Some say that being in a love team is the fastest way to gain stardom in Philippine show business.
While that may be true, some actresses are able to rise above that challenge, allowing them to stand alone and deliver well-applauded performances in Filipino teleseryes.
These celebrities may have had leading men in their TV shows, but their names are not associated with a permanent love team partner.
PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) lists down eight Pinay teleserye actresses who were not limited to having a specific leading man as they starred in their own top-rating TV programs.
When Maja Salvador entered show business, ABS-CBN management tried to pair her with John Prats in her first teleserye, It Might Be You.
However, their love team did not push through, and Maja was intermittently paired with various leading men in teleseryes and movies, namely: Rayver Cruz, John Wayne Sace, Jason Abalos, and Geoff Eigenmann.
In 2009, Maja received her big break in showbiz via the afternoon series, Nagsimula sa Puso, where she was paired with Coco Martin. Their fans have even dubbed themselves as CocoJam.
Maja moved on to work on Kapamilya shows with other leading men: Sam Milby in Impostor, Enchong Dee in Ina Kapatid Anak, and Jason Abalos in Lumayo Ka Man Sa Akin.
Maja top-billed her own episodes of Maalaala Mo Kaya. In fact, she was credited as a "suki" of MMK, having done more than ten episodes.
She also played the mistress Nicole in the 2014 series, The Legal Wife, which became an iconic character on social media.
However, it was in 2017 when Maja got her biggest break as she proved her versatility as an actress. It was when she played the role of Ivy Aguas/Lily Cruz in Wildflower.
This time, she was paired with three leading men: RK Bagatsing, Vin Abrenica, and Joseph Marco.
Despite Maja having three leading men, the story of Wildflower did not focus on her love affairs. Instead, viewers got to see how Lily Cruz planned to get justice for the death of her parents.
Maja’s main partner in the show was Joseph Marco, but she did not end up with him because Joseph’s character was murdered towards the end of the series.
Wildflower ended with Lily Cruz getting the justice she wants, while becoming the epitome of an empowered woman in politics—an aspiring President of the Philippines.
For playing the strong-willed Ivy/Lily, Maja was considered the National Winner in the Best Actress in a Leading Role category of the Asian Academy Creative Awards.
While the teleserye actress is still preparing for a comeback, Maja now serves as a judge in ABS-CBN’s World of Dance Philippines.
GLAIZA DE CASTRO
Upon Glaiza de Castro's entry in GMA-7 in 2006, she was paired with Marky Cielo in several shows.
When their love team ended in 2008, months before Marky died, Glaiza explored doing kontrabida roles.
Her biggest break came in 2010, when she played the title role in Grazilda, the sister of Cinderella who was sent to the mortal world to repent for her evil deeds.
Since then, the Kapuso Network assigned Glaiza to challenging roles where she did not need to be paired with a leading man.
These included the shows Amaya (2011) and Temptation of Wife (2014).
In 2015, Glaiza took on the challenge of playing a lesbian in the LGBT-themed series, The Rich Man's Daughter. She was paired with Rhian Ramos who also portrayed a lesbian.
In 2016, Glaiza brought life to the feisty Pirena in the remake of Encantadia. It was only towards the end of the series where she found a partner, played by Marx Topacio.
In 2018, she was tapped to play the title role in the afternoon series, Contessa, where she played a woman seeking revenge for all the evil things done to her.
She had two leading men in the teleserye: Geoff Eigenmann and Jak Roberto.
Her character would've ended up with Geoff's character, until the writers decided to kill off his character towards the finale.
Contessa ended with Glaiza's character repenting for her wrongdoings.
Rhian Ramos started her showbiz career in 2006 as the new leading lady of Richard Gutierrez in Captain Barbell.
She may have started that way, but this did not stop Rhian from forging her own path in the industry.
While she may have been Richard's leading man in two other shows: Lupin in 2008 and Zorro in 2009, Rhian was able to make a name for herself in television by playing challenging roles in teleseryes.
GMA-7 tapped her to reprise Sharon Cuneta's role in the remake of My Only Love in 2008.
She also top-billed the remake of Stairway to Heaven in 2009, and the fantasy series, Ilumina, in 2010.
In 2015, Rhian made a brave career move when she agreed to replace Marian Rivera in the LGBT-themed series, The Rich Man's Daughter.
In the show, Rhian played the rich heiress Jade who fell in love with another woman, played by Glaiza de Castro.
The following year, Rhian top-billed the remake of the Vilma Santos movie, Sinungaling Mong Puso.
She played Clara, a woman abused by her husband, Roman (Rafael Rosell). It turned out that Clara was having an affair with a much younger man, Jason (Kiko Estrada).
In the end, Clara was able to avenge herself and put an end to her suffering.
In 2018, Rhian portrayed one of the lead characters in the romantic-comedy series, The One That Got Away. She played the posh Zoe, considered to be one of the most memorable characters of the show during its four-month run.
At present, Rhian has returned to the Philippines after staying in the United States for three months.
Dimples Romana started out in showbiz without a love team, and truly waited for her turn to be given a lead role on television.
In 2002, Dimples played one of John Lloyd Cruz's love interests in Kay Tagal Kang Hinintay. However, more viewers preferred the team-up of John Lloyd with Bea Alonzo.
Dimples was then given supporting roles in her succeeding TV shows.
In 2010, she played a major role as the mother of Mara (Kathryn Bernardo) in the remake of Mara Clara.
