KathNiel: Movies, accomplishments, and lessons learned so far

by Yes! Magazine Jocelyn Valle
Sep 26, 2019
PHOTO/S: ABS-CBN & YES! Magazine(center)

An engaging mix of subtle maturity and childlike playfulness and romanticism fills the air when YES! Magazine—the magazine affiliate of the Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP.ph)—has a photo shoot one Wednesday afternoon in March 2018.

In the photo studio are two celebrities who make up one of the hottest love teams of their generation: Kathryn Bernardo, 22, and Daniel “DJ” Padilla, 23.

At this point, the two have been part of the KathNiel love team for seven years—beginning with the teen-oriented TV series Growing Up (2011-2012), which was immediately followed by the hit TV series Princess and I (2012-2013). From then on, they have headlined hit movies every year, including Must Be... Love (2013), She’s Dating the Gangster (2014), Crazy Beautiful You (2015), Barcelona: A Love Untold (2016), Can’t Help Falling in Love (2017), and The Hows of Us (2018).

They have also starred in teleseryes, such as Got to Believe (2013-2014), Pangako Sa’Yo (2015-2016), and their latest hit, La Luna Sangre (2016-2017), where they played star-crossed lovers who must decide the fate of warring wolves and vampires.

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It’s a long list of achievements—and hours of grueling taping days spent together—which is why it doesn’t come as a surprise that Kathryn and Daniel have learned to measure the perfect amount of private details that they keep to themselves and interesting anecdotes that they share for public consumption.

The evolution of the love team happened slowly. Compared with their ways when they were first pushed into the spotlight, they have now become less guarded, and more relaxed and confident, traits that come with growing up and being more secure with one’s status in the industry.

They have the ideals and dreams of the young at heart, but they take the road to those ideals and dreams with much practicality.

Kathryn tells us about her wish to become an assistant stylist (“Pag stylist, nakaka-pressure, e,” she says), a makeup artist, and a photographer. And she says all this with charming shyness and openness.

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Daniel tells us about his dream of entering deeper into the world of music and admits matter-of-factly: “Pero sa ibang atake na siguro, hindi na sa pagtugtog masyado. Kasi napag-iwanan na rin ako. Hindi na ’ko nakapag-practice.”

What we have here are the Kathryn and Daniel who have gotten to know themselves and each other—amid the competition and the evolution in the changing world of show business. These are the Kathryn and Daniel who are grateful to be among those of their contemporaries who are at the top of the heap, who are aware of what might happen, and who remain steadfast on the road to clearer goals. These are the Kathryn and Daniel who are now unperturbed by the pressures of putting up a facade that is common in their age group.

For the KathNiel love team, it can only keep getting better.

“Feel ko,” Kathryn says, “nag-e- evolve naman ngayon, ’yong sa ilang taon. Malaki na, grabe na ’yong evolution.”

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Daniel chimes in: “Every project, may evolution na nangyayari. Meron kaming mga nakukuha do’n sa project. May maturity din na kasama ’yon, along the way.”

YES! Magazine then asked KathNiel more than a hundred questions—a gist of which can be read below.

Kathryn, for instance, revealed the accomplishments she is most proud of, so far.

"I think all of my teleseryes and movies, kasi bawat isa do’n, ilang taping, ilang shooting ’yan. Hindi madaling gumawa ng isang teleserye, hindi madaling gumawa ng movie or makapagpakita ng movie.

"So I think I’m proud of my work, kasi lahat ’yon ginawa with passion and heart na, alam mo ’yon, may mga days na ayaw mo pero pupunta ka at ’binigay mo pa rin ang lahat. So ’yan, proud ako sa mga projects ko."

Who would you want to play you in a movie about your life?

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"Naisip ko na ’yan before. Sino ’yong nagagandahan ako? Si Leila Alcasid. Sino pa ’yong isa? May nagagandahan akong bata. Baka siya na lang, kasi pareho kaming morena, ’tsaka parang cute siya talaga, e. Maganda siya pag tinititingan, mukha siyang Latina na ewan, para siyang si Selena Gomez. Maganda boses niya. Pagagandahin niya boses ko sa story."

