From playing side characters to being the heroes of their own stories, Donny Pangilinan and Belle Mariano are living their best lives.
Even if they were years into the industry, Donny Pangilinan and Belle Mariano’s stories in 2020 were on the cusp of the climax as they soon became, well, you probably know the rest of the story. Only rarely does the local entertainment industry see a phenomenon like DonBelle, and it’s an even more impressive feat given how the two Gen Z superstars broke free from typecasting and last names to chart their path independently. They’re living proof that taking control of your journey can lead to living the best life.
EVERYTHING IS AWESOME
To a lot of Gen Z fans, Donny and Belle are goals, both as individuals and as a pair. It’s one of the main reasons why the two have earned praise across social media, with a character that’s both admirable and relatable. “I believe what makes me awesome is being true to yourself and finding your independence,” says Belle. As for Donny, it’s his go-getter attitude that he feels has earned him plus points in life. “Just the fact that I never give up. I always strive to be better.”
More so than having a strong sense of determination, Donny isn’t afraid to fail, and more importantly, learn from his mistakes. “How you get back up from something that may be a failure to you and be something you learn from is what I think makes someone awesome.” There’s no secret sauce here, anyone can turn those falls into rebounds. “[H]ow much they turn their failures into something that can be overcome, that’s something you could do with people, or independently.”
In 2019, ABS-CBN paired two strangers who seemingly had little in common. At the time, Belle was known as a former cast member of Goin’ Bulilit and played the kid version of the lead actress in teleseryes, such as a young Bianca Maghirang (played by Bianca Casado) in Princess and I and a young Tiffany Olivar (played by Bianca Manalo) in On the Wings of Love. Donny, meanwhile, was beginning to strike on his own and go beyond his roots as a social media personality with a storied last name. It only took one show for that fire to spark, one that is only getting brighter as the days go on.
One would think that their newly-minted superstar status has already kicked in for them, but every day is still a pleasant development for the love team. “I think it always surprises us every single time that we’re allowed to create something like, for example, doing a new show or a new movie. It’s always something I think that we won’t get used to na palagi kaming na-ooverwhelm sa nangyayari,” expresses Donny. Adds Belle, “Up to this very day, I still get surprised sa fact na people on Twitter, on Instagram, or their social media platforms that we get to see them personally and feel their support.”
Donny and Belle’s talents speak for themselves, but it’s their fans and supporters, the passionate Bubblies, who make it all happen as they embarked on the DonBelle journey. It’s a kind of culture-shifting support and passion the two didn’t, don’t, and will continue not to take for granted.
THE POWER OF BEING INDEPENDENTLY AWESOME
Aside from their chemistry and skills on the big and small screen, Donny and Belle are loved by many because they embody the dreams and aspirations of Gen Z. Like many in the new generation, the two grew up and came of age at a time when many people were telling them what to do. Yet, despite all the hurdles that were in their way, Donny and Belle broke through to live the life they want for themselves. As members of #TeamGalaxy, DonBelle’s journey is one that even Samsung wants to celebrate.
Samsung believes in celebrating the best of Gen Z, and in particular, letting us explore the world on our terms with devices serving as the perfect partner in all that. Such is the case with Samsung’s latest editions of the Galaxy A Series line, the Galaxy A34 5G and Galaxy A54 5G. They are fast becoming a go-to tool that fits in the palm of our hands, just ask DonBelle.
“When it comes to choosing my phone, other than the features, I really want it to be aesthetically pleasing. The Samsung Galaxy A54 5G and A34 5G are aesthetic, and I love the colors,” gushes Belle. As for Donny, it’s the looks that get him as he had nothing but compliments for the phone. But more than anything, he, along with Belle, finds it an awesome experience getting to work with #TeamGalaxy as they help Gen Z live the main character moment.
While some try to stereotype the youth, Gen Z is a diverse group of people who are unique in our self-expression yet connected with our shared experiences. Rarely, if ever, do we allow ourselves to be dictated towards a certain path. We ready ourselves to face the world on our terms. It’s an autonomy even stars like Donny and Belle strived for as they got older. “I got more independent when I got my own place when I was in my early 20s, that’s when I started really seeing how it felt like to live without my family,” reveals Donny.
