True love conquers all. True love knows no boundaries. And former Pinoy Big Brother 737 housemates Tommy Esguerra and Miho Nishida can attest to that. Though there’s been an instant attraction and chemistry between the two from the very first time they met inside the Big Brother house, it was apparent that the difference in the languages they speak will be quite a challenge to them.
Tommy was born and raised in Long Beach, California and doesn’t really speak Tagalog, while Miho, on the other hand, admittedly can’t speak nor understand English very well, having lived in Japan most of her life. “Me, it would have to be learning Tagalog. That’s the hardest for me,” says Tommy. But all for the sake of love, the two worked their way around it and never, not even once, let that become a hindrance in their blossoming love story. “Minsan kasi may language barrier kami, so pag ganun gino-Google translate namin para nagkakaintindihan kami. Basta ine-enjoy lang namin.”
Over the many seasons of the hit reality show, many love teams were formed inside that didn't really work out but, unlike other pairs, Tommy and Miho were able to prove that what people saw on TV is genuine love; if anything, their relationship seems to have grown even deeper after they've gotten to know each other without all the cameras pointed at them. When we caught up with the couple at the Mountain Dew #Dewmocracy event, Miho shared with us that not much has changed between them: “Wala din pagbabago sobrang happy kami everyday. Especially kapag magkasama kami sa work. Happy lang, wala naman nagbago kasi sa Bahay ni Kuya lagi niya hinahalikan yung kamay ko at hindi natanggal yun kasi hanggang ngayon ganun pa din siya.”
TomiHo in Japan
“She has a pure heart. She’s a happy girl. She really is true to who she is, and honest in how she feels her emotions, how she sees people. She’s honest and I love it,” Tommy says on what he discovered about Miho, adding, “She’s a family girl, her family is most important to her. She’s also a hard worker: She has big dreams, she wants to make places and you see it in her day to day life.”
While for Miho, it was more of an affirmation that Tommy is the what you see is what you get type of guy, no pretentions, and that he's just one really nice guy. “Ma-care siya sa tao, mahal niya yung pamilya niya at higit sa lahat mahal niya yung anak ko. So kahit siyempre minsan tao lang tayo hindi masasabing lahat perfect kasi wala namang perfect, pero mabait lang talaga siya super, para siya laging bagong binyag, ganun kabait.”
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Even before they exited the Big Brother house, Tommy has already developed a close relationship with Miho's daughter, Aimi ,who, at one point, stayed with the housemates for a task. "Ngayon kasi nasa Japan yung daughter ko so hindi ko rin siya nakikita pero pag nagvi-video chat kami kinakamusta rin niya (Tommy) so talagang nararamdaman ko na 'ay mahal din niya yung anak ko,' nami-miss niya din, talagang nagke-care siya sa daughter ko.”
Tommy with Miho's daughter, Aimi
Miho also met Tommy's parents and little sister when they visited the Big Brother house, but it wasn't until they went to California to attend the wedding of Tommy's sister that Miho really got to meet Tommy's entire family. “When we went to California, that’s when she actually met my family. She met all of my family. She loved it and they love her.” Miho, not being adept at speaking in English, was really nervous about the meet up. “First time ko sa California actually, pero siyempre kinakabahan din ako kasi makikita ko na lahat ng family niya diba pero alam mo yung ramdam mo na talagang bukal sa kaloobaan nila yung pag-welcome sakin, na parang 'Hello Miho! Welcome to California!” ganun so talagang super happy ko na super tanggap nila ako. Tapos usually English sila pero talagang tina-try din nila magsalita ng Tagalog kasi nga mas ok ako sa Tagalog, so talaga kini-care din nila yung mga ganun. So talagang na-enjoy ko lang kasi nung una kinabahan ako kasi hindi ako marunong mag-English. “
Miho and Tommy with the Esguerra family in California
With them being busy with individual projects as well, has quality time suffered? Fortunately, it didn't. “We’re both pretty busy so when we get to see each other, most of time it’s for work. If we have free time together, we just wanna relax, we don’t wanna do too much because we’re already tired,” Tommy says.
“Pag walang work siyempre nagkikita kami pero pag may work minsan talaga hindi tugma oras so text text na lang. Pero madalas nanonood kami ng movies sa sinehan lalo pag may bagong palabas, pero usually English kaya dahil dun nahahasa din English ko kahit hindi ako nakakapagsalita ng bongga nakakaintindi ako.”
There might be a language barrier still between the two, but as the saying goes, "Action speaks louder than words," and even though there are times that they might not understand each other verbally, they've found so many ways to show your love and that you care than just by saying "I love you."
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Photos are from Instagram.com/real.miho_nishida and Instagram.com/tommyesguerra.