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For this teen love team in the spotlight, luck and talent are on their side.
Hailed most promising. That’s Team BiGuel for you. Bianca Umali and Miguel Tanfelix are GMA-7’s freshest teen team-up that is quietly making their way to stardom. Both child stars who literally grew up under GMA Artist Center, the two talented newbies are growing into young adults and are claiming their stake in the crowded, competitive arena of Philippine show business.
“Blessed. It’s the only word that I could use to describe the opportunities that they’ve given me, that they’ve given us. This is all really unexpected,” shares Bianca. Miguel would echo this: “And kung iisipin mo, at our age, it’s so early na we were given the network’s trust. Marami kaming ka-age na would want to be where we both are now. We got it kasi kami ‘yung pinagkatiwalaan. We really feel very lucky — and blessed.”
It wasn’t exactly love at first sight for this love team who initially met at a hallway in GMA-7. But Team BiGuel has certainly come a long way. After 7 years of knowing each other, they are now touted as the Kapuso network’s most promising love team — and Bianca and Miguel suit the distinction to a tee. Both head turners are armed with good-natured charm and natural talent.
Bianca does not hesitate to claim, “Pinagkatiwalaan kami ng network. We are so happy na andito kami.” Miguel agrees, “Very thankful kami sa lahat ng kasama namin on our way here. Syempre, family, friends, God. ‘Yung mga katrabaho namin.”
Maria Isadora Bianca Soler Umali is a 16-year old stunner who is from the south of Metro Manila. “I grew up in Parañaque where I live with my grandmother.” As of now, aside from her showbiz duties, Bianca is busy studying since she’s homeschooled. She enjoys reading, sketching, painting, and photography.
She is also into sports and vows she stays away from junk food and soda to stay in shape. Like any teenager, Bianx as she is fondly called by family and friends shares: “I like mixing and matching. I like the colors lavender and teal. I like wearing fitted, casual dresses and pairing them with sneakers.” When she has to glam it up, she wears dresses, jumpsuits and heels.
Bianca relates how she got her start in showbiz: “I started doing commercials when I was still a baby, since I was two years old. So it wasn’t like somebody was telling me to do it. Baby pa lang ako, I was already in the industry.” Bianca’s early roots in showbiz soon bore fruit. “Eventually I was able to go into GMA when I was 8 or 9. My mom and my dad would take me. It was where I grew up so it was so natural for me to pursue showbiz.”
Miguel Torrejos Tanfelix is all of 17 years old but is definitely not a newcomer when it comes to showbiz. “From Cavite ako. Dun na rin ako lumaki. Dun na rin lumaki ‘yung parents ko, ‘yung daddy ko. Sobrang tagal na namin dun.”
Miguel who goes by the nickname Miggy likes to devote time to his studies, solve sudoku puzzles, and read books. He enjoys playing PS4, wake boarding, and rollerblading. He says to stay fit; he plays basketball twice a week and stays away from junk food.
Miggy’s showbiz journey is almost similar to his ladylove’s story. He shares, “I started in showbiz when I was 5 years old. Sa Starstruck ‘yun. I wasn’t forced by my mom. I saw the commercial of Starstruck Kids. Sabi ko kay Mommy, ‘I want to audition po d’yan. Sige na po.’ Actually, ako pa ‘yung pumilit kay Mommy na mag-audition.” The next thing you know the young boy had landed his first meaty role. “My first teleserye was Mulawin. Tapos, nagtuloy-tuloy na. Mulawin with Richard Gutierrez so it was a big deal.”
When asked what a regular day for both of them is like, the cute love team pipes out in chorus. Tuesdays are for Ismol Family, their weekly sitcom on GMA-7. The rest of their days are split between schoolwork and other showbiz commitments like TV appearances, photoshoots, and mall shows. “Because we go to school, our schedules are really loaded. But we are really enjoying. We count all of these as blessings,” offers Bianca.
Since both continue to make waves with the video-sharing app Musically after their popular lipsync videos garnered hundreds upon hundreds of likes from their followers, both confess to a natural love for music. Bianca relates, “When it comes to music, I don’t have a specific genre. It really depends on the song.” Miguel supports this by saying, it depends on the mood. When I am sad, I listen to more mellow songs. When I am happy, I listen to party songs.
