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“Can’t Buy Me Love” Stars and #TeamGalaxy Donny Pangilinan and Belle Mariano Go on an Awesome Seoul Adventure

Taking a much-needed break from a cycle of shoots for their top series “Can’t Buy Me Love,” Samsung Ambassadors Donny Pangilinan and Belle Mariano went on a quick escape to Seoul, South Korea with Metro and their Samsung Galaxy A35 and A55 5G phones

Metro and Samsung go on awesome trip to Seoul, South Korea with Donny Pangilinan and Belle Mariano
#TeamGalaxy and "Can't Buy Me Love" lead stars Donny Pangilinan and Belle Mariano took a breather from their busy schedules to go on an awesome trip to Seoul, South Korea with Metro and Samsung. Photography by Dookie Ducay | On Belle: Cropped blazer by AJ Javier; pleated skirt, headband, and shoes by SHEIN | Check out the new SAMSUNG A55 5G via this link

What a journey it has been一whether off-cam for #TeamGalaxy Donny Pangilinan and Belle Mariano or on-cam as Bingo and Caroline. For nine months, the two in-demand stars were busy filming for the series Can’t Buy Me Love. Add to that the three or four months they got acquainted with the project, and you get about a year’s worth of solid experience of them holding onto their characters. They rode on a roller coaster of emotions to take their characters from point A of young love kilig to point B of dealing with life-changing scenarios with awe-inspiring maturity.

It’s challenging to embrace and immerse into characters for as long as they did, so getting off that roller coaster would also be difficult. But, DonBelle is not in a hurry detaching from BingLing. Besides, all the good memories they’ve made together on the set are worth savoring and reminiscing. Detaching themselves from their characters is something they don’t think about doing just yet, as they want to bask in how Can’t Buy Me Love’s finale unfolds. 

“We hope they enjoy the finale because we really worked hard for it,” quipped Donny. Portraying their characters for many months entailed hard work and communication. Donny and Belle don’t simply start acting on cue; they emotionally prepare together. “[That] definitely made us closer,” he summed up. 

#TeamGalaxy and "Can't Buy Me Love" lead stars Donny Pangilinan and Belle Mariano took a breather from their busy schedules to go on an awesome trip to Seoul, South Korea with Metro and Samsung.

An awesome escape to Seoul

And what better way to get even closer than by traveling, right? Ahead of Can’t Buy Me Love’s finale and in the thick of its promotions, Metro flew to Seoul, South Korea with DonBelle for a quick escape. 

Seoul is a popular tourist destination, especially for Filipinos who are fans of the Hallyu culture. But it’s not the only reason we went on this trip. We recognize Donny and Belle’s subtle connection with Seoul, as they are Samsung ambassadors and were both nominated for the Outstanding Asian Star award at the Seoul International Drama Awards in 2022. Belle won and received the award in Seoul, but she didn’t have enough time to explore the city. Donny only got to visit Seoul for a short period after he filmed the show Aja! Aja! Tayo sa Jeju in Jeju Island. So, this trip is a first for both of them, and that’s why it’s truly special.

“We’ve been really wanting to travel somewhere after the shoot. And I think Korea is perfect. It’s our first time together to go here,” Donny said. “It’s a welcome breather from Can’t Buy Me Love,” Belle added. And as Belle said, it was like they were living the K-drama life in Seoul, dressed in the traditional hanbok, walking through the cobblestone grounds of the Gyeongbokgung Palace. It was such a refreshing sight to see DonBelle exploring places and fun activities together, side by side and hand in hand. 

One of the activities they got to try in Seoul was a visit to Samsung Gangnam, an immersive multi-level flagship store featuring the latest and most innovative gadgets and accessories. Donny and Belle, as members of #TeamGalaxy and the faces of the Samsung Galaxy A Series, got to customize and personalize their phone cases. Not ones to miss out on remembering that moment, the two also maximized the opportunity to take lots of photos and videos with their best travel companions, their Samsung Galaxy A35 and A55 5G.   

Of this experience, Belle said, “I’m so happy to be here. It’s an amazing experience. First time ko to customize my own case, and madaming variety ang p’wede mong gawin. I’ve never been this close with my #TeamGalaxy, so thank you so much for this fun experience. Because I’ll definitely go back here and do it all over again.” 

