It has been five years since John Lloyd Cruz and Sarah Geronimo first got together onscreen in A Very Special Love.
The movie was such a successful hit that Star Cinema and Viva Films just needed to make a sequel.
You Changed My Life was released a year after, in 2009, and it surpassed the gross sales of the first film, also garnering more following for the tandem.
While the response was overwhelming, many— including John Lloyd himself— thought that doing a third movie could risk dousing the public’s warmth for the loveteam.
But it seems that all worries were proven wrong by the recent box office results of It Takes A Man And A Woman.
As of April 9, the movie has earned at least Php 267million, along with the continuous support and affection of moviegoers.
On Twitter alone, many users are expressing their fondness for the Miggy Montenegro-Laida Magtalas series.
@PopsterByHeart3h says: “Iba kac ang atake ng #ItTakesAManAndAWoman nakkatuwa ang mga eksena at cast pro may kirot ang istorya!No doubt, record breaking! #gofor400M”
@itsneekeedee5h: “Ang lakas lang maka-goodvibes ng #ItTakesaManandaWoman Bigla nalang ako napapangiti pag naaalala ko yung mga scenes #hopelessromantic”
@ynnalog10h: “#ItTakesAManAndAWoman The best! tawa, kilig, iyak.. LAHAT! Lloydy & sarah never fail to make me kilig! :D #LateTweet”
@Mylles201211h: “#ItTakesAManAndAWoman unparalleled, incomparable, exceptional & phenomenal. Going to watch it again! 3 Cinemas at Glorietta literally FULL!”
@oDe2LiFe11h: “watched #ittakesamanandawoman for the second time with cousins. bongga pa dn ang dami ng tao. standing roo tlga siya, nakakatuwa. :))”
So, what is it really about this tandem that people can’t get enough of? What is it with Sarah and John Lloyd, and Laida and Miggy that has gotten viewers hooked to the story?
JOHN LLOYD IS MIGGY. Director Cathy Garcia-Molina says one of the reasons behind the trilogy’s success is because John Lloyd and Sarah were not simply portraying characters, but actually imparted themselves in this movie.
“Lloydie is Miggy, e,” Direk Cathy is quoted saying in an interview after the movie’s grand presscon last March 17, where John Lloyd became very emotional.
CLICK HERE to read related story
“Si Miggy has everything, Lloydie has everything. And so it seems, ha?
“But at the end of the day, what matters most is being a good man.
“He might be the best actor, he might be the most sikat ngayon, but at the end of the day, ang minamahal naman natin kung sino yung mabuting tao, e,” she says about the similar struggles that John Lloyd and Miggy go through.
John Lloyd realizes this, too, and even mentioned it in his recent appearance on PEPTalk.
[CLICK HERE to watch PEPtalk]
Like Miggy— who, throughout the three movies, ought to prove that he is more than his stern playboy exterior— John Lloyd also struggles to live a normal, peaceful life amidst all the nasty rumors thrown at him.
And in this PEPtalk interview, John Lloyd showed his sentimental side, admitting how nervous he was the day before the movie was shown, and even refusing to hear about the first day box office success of his movie.
“Ayoko, ayoko. Don’t bring it up kasi ayoko siyang, you know, baka ma-jinx siya. Alam mo ‘yon?” he says.
Inadvertently, it is this aplomb to show his “normal guy” side that draws people to like him.
Physically, John Lloyd quite epitomizes the regular Pinoy guy— someone with average looks, but owns a disarming smile and personality; someone you can’t exactly call a hunk, but a man’s man nonetheless.
Creators of internet memes have even associated his name and image to describe what is a “tunay na lalake.”
“Ang tunay na lalake, walang abs,” says one that points out John Lloyd’s lack of six-pack abs and a toned physique, but still gets the admiration of girls.
“Ang tunay na lalake, umiiyak,” says another that has an image of the actor in tears, taken from a scene in One More Chance where he, as Popoy, agonizes over losing his girlfriend Basha (played by Bea Alonzo).
Indeed, John Lloyd has that power to manipulate his audience’s emotions— an ability that sits well with Sarah’s natural portrayal of Laida Magtalas.
SARAH IS LAIDA. Like John Lloyd, Sarah playing Laida is also a relatable persona— the average Cinderella who falls in love with a prince and uses her innate charm to win his heart.
Despite her wealth, the accolades, and her status as showbiz's “Popstar Princess,” Sarah remains to be the image of a simple girl dreaming to find her one true love.
Before A Very Special Love, the singer-actress never played a lead role— and a “mature” one at that— in any of her previous films.
Many thought it was a risk for the producers to put the then 19-year-old opposite a tried-and-tested movie star, but her effortless depiction of a bubbly hopeless romantic proved naysayers wrong.
Eventually, Sarah ended up becoming the Box Office Queen, securing a spot in showbiz history and in the hearts of the Filipino audience.
Throughout the five years lived by the trilogy, Sarah, the person, has gone through heartbreaks and disappointments of her own.
And every single time, she has emerged a stronger person— “braver, bolder, fiercer,” as the line in the movie goes— but never ungrateful or vengeful.
It is this optimistic nature possessed both by Sarah and Laida that earned the admiration of fans— the hopefulness and the promise that love will come to every person in its own place and time.
THE WHAT IFS. Incidentally, it is this same optimism that has made the Sarah-John Lloyd or AshLloyd loveteam survive.
Despite talks of discontinuing the franchise sometime in 2010, after Sarah supposedly snubbed John Lloyd in their joint appearance in ASAP, the clamor of fans prevailed and now It Takes A Man And A Woman has come to life.
The fans’ continuous hoping for the “what ifs” is what's driving the producers now to contemplate on whether they should make a fourth installment to the series or another project for John Lloyd and Sarah.
“Sana may part four,” begged fans who have seen all three movies.
“Sana maging sila rin sa totoong buhay,” is what die-hard AshLloyd fans continue to hope for.
In her interview, Direk Cathy noted, though in bullets, the reasons why John Lloyd and Sarah never got together in real life.
She says, Sarah has decided to be a "good daughter," while John Lloyd chose to honor Sarah’s decision.
But even she agrees to the idea of seeing the two become a real life couple.
“They look good together. I think, yung kilig nila kaya nila i-transcend in real life.”
But just as movies usually end on an open note, the public would probably just have to wait and see if the “what ifs” can become “is its” in the future.