Belle Mariano, Donny Pangilinan on their growth as artists

Belle Mariano, Donny Pangilinan ‘proud’ of each other’s growth as artists

/ 07:14 PM October 12, 2023

(From left) Belle Mariano, Donny Pangilinan. Image: X/@StarCreativesTV

(From left) Belle Mariano, Donny Pangilinan. Image: X/@StarCreativesTV

Belle Mariano and Donny Pangilinan didn’t know what to expect when they were launched as a loveteam. But as they worked and evolved together, they found themselves in awe of each other’s growth not only as actors but also as individuals.

“When I first started working with her, I didn’t know what to expect,” Pangilinan recalled during an exclusive roundtable for “Can’t Buy Me Love,” which is poised to be DonBelle’s first teleserye.


While noting how much they’ve evolved after working side-by-side in various projects, Pangilinan shared that he admires Mariano’s determination to “get better everyday” even if she had “already proven so much” as an actress.


“[Belle] has grown so much in terms of her artistry, how she plays with her emotions, and the different takes she does. The way she approaches life, work, and being professional is very, very, very different from the day I met her in ‘He’s Into Her,’” he said. “She has so much that she can do even if she has already proven so much. It’s nice that you know in every project, she will still show a different side of herself.”

Mariano, on the other hand, expressed her pride seeing how much her onscreen partner has “grown in his craft” since their first day working together.

“I really saw him grow in his craft. He has improved so much. I told myself while watching him [film a scene] in ‘Can’t Buy Me Love,’ ‘Grabe (Wow), I’m so proud of this guy,’” she said.

“Talagang mapapa-clap sa mapapa-clap ka sa binigay niya (You really can’t help but clap while watching him). Who would have thought you would be portraying this role? You can see how he really grew in his craft. I’m so proud of him,” she further added.

Donny Pangilinan (left) and Belle Mariano (right) during the exclusive roundtable. Image: X/@StarCreativesTV

Donny Pangilinan (left) and Belle Mariano (right) during the exclusive roundtable. Image: X/@StarCreativesTV

When asked about how their younger selves would react to their success now, Pangilinan immediately had an expression of disbelief as if he’s seeing a reflection of himself from the past. “Ginagawa mo diyan, Donny? Paano nangyari ‘yun? Anong ginagawa mo sa buhay mo (What are you doing, Donny? How did that happen? What did you do in your life),” he said while laughing.


“I think my younger self would be in disbelief. At the same time, I, myself, would [want to] be an inspiration to my younger self. That’s the goal. Would young Donny look up to current Donny right now,” he continued.

Mariano, who was a former child actress, confessed that her younger self would “probably cry.” “I feel like she would be, ‘Ohmigosh, I want that.’ Then my older self would tell her that she’ll take care of it, ‘you will get there.’ She’d be so happy.”

Grateful hearts

The onscreen partners, who are excited for fans to see a “different” version of DonBelle in their upcoming series, expressed their gratitude to dedicated fans, saying they “ran out of words to show how blessed they are” for their support.

“Kung wala sila, wala kami rito (If they’re not here, we wouldn’t be in this position right now). They’re a huge, huge factor why we do what we do. I don’t think we wouldn’t be motivated and inspired as much if it wasn’t for their support and appreciation,” said Pangilinan. The actor then seemed to be in awe of how their fans “formed a community” that stuck by each other’s side.

“It’s so nice of them to come together and form a community of people who really stick together on good days and bad days, and that they’re there for each other,” he further continued.

Belle Mariano and Donny Pangilinan. Image: X/@StarCreativesTV

Belle Mariano and Donny Pangilinan. Image: X/@StarCreativesTV

Meanwhile, Mariano expressed belief their fans are more than just a community and instead, have grown into a “family.”

“It’s their support that gives us the drive and motivation to do better in what we do. Whenever we see comments like, ‘Ohmigosh, we’re excited to see Bingo and Caroline.’ You’re not going to see Donny and Belle. You’re going to see Bingo and Caroline,” she further added.

DonBelle to their characters

Aside from the usual explanation of their characters, Pangilinan showed his undeniable wit by flipping’s question, when they were asked how “Can’t Buy Me Love” will show a different side of their loveteam.

“I think the question should be, how will it not show a different side of us because our characters are so different from our previous work,” he said with a smile on his face. “I think it’s exciting and challenging for us to go through the characters [of Bingo and Caroline]. It really opens up a new portal of how we interact with each other and how our characters would interact with each other.”

Donny Pangilinan (left) and Belle Mariano (right) during the exclusive roundtable. Image: X/@StarCreativesTV

Donny Pangilinan (left) and Belle Mariano (right) during the exclusive roundtable. Image: X/@StarCreativesTV

Pangilinan also noted that he wants “Can’t Buy Me Love” to be remembered as a “journey” towards “something more,” while hoping it would open new doors in the future.

“I know it’s cliche but [I want it to be remembered] as something different for the audience. We want to provide them with an experience that [we] can enjoy together and hopefully, it can be remembered as one of the best shows that will come out of this collaboration [between ABS-CBN and a streaming platform].

For her part, Mariano’s innate empathy shone through when they were both asked about the advice they wanted to give Bingo and Caroline.

“Hala, bakit nalungkot ako bigla (Oh no, why did I suddenly feel sad for them),” she began before pondering over her response. “Huwag mong solohin lahat ng bigat ng buhay mo (You can’t carry the baggages in your life alone).”

“Money can’t buy love and happiness. It can buy happiness, but not everything. I want our show to make an impact on the audience that you really find true happiness within yourself and the people you surround yourself with,” she continued.

Belle Mariano and Donny Pangilinan. Image: X/@StarCreativesTV

Belle Mariano and Donny Pangilinan. Image: X/@StarCreativesTV

Pangilinan, who admitted that he had the same advice as Mariano, instead opted to say to his character, “Mag-iwan ka rin sa sarili mo (Please leave something for yourself).”

The Mae Cruz-Alviar-helmed series tells the story of hardworking Binondo seller Bingo (Donny Pangilinan) who crosses paths with Caroline (Belle Mariano), an apparent outcast from her wealthy Filipino-Chinese family.

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“Can’t Buy Me Love” also stars Nova Villa, Rowell Santiago, Ruffa Gutierrez, Agot Isidro, Maris Racal, Albie Casiño, Chie Filomeno, Darren Espanto, Joao Costancia, Kaila Estrada, Vivoree Esclito, Karina Bautista, and Celeste Legazpi.

Also joining them are Ina Raymundo and Shaina Magdayao, who were recently confirmed as the mothers of Pangilinan and Mariano’s characters, respectively. EDV

TAGS: Belle Mariano, DonBelle, Donny Pangilinan

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