Donny cannot agree more, saying, “Yeah, super super happy with being part of #TeamGalaxy, knowing as well that there are so many amazing artists also that are part of the brand,” such as global supergroup BTS, Stray Kids, ENHYPEN, and TXT. 

DonBelle’s Seoul itinerary with Metro and Samsung includes iconic places like the Cheonggyecheon Stream, Yeouido Hangang Park, and N Seoul Tower where they got to experiment with the features of their Galaxy A devices. Proving to be the perfect gadgets to travel with, their phones come in handy with features such as video stabilization that keep videos crisp even when Belle was filming as she and Donny rode a bicycle by the Han River. Reaching N Seoul Tower by sunset was not a problem, too, when it came to documenting their visit. Galaxy A55 5G’s awesome camera produces stunning low-light images, so their snaps still came out beautifully despite lighting issues. The two were also in awe of the dual recording feature, which lets one record a video using the selfie and rear cameras at the same time; so, they were able to capture their reactions upon seeing the breathtaking view of Seoul atop the Namsan Mountain. 

DonBelle in Seoul
If you're a fan of K-dramas, you'll instantly recognize this place. It's the Yeouido Hangang Park by the Han River, which also served as a filming location for many South Korean series and films. Here, the two got to recreate a scene from K-dramas as they rode a tandem bicycle, exploring the lush park and taking in the panoramic views in this side of Seoul.

Reaching the finale

There’s an art of letting go, and it’s a process. It doesn’t happen instantly, and one doesn’t have to let go of something entirely. It’s more of compressing your memories, bookmarking what’s worth highlighting, and taking a page out of your book as a reference for the future.

Hindi na muna namin iisipin ’yan [detaching]. We’ll just enjoy the finale. But I’m sure, you know, if we ever go to our next character, we’ll take the parts we can take from Bingo and Caroline. We can learn from them as well. The stuff that we can improve on, you know, all these things. But, I think it’s hard for this to just be disposed of from your system,” Donny pondered. 

Ang hirap kumalas pa. Hindi ko pa kaya,” Belle noted. 

Donny chimed in, “’Tsaka ayoko pa isipin na kumalas.” 

The feeling is mutual for the fans of DonBelle and Can’t Buy Me Love, who don’t want to say goodbye yet to the show and the characters they loved throughout 148 episodes. Perhaps saying they’re closing a chapter would be easier to accept while holding onto high hopes for a new season for the show or a new project for Donny and Belle soon. 

Reaching the finale is a bittersweet experience for the two. On one hand, it’s such an accomplishment to have starred in a show that has consistently been among the top shows on streaming platforms Netflix and iWantTFC and even on television. It was priceless for them to have worked with seasoned actors like Nova Villa, Rowell Santiago, Agot Isidro, Ruffa Gutierrez, Ina Raymundo, and Ketchup Eusebio, as well as top directors Mae Cruz-Alviar, Cathy Garcia-Sampana, Ian Loreños, Henry King Quitain, Petersen Vargas, and Raymund Ocampo. “It’s always a pleasure to be able to work with amazing directors because, throughout the process, you get to learn from them as well. Sila Direk Mae and Direk Cathy and the other directors, para silang naging magulang namin on the set. Like, as Caroline Tiu or as Belle, they’re really someone I can look up to for advice,” Belle said. But on the other hand, changing their routines, coming from filming, will take some getting used to no matter how busy they are with other commitments. 

Donny shared, “Nakaka-miss ’yung sleep na nakuha ko dati. So, when I wake up, I’m like, ‘Oh, thank God, I don’t have a call.’ But at the same time, ‘Wait, I don’t have a call.’ Parang ibayung feeling na walang mag-o-on the set.”

There are many things they are already missing about Can’t Buy Me Love and their set. For Donny, one would be the culturally rich Binondo. “I miss waking up there. The culture. I’ll still visit, for sure,” he said, feeling proud about gaining a unique perspective on the must-try restaurants and even hidden spots in this side of Manila.

