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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Feb 19, 2021



JEROME PONCE has done a BL or Boys Love story with Yves Flores in the soap, “A Soldier’s Heart”, but it was only a subplot in the show.

It didn’t become as big a hit as his love team with Teejay Marquez in “Ben X Jim”, which became an online blockbuster when shown late last year in Regal Entertainment’s youtube channel. 

The show also won Jerome and Teejay their first best actor awards in a BL series in the Asian TAG Chicago. 

“We were both surprised when we were informed na nanalo pala kami ng award sa America,” he says. 

“We never expected na mananalo kami ng acting award but we’re very thankful for the recognition they gave us. They sent the awards to us and I will definitely display it at home.”

Jerome is straight and some folks opine that only real gays should do LGBT shows. 

“I don’t know about that but I’m just thankful to Regal for giving me this project. After the lockdown, wala akong trabaho for a while, until this offer from Regal came. This is my first series na isa ako sa bida as a title roler.  

"I’ve always known that you cannot please everyone. But although I may not be gay in real life, I always give my best sa characters na ginagampanan ko.”

So, is he familiar with same-sex relationships? 

“Not really, although there are many gay people sa industry na naging kaibigan ko and I’m happy to be their friend. Yung pagka-gay namin ni Teejay, we’re not the flamboyant type of gay kundi straight-acting gay. 

"When Season 1 was shown, I was surprised to get favorable feedback from various people kasi nagandahan sila sa portrayal namin ni Teejay sa aming roles. That truly encouraged us and boosted our confidence na okay ang trabaho namin.”

Isn’t he afraid he might be typecast in such a role? 

“There are straight actors who do gay roles well, like Michael de Mesa and the late Dolphy but hindi naman sila na-typecast sa gay roles. I’m still young and my goal is to be able to play as many different roles as possible.”

They were so surprised when Season 1 became a big hit with millions of regular viewers. 

“Honestly, we didn’t expect that it will gain a huge following at magkakaroon pa ng Season 2. That means marami talagang nakagusto sa Season 1. But Season 2 is so different from Season 1 kasi it’s more realistic. 

"Sa season 1, sa ending, nawala si Teejay as Ben and in the meantime, na-realize ko how much I care for him.”

Season 2 starts with Teejay missing. 

“May bago na siyang keeper, si Royce Cabrera. And me as Jim learns the reality that if you love someone, don’t expect right away that he’d love you back with the same intensity. 

"Yun naman ang totoong ang nangyayari sa real world, e. Kung minsan sakto, kung minsan sablay sa expectations mo.”

In Season 2, they will also have a sizzling kissing scene. 

“Viewers said kulang ang Season 1 dahil walang ganun, so alam naming hahanapin nila yun sa Season 2. Nahirapan ang direktor naming si Easy Ferrer kasi mahirap mag-mount ng intimate scenes during pandemic. 

"We have to get a permit muna from the DOH and may health protocols kaming sinunod to be sure we’re safe.” 

They shot the entire 8 episodes of Season 2 in a beach resort in Quezon. “We really enjoyed our lock in taping for the show kasi ang ganda ng location, may dagat, may pool, kaya parang vacation din for us. 

"Teejay and I became better friends, and also the rest of the cast. Naging maganda ang bonding naming lahat. Walang nagkanya-kanya o may sariling mundo. 

"Kapag pack up na, kuwentuhan kami, sama-sama while having coffee. We share our experiences kaya maraming masayang moments.”

You can now watch all of the 8 episodes of “Ben X Jim Season 2” streaming for only P250 via Upstream.ph.