From the delicate dance of Gaya Sa Pelikula to taking up space in pop culture, the victory of PangPang as the year’s Favorite Ship proves that the audience is raring and ready for more stories like theirs.
Gaya Sa Pelikula was always just more than Vlad and Karl. The show may have centered on the delicate dance and charming coming-to-terms between the two characters, but cutting across eight episodes, it was always about the story, one written and made by queer people for queer people. More than anything, the show, which can be seen on YouTube and Netflix, wanted to hero the narrative that is often relegated to a supporting act at best. Here, the community that have long felt unseen, unheard, and unsupported finally saw themselves onscreen, which is a very powerful thing many don’t quite realize. “Babawiin natin ang ating kuwento,” the show left with us at the very beginning, and together with Juan Miguel Severo, JP Habac, and of course, Ian Pangilinan and Paolo Pangilinan (or as we now know them as PangPang), boy was it done so in spades.
More than just entertaining, stories matter, especially for people whose truth and realities haven’t been told right for so long, shows such as Gaya Sa Pelikula prove to be special. And beyond that, it lingers in the consciousness of many, making it a cornerstone of pop culture in itself. This is why the popularity of PangPang matters, because in a celebrity and love team obsessed country such as ours, we finally have a pair that is reflective of many. And it couldn’t have been made clearer by Ian Pangilinan and Paolo Pangilinan fronting the Quarter 1 cover of NYLON Manila and most recently, being nominated as one of the Favorite Ships for the BBB Awards. Their eventual win (of well over a million votes no less), which was made possible by the boundless energy and inspiring dedication of their fans, was by all intents and purposes of this word, groundbreaking.
Our Stories Matter, Always
This isn’t just a victory of two people brought together by a premise of fiction and the phenomenon that has sustained their presence in the conversations of many. Here, it becomes a matter of fact that queer stories and romances aren’t just a by-the-way, a tick in the diversity quota, or gratuitous inclusions during pride month. The win of PangPang is not lost on Ian and Paolo who are both beyond grateful for this milestone and honor. “We never would have thought that amount of support will be coming from all different kinds of people,” says Ian Pangilinan, who acknowledges how much this means to them. Just like the Vlad to his Karl, Paolo Pangilinan is “grateful, beholden, and indebted” to those who made this possible, and sets us off to a more meaningful journey, “Here’s to more rainbow ships sailing.”
To taking up more space and saving lives, this is why queer stories will always matter.