This was followed by other major roles in projects such as Ikaw Ay Pag-ibig (2011) and And I Love You So (2015).
In 2016, Dimples got her biggest break on television when she played Amanda in The Greatest Love. Amanda was the eldest daughter of Gloria (Sylvia Sanchez) who harbored ill feelings towards her mother, who was diagnosed with Alzeheimer's disease.
Amanda was being groomed as a kontrabida, but viewers appreciated her attack on the role.
After The Greatest Love, Dimples took on the role of Babaylan Gloria in Bagani. She became viral because of her funny chanting and dance steps.
At present, she plays a kontrabida in the afternoon series, Kadenang Ginto.
When Beauty Gonzalez finished fourth place in Pinoy Big Brother Teen Edition Plus in 2008, ABS-CBN tapped her to play best friend roles in teleseryes such as Iisa Pa Lamang (2008), Tayong Dalawa (2009), and Moon of Desire (2014).
In late 2014, Beauty played the leading lady of Zanjoe Marudo in the prime-time series, Dream Dad.
While their pairing had a good reception with the viewers, this did not stop Beauty from pursuing a solo career.
In 2017, Beauty was first given a lead role in the afternoon series, Pusong Ligaw, where she played the mom of Diego Loyzaga.
At present, Beauty plays the lead role in the afternoon series, Kadenang Ginto.
When Sunshine Dizon graduated from being a child actress, VIVA and GMA-7 paired her with Polo Ravales in TGIS and Anna Karenina.
However, she was not stuck in that love team, and she got to top-bill her own projects.
The teleserye actress was given kontrabida roles in Umulan Man O Umaraw (2000) and Ikaw Lang Ang Mamahalin (2001).
In 2002, GMA-7 tapped her to play the lead role in the political drama series, Kung Mawawala Ka. She was teamed up back then with Cogie Domingo.
In 2005, Sunshine made a bold career move by agreeing to play Pirena in the telefantasya, Encantadia. It turned out that her character was the main kontrabida who she fought against her sisters. Aside from not having a leading man in the show, her performance as a strong woman was also well-applauded.
In 2006, Sunshine was given another challenging role. This time, she played the unattractive lead character in Bakekang.
Another remarkable role that Sunshine did was in the 2016 daytime series Ika-6 Na Utos. She played the legal wife who bounced back after her husband cheated on her with her best friend. The series received high ratings and gained international awards.
For bringing life to the jilted Emma, Sunshine was hailed as Most Outstanding Filipina Actress in Television at the 2017 Gawad Amerika Awards.
At present, Sunshine plays a singer looking for her child in the afternoon series, Inagaw na Bituin.
Cristine Reyes started in GMA-7's StarStruck, but she never had a permanent love team. The Kapuso Network groomed her to be a kontrabida as seen in her projects: Darna (2005), Super Twins (2007), and MariMar (2007).
When she transferred to ABS-CBN, Cristine had onscreen partners, but she did not form a love team with them.
She worked with Jake Cuenca in Precious Hearts Romances: Bud Brothers (2009) and Precious Hearts Romances: My Cheating Heart (2009); and with Zanjoe Marudo in Precious Hearts Romances: Kristine (2010) and Tubig at Langis (2016).
Most of the roles Cristine played in her shows were empowered women: a barrio lass who uplifts herself after being raped in Eva Fonda (2008); a young student seeking justice for her damaged reputation in Reputasyon (2011); and a woman fighting for her husband and family in Tubig at Langis (2016).
The Eva Fonda star was nominated as Best Actress in the 2009 Seoul International Drama Awards. The Kapamilya show also won a Special Award for Drama Series in the 4th edition of the said Korean event.
In 2019, Cristine is set to play a kontrabida role after more than 10 years. She will be part of the upcoming ABS-CBN series, Nang Ngumiti Ang Langit, where she has no leading man.
Yasmien Kurdi started her career in the first season of StarStruck, where she was paired with Rainier Castillo.
However, their love team did not last for long. GMA-7 then groomed her to become a drama actress via the 2006 afternoon series, Now and Forever: Tinig.
She also played Charming, the unsightly daughter of Sunshine Dizon in the drama series, Bakekang.
In 2007, GMA-7 gave Yasmien her big break via the afternoon series, Pati Ba Pintig ng Puso? This project was a remake of the 1985 movie starring Sharon Cuneta and Gabby Concepcion. Yasmien was paired back then with JC De Vera.
The series received high ratings, paving the way for Yasmien and JC's team-up to top-bill two more TV shows: Pasan Ko Ang Daigdig and Babangon Ako't Dudurugin Kita, also remakes of Sharon's movies.
GMA-7 then paired Yasmien with Dion Ignacio in the 2008 afternoon series Saan Darating Ang Umaga? Though she had a leading man, the show was more of a family drama than a love story.
After taking a short break from showbiz, Yasmien played mother roles in the drama shows Anna Karenina (2013) and Yagit (2014).
Yasmien's next mother roles but with a twist: a surrogate mother in Sa Piling Ni Nanay (2016) and a family woman living with HIV in Hindi Ko Kayang Iwan Ka (2018).
Currently, Yasmien plays a mother longing for her child in the daytime series, Hiram na Anak.
READ OTHER WOMEN EMPOWERMENT ARTICLES ON PEP.PH HERE:
20 Pinoy teleserye heroines who embodied women empowerment
18 Kontrabida-turned-Bida actresses in Pinoy teleseryes
PEP lists down 10 Most Inspiring Women in Philippine Showbiz