We first meet Edward Barber in the summer of 2017, three weeks after his fourth place win in Pinoy Big Brother: Lucky 7, the 13th overall season of the popular reality-TV show in ABS-CBN. The 16-year-old greets people in the mini-studio of Summit Media with a wide grin, as he settles into a chair next to his mom and other companions.
Down the hall, we find the season’s Big Winner, the 19-year-old Maymay Entrata, posing for souvenir shots with several fans. When she finally gets to the mini-studio entrance, she says “Hello po!” in her own bright way, and sits right in front of Edward.
Even when they’re surrounded by strangers, Maymay and Edward are still the kuwela versions of themselves seen on PBB. They tease each other. They laugh together. They talk from opposite ends of the room. On their makeup chairs, every time they banter the stylists pause to let them finish their exchange. One can’t help but smile just watching them. Perhaps, that’s the reason why their love team, now known as MayWard, is so popular.
Before fans coined the uni-name MayWard, Maymay and Edward were two teens from different sides of the world, each with a story to tell and dreams to chase.
For Maymay of Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao, the story and the dream were simple: she had always wanted to become an actress. Before PBB: Lucky 7, she had already auditioned for the show twice—first, in 2012, when she was in second year high school; then in 2015, for PBB: 737. Her third try, she decided, would be her last.
“Naisip ko, ‘Sige pa, kaya pa,’” she recalls. “Bahala na. Last na ’to, kasi kalapit-lapit na, nandiyan na ’yong mall, ’tapos dito lang ako, nagbe-bedspacer. Baka ’yon na ’yon... ’Tinodo ko na.”
As the saying goes, and as things turned out, third time’s the charm. Maymay finally became a teen housemate on PBB: Lucky 7—and the rest is history.
Edward has an entirely different story. The Filipino-German teen, who grew up in a small town near Heidelberg, Germany, had little knowledge of Philippine showbiz, although he did have a favorite Pinoy love team, LizQuen. He never expected that he would see his idols in the flesh, until Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil flew to Germany to promote their teleserye, Dolce Amore. Edward and his sister Laura attended the promotional show, where they caught the attention of an ABS-CBN employee.
“There was someone there who saw us, and he said, ‘I know someone in PBB. Can I send a picture of you guys?’ That’s how it started. After that, I got an online interview. Online audition.”
Soon after, Edward and his entire family flew to the Philippines for a family vacation. That was in July 2016. And then, as his mom Cathy recalls, “Hindi na siya pinauwi. Umiyak kami, kasi pag-uwi namin, kami na lang.”
On August 6, Edward and Maymay stepped into the Bahay ni Kuya—and met each other for the first time. Though they reminded each other of family, they didn’t become close until the fourth week of the show. In part, that was because Edward was having a hard time adjusting to his new surroundings. Worse, he didn’t understand and couldn’t speak Filipino.
“The first three weeks of my PBB stay, I hated it,” Edward recalls. “As in. Day two, I woke up and I opened my eyes because there was a wake-up call. I sat up and I thought, ‘What am I doing here? You messed up.’ And I said, ‘If I feel like this after week four, I’m gonna leave because it’s not worth it.’”
While Edward wanted to leave, Maymay couldn’t believe that she was actually living inside the Bahay ni Kuya. It was something she’d only dreamt of before, as a fan who had been watching the show since its very first season. To her, it was blessing enough that she was a contestant on the show. But she still prayed that she would reach the Big Night.
“Hangga’t hindi ko pa alam kung ano ’yong magiging resulta, kung hanggang sa dulo ba ako, maniniwala’t maniniwala ako na ako ang mananalo. Alam mo ’yon? Kasi, nag-audition pa lang, sinabi ko na gusto kong maging Big Winner.”
Maymay had no shortage of enthusiasm, a trait that endeared her to many of the housemates, and to the TV audience as well. Then she was given the task that would earn her a best friend—and a future love-team partner. She was tasked with teaching Edward how to speak Filipino.
That task, which Kuya dubbed School Time, was the turning point of Edward’s PBB stay. He credits Maymay and fellow housemate Marco Gallo for teaching him the language and giving him the zeal he needed to stay on the show.
“After that task, I got better,” he says. “I enjoyed it more, week four, five, six. But the first three weeks, I didn’t understand anything.”
Maymay, on the other hand, just found it amusing that Edward shared her sense of humor and some of her wacky tendencies.
“Di ba, nagme-make-face ako? Biglang ginagaya niya ako!” She lets out a carefree laugh at the memory.“Sabi ko, ‘Hala, foreigner ’to! Bakit may ganyang ano?’ Parang unique siya sa akin, na ‘Hala, may ganyan talaga? Di ba, ano ka, foreigner ka? Bakit ka ganyang mag-ano, maggalaw-galaw?”