What accomplishments are you most proud of, so far?

"I think all of my teleseryes and movies, kasi bawat isa do’n, ilang taping, ilang shooting ’yan. Hindi madaling gumawa ng isang teleserye, hindi madaling gumawa ng movie or makapagpakita ng movie.

"So I think I’m proud of my work, kasi lahat ’yon ginawa with passion and heart na, alam mo ’yon, may mga days na ayaw mo pero pupunta ka at ’binigay mo pa rin ang lahat. So ’yan, proud ako sa mga projects ko."

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What’s that one thing you’ve always wanted to try, but are afraid to do?

"Diving, maybe. Pero na-try ko na for Can’t Help Falling in Love. Natatakot ako ngayon, pero gustong-gusto ko maalis ’yong fear of water ko.

"Kasi ’yong handler ko, si Tita Lulu [Romero], nagda-dive siya. Sabi niya, super peaceful. Na-try ko siya, pero ngayon, nag-stop, so gusto ko ma-overcome ’yong fear ko. Gusto kong i-enjoy ’yong water, makita ’yong corals, ’yon. I wish mermaid na lang ako, water person ako.

"Mas comfortable si DJ sa water kaysa sa ’kin. Ako kasi, pag wala na ’kong nakikita sa taas, kapag madilim na, di ko kaya. Napapraning ako."

What is the most important lesson you have learned in life, so far?

"To be independent. I think, siguro. Lalo sa La Luna Sangre, natutunan ko na bawal ka mag-depend sa anyone. It’s really just yourself, kung paano gagawin ’yong isang bagay, kung paano mo itatawid ’to sa gusto mong paraan. And wala, ’yong iba kasi, puwede ka nilang iwan, e. So nasa sa iyo na ’yon kung paano ’yong gagawin mo.

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"Andiyan si Mama to guide me, pero along the way, kailangan mong matuto kung paano gawin ’to, kung ano ’yong kailangan mong i-invest sa ganyan, so gradually. Pero nagsimula recently sa La Luna talaga, ’yong kung paano ko alagaan si Malia, ’yong show, kung paano mo mahalin—ikaw lang ’yon. Kami ni DJ. So kailangan, kahit umalis ’yong direktor, alam mo kung paano tumayo mag-isa."

Daniel, for his part, admitted one thing he will never be comfortable doing in front of the camera.

"Siguro ’yong mga paghubad-hubad ko na sa camera. Hayop, e, no, kung makahubad, e, no. Hindi naman, hindi kumportable kasi, e. At saka wala naman akong malisya pag naghuhubad ako. Wala naman talaga, wala namang gano’n, e. Parang may naghubad na walang dating, ano. So, nahiya lang ako."

Do you think you would ever be comfortable taking your shirt off in front of the camera?

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"Hindi, hindi ako gano’n, e. Hindi nga ako natutulog na nakahubad. Sinubukan ko na rin ’yon. Ang mga lalaki, gano’n, di ba? May mga pinsan akong gano’n kasi, naghuhubad ’tapos matutulog. Sabi ko, “Ako nga rin.” Hindi talaga ako kumportable. “Bakit nakalabas ’yong katawan ko sa kumot?”

"Hindi talaga ako palahubad na tao. Kahit nasa dagat ako, gusto ko naka-shirt. Pag naliligo, naka-rashguard ako. Hindi ako magkaka-cancer.

[Rashguard is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as “a tight- fitting, lightweight, stretchable shirt worn especially for water sports to protect the upper body from abrasion, as from rubbing against a surfboard, or sunburn.”]

Who would you want to play you in a movie about your life?

"Siguro si Jordan, ’yong pinsan ko. Basta siya na lang, para sakto sa kanya ko makukuwento lahat ng kung ano ang pinaggagawa ko."

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What accomplishments are you most proud of, so far?

