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Maine Mendoza and Carlo Aquino Are Ready to Surprise You

by Maura Rodriguez | Oct 16, 2019
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Maine Mendoza and Carlo Aquino dare to challenge love story stereotypes with their rom-com flick that's anything but ordinary. 

What is it about unconventional love stories that draws us in? Is it because we’re tired of the same old friends-turned-lovers narrative? Are we over the concept of love teams? Or are Filipinos simply just lovestruck over anything and everything about love?

Topics of mush, “feels”, and hugot dominate mainstream media like an unavoidable virus—from hit OPM songs, primetime teleseryes, motion picture screenplays, to local multiple YouTube streams with “My Boyfriend” plastered on the title. Did you know that one of the most popular Facebook pages in the Philippines is a hugot page? (Don’t pretend to be surprised.)

My point is, romance rules and more so when it comes to movies. Local blockbuster hits are usually love story flicks, if not horror movies. And despite the retelling of familiar storylines, people still line up for the slightest smidge of kilig. However, Maine Mendoza and Carlo Aquino plan to shake things up with Isa Pa With Feelings.


When they first announced their team-up back in June, it came as a surprise to many. The two could not be any more different: Carlo's an experienced drama actor, while Maine is known for more comedic roles—and of course, both are from opposing networks. But as they say, opposites attract and something intriguing may result from such an unexpected collaboration. Star-crossed pairings seem to be a trend this 2019 and people are here for it; it was announced recently that James Reid will be working on a TV series with Momoland’s Nancy McDonie.

Isa Pa With Feelings is a rom-com about funny overachiever Mara (Maine) and the charming Gali (Carlo) who's hearing-impaired and can only speak through sign language. “Isa Pa With Feelings is not just a love story. It’s about two people from two different worlds who happen to fall in love at the most unfavorable and unexpected time,” Maine shares. Since a language barrier challenges them both to communicate more creatively, the film puts both characters in interesting situations. Maine reveals that it was really the screenplay that reeled her into the project, “It’s really because of the beautiful story of Mara and Gali. And, of course, the chance to work with Carlo Aquino and Black Sheep Productions,” Maine reveals and also went on to say she loved Carlo in Meet Me in St. Gallen.  

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Maine admits that it was quite a difficult role to play since Mara is nothing like her. “Maybe when it comes to love may similarity din in a way? Kasi grabe sila magmahal! And yun talaga yung papakita sa movie. Aside from their individual struggles, mas mapapakita kung gaano kamahal ni Mara si Gali.” She muses. But it’s obvious that her latest flick makes Maine excited for totally different reasons compared to her previous projects. “Making this movie was refreshing and liberating, actually. We got to explore more and meet different people from a different network,” Maine says about the entire experience. For Maine, the film is one of those serendipitous love stories you can keep coming back to and that will hopefully put a smile on your face with every rewatch.


“Think of two people who can hear, nagkakaroon na ng hindi pagkakaintindihan, paano pa kung yung isa deaf?” We’ve seen Carlo in tear-jerkers and melodramas in the past, but Gali was still a feat to play for the 34-year-old actor. “Isa talaga to sa mga pinakamahirap [kong roles]. Kasi yung sign language mag-aaral ka, and nag workshop kami, pero since hindi mo everyday ginagawa kaya nakakalimutan mo rin,” Carlo shares, “Tapos constantly nag-aaral ka [ng sign launguage], plus yung emotions pa, and then hindi niya [Maine] naririnig yung mga sinasabi ko. Ang hirap din as an artista na hindi mo naririnig verbally yung co-actor mo. There’s no tone or no volume—isa to sa pinakamahirap na [role] na ginawa ko.”

He also spent a lot of time with the deaf community to fully understand Gali’s plight and struggles, and the movie widened his perspective on this particular health concern. “Para din magcreate ng awareness [for those with hearing disabilities]. Nakakalimutan na ng society na tulungan yung deaf community." Through this project, Carlo discovered that there is an obvious need for educational programs for those hearing impaired. “Isa sila sa pinaka hardworking na people na nakilala ko and very willing and able to work if given more opportunities,” the actor stresses.

More than just a love story, Carlo would like to think of his role as being able to represent the local deaf community through film. True enough, people with disabilities are rarely given mainstream media avenues to tell their stories, but Carlo hopes to change that with Gali. “When my teacher told me, 'You’re going to break barriers,' na pressure ako dunNung mas nakilala ko sila, nalaman ko yung mga insecurities nila sa sarili nila sobrang laki; I just hope na matulungan natin sila. And that people would feel the need to help after watching this movie.”


Whether or not this will be Maine and Carlo’s last collaboration is something only the audience can tell. But what’s sure is that Isa Pa With Feelings is a sweet and unusual rom-com that dares challenge the norm with a pair that lights up the big screen in unexpected ways.

Produced by Maura Rodriguez

Photographed by Shaira Luna

Styled by Patty Yap (Carlo)

Makeup by Gela Laurel (Maine)

Hair by RJ Dela Cruz (Maine) and Joshen Vahn Lee (Carlo)

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