It didn’t take long for the pair to become best friends. Since their personalities were so similar, they started to call each other “Twinnie.” And though she’s three years older than he is, they acted as if they were the same age. Fans loved the dynamic between the wacky Cagayana and the cheerful Filipino-German. And they wondered: Could that friendship, perhaps, blossom into something more romantic?
Thus, unknown to the two of them, Maymay and Edward were already a love team—which fans dubbed MayWard. Online, fans posted video compilations of the pair’s kilig moments and tweeted their admiration for both teens. But no one inside the house had an inkling that MayWard was already one of the most talked-about pairings on PBB.
Maymay and Edward would only find out at a concert of the male dance group Hashtags, during which the housemates performed a group dance number as part of their weekly task. Maymay relates the incident comically, her eyes widening to demonstrate her expression then.
“Nanlaki ’yong mata ko, kasi nakita ko ’yong picture no’ng mukha ko... Ganito pala ang nangyayari! Habang nagsasayaw po ako, tumatakbo sa isip ko, ‘Oh my God, may love team ako.’”
To Edward, or to the rest of the housemates, Maymay didn’t mention what she had seen.“Tahimik pa ang lahat,” she laughs. “Hindi ako kumibo. Kasi ang kapal naman ng mukha ko!” But as soon as they got home, the other housemates began teasing her and Edward about their love team.
“Do’n na nagsimula ’yong pinartner kaming dalawa. Kasi nakita nila sa labas.”
That was then. MayWard has only grown more popular in the months since, so we ask Maymay the question on everybody’s lips: what’s the real score between her and Edward?
“Nando’n pa rin ’yong tinginan namin do’n sa Bahay ni Kuya,” Maymay replies, a vague smile on her face. “’Tapos, sobrang matalik na kaming magkaibigan. ’Yong parang kumportable ka, kasi since do’n pa lang sa Bahay ni Kuya, talagang close na kami, hanggang sa paglabas.”
Her reply is neither a confirmation nor a denial. But just by hearing her talk about Edward, it’s obvious that she has a deep admiration for the Filipino-German teen. “Gentleman siya. ’Tapos, maano, ma-comfort siya. Kapag may problema ka, ganyan, talagang ang galing niyang mag-advise.”
Maymay says all that with a wide grin, and it becomes clear why fans think there’s something more between her and Edward than she lets on. But it could be that she’s just happy—not just because of Edward, but because of the support of MayWard fans as well.
“Nakakataba sa puso. Talagang mainit ’yong pagsuporta nila. Siguro po, kung ano ’yong pagkabaliw na nasa amin, parang napasa namin sa kanila.” She laughs. “Naka-relate sila, kasi baliw din sila!”
Indeed, the fans are crazy about MayWard. Whether their relationship is for real or just for reel remains to be seen. But one thing is for sure: they are one of this year’s love teams to watch.
Full name: Marydale Entrata
PBB Tagline: Miss Wacky-Go-Lucky ng Cagayan de Oro
Birthday: May 6, 1997
Siblings: Kuya Vincent and younger brother Rio
School: University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines
College course: Technology Communication Management
Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil. “Mabait sila, ’tapos hindi lang sila guwapo
o maganda. Hindi lang hitsura ’yong ’pinapakita nila, pero ’yong sila talaga. Nagpapakatotoo sila.”
Personal motto: “‘If others can do it, why can’t I?’ At saka, ‘Nothing is impossible.’”
Childhood dream: To be an actress or a flight attendant
First thing she did after PBB ended: “Talagang gusto kong makipagkuwentuhan sa pamilya ko. Nagsimula kaming magkuwentuhan alas dose, natapos kami mga alas singko na ng umaga!”
Full name: Edward John Barber
PBB Tagline: Ang Cheerful Charmer ng Germany
Birthday: July 15, 2000
Sibling: Older sister Laura
Favorite celebrities: Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil. “Kasi we come to the Philippines, to La Union, every Christmas. I think it started in 2013. I started watching Forevermore. I watched LizQuen even though I didn’t understand the language.”
Hobbies: Reading and writing. “I have always read a lot... Things with words, letters, I can do that. I was always better with languages. I hate sciences and math.”
Favorite book: Kill Me If You Can, a suspense novel by James Patterson and Marshall Karp
Dream before he joined PBB: “To finish school, then go to university to study either literature or film, psychology, something with writing. And then join my dad in his business. [Laughs] But bye, it’s gone.”
First thing he did after PBB ended: Eat healthy food with his family
Published in PEP.ph May 2019
Adapted for PEP.ph by Jo-Ann Q. Maglipon
Originally published in YES! May 2017
Text & Interview: Shara Cayetano
Editor In Chief: Jo-Ann Q. Maglipon
Executive Editor: Jose F. Lacaba