"Lahat naman ng trabahong ginagawa ko. I mean, ’yong projects ko, tuwing natatapos ’yon. Pag nakikita ko na masaya ’yong mga tao, mapaserye, mapapelikula, mapa-concert, kung anuman ’yan, basta naging successful, sobrang laki ng kinita, talagang saya no’n. Parang, 'Iisa pa ako ulit.'"

What is the one thing you’ve always wanted to try, but are afraid to do?

"Gusto ko lang subukan, pero hindi ko naman gagawin. Mag-bungee-jumping. Hindi ko kaya ’yon. ’Yong sensation no’ng falling ang takot ko. Ayoko ’yong feeling na nalalaglag ako, e."

What’s the best and worst part about being Daniel Padilla?

"Hindi naman worst. I think lang, may kapalit lang talaga. I mean, hindi ko naman masabing worst, kasi masaya din naman ako ngayon. Pero at the same time, may kapalit din ’yon. Time. Imagine occasions, wala ka sa birthday ng utol mo. Sa mga kaibigan mo, wala ka. ’Yon na lang.

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"Best part siguro, ’yong binigyan ako ngayon ng chance to inspire ang mga tao, mga bata, lalo na ang mga bata. Kasi hindi ko sinasabi na “Ako, magaling ako.” Hindi ko sinasabi ’yon. Ako lang, I mean, etong ’binigay sa akin ng Diyos. And inaalagaan ko lahat ng bagay talaga. Hindi ko puwedeng makalimutan ang priorities ko bilang ako. ’Yon lang. Gano’n lang kasimple, pero mahirap."

KATHNIEL MOVIES THROUGH THE YEARS

Since Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla became a love team following the success of the teleserye Princess and I, the pair known together as KathNiel were immediately cast in the movies 24/7 in Love and Sisterakas, which were both released in 2012.

They then began headlining their own movies, and were soon hailed as box-office stars, on top of being teleserye royalties for starring in a string of hit ABS-CBN drama series.

Seven movies later, Kathniel decided to take a breather from each other onscreen.

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Kathryn confirmed in a letter published by Preview.ph in March 2019 that she and Daniel won’t be making any projects together for the rest of the year.

This 2019, Kathryn’s first big project was a movie opposite GMA-7 prized artist, Alden Richards, titled Hello, Love, Goodbye. It is now considered the highest grossing Filipino film of all time.

Let’s look back on Kathniel movies with Daniel Padilla—her love team partner on- and off-screen.

Title: Must Be…Love
Director: Dado Lumibao
Release date: March 2013
What’s it about? Tomboyish Patchot (Kathryn) is secretly falling in love with her childhood best friend, Ivan (Daniel) Problem is, Ivan sees and treats her simply as a friend. Worse, he gets attracted to Patchot’s cousin, Angel (Liza Soberano). Will the lovesick protagonist still end up with the object of her affection?

Box-office performance: P75 million pesos, according to Star Cinema

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Title: Pagpag: Siyam na Buhay
Director: Frasco Mortiz
Release date: December 2013
What’s it about? The story revolves around superstitious beliefs on death, such as pagpag—the practice of not going straight home from a wake so as not to bring home bad spirits. Cedric (Daniel) experiences supernatural occurrences with his friends (Miles Ocampo, Dominic Roque, Michelle Vito, CJ Navato). He’s then mysterious led to Leni (Kathyn), whom he accidently hits while driving his car, and later meets again in the funeral of Roman (a dark character played by Paulo Avelino). Cedric and Leni end up working together to uncover the sinister story of Roman and his wife Lucy (Shaina Magdayao).

