CarGel: Yes to second chances

Actors and ex-lovers Carlo Aquino and Angelica Panganiban, also known as CarGel to fans Philstar.com/MaridolRanoa-Bismark

MANILA, Philippines — Second chances? Why not?

This is what ex-lovers Carlo Aquino and Angelica Panganiban, also known as CarGel to fans, are saying with the way they treat each other, even in public.

Angelica cracks jokes – sometimes with Carlo as the target – and the latter does not mind.

He brings his mom to her house to pick up Sinta, his pet cat, after returning from a trip abroad, and she prepares a meal for mother and son. Angelica and Carlo’s mom hug each other tight as proof of how much they miss each other after all these years.

“It is us (Carlo and I) who parted ways. Not his family and me,” Angelica explained at the press con of their reunion film, “Exes Baggage,” launching project of ABS-CBN Films’ new brand, Black Sheep.

The two were sweethearts not once, but twice. The first time around was when they were barely out of their teens and just starting in showbiz via the youth-oriented TV series “G-mik.”

The second time happened at an undisclosed moment.

Angelica recalled their last break-up as if it were only yesterday. Carlo dropped her off at her doorstep. He was inconsolable.

“He was so angry. He let out all his feelings by hitting his car. He didn’t know if he was doing the right thing.”

She knew he was about to call it quits. So, she invited friends over at home so she can have lots of shoulder to cry on.

By the time she closed the door, Angelica had her support system to pull her through. Carlo, so he recalled, had no one to turn to.

But they moved on.

“You realize you’re wrong, you’re not perfect.  So you forgive yourself, and you forgive the other person,” said Angelica.

“You look for happiness, not necessarily from the other person,” Carlo chimed in.

This way, they do not carry excess baggage when it comes to each other. Carlo and Angelica can tease each other, and literally lean on each other.

Carlo stretched his arm at the back of Angelica’s seat while they were fielding questions from media for “Exes Baggage.” Angelica, meanwhile, draped her hand on Carlo’s knee.

She admitted she only agreed to the project because Carlo happened to be her leading man. Angelica knows their fans have waited so long to see her and Carlo together on screen again.  And she is excited for them.

This overshadows whatever fears she has about the box-office performance of “Exes Baggage.”

“I want to put a stop to their waiting,” she said. “I’m more concerned about this than how the audience will receive the film. I’m confident about the film because I saw the scenes and I’m proud of what we did.”

Confidence is a trait Angelica developed over the years. Carlo marvels at how she bloomed from a quiet girl to a confident woman who sees humor, even in serious situations.

“She’s a happy soul. You feel her jokes, and get carried away.”

Thanks to her, Carlo admitted he learned to be more patient, and look at things in a better light. “I’ve learned to value every moment,” he enthused.

Angelica joked that he took a two-minute nap in the middle of the press con, and then, he joined everyone in the outburst that followed. She told him, “the door is still open,” (for his romantic moves) before shooting wraps up in a few days. His poker face said he knows her too well to react.

By the time the press con was almost over, it was pretty obvious that Carlo let Angelica do most of the talking.  It is also obvious that they share the same wavelength on a couple of things.

“You shouldn’t give up on anyone. You should always give him a chance if he wants to change or if he’s looking for hope,” said Angelica.

“If love is still there, don’t stop it. Loving someone is the best feeling there is,” Carlo added.

Lest their fans get some ideas, CarGel clarified they are just friends.

Angelica is happy for his success, because “you deserve it.”

“Go for gold,” she urged her ex.

Carlo is grateful Angelica broke her own rules and did “Exes Baggage” even if she just started taping the teleserye “Playhouse” opposite ZanjoeMarudo.

Carlo knows taping a teleserye and shooting a film is exhausting, and Angelica’s weight dropped due to fatigue. But such is friendship – and a shared past. You give time and exert effort to help each other.

This makes CarGel an ideal peg for any couple who have loved and lost, but are willing to move on and make the best of their separate lives.

As for bringing back the romance, Angelica spoke up again. She will not let pressure from those who want to see them back in each other’s arms push them into renewing their relationship.

The deafening silence that followed said her words have taken a life of its own. CarGel’s story is not yet over.

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