed that because it opened my eyes to everything happening around me and beyond my circle. It made me see how other people go through it differently—it isn’t just enough to sympathize with them.

“It was humbling because of the uncertainties it presented. My dream job became a big question mark. I wanted to go to flying school after graduating, which I cannot do now—my initial plans were all swept aside.”

Like Alec, Ali has his eyes set on becoming a flight attendant. “Sadly, that didn’t push through because of the ECQ and the current state of the airline industry,” he disclosed. “The pandemic taught me to speak my mind more actively and openly. It’s a civic duty to shed light on the inequities we see.


“As actors and online personalities, we now have a platform to do just that. It’s important for me to say what I want to say outside of the series. I’m vocal about shining the light on socioeconomic issues.”

Crystal admitted, “There are some things that I learned the hard way, and there are things that I was able to accept easily. Like many, I had my fair share of anxiety attacks and depression, and that’s been going on since 2015. It’s weird how things are less brutal for me now, because I had to go through worst episodes when the pandemic started. Thankfully, I did not lose ‘control.’ And I’m glad that people now are more understanding—that when you say you’re not OK, it’s a valid excuse and you’re not just ‘acting up.’”

“Boys’ Lockdown” may appear light and breezy, but it does not brush aside serious themes layered into the story. We asked the three leads what their thoughts are on the LGBTQ community and its issues.

“If there are still people who cannot accept that we have the same rights as others, then we’re still a minority,” said Ali. “The ‘kilig factor’ of any LGBTQ series is not just a trend, it will never be trend. It should be a right. And the equality and recognition for that right is what we’re fighting for.”

Alec chimed, “Marriage equality is an issue that is close to my heart. Why does marriage have to be on the basis of sex—and why do we have to fight for it?”

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For Crystal, she said, “As long as people keep speaking up about it, it means the fight isn’t over yet. Why deny people their self-identity? The ‘cancel culture’ is very toxic, and I personally had to endure that. Rights for the LGBTQ community shouldn’t be less than those enjoyed by their straight counterparts.”

TAGS: Boys’ Lockdown, Jade Castro

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