Carmina Villarroel and friends give tips to lasting friendship

Carmina, Gelli, Janice, and Candy’s tips to lasting friendship

By: - Reporter
/ 12:25 AM January 22, 2024

Carmina, Gelli, Janice, and Candy’s tips to lasting friendshipFrom left: Gelli de Belen, Carmina Villarroel, Janice de Belen and Candy Pangilinan —VIVA FILMS

From left: Gelli de Belen, Carmina Villarroel, Janice de Belen and Candy Pangilinan —VIVA FILMS

Building genuine friendships is hard; maintaining them, more so.

This is especially true in show biz, where everything is fleeting and looks can be deceiving. That’s why the enduring friendship among Carmina Villarroel, Candy Pangilinan and sisters Janice and Gelli de Belen has become a subject of admiration, not only within the entertainment industry, but also among fans and observers.


What’s the secret to their decadeslong bond that started way back in the 1990s?


Having shared interests and values was a given. Being there for each other—through the good times and the bad—brought them closer together. But ultimately, what made their relationship last is simple: They chose to stay friends.

Hard work

“Friendship is give and take. And as they say, it takes two to tango. So, you need to put in the effort, and this goes for all kinds of relationships. You have to take it upon yourself to reach out. You have to do something to maintain the friendship,” Candy said at a press conference for the comedy-drama film “Roadtrip,” which is currently showing in cinemas.

Friendship is hard work—there’s no other way about it.

“We’re thankful to have this kind of friendship. It takes a lot of work. You have to work on yourselves. If you don’t, then wala na ’yan. Friendship will not just fall on your lap and [you can’t] expect it to last forever. But we’re all willing to put in the effort, so we’ve been solid through the years,” Gelli said.

But just as important as showing up is knowing when to step back.

“Being friends or being part of a barkada doesn’t necessarily mean you have to see or speak to each other every day, or check in on them every minute. You also have to give and respect each other’s space when needed,” Janice pointed out. “It will all come together eventually. You don’t have to force things.”


“If one of us suddenly turns quiet, we immediately realize that she’s not in the mood, so we don’t bother her. At work, or at press conferences like this, we’re used to—and it’s our job—to talk. But when it’s just the four of us, we know when to keep quiet. So I think that works for us,” she added.

‘Moody’ friend

As the self-confessed “moody” friend of the group, Carmina is thankful for the grace her friends extend to her. “We have come to a point where we already know each other so well that we no longer have to voice out what we’re feeling all the time,” she said.

“We have our own pace when it comes to opening up about our problems. And that’s something I appreciate. Even if they sense that something’s wrong with me, they don’t force me to talk about my problem. They wait until I’m ready to open up,” Carmina added.

As their relationship grew, they eventually learned to accept each other’s flaws and all. “You understand their strengths, weaknesses. You accept that they are the way they are. If she’s impatient or moody, respect that and vice versa. It’s a deeper kind of love, one that has no conditions,” Gelli said.

“It’s not, ‘I love you because you’re this or that.’ It’s, ‘I love you because you’re my friend,’” she added. “Simple as that.”

Grounded on honesty

Genuine friendship is also grounded on honesty, and the ability to dish out harsh truths no one else will do. “This is what I really appreciate about Gelli. She’s so vocal and frank. But she tells you as it is, but she does so with words and in a tone that won’t hurt you,” Carmina said. “Respect and trust should be there.”

Produced by Viva Films and directed by Andoy Ranay, “Roadtrip” is an original concept by Candy. The plot follows four women who reunite and go on a trip to visit their ailing friend.

Janice is Gigi, a naturally kind but people-pleasing writer who’s grown tired of all her responsibilities. Gelli is Maricar, a successful events planner who feels she doesn’t owe anyone an explanation; Carmina is Chiqui, an actress from a political family who seems to have everything except the ability to make decisions for herself; and Candy is Sophia, a seemingly arrogant vlogger and businesswoman who needs a much-needed breather.

“The script was initially written during a workshop with National Artist Ricky Lee. And I thought about having friends on board because I thought it would make shooting easier. And it did,” Candy said.

“The challenge was more on the physical side, like scenes where we had to hike to Mt. Pulag. But other than that, it was all a breeze. Since we know each other so well, we were able to quickly follow up on each other’s ad libs,” Candy said.

“It was hard, but I’m happy I got to do it with these three. I’m grateful to have them in my life,” Carmina said.

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“The kind of friendship we have is rare,” Gelli said. “It feels like the stars aligned for us.” INQ

TAGS: Candy Pangilinan, Carmina Villarroel, Gelli de Belen, Janice de Belen

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