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Box-office performance: P182,750,969 total (P87,752,439 in Metro Manila and P94,998,530 in provinces), according to Star Cinema

Awards received: Best Festival Makeup and Youth Choice Award (39th Metro Manila Film Festival), Best Achievement in Film Editing (2014 Young Critics Circle Awards), Best Visual Effects (2014 Famas Awards)

Title: She’s Dating the Gangster
Director: Cathy Garcia-Molina
Release date: July 2014
What’s it about? Based on the popular young adult fiction of the same title, the movie follows the bittersweet but undying love story of Kenji delos Reyes (played by Daniel Padilla in the flashback scenes and Richard Gomez in the present time) and Athena Dizon (played by Kathryn Bernardo in the flashback scenes and Dawn Zulueta in the present time). Kenji’s son Kenneth (Daniel) and Athena’s niece (Kathyn) piece together the romantic tale that dates back to the star-crossed lovers’ youth, when Kenji was considered a gangster at school and Athena a typical teen. Though they started off on the wrong foot (Kenji wrongfully sent text messages to Athena, who’s a namesake of his ex-girlfriend), they managed to find their way to each other’s heart—until decisions had to be made for a heartbreaking conclusion.

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Box-office performance: P260 million pesos, according to Star Cinema

Awards received: Best Musical Score (2015 Famas)

Title: Crazy Beautiful You
Director: Mae Cruz-Alviar
Release date: February 2015
What’s it about? Jackie is a rebellious brat reeling from a broken home. Her father (Dante Ponce) sends her to her mother’s (Lorna Tolentino) medical mission in Tarlac to hopefully straighten her out. At first, Jackie hates her situation and makes hell for people around her. But with the help of newfound friends led by Kiko (Daniel), Jackie begins to find love and joy again. Kiko himself gives so much love and joy despite his personal tragedies, such as being an illegitimate son of the town mayor (Gabby Concepcion) and an irresponsible mother (Assunta de Rossi). Conflict arises when Kiko’s half-brother and his father’s legitimate son, Marcus (Inigo Pascual), falls in love with Jackie. Will Kiko once again give up his own happiness?

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Box-office performance: P320 million, according to Star Cinema

Title: Barcelona: A Love Untold
Director: Olivia Lamasan
Release date: September 2016
What’s it about? Heartbroken Ely (Daniel) finds escape in the Spanish city of Barcelona as he buries himself in work and studies. His broken heart is awoken when he meets Mia (Kathryn), a fellow Pinoy trying to make a fresh start, who happens to look so much like his late girlfriend. After a series of false starts and deep doubts, Ely and Mia must decide if they they’re moving in the same direction.

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Box-office performance: P321 million, according to Star Cinema

Awards received: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Production Design (65th Famas Awards); and Movie Actor and Movie Love Team Award (33rd PMPC Star Awards)

Title: Can’t Help Falling in Love
Director: Mae Cruz-Alviar
Release date: April 2017
What’s it about? Gabriela “Gab” dela Cuesta (Kathryn) is set to marry her ideal boyfriend Jason (Matteo Guidicelli) when, in the process of obtaining her documents, she finds out that she’s already married to a certain Jose Ibarra “Dos” Gonzalez Jr. (Daniel). Gab desperately seeks Dos out to know what happened and how to undo the mistake. They concoct schemes until Dos gets a tip about the only person that they can help them, and off they go to Cebu, in the scenic town of Argao, which is famous of diving. In the end, Gab ties the knot with her true love.

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Box-office performance: P320 million, according to Star Cinema

Title: The Hows of Us
Director: Cathy Garcia-Molina
Release date: August 2018
What’s it about? Since their high school days, Primo (Daniel) and George (Kathryn) have always known that they’re a perfect match. They’re both smart, driven, and ambitious. But as they build their committed relationship and pursue their personal dreams, they make a lot of realizations about how much they value themselves, their relationship, and each other. To date, this is the most mature movie of Kathniel.

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Box-office performance: P810 million, according to Star Cinema

Awards received: Best Actress (3rd Eddys Entertainment Editors’ Awards) and Movie Actress of the Year (35th PMPC Star Award for Movies)

Published in PEP.ph May 2018
Adapted for PEP.ph by Jo-Ann Q. Maglipon

Originally published in YES! April 2018

Writer: Bam Abellon

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Interviews: Bam Abellon & Jocelyn Valle

Editor In Chief: Jo-Ann Q. Maglipon

Executive Editor: Jose F. Lacaba

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PHOTO/S: ABS-CBN & YES! Magazine(center)
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