"Even the biggest stars, they have someone who has their back. And we're both blessed enough to have each other." - Edward on Maymay
In less than two years since they came out of the Pinoy Big Brother House, Maymay Entrata and Edward Barber have emerged as one of today's hottest love teams in the country.
The Maymay-Edward love team, often referred to as MayWard, is among Twitter's Top 10 Most Popular Love Teams of 2018.
Completing the list are LizQuen (Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil), AlDub (Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza), JaDine (James Reid and Nadine Lustre), JoshLia (Joshua Garcia and Julia Barretto), DonKiss (Donny Pangilinan and Kisses Delavin), KissTon (Kisses and Tony Labrusca), McLisse (McCoy de Leon and Elisse Joson), KierVi (Charles Kieron and Vivoree Esclito), and MarNigo (Maris Racal and Inigo Pascual).
Both Maymay, 21, and Edward, 18, also made it to the Top 10 Most Talked About Filipino Celebrities on Twitter this year.
Rounding up the Twitter Top 10 list are Maine, Alden, and Kapamilya stars Kathryn Bernardo, Daniel Padilla, Kisses, Donny, Loisa, and Maris.
In the reality show Pinoy Big Brother: Lucky 7, which ran from July 2016 to March 2017, both talents were introduced for the first time: Maymay as the probinsyana with a bubbly personality; Edward as the quiet and handsome English-speaking, Filipino-British lad.
Although the two have entirely opposite backgrounds and personalities, they formed a friendship inside the PBB house that the Filipino audience found endearing.
Immediately, their tandem acquired a following, which continued to grow post-PBB.
The PBB season ended with Maymay being voted the grand winner and Edward voted fourth runner-up.
That turned out to be just the beginning of a promising showbiz career.
The onscreen couple have already graced print and online magazine covers; completed a number of TV projects, including hosting stints, joining the prime-time teleserye La Luna Sangre in 2017, and doing their own episode-series for the ABS-CBN fantasy anthology Wansapanataym in 2018; and starred in their own movie, Loving in Tandem (2017), plus got casted in Da One That Ghost in April 2018.
Maymay and Edward are also part of the Vice Ganda movie, Fantastica, an official entry to the 2018 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) opening on Christmas Day.
They've crossed off a number of goals on their list, but Maymay and Edward still cannot help but be awed every time one more dream turns into reality.
Case in point, the onscreen partners are still in disbelief that they are co-starring with Vice Ganda in Fantastica.
"Pag iisipin mo pa, parang napakaimposibleng magiging parte sa kanya. Kasi every time na magkaka-movie siya, yun ang pinakamasaya, pinaka-blockbuster, pinakamalaking movie every year!" Maymay told PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) last November 27.
She then related how, in the past, she and her family would wait in the long lines of movie theatres during the Christmas season, which is also MMFF season, to watch the host-comedian's movie.
"Pumupunta din kami sa sinehan every Christmas para mapanood lang yung movie niya," Maymay said.
In previous years, Vice Ganda has had movies that were MMFF entries, all of which were top grossers.
These include: Sisterakas (2012); Girl, Boy, Bakla, Tomboy (2013); The Amazing Praybeyt Benjamin (2014); Beauty and the Bestie (2015);and Gandarrapiddo: The Revenger Squad (2017).
"'Tapos ngayon hindi ako makapaniwala na maging parte na ako sa kanya sa movie niya. So, napakalaking karangalan at sobrang honored kami na mapabahagi sa movie ni Miss Vice."
Maymay could not help feeling flattered when she found out that the It's Showtime host expressed his desire to work with her and Edward.
"Masayang-masaya kami. Nagpapasalamat kami kay Miss Vice kasi last year pa niya sinabi na gusto talaga niya kaming maging parte ng movie niya.
"Hindi lang natuloy dahil may Loving in Tandem kami. Hindi nagkatugma ang schedule."
Like in the past, Maymay will be watching Vice Ganda's movie this Christmas, but with her in it.
