“Gaya sa Pelikula” and “Oh, Mando!” stars on the Pinoy BL boom

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Kokoy De Santos and Alex Diaz ("Oh, Mando!") and Ian Pangilinan and Paolo Pangilinan ("Gaya Sa Pelikula") talk about why it's about time that we tell these romantic stories of LGBTQ experience.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — There are 15 Filipino Boys’ Love series running today. According to this schedule from the Pinoy BL Series Twitter, there’s only a Monday slot left before we get a BL series airing every day. This is astonishing, as the BL boom pretty much happened over the community quarantine.

Though there have been BL shows that started shooting before the pandemic hit the country, like “Oh Mando!” which stars Alex Diaz and Kokoy De Santos. The show only resumed and eventually wrapped up shooting when restrictions were eased during GCQ.

“Kami ni Alex, nabitin eh,” says De Santos. The actor said that he only watched BL shows like “2gether” only during the pandemic, but watched films like “Call Me By Your Name” to study for the role of Mando.

De Santos noted that gay characters before were only cameos or support in shows and provided comedic relief. “Ngayon sila naman yung bida sa story.”

Related: With Boys' Love, a generation of gay boys get a second coming of age

For Diaz, starring in a show like “Oh, Mando!” is a great opportunity to tell a story that’s close to his heart.

“It’s our time, it’s my time to feel that our stories matter and to not feel like we don’t have a narrative,” he says.

“Gaya sa Pelikula” actors Ian Pangilinan and Paolo Pangilinan also got to watch shows like “2gether” and “Dark Blue Kiss” to study for their roles, but a bigger part of their inspiration were films like the “Before” trilogy and shows like “Full House” (specifically for Paolo).

Says Ian, “Gusto namin sabihin na BL naming to na ‘yung heteronormative portrayal of love kahit naman ilagay mo siya sa gay context, nagwowork pa din siya… hindi iba ang gay love from straight love. It just so happens that they’re just two guys.”

“A lot of the key members of the cast and crew are [part of the] LGBTQ community,” says Paolo. “[And this is] for them to realize that there is so much joy that people are allowed to live as they are and just be.”

Watch the mini roundtable below.