Six months into lockdown, the local entertainment scene has witnessed the growing demand for the BL or Boys’ Love genre. Titles have been cropping up one after the other after a Thai series became a hit among local fans.

One of the first to launch is In Between: sa pagitan ng kamusta at paalam by Uncle Scott Global Productions, Unframed Film Production and Fringe Multimedia Production. The digital series is topbilled by athletes-turned-actors Migs Villasis and Genesis Redido and directed by Briliant Juan.

In Between chronicles the love story between childhood best friends Tau (Villasis) and Otep (Redido). The two find themselves falling for each other after years of togetherness. In the course of their developing relationship, viewers are introduced to other characters in the story like their friends, collectively known as the Boom Harot squad. Standing out among the supporting cast are Lance Carr as Makisig and Renshi De Guzman as Ronin. The onscreen long-distance lovers rose to fame as Team Pangs. Pangs is short for pangga, a Visayan term of endearment for someone you love.

Meet the ‘Pangs

In an intimate media conference last week, we got to know the boys behind the hit side couple.

Renshi De Guzman (Ronin or Nin San Pedro) previously appeared in Bakwit Boys, Class of 2018, The Boy Foretold by the Stars (Cine Filipino), and is set to star in the upcoming Cinemalaya movie Parole.
Lance Carr (Makisig De Jesus) is a former Pinoy Big Brother Otso (Batch 3) teen housemate. After his reality show stint, he appeared alongside Joshua Garcia and Janella Salvador in a Maalaala Mo Kaya (MMK) episode and performed dance numbers in ASAP Natin ‘To. He is currently taking up AB Communication at Ateneo de Davao University

Asked what made them accept the BL roles, here are what they said.

Dati pa naman po, nung mag-start ako sa showbiz, any role naman po, okay po ako. Sobrang open po ako sa kahit anong role. Tapos binigay po ito sa ‘kin sa In Between. Gusto ko po siyang gawin, gusto ko po siyang ma-explore,” Renshi said. “Bale, first BL [series] ko po ito. ‘Yun po naging desisyon ko na tanggapin ko s’ya. It’s a new challenge and new experience po sa akin.”

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Lance echoed what his onscreen partner shared. “Same din po with Renshi, this is my first series po. I just wanted to test my capabilities as an actor and I want to give justice to the role, in support of the LGBT community po.”

Team Pangs in In Between

“‘Yung story kasi namin ni Renshi [in the series] talks about the struggles of having same-sex relationship and how you’re going to open up about it to friends and family. It talks about that kind of struggle, lalo na po long-distance din po,” Lance explained what their characters as Ronin and Makising are about. “Sa mundo ngayon, marami rin pong nakaka-experience ng LDR at sobrang nahihirapan po.

Chance encounter

Just like Ronin and Makisig who are away from each other in the series, Lance and Renshi have yet to see each other in person. However, Lance recalled that the two of them have previously crossed paths.

He talked about their chance encounter with excitement, “Si Renshi kasi, nung nasa Manila pa ako, I have a friend po kasi, si Royce Cabrera (independent film actor), same po kami ng manager, si Tito Dudu. Pumunta po ako nung Parole look test and storycon nina Renshi. Actually, andun ako pero hindi namin napansin ang isa’t isa. We were just in the same place.”

Virtual bonding

To get to know each other better, Lance and Renshi find ways to bond online.

Nag-cha-chat po kami paminsan-minsan. May time po na nag-ca-call po kami. Para lang po siyempre makilala namin ang isa’t isa. Not just for the series pero personal na rin po na choice namin,” Renshi shared. “May mga times sa gabi nag-ca-call kami. Meron ding bonding sa laro and sa ML (Mobile Legends game) po. Ganun po ang ginagawa naming dalawa.

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Lance agreed by saying, “Addict po kami d’yan! Tsaka lagi po kaming nagkukulitan kapag nag-si-scriptreading n’yan ni Renshi.”

Renshi nodded in agreement,”Yes po!”

Virtual kiss?

While they are away from each other, the closeness brought about by work and online bonding is evident. This led Abante’s Roldan Castro to ask about the boys’ openness to doing a virtual kiss for the show.

Lance responded with a laugh and passed on the question to their director, “Direk, ano na? Si Direk lang po makakasagot niyan.”

The series’ Direk Briliant was quick to answer, “Kung sa virtual, part naman siya ng relationship nila. Kasi ‘di ba, halos lahat naman ngayon ‘pag LDR, buti nga meron na tayong video call. Kahit papaano, nabibigay na natin ‘yung kiss, ‘di ba?”

He further explained, “Kaya meron akong ginawang atake sa kanila na parang song. Parang ‘yun yung kulitan nila once nami-miss nila ‘yung isa’t isa o kaya once na nagtatampo ‘yung isa. ‘Yun ‘yung way nila para mapakita ‘yung love. ‘Yun yung parang caring nila.

‘Best BL Series Side Couple’ tag + Season 2 and Spin-off series

I couldn’t help but bring up the Youtube and Twitter comments I read tagging Team Pangs as the “Best BL Series Side Couple.” Renshi reacted, “Masaya po ako na nakikita ko po ‘yung mga tao na nagugustuhan po ‘yung ginagawa po namin. ‘Yung sa’min po ginagawa po namin ‘yung work namin. ‘Yung magustuhan po ng tao, bonus na lang po sa ‘min ‘yun. Napakalaking bonus po siya dahil napakalaking tulong po nun sa amin.

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The young actor later confirmed Season 2 of the series and expressed his wish for more exposure of their characters.

His wish was instantly granted. Direk Briliant made this revelation, “Yung Pangs, magkakaroon talaga sila ng sarili nilang show. Dito naka-support pa sila eh. Kaya ko talaga sila pinasok, [para ipakita] ano ‘yung difference ng love na magkasama kayo tapos ‘yung sila, LDR. Kaya ganun, laging may comparison. Ngayon, mas aabangan natin ‘pag nagkaroon na sila ng sarili nilang BL [series].

On real-life bromance

Like all other BL series stars, Renshi and Lance were also asked if they entertain the idea of a bromance. Their exposure to the genre seemed to have infuenced their take on same-sex relationships now.

Sa akin, open po ako sa ganyan. As of now, open po ako since sa series po na ito mas marami po kaming naintindihan. Sa tulong po ng series, mas dun po ako naging open. Unlike po before na sakto lang. Ngayon po, open na po talaga. Hindi po natin alam, malay natin, posibleng iba, posibleng si Lance, ‘di po natin alam,” Renshi said with a giggle.

When Lance was asked to react, he laughingly said, “Oo naman, ‘pag kay Renshi, malakas ‘yan sa’kin eh!” He supported it by sharing what he now believes about love. “Naniniwala naman po ako na love has no gender, malay natin!

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In case you missed the latest episode, check it out here:

Catch Team Pangs on USPHTV Youtube channel every Saturday at 8PM.