A quote by William Shakespeare reminds you and me about how “faithful friends are hard to find,” but once you do, it will be worth the wait.

For veteran stars and BFFs Gelli de Belen, Carmina Villarroel and Candy Pangilinan, their decades-long friendship is an indication of how trust, love, respect and acceptance work in their relationship. The trio shared the “secret recipe” to their unbreakable bond as friends in a recent virtual call.

“It’s really hard to find true friends not only in show business but in every industry as well. Maybe because na ma-magnify (lang yung sa amin) kasi nasa public eye kami kaya parang medyo mas mahirap. But I believe that even if you are not a star, kahit wala ka sa showbiz world, mahirap talaga maghanap ng tunay na kaibigan,” said Carmina.

But she was lucky enough to find the two and maintain their friendship over the course of time. The secret, according to her, is trust, love, respect and acceptance.

“For me, acceptance ng bawat ugali ng isa’t isa. It’s very important na nag-ja-jibe talaga kayo, nagsa-swak talaga kayo. Sometimes, you meet a person na medyo off kaagad. But this one, nag-jibe na agad from the very start.”

In any relationship, whether it’s romantic or friendship, the trust, love, respect and acceptance aspects are really important, she added.

Carmina recalled how she met Gelli when she was just 12 and the latter was 14 years old in a Channel 13 show. “She saw me parang kawawa akong bata. She approached me. Since then, palagi na kaming (magkasama). Although that time, she was at Viva at ako naman Regal, and we never made movie together, but thank God, we became best friends. Siguro sinabi ni God na, ‘Kailangan maging kaibigan kayo,’ kasi nga halos lahat ng shows namin magkasama kami,” uttered Carmina.

On the other hand, Carmina became close with Candy since Tropang Trumpo days on ABC-5 (now TV5).

The Widow’s Web star described their friendship as, “whether magkita o hindi, mag-text o hindi, pero ‘pag nag-usap, ‘pag nagkita parang kahapon lang. I want to believe na tried and tested na talaga yung friendship naming tatlo, plus Ate Janice (de Belen).”

Carmina considered Janice as her elder sister, more than a companion. “Hindi man kami magkasama sa TV shows, sa pelikula naman kami madalas magkasama when I was younger,” shared Carmina. Before the lock-in taping setup, “We would film sa Laguna. I’d sleep in her room. Parang nagkaroon talaga ako ng ate kasi bunso ako eh. Even though I’m far away from my siblings, parang naging ate ko talaga si Ate Janice.”

Gelli shares a throwback photo with older sister Janice on Instagram

She continued, “I didn’t only become close with Gelli but also with Ate Janice. Bata pa lang ako, ganun na yung samahan namin until we had our talk show SiS. Kaya mas lalo pa na parang kahit na Villarroel naman ako, Legaspi ako, feeling ko de Belen ako.”

Moreover, Candy developed a close bond with Gelli while filming The Secrets of Sarah Jane movie (1994) and she eventually became friends with Carmina and Janice later on.


“More than you can find true friends, you have to be a true friend yourself,” asserted Gelli. “Candy and Carmina are just giving back kung ano man yung binibigay ko and vice-versa.”

“Hanap ka lang ng totoong tao na gustong mag-share, i-express ang sarili niya ng totoo. Yun lang. Nagkataon lang talaga na we were blessed to (have) found each other. Kala mo love story, pero totoo naman eh (laughs),” she added.

The saying “birds of the same feather flock together” is true, she went on. “So, kung ano yung mga interest namin, kung ano yung mga things that are essential to us, to myself, siyempre, you are drawn to people likewise. So, feeling ko ganun na ang nangyari. Nagka-jibe eh, lahat kami madaldal. O ito na, may podcast na (Oomph Podcast show).”

Meanwhile, Oomph Podcast is part of Viva’s pivot into the podcast space with three new titles – Wala Pa Kaming Title with Candy, Carmina, Gelli and Janice; B*WITCHES with Tina Wells and Amanda Coling; and THE IDK SHOW by Kean Cipriano.

With their friendship spanning years, Gelli, Carmina and Candy consider each other BFFs for life.

Photo from Carmina’s Facebook

Wala Pa Kaming Title tackles “anything and everything under the sun that concerns parents raising teenagers and young adults, with the vibe that is so approachable, para kang nakikinig sa mga tita mong kwela.”

B*WITCHES is a “woman-empowerment podcast that deals with adult-themes on womanhood and life. These modern-thinking hosts offer their listeners brave and sexy takes on themes of love, sex, and relationships.”

THE IDK SHOW by Kean is “a chat amongst musicians. The cool, hip, and real vibe of the show tackles things close to an artist’s heart — their music, inspirations, trials, and successes.”

(Oomph Podcasts are now available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and other podcast streaming platforms.)

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