"Grabe yung pasasalamat namin kay Miss Vice. Sobrang saya ng movie na 'to. Isa ito sa pinakamalaki at di makakalimutang movie."
For his part, Edward explained that he previously did not know much about local showbiz, having grown up in Germany.
However, he added, "There were a few names that everyone knew, even I knew. I knew Showtime, I knew Ate Vice, I knew others as well."
The aspiring actor continued, "I knew four or five in total. Vice Ganda is one of those names everyone knows in the Philippines, kahit foreigner ka.
"Even before I came to PBB, I was watching her on Showtime, kahit hindi ko naiintindihan."
Edward had spent most of his growing up years abroad, but he and his family would visit the Philippines every year during Christmas.
"I've been coming here since I was less than a year old. Kaya hindi ako na-culture shock," he said.
Maymay and Edward also said they've learned a lot about their craft just by observing the work ethic of the It's Showtime host.
They told the story about how, during the filming of the movie, Vice would suggest doing something fun, like games, to make them all feel good and happy when the cameras started rolling.
"Naghahanap siya ng paraan para maging masaya kami, para pag nagti-take na, natural lang yung saya, hindi yung pinipilit mo pa," Maymay recalled.
Vice also gave them advice about their booming career, particularly about how to deal with criticism.
The two former PBB housemates confessed they initially had a hard time coping.
"Sa pagkakaalala ko, yung first shoot namin, nag-advise siya agad. As in, talagang yung tipong hindi mo aakalain si Miss Vice mag-a-advise sa 'yo," beamed Maymay.
"Sinabiniya sa amin na, 'Lahat ng naririnig nyo na mga negatives, like mga basher, pabayaan mo lang sila. Wag mo silang pakialaman. Parang wala akong pakialam sa kanila dahil hindi naman sila nagpapakain sa 'yo, hindi naman sila ang nagbubuhay sa 'yo.'"
Vice also advised them to find a deeper purpose in their foray into showbiz, that this should not be just about fame or fortune.
"Mag-focus ka kung ano yung purpose mo, ba't nandito ka. Kaya hanapin mo yung purpose mo, at live with it, and enjoy, and spread the love and happiness," Maymay said, quoting Vice Ganda.
Edward was equally grateful to Vice for his words of wisdom, since the latter has reached the top of showbiz.
In his words, "It's one of those things that you have to remember, bilang bagong artist, na the people who are more experienced than you, they don't just learn the craft, they have wisdom from their experiences."
Continuing, he said, "Yun din po yung sinabi niya sa akin. Sinabi niya, 'Kailangan mong hanapin kung ano yung purpose mo dito sa industriya, hindi pwedeng pera lang. Dapat may dahilan kung bakit ka lumalaban.'"
Edward admitted he is still at a crossroads where his showbiz career is concerned, but he wants to take it one step at a time.
"Yung totoo, hindi ko pa rin alam kung ano yung purpose ko at the moment kasi bago pa ako," the 18-year-old said. "Parang nag-iiba minsan. So, I'm not sure. Pero gusto ko ding umabot sa point na I just wanna find what is pushing me to get better."
Maymay and Edward are now starting to get a grip on this industry.
Straight from their Pinoy Big Brother stint, the two were immediately tossed into the dazzling world of showbiz, which they found overwhelming.
Since showbiz was new to them, not to mention dreamlike, Maymay and Edward struggled to remain true to themselves.
"Nung una, parang blur. Alam mo yung parang nao-overwhelm ka, pero, di ba, hindi ka dapat masyadong nao-overwhelm, baka kasi mawala ka," confessed Maymay.
It was hard enough to deal with having to interact with numerous fans, who all begin as practically strangers.
She feared that not being able to grant their requests, such as photo-ops, would disappoint them.
The realization that all eyes are upon her and Edward makes things even harder.
"Hindi ako sanay na parang lahat nakatingin sila sa 'yo. Di ba, sa PBB, may mga camera? Lahat ng mga taong nakatingin sa 'yo, parang camera na din yon. Kasi lahat ng mga galaw mo nakikita nila. At talagang binabantayan ka. Hindi ako sanay nun."