Both take turns enumerating the singers they listen to: Shawn Mendes, Sam Smith, John Legend, Justin Beiber. When Miguel shares he even listens to old songs from The Beatles, Bianca coos in surprise. “Me, too! Those are my dad’s songs.” We ask them what song they both want to lip-sync now via Musically and both almost scream in unison. “Closer by Chainsmokers!” Miguel explains, “We both like that song and kanina pa namin naririnig.”
We asked both teenagers what the most memorable roles they’ve landed so far. Bianca opens, “For me, it was Mga Basang Sisiw. It was the show na napasama ako sa main cast because lima kaming magkakapatid and I was the ate. I gave it all my best because I was super happy na finally it was a big break for me. Mga Basang Sisiw was able to make me see things differently kasi talagang nung nag-taping kami, sa lansangan talaga. It was a whole new world of experiences for me.”
For Miguel, one big milestone in his showbiz career was bagging the role of Niño. “Parang lagi nalang akong naka-cast in a support role. But with Niño, first time ko mag-lead role. ‘Di ba ‘yung Niño, maraming nakapansin sa show na ‘yun dahil marami siyang tinuturong values. Miguel goes on to confess how the role was like for him, “For Niño, ‘di siya normal na role. Mentally-challenged siya na bata. It was a challenging performance kaya tumatak siya. You really have to study the role. You have to immerse yourself in it. Gagawin mong ikaw si Niño. Hindi ikaw si Miguel para ma-portray mo si Niño.”When we ask them what’s keeping them busy now, Miguel is quick to share, “Ismol Family is ongoing. That’s every Sunday. We are taping something soon. It’s an upcoming show. It’s called URL. It’s every Sunday.” Bianca explains, “URL stands for Usapang Real Love. It’s the new interactive drama of GMA. It’s a show where while we are taping, the fans have a chance to be part of the show through social media. So they can chat with us.” Miguel finishes for her by saying, “For example, merong video that the fans will sendf. Ipapasok namin ‘yun sa show. Live sa eksena. Naka-Skype namin sila so it’s very exciting. It’s the very first interactive drama of GMA-7.”
We ask both what their dream roles are and it is revealed both have a closeness that allows them to share with each other what showbiz dreams they hold in their hearts. Bianca confides, “My dream role is to be a bida contravida.” For his part, Miguel admits obviously overcome by his excitement, “Ako, gusto ko ng action. And if ever sana — since ako si Pagaspas nung ako’y 5 to 6 years old — Mulawin. I want to be part of Mulawin. Pero not as Aguiluz but as Pagaspas. Parang 12 years after, malaki na si Pagaspas.” He is quick to acknowledge, “I am appearing in Encantadia as Pagaspas. But it’s a guest role. Fast lang. Two days lang pinalabas.”The two sweethearts’ next showbiz confessions leave no doubt that they are following the footsteps of GMA-7’s most successful pairing. According to Bianca, the actress she looks up to is “Ate Marian. Marian Rivera kasi she’s so inspiring. Relying on the stories I’ve heard, she really worked her way to where she is now. Super na-i-inspire lang ako talaga sa kanya.”
As for Miguel, “The partner of Ms. Marian Rivera. Sir Dingdong Dantes who is also from Starstruck. You can see that he’s very passionate about his work. Nakatrabaho ko siya once sa Ismol Family. Although it’s a sitcom, you can see na sobrang love niya ‘yung work niya. Sobrang inaral niya yung work niya kahit sobrang chill lang kami. Loving si Kuya Dingdong kay Ate Marian, sa baby nila. I look up to him not only as an actor but also as a person.”As for their first impression of each other, Team BiGuel declares that Bianca found Miguel “annoying” while Miguel found Bianca “snooty’ or “masungit.” Bianca would say with fresh honesty while looking at Miguel, “Nakita kita, naasar na ako sa hitsura mo.” For his part, Miguel retort naughtily to Bianca, “Masungit ‘yung eyes niya. Syempre kasi annoyed ka sa akin kaya mo ako tinatarayan.”
Both would claim, though, that their initial notion of each other has changed. Bianca describes Miguel as, “corny, innocent, and obedient” while Miguel would refer to Bianca as “beautiful inside out, sweet, silly, funny, crazy, masarap kasama.”Bianca says, “I was proved wrong. Because Miguel is a caring person. Mas caring pa siya kaysa sa akin. Maalagain siya. Gentlemanly. Kaso corny. But ok lang. Kasi ‘yung pagiging corny nowadays — sila ‘yung nagdadala ng color into our world.”