#TeamGalaxy and "Can't Buy Me Love" lead stars Donny Pangilinan and Belle Mariano took a breather from their busy schedules to go on an awesome trip to Seoul, South Korea with Metro and Samsung.
On Donny: Outfit by COS | On Belle: Outfit by SHEIN

Cherishing their CBML crew

The places they called home on-cam and the people they have shared experiences with there are among those they can’t and won’t forget. When asked what she’ll miss most about Can’t Buy Me Love, Belle said it’s the Tiu’s mansion. “I’ll miss the Tiu mansion so much,” she replied. “Like, my siblings and I… Because we all stay in one standby area. So, it’s like... Let’s say, in the morning, ’pag nagkikita-kita kami, we are all in one place. So, we all eat together. Everything. So, I’ll miss that. I’ll miss that about Caroline. Having the Tiu family.”

The cast would shoot for four days a week, giving them ample time to bond beyond the scenes and form lasting connections with the production team and the cast members. There were times when Donny had to sleep in Binondo, Manila, their location, and these are welcome sacrifices that ultimately helped make his portrayals much more authentic.

Looking back on his time on the set with the group he and his Papi on the show, Ketchup, fondly and funnily calls “Binondorugas,” Donny told Metro.Style, “Parang ’yun ’yung naging buhay namin. So, I would actually live in Binondo. So, I really felt that I lived there for a year. Du’n ako natutulog. After shoot, natutulog ako du’n tapos next day, shoot uliEh ’yung role ko talaga, feeling ko ako ’yun. So pati ’yung mga nasa kalsada, ‘Hoy, Bingo, kumusta ka na?’ Parang ang weird lang sa feeling na ma-le-let go mo ’yun… But I won’t ever, I think, let go of Bingo. I’ll keep him close to my heart.” And Bingo wouldn’t be as memorable for him if not for the scenes Bingo also shared with the characters of Anthony Jennings, Vivoree, Karina Bautista, Gello Marquez, and Alora Sasam. The thought of simply eating dumplings with them on the set, for instance, would surely put a smile on his face easily. 

It may sound cliché, but it’s true, Belle did feel like she had a family with the Tius. Though some of their scenes were emotionally intense given the tension between their characters, as soon as the director would say “cut,” they would snap back to being friends who are learning and growing with each other as actors. “‘Oh my gosh, maghihiwalay kami ng cast,’” she lamented, mulling over the changes in her daily routine. “I’ve been working with them, waking up every morning for four times a week. I’ve been with them. So, basically, they’ve been my life for nine months. And, you know, it’s nice because I had a family. ’Yung Tius, I really see them as my family. Even the Binondo, parang naging pamilya ko na sila. Pero nalulungkot ako na matatapos na kami. And sobrang, you know... It’s a mix of emotions. So, up to this day, I’m still trying to recover. Since we just recently ended shooting, I’m still trying to recover. Nase-sepanx [separation anxiety] pa rin ako every once in a while. I still talk to them every once in a while. I call them. I call my siblings.” By siblings, Belle is, of course, referring to Kaila Estrada, Maris Racal, Albie Casiño, and Joao Constancia, with the inclusion of Chie Filomeno and Darren as part of their circle of friends. They have maintained this group, along with their onscreen family’s so-called “Tuesday Tius Night,” which always gives Belle awesome moments to immortalize beyond work and take photos and videos of with her trusted Samsung device.

These are just some of the things that make Can’t Buy Me Love such a beautiful adventure they want to keep reliving. 

#TeamGalaxy and "Can't Buy Me Love" lead stars Donny Pangilinan and Belle Mariano took a breather from their busy schedules to go on an awesome trip to Seoul, South Korea with Metro and Samsung.
Another iconic spot in Seoul is the Cheonggyecheon Stream, near the Gwanghwamun Square. It's a a 10.9-kilometer-long stream and public space in Seoul. Many South Korean series were also filmed here, most recent of which was the K-drama "Queen of Tears" which Belle's mom is a fan of. | On Belle: Ribbed long-sleeved top, skirt and shoes by SHEIN; blazer by Keepsake the Label | On Donny: Outfit by COS

What BingLing is to DonBelle

Every project carves a special spot in the hearts of Donny and Belle. With every character’s growth, development, and evolution in a storyline, there’s always something these two make sure to take with them. “From Bingo, mas natutunan ko na, yes, importante ’yung pamilya mo. Importante ang mga kaibigan mo, mga mahal mo sa buhay, pero ’wag mo kalimutan ang sarili mo. Kasi, hindi p’wede na puro bigay ka lang nang bigay... You have to give space for yourself. Mas nakita ko ’yun,” Donny shared. 

