The Journey, In a Glance

A journey of how KathNiel became as such: let us take you back to when Kathryn was one of a million little girls dreaming of being an actress; when Daniel was just a little boy who wished nothing of the entertainment world; and, how fate, seemingly, commanded the universe to have them meet.

Kath’s pre-KathNiel years: the Working Actress

Of the two, Kath was the one who really wanted to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. At a very young age, she showed the passion for the craft: imagine a seven-year-old child who was tireless in going to auditions for bit parts.

Her first acting role was in the TV series “It Might Be You” wherein she portrayed the young Cielo who will grow up to be played by Bea Alonzo. Thereafter, she continued to play small (yet memorable) roles in other ABSCBN shows such as Krystala, Super Inggo and Vietnam Rose before she was given a regular stint in Goin Bulilit.

Kath’s potential as a lead actress was solidified in her portrayal of a young and disillusioned Gretchen Barretto in “Magkaribal“, and in 2010 Kath and Julia Montes were tasked to bring to life the iconic roles of Mara and Clara, respectively, in a remake of the classic soap, “Mara Clara“. The show was a consistent leader in primetime ratings and affirming its success, it was nominated in the 2011 Banff World Media Festival’s “Telenovelas & Soap Operas” category and marked Kath’s future as a distinguished dramatic actress.

Destiny Awaits: Kathryn & Daniel

In Mara Clara, Kath was partnered with then newcomer Albie Casino and they were set to be paired-up again for the Sunday youth-oriented show, “Growing Up” but due to personal challenges, Albie had to be pulled out from the show – Kath’s new partner is yet another newcomer by the person of one Mr. Daniel John Ford Padilla – the one who never really wanted to be actor. He wanted to be a normal boy, doing normal things such as playing basketball, skateboarding and mastering the art that is of a bass guitar player.

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Their characters on the show, Ella and Patrick, were the classic banters-and-annoys-each-other-but-secretly-like-each-other: Kathryn and Daniel’s undeniable onscreen chemistry was so instantaneous that the anniversary of the KathNiel loveteam is celebrated every Sept 4th, which was the pilot episode of Growing Up in 2011.

KathNiel: The Game Changers

“Growing Up” was just the start – it was to be “Princess & I” that would solidify the phenomenon that was – and still is – “KathNiel”.

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It’s no secret that the show was meant to have Kath’s character, Mikay, end up with another character, one not being portrayed by DJ: 10 months of KathNiel fans fighting for “MiGi” to become end-game; after weeks and weeks of intense rivalry which only came close to that of Twilight’s Edward & Jacob; three basketball games and an accidental lip cut later, Team Gino ended up victorious.

The Princess fell for the underdog.

The Magic of KathNiel

2013 would begin and end with KathNiel doing solo movie projects: in March for their launching movie, “Must Be Love” and a Metro Manila Film Festival entry, “Pagpag:Siyam na Buhay”.

More than these two films, KathNiel’s 2013 would be defined by two names: Chichay Tampipi and Joaquin San Juan Manansala.

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The show enabled KathNiel to break markets and social classes, it even merged entertainment with the PBA, UAAP and NCAA: basketball superstars Jeron Teng and PBA Legends Atoy Co and Ronnie Magsanoc had special guest appearances during Joaquin’s basketball storyline. During the 2013-2014 PBA Opening ceremonies, popular sports personality Mico Halili even went on a Twitter campaign, #ChichayForPBAMuse.

The show wouldn’t have been as successful as had it not for the effective performance and portrayal of Kath and DJ of Chichay and Joaquin, who to date still make hearts swoon in countries such as Vietnam and Malaysia.

Movie Magic & the Year that was 2014

The triumvirate of Bernardo-Padilla-GarciaMolina again proved it’s magic in July 2014, this time via the movie, “She’s Dating the Gangster”. The movie grossed Php15M on its first date despite heavy rains and some cinema houses opting to not operate that day – the movie reportedly made over Php 263M in the Philippines alone.

The movie was the first that required Kath and DJ to play two different characters in one film: as Kelay and Kenneth in the 2014 timeline and as Athena and Kenji in the 1994-beeper-stakeboard-era.

2014 gave them their hardest battle to date, but they survived (and so did we!) both as a professional tandem and as people who value each other.

It all goes back to that speech DJ made during SDTG’s Victory Party, that he and Kath are “partners”.

As long as they hold on to each other, this fandom will fight for and with them, always.

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Crazy Beautiful Ride: 2015 & beyond

The term ‘KATHNIEL’ has evolved into a full-blown pop culture reference: it’s being used mainly as an adjective which simplifies and exemplifies all things couples do, it has even been used in a product commercial.

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2015 is one of their best years so far:

    “Crazy Beautiful You”, to date, is still the highest grossing film of the year which puts Kath and DJ to have a very good chance to be given the “Box Office King and Queen of Philippine Television & Movies” recognition.
    Since it premiered last May 26, “Pangako Sayo” has consistently been the #1 show on its timeslot and has continued to have ratings of 30% or higher (with 39% as its highest single rated-episode, so far) for all episodes aired.
    They both got their second Best Actor and Best Actress nominations from FAMAS, this time for their performances in “She’s Dating The Gangster”.

The best news perhaps is it’s been announced that KathNiel is set to do another movie together after “Pangako Sayo”.

And so, their journey continues — FOUR YEARS DOWN. FOREVER TO GO.