Miguel would reply to this by joking, “Masungit siya ‘pag napipikon. Pero si Bianca may tinatago siyang sweetness. Siguro mataray lang siya dahil annoyed siya sa akin nung araw. Siguro nakilala ko na siya and alam ko na kung papaano makibagay, pano ko siya tatantyahin at titimplahin.”
How do you feel about your love team? “Lucky. The word itself says everything,” Bianca would readily acknowledge. Miguel would then ask, “What if iba yung partner ko?” Bianca would reply with, “Wala ‘di mo ako kilala.” Miguel would get reflective: “Kilala kita pero ‘di ganito ka-comfortable. With me kasi a lot of things parehas kami ni Bianca, magkasundo kami. Lucky nga. Lucky.”
Bianca confesses, “Miguel inspires me in a way na dahil sa mga natutunan ko sakanya I knew how to appreciate the simpler things in life. Mas na appreciate ko. Mas natuto akong makinig sa ibang tao and to be more open-minded.”
As for Miguel, “Bianca inspires me to appreciate ‘yung mga nakapaligid sa akin. He always reminds me. Although ‘di pa ako ganun ka-independent, I get inspired by her. How to appreciate people around you.” Miguel continues, “She has taught me how to be humble. Tulungan po talaga kasi. Lalo na every day kami magkasama. Parang sino ba ‘yung magsasabihan sa isa’t isa ng mga tama at mali nila?”
Bianca admits, “We really are friends for life. Actually, whenever they really ask us about our status. It’s more than friends — but not lovers. We share a special connection.” Miguel confirms this by admitting, “Whenever sad siya, you know that she’s sad. And ‘pag sad ako, alam niyang sad ako. Ang gagawin namin is we talk to each other.”Miguel ends the sharing by confiding, “We share with each other our dreams. Especially her. Before sobrang closed siya. Closed siyang tao. Parang ayaw niya mag-share sa ibang tao. Pero now, happy ako na nag-open siya.” Almost like an afterthought, Bianca murmurs softly, “Miguel has taught me the appreciation of simple things. Mga tao sa paligid namin. Pagtutulungan. ‘Yun ang importante talaga.”
We go straight to the heart of the matter. Is Miguel the type of guy that you’d like to be with? Bianca answers softly and simply, “Yes.” Is Bianca the type of girl you’ll pursue? Miguel affirms with a quiet and deep “yes. We both have priorities. But, yes.”
As for how they want to make their mark in the industry as individual artists, as a love team, both have a unified answer. Bianca shares, “I really want to influence people in a lot of ways. What I want them to say when they remember my name na ‘Siya ‘yung nag-inspire sa akin na gawin ‘yung ganito.’ I want to inspire them para gawin ‘yung something na ‘di nila akalang magagawa nila.”For his part, Miguel relates, “I would like to be known as Miguel Tanfelix. Someone who’s very passionate with his career. ‘Yung may work siya pero nag-aral din siya. Inspiration dahil napagsasabay niya ang school and work. Gusto ko ma-inspire sila sa aming dalawa ni Bianca. Dahil ‘pag inspired ka, magagawa mo lahat ng gusto mong gawin.”
Bianca doesn’t hesitate in letting her gratitude show when we ask her what she wants to impart to her fans. “Unang-una sa lahat, we would like to thank them for all their support, all their love, for the effort. Kasi sa observation namin ni Miguel, the fans who really love us talagang ibang level ‘yung efforts na pwede nilang gawin, na nagagawa nila for us. Hindi namin ma-imagine na magagawa namin for other people.”
Miguel further shares, “Talagang minsan, inuuna pa nila kami kaysa mga sarili nila. We are very thankful. Na-appreciate namin sila. Na-appreciate nila kami. Kung ‘di din dahil sa kanila, wala kami kung nasaan kami ngayon. Thank you sa kanila. They inspire us. It’s not only us who inspire them, but it’s them who inspire us.”
GMA-7’s hottest, trending teen love team is currently Team BiGuel. And these twin hearts in spotlight have their lucky stars to thank for that.
Text by Rione Palacios / Sitting Editor – Nic Magquilat / Photography by Yukie Sarto of Studio 100 / Art Direction by Mina Cruzada / BTS by Josef Castro / Styling by Reginald Cruz (Miguel); JP Dizon (Bianca) / Makeup by Nikki Duque / Hairstyling by Vien Nueva
Special Thanks to GMA Artist Center