She sought advice from her friends in the church.
"Nagpa-advise ako sa mga churchmates ko para lang ma-clear sa akin na itong mga nangyayari na ito, blessing 'to. Nabigla kasi ako noon," she revealed.
She was told that apart from this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, she was given the chance to make people happy.
"Nung pumunta ako sa churchmates ko, sinabi nila na blessing nga daw ito. Hindi naman lahat binibigyan ng pagkakataon na ganyan. So, nung time na yon naging clear sa akin. Kasi masaya sila pag nagpapasaya ako.
"Yun ang pinaghuhugutan ko ng lakas, like yung mga sumusuporta sa 'kin, yung mga OFWs, yung pamilya ko, at syempre trabaho na pala ito. Isa na din ito sa pagtulong sa pamilya ko."
Just like Maymay, Edward found the dazzle of showbiz blinding.
He recalled feeling confused in the beginning.
"Parang may glasses ka, tapos blurred yung glasses. Nung simula parang, 'Tama ba 'to? Tama ba ang ginagawa ko? Kailangan bang bumati at bumeso sa lahat?'"
Apart from his family, Edward drew strength from Maymay, who was commended for being true to herself even inside the PBB house.
"Feeling ko kung wala si May, wala ang pamilya ko, mayabang na 'ko. Kasi we're so blessed and I feel the Lord has a way of reminding you to stay humble kahit ayaw mo. Even if you feel you're on top of the world, He will take you down a few pegs to remind you that kailangan mong maging humble. Kailangan kang maging grateful sa lahat ng blessings na binigay Niya sa 'yo."
Edward also revealed that he and Maymay have made a pact to look after each other and to call each other's attention should either one of them stray.
"Even the biggest stars, they have someone who has their back. And we're both blessed enough to have each other and remind each other, kasi we even told each other, we told our families and friends, 'If you see us do something kahit konti lang na medyo mayabang o medyo arrogant or something like that, tell us.'
"'Cause sometimes hindi mo nari-realize yon. You don't see it in yourself kasi minsan you think I should do this, it's my right to do it. But sometimes you forget, you have to analyze yourself too," he explained.
Maymay agreed. "'Tsaka maganda kasi nandito kami sa isa't isa, hindi lang ikaw yung nahihirapan, may tumutulong sa 'yo. Pag siya naman ang nahihirapan, ikaw naman ang tutulong."
And that's what Maymay and Edward are doing, constantly reminding each other not to lose themselves.
Edward added, "Maymay and I made a promise to each other when we first started. That who we were inside PBB is who we wanted to be outside, because that's who we are.
"I think the only reason we managed to get this far is because we haven't had to fake someone else, haven't had to fake... like the way we spoke is the way we speak until now, the way we act, the way we think."
This also applies to their team up.
Even when they bring "kilig" to their supporters, Maymay and Edward have agreed to keep things real between them.
They will not allow themselves to get into a relationship, for instance, just because their supporters and fans want them to be a couple.
“We don't have to, 'Let's do this para kilig.' We don't wanna do that," Edward elaborated.
"I said, like, when we have to fake our happiness just to make someone else happy, it's not fair. Mas gusto kong umalis kesa mag-stay. Madi-depress ka lang."
"Pinaka-hate ko talaga," Maymay said.
We asked Maymay how she handles the pressure when people say they should bring their relationship to the next level.
"No pressure, bahala sila diyan," she answered succinctly.
Edwardadded, "It's them. May invisible wall yun. They can tell you what they want, it's up to you if you accept what they want.
"Kasi you have to remember, if you give in to what they want, the fans, or anyone, then you lose.
"You give part of yourself that you're not supposed to give. So, it's like, here's the line.
"They want this, but it's your choice if you extend your hand and take it or not.
"Walang pressure kasi mawawala yung fun pag may pressure."
Nevertheless, Ma may admitted that they are closer than they were before.
"Halos magkapalitan na po kami ng mukha, e.
