It Takes a Man and a Woman: Why Laida and Miggy are the definitive Filipino love team
It's Easter Sunday and my mother is in tears.
As she quietly dabs her eyes with tissue, I have no one to blame but Laida Magtalas (Sarah Geronimo) and Miggy Montenegro (John Lloyd Cruz).
It's been four long years since I've seen them on screen, and if the tabloids were to be believed, the blockbuster tandem was seemingly doomed to never hit theaters again.
But there they were. Like old friends you’ve lost touch with. They had the same endearing charm and light-hearted banter they started with half a decade ago. They were older, preferably wiser, but that much more nakakakilig than ever.
For two hours, I fell in love with them all over again.
It Takes a Man and a Woman is the third film in the Laida-Miggy romantic comedy trilogy. Beginning with the runaway hit A Very Special Love and followed by the record-breaking You Changed My Life, this third outing is particularly special for the fans who've grown with Laida and Miggy over the years.
And they wouldn’t be alone. Screenwriter Carmi Raymundo admits that after three films, she's made a connection with the characters that is as deep as it is personal. "Feeling ko sabay kaming nagjo-journey," Raymundo confesses. "Grabe na rin kasi siguro 'yung nabuo kong connection with them. Si Laida, parang matalik kong kaibigan. Si Miggy, I consider him a baby brother. Ganun ka-personal."
It's a connection that translates wonderfully on the big screen. I am immediately thrown back to the days of Laida's first sun dance and Miggy's delightfully embarrassing videoke session. But even the light-hearted nostalgia trip can't change the fact that Laida and Miggy have been through so much both as characters and as people.
When Miggy betrays Laida's trust in the opening minutes of the film, we realize that this is no longer the fairy tale romance we once knew. Laida and Miggy are growing up. And we're growing up with them.
To call Laida and Miggy the definitive Filipino love team would be a tall order, especially when you have the likes of Pancho and Tita, Gabby and Sharon, and Claudine and Rico to contend with. But while the snarkiest of critics will point out that Laida and Miggy hardly make up for real-life love, their longevity on the big screen makes their relationship more real than any tabloid love story in print.
There is no hidden agenda. There are no Boy Abunda interviews. Laida and Miggy exist purely in the world of cinema.
Make no mistake, It Takes a Man and a Woman is still the usual Star Cinema fanfare filled with quotably cheesy lines and rivers of tears. It won't appeal to Hollywood-born moviegoers who don't get kilig and have no time for baduy. But the film was never designed to win over the crowd that was never there for Laida and Miggy.
Hardcore fans of Filipino love teams might still hold Popoy and Basha (Cruz and Bea Alonzo) of One More Chance fame to higher regard. But there's a reason Popoy and Basha never got a sequel. Their happy ending was never truly deserved.
"As a writer, and personally din, I wanted them to deserve [the film's] ending," Raymundo continues. "I wanted Miggy and Laida to prove to me first na 'yun talaga ang dapat na ending for them." It comes with no hint of irony that Carmi Raymundo is also one of the screenwriters behind One More Chance.
In a film industry that prides its celebrities far above its characters, Laida and Miggy's resilience is a refreshing one. It's true that John Lloyd's and Sarah's own superstar personas have managed to solidify their appeal in the box office, but it's hard to disregard the fact that Laida and Miggy have a lot to do with it as well.
It Takes a Man and a Woman has been often described as the end to the Laida and Miggy trilogy. But Raymundo thinks otherwise. "Isa lang naman palagi ang stand namin nila Direk Cathy [Garcia-Molina] and John Lloyd. Kung may kwento pang worthy ipalabas sa big screen, pwede," she tells us. While it's too early to talk about a fourth film, Raymundo's words are already ringing truer than she might think.
Easter has always been a holiday of new beginnings. And as Laida and Miggy close an important chapter in their lives, they also set the foundation for a new one. As a fan, a follower, and a friend, I wish them all the best.
And my mom, who's now had the chance to dry her eyes, does so as well.
It Takes a Man and a Woman, distributed by Star Cinema, is now showing in Philippine cinemas.
It Takes a Man and a Woman: Why Laida and Miggy are the definitive Fil
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