For Belle, despite Caroline being hard to love because of her uptight personality in the beginning, she has come to appreciate how her character eventually opened up. “She’s capable of loving other people. Kaya niya palang magmahal. Kaya niya rin pala magbukas ng puso. Na she’s acceptable. And I think, you know, that’s one thing I learned from Caroline, too, na parang just embrace yourself. Love yourself... At first, she was so uptight. Reserved. But I think all throughout the growth of the story, she learned how to love herself. And she learned how to love the people around her too. And that’s one thing I can apply, too, to myself,” Belle observed.

Donny supported Belle’s realization, emphasizing how money often cannot buy happiness: “And I think it’s important, you have to understand where people are coming from. Think about Ling, when you see her for the first time, she’s gone through so much. Her mom dying in front of her. All these things. And she was just a kid. And she’s always the one left out in the family… You really have to keep in mind that everyone is going through their own battle.”

“Don’t judge a book by its cover,” Belle emphasized another realization. Through their characters, they are reminded to be extra mindful. “Kahit gaano kayamanang yaman ni Ling ’di ba—’yung buong pamilya nila, actually, ang dami nilang problema. Nakikita mo ’yung irony... There are always two sides to a story,” Donny added.

What one can also appreciate about Can’t Buy Me Love is that it’s not your typical series; it has drama, comedy, mystery, and of course, romance. It took awhile for Donny’s Bingo and Belle’s Caroline to establish their romantic connection, considering their personal problems, but when it did manifest in the narrative, the chemistry DonBelle is known for shone and kept viewers hooked. It certainly is a factor in their effective portrayals that Donny and Belle respect and admire each other as co-actors. Like that trust fall in one of their earlier scenes, they trust one another enough to let go of any inhibitions they may have had and just disappear into their characters with each other’s support.

Ang galing talaga,” Belle pointed out, complimenting Donny. “Kasi minsan ’pag nasa set kami, sobrang in sync niya with his character, he talks to me as Donny pero Bingo ’yung boses niya. So, I think, that’s a factor that made me really... napapahanga ako. Like, wow!” 

Likewise, Donny talked about instances when he’d be amazed by how Belle breathes life into Ling. “I’ve learned so much from her, you know, how she portrayed Ling naman,” he said, pointing out the remarkable shift of Belle from doing outgoing roles to one that’s stoic. “Ako rin. Napahanga rin ako. Nanibago rin ako. Na parang, wow, ibang Belle naman ang nakilala ko dito. We always say this: every project, we learn so much from each other.”

DonBelle has marked several firsts with Metro, such as their first digital magazine cover feature in promotion of their other hit series He’s Into Her. Now, it’s their first trip to Seoul together, as well as their first cover feature outdoors and out of the Philippines. As this is their fourth Metro cover, we’ve been with DonBelle every step of the way, and that makes us witnesses to their growth and phenomenal success.

#TeamGalaxy members Donny and Belle are multifaceted artists with accomplishments both as a love team and as individual artists; though one chapter in their careers closes, they still have a whole galaxy ahead of them to explore, and their fans are in for more awesomeness in the months and years to come!

“It’s nice to be back here [on Metro] and in Korea,” Donny said. “We are so happy that we got to work again with where kind of everything started.”

Their journey with Metro continues. Stay tuned for more #MetroLovesDonBelleInSeoul content. 

Photography by Dookie Ducay

Metro Head: Christina Lopez

Editor-in-Chief: Geolette Esguerra

Sittings Editors: Red Dimaandal and Grace Libero-Cruz

Makeup by Jake Galvez and hairstyling by Gian Sipaco (Belle)

Grooming by Jam Pareño (Donny)

Styling by Adrianne Concepcion (Belle) and John Lozano (Donny)

Nails by Mimi Qiu Reyes (Belle)

Photographer's assistant: @w.o.u.l.d.y.o.u

Shoot Coordination: Nina Laoang

Special thanks to Star Magic’s Edith Fariñas and April del Rosario; Star Creatives; Rens Dingli; Love Andaya, Kat Valencia-Ibañez, Nina Laoang, Alexandra Camus; Lyza Samartino, Shaira Ibas, and Chantal Covarrubias

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