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Award-winning tandem Antoinette Jadaone and Dan Villegas with the author Amy Schlanger (far left).


Contributed to the Filipino Reporter

Happily ever after.

That’s the hope and promise of romance.

Television and film have been searching for happily ever after since the beginning.

A new perspective on this subject can be refreshing.

The award-winning tandem of Dan Villegas and Antoinette Jadaone explore this genre and brings something else into the mix, which is tadhana.

“Destiny = Forever” is the theme that these two wonderfully creative artists in Philippine Cinema today unintentionally use as guide towards having a perfect relationship.

Is happiness meant to be ever after?

Well, only if it’s destiny.

This subtle and interesting exploration of letting tadhana take its course to achieve happiness in finding true love, is an unusual and artistic depth that this couple brings to a well known form of artistic expression.

Their millions of viewers have been touched by the romantic comedies that showcased the successful blending of their talents.

Movies like “English Only Please,” “That Thing Called Tadhana,” “You’re My Boss” and “The Breakup Playlist,” to name a few, were collaborative works that are also reflective of their passion for each other.

It’s rare when a passionate couple is making great art together.

When two people find their soulmate in each other, sparks fly.

That’s what happened when Dan met Antoinette (aka Tonet).

Their own love story is like a compilation of their box-office hits.

When I sat down and spent time with this adorable couple, I asked them to tell me their story.

Dan was quick to say, “First time I saw her, I found her very attractive,” as he lovingly glanced at Tonet he continues, “I was completely smitten. She was cute and funny.”

They were briefly introduced to each other, and that was it for their first meeting.

Years later, they worked on a movie project together and became friends.

Tonet shares an endearing trait that attracted her to Dan, “Tinodo ni Dan ang panliligaw, sending me flowers, picks me up regularly, he’s just very thoughtful.”

Their relationship is going on three years now.

How do they manage their professional and personal lives?

The answer is simpler than it seems.

They work together.

Dan jokingly says, “Always say yes.”

One thing that they have going for them is that their talents lie in different parts of production.

He is a gifted cinematographer, she is a gifted writer.

They are both very good directors but with their diverse creative backgrounds, this makes them a  yin-yang good fit of different skill-sets.

Dan explains further, “I’m objective. She’s emotional.”

Being in the same industry means they both understand the gruelling schedule of their work.

Then he elaborates, “Last year, 2014, was hard because we worked on four film projects. What to prioritize? Our projects or our relationship? But we survived,” looking mushy at Tonet as he continues, “because what we have is true love.”

Then Tonet adds, “We clashed most of the time. Then we decided to have a compromise. Kung sino ang direktor, siya ang masusunod. Then in time we grew into each other’s system.”

Yes, opposites attract and they also complete each other.

Living in the entertainment industry, you’re in your own world.

Dan explains, “Mahirap magkaroon ng relationship with someone not from the industry dahil maraming hindi maiintindihan,” then he continues, “schedule pa lang, selos factor na iyan, hindi nila maintindihan. Nakakailang. Parang OFW ang lifestyle because you’re on location shooting for days. Ang hirap.”

Some people say that you should avoid going out with someone in the same industry.

Conflict of interest and competition can kill the romance.

However, one of the factors that make a relationship work is commonality.

Having a shared interest that a couple can both relate to is just as important as their genuine love and respect for each other.

Their current and on-going project is the hit rom-com television series, “On the Wings of Love.”

This is their first venture into television as directors.

Antoinette, who was in the series from the beginning had some reservations, “Gusto ko talaga sa film kasi parang life consuming project ang TV series,” and with a childlike laughter she says, “parang kinain ko ang sinabi ko because now I am very involved with this show and I like it.”

Not only did she eat her words about working on a television series but now Dan is involved in it too.

Even though this show is an additional challenge, they face it together just like anything else.

Their TV project has not slowed down their collaboration on film.

The upcoming movie, “Walang Forever,” is written by Antoinette Jadaone and directed by Dan Villegas.

This is the couple’s entry to the 2015 Metro Manila Film Festival.

“Walang Forever” stars the award-winning talents of Jericho Rosales and Jennylyn Mercado.

It promises an exceptional artistic standard that’s charming.

It’s inspired by real people and situations that also aesthetically captures the local flavor.

The teaser was released last month and it already has almost 3.5 million views on different social media sites.

In this one-minute-35-second movie trailer, my interest was captured by the man-on-the-street interviews answering the question, “Naniniwala ka ba sa forever?”

The collection of anecdotes are hilarious.

But what got my attention is in the last 28 seconds of the clip.

It’s when the character of Jericho Rosales confronted Jennylyn Mercado’s character.

He looked her in the eye as if examining her soul and all he said was, “Miss...,” which got her tongue-tied and confused as she responded nervously to him, “wala, walang forever,” then immediately diverted to her optimistic point of view, “meron, may forever.”

My heart melted.

Finding myself quoting lines from the movie’s trailer is in itself remarkable.

This is the magic that Dan and Tonet give us for entertainment.

Their work captivates the heart of their audience.

We fall in love with the characters, the story, and the whole movie.

A good story told well is worth following.

Will the characters in this film overcome the obstacles that life puts in their way along the path of finding true love?

Or are the hurdles that the couple face part of their destiny?

Knowing how their other films have played with the concept of tadhana, the only thing we know for sure is it will be worth watching.