Resurrecting Pinoy BL

Thanks to the Thai boys’ love series import 2gether The Series that starred international heartthrobs Bright Vachirawit and Win Metawin, Pinoy BL love dramas were also embraced and watched by millions during the pandemic.

In case you didn’t know, BL or boys’ love is a genre depicting romantic relationships between two men.  In such dramas, there are no politically correct labels boxing the characters in. The parents or authority figures are supportive of the blossoming romance, and friends play an important role as the biggest support system and shippers of the male pair.

The top Pinoy BL guilty pleasures during the Covid-19 days were Gameboys, Gaya Sa Pelikula, Hello, Stranger and Boys‘ Lockdown.

Directed by Ivan Andrew Payawal and written by Ash Malanum, the two seasons of Gameboys and its online movie version were loved by all. It was such a hit because of its relatable storyline and characters you rooted for, plus the dynamic chemistry and acting abilities of Kokoy De Santos and Elijah Canlas and the friends who made up their universe, including Adrianna So, Miggy Jimenez and Kyle Velino.

Confirming it as the alpha Pinoy BL was a clothing endorsement for Kokoy and Elijah, the novel use of SB19’s anthem “Hanggang Sa Huli” as the theme song of the movie, and its second season and international theater screenings in Japan.

Gaya Sa Pelikula, written by Juan Miguel Severo and directed JP Habac, was the second most-loved Pinoy BL. It received lots of attention because of its adorable lead actors, the PangPang couple Ian Pangilinan and Paolo Pangilinan. It had the most adult themes, LSS-inducing songs that made scenes more memorable and the great sincerity showed by PangPang.

The third most important BL was Hello, Stranger, directed by Petersen Vargas and written by Patrick Valencia. Its main pull was the love team of Tony Labrusca and JC Alcantara, which started awkwardly but eventually found its bearing and sense of truth. The shipping for Labrusca and Alcantara was not an exaggeration. Fans of the series and the hit online movie wanted them not just as a pair, but as lovers for real. The differences in their personalities, and the notion that opposites do attract, propelled the web series to BL heights.

Lastly, the most bubble-gum of all, the Dear Heart BL version, was Jade Castro’s Boys’ Lockdown, written by Danice Mae Sison, where Ali King and Alec Kevin baby-talked their way into the hearts of their followers. Their Gen Z sense of fashion and sensibilities added to the series’ charm and character.

Passing fancy

The Pinoy BL’s boom during the pandemic did not last, and many concluded it was a passing fancy. The BL stars would go their separate ways and many now excel in their individual projects. The reality of these stars reuniting for a similar venture are nil at the moment. And the love and romance did not spill over offscreen.

After the quartet of emotionally satisfying BLs, what replaced them were lousy, predictable and stereotypical fare, often lacking in terms of narrative and the chemistry of their stars. And the aggressive depiction of male-to-male sexual congress was more of a turn-off, because audiences preferred their BLs the way they were originally designed — “innocent” and “sweet” with nothing brazen or overt in them.


In an interview, Labrusca told us that he wants the XavMI love team he shares with Alcantara to become the BL counterpart of the classic Popoy and Basha pairing of John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo.  He imagines more projects where the two characters share an epic narrative and show emotional maturity as they journey into their different kind of love.

On TV, the recently concluded Fractured gave us the love team of Raven Rigor and Sean Tristan, with their characters as hardy survivors. Love wins, indeed, and these two young gentlemen are gung-ho about pushing their onscreen partnership to greater success. 

In the second book of Senior High, the characters of Zaijan Jaranilla and Miggy Jimenez are slowly but surely waltzing their way to the “are we just friends or secret lovers” storyline. The honesty that Jaranilla and Jimenez give their characters trigger much tension and longing, prodding viewers to want more for the pair of Tim and Potch.

With these developments, Pinoy BL is seemingly about to see a resurrection. Will it be kilig times all over again?