"Opo sa araw-araw po namin na nagkakasama parang magkapatid na kami."
We teased them about whether they would stay that way.
"No pressure," Maymay replied animatedly.
"To be continued," added Edward.
We asked Maymay and Edward some random questions to find out how much they know each other.
Maymay: Kasi pag upset ako, hindi ko siya kakausapin. Bigyan mo lang ako ng time. Ito [pertaining to Edward], hindi makapaghintay, kaya nag-aaway [kami]. Pero minsan dapat i-express mo agad para mawala. Pero minsan din, kailangan bigyan mo rin ng time para i-cool down mo ang sarili mo, kasi kapag yung time na yun na galit ka pa, 'tapos ano pa masabi mo, di ba, hindi mo na mababawi kung ano yung nasabi mo. Ayoko lang na may masama akong masabi kasi puputok. Kasi pag galit ka, kumukulo yung dugo mo, hindi ka nagdadalawang-isip para sabihin yung masasakit na salita.
Maymay: Lahat ng mga binigay niya sa akin since PBB, like kahit di kami love team, kahit di kami sobrang close, yung mga first na binigay niya sa 'kin, like flower made of tissue, lahat iyon talaga, nakatago. 'Tapos last year, December, nandon kami sa Germany, wala akong gift sa kanya. Yung gift ko, pinakita ko sa kanya [yung mga bagay na bigay niya]. Parang libro nakadikit.
Edward: We went to Bali earlier this year. We [had a friend] from PBB from the celebrity season. She got married [in Paris, France], and one of our promises to her was we'd be there for her. So, hindi umabot yung visa ni May, so I said, 'We're gonna go somewhere else, pack your bags.' Di niya alam kung saan pupunta.
Maymay: Isa sa mga pinakagusto ko sa kanya, sensitive kasi siya. Sa sobrang sensitive niya, gusto niya parating okay ako, like palaging protektado ako, safe ako.
Edward: Actually, yun din ang dahilan kung bakit impatient ako pag nag-aaway tayo, kasi gusto ko okay ka.
About Maymay, you can describe her like a gift that keeps on giving, kasi you'll learn so much from her and she'll always take care of you.
She's one of th ose people that pushes you down and then helps you get back up again and teaches you something, so, she always guides me.
Yung wisdom na meron siya, she shares it with me.
Maymay: Sabi nila, hindi daw kami match kasi foreigner siya, Pilipina [ako], iba yung ugali namin. Pero nung naging close kami, mas maganda pala pag minsan hindi pare-pareho yung gusto niyo or kung ano yung ugali niyo. Kasi may natututunan kami sa isa't isa. Like, hindi ako expressive, naging expressive ako. 'Tsaka minsan, di ba, pag independent, 'Okay lang ako,' pero hindi naman pala. Pero yung sinabi niya, okay lang magpakatotoo kung ano yung bigat na nararamdaman mo.'Tapos don ako natuto na di ako okay 'tapos ibubuhos mo, 'tapos nawawala na yung stress. Basta ang dami ko pang natutunan sa kanya.
Edward: Mindset, attitude, personality, background, all completely different, but we've gone through a lot together. Everything from PBB until now, the stress and pressure of everything that's happened to us, so far. I feel like I get close to people through pain as well, through the experience, through the stress, and stuff and the fact that we're weird on the same level. We understand each other in this sense.
INTERVIEWS BY: Bernie Franco, Nikko Tuazon
PHOTOGRAPHER: Joseph Pascual
SHOOT PRODUCERS: James Patrick Anarcon, Rommel Llanes
ART DIRECTOR: Jeremiah Idanan
STYLIST: Team Rain X EM
HAIRSTYLIST: Sonson De Asis
MAKE-UP for Maymay: Sonson De Asis
MAKE-UP for Edward: Aimee Gray
VIDEO PRODUCERS: Pam Carlota, Jham Mariano
VIDEO EDITOR: Jham Mariano
Special thanks to Joshua Roque of ABS-CBN Films' Star Cinema