For some, independence is born out of a specific moment in life, but for others, it’s an ever-continuing journey, the latter of which Belle sees herself on. “I think every day I will discover freedom and independence since I get to learn something new. And I think that’s so freeing that feeling of getting to learn something from what you’re going through or what you’ve been through.”
LIVING THE MAIN CHARACTER MOMENT
Wherever your path will lead, the beauty of being independent is that it allows anyone, regardless of who they are or where they come from, to evolve into a better version of themselves. “The good thing about being able to try your path is you just get to experience more stuff in life, and you get to get out of your comfort zone. I think that’s where all the magic happens, the awesomeness,” muses Donny. There’s nothing wrong with seeking help and staying in the company of people you feel safe around, but there’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored. And it’s an adventure that can be made all the better with the Samsung Galaxy A54 5G and Galaxy A34 5G.
With their look and features, the smartphones complement the vibe of Gen Z. “I feel like the Gen Z is very unique, and I think the phones are very unique as well. The design, the color, is very unique, super sakto sa mga Gen Z,” shares Donny. The smartphones are multi-faceted tools built for the multi-faceted youth who eschew the status quo. As Belle states, “[The smartphones] really have character. You really can tell a person’s personality when you look at their phones, and this one has character.”
As companions of self-expression, the latest editions of the Samsung Galaxy A Series are packed with features that help anyone be the main character of their story. “I think it’s something I carry every day. And it’s something that I feel is so fun to have. There are so many features you can do, so many quirks to it that I feel you really can’t live without,” sounds Donny. In particular, he gives his flowers to the phone’s impressive Object Eraser feature, which lets you remove an object from the photo and make it as if it was never there in the first place. Case in point, Donny cites how he was able to edit away loose strands of hair on Belle when they took a selfie together.
Whether it be securing that bag or hanging out with friends, Gen Z is often on the go, much so for Belle Mariano with her busy schedule. Luckily, the Galaxy A54 5G and Galaxy A34 5G’s long-lasting battery (Up to 21 hours of playback!) makes anyone ready at a moment’s notice. It’s a feature that Belle particularly likes. “You guys have no idea the struggle is real. Whenever I have to charge my phone, it’s such a big thing if your battery is long-lasting.”
BEING UNIQUELY AWESOME
With a hit digital series, two movies, a soon-to-be-released teleserye in their resume, and other exciting projects on the horizon, DonBelle is showing little signs of stopping as the Gen Z love team blazes their path, professionally and personally. And you can bet the two will have each other’s backs every step of the way. “I told [Donny] this from the very start that I want to be someone in his life that won’t hinder him from growing, and I feel like in that way, I get to support him,” shares Belle.
While Belle has many supporters, she can always count on Donny to be her number-one cheerleader. As he declares, “I’m just glad seeing her achieve things that were only a dream before and be a part of it somehow. I’m always gonna be there every step of the way to support her. At the end of the day, we want each other to grow as well and achieve bigger things.”
Gone are the days when making yourself smaller and fitting into the expectations of others is what will get you far in life. Gen Z holds boundless potential as we own our independence and embrace what makes us uniquely awesome. And, as the generation’s icons of awesome independence, Donny Pangilinan and Belle Mariano, along with Samsung, are helping empower us to find our freedom and celebrate our individuality.
If Donny and Belle can do it, so can you. “I think it’s just as simple as keep believing in yourself,” confidently proclaims Donny on how Gen Z can amplify their awesomeness. “Always know that there will be times you fall, but it’s really about how you rise above it. What you’re focusing upon should be positive things in life, those who love and are there for you, and who will motivate you to strive for your dreams.”
More than a look, it’s all about manifesting feeling awesome for Belle. “Always see yourself as awesome because people around you are like mirrors, mirrors of who you are. So, if you see yourself as awesome, all the people will reflect that. Despite how little or how much you overthink who you are, you’re awesome in every single way.”
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Creative Direction KENNETH DIMAANO
Photography DOOKIE DUCAY
Sittings Editor RAF BAUTISTA
Brand Associate ELYSE ILAGAN
Makeup JAKE GALVEZ (Belle)
Hair JERRY BUAN JAVIER (Belle)
Grooming JAM PARENO (Donny)
Nails by NAILS BY NICA
Videography JR RAMIREZ
Video editing ANDREY DULALIA
Production Design PRISCILLA ZIALCITA
Shoot Coordinator MIKA TAFALLA
Shot on Location at SECRET STUDIOS