It’s been said that the best relationships are the ones you never see coming. We'd like to think that whoever came up with this was spot on, especially in the context of our next featured couple for this month's Love Actually campaign on ABS-CBN Lifestyle—Keena Campos and Jude Boo.
Those closest to the them know that they’ve been going steady for quite a while. Their six years of dating were met with exciting firsts—from touring the world, to launching multiple food businesses (diet delivery service The Six Pack Chef and Filipino fast food resto Oohlam, to name a few), to undergoing serious body transformations together. With so many shared experiences, it was only a matter of time before the two would announce that they were (finally!) engaged.
What started as a chance encounter all the way in Sinulog Festival has since grown into a firm and thriving partnership right at the heart of Manila. We got these soon to be married twentysomethings to talk more about their love story, how they keep their relationship intact, and what’s next for them.
How did you first meet?
Jude: I was introduced to Keena by my cousin during Sinulog.
Keena: He was still based in Cagayan De Oro and I was still studying in Manila. I went to Sinulog in 2012 with some friends and one of them happened to be his cousin. So we all ended up hanging out with each other over the weekend.
What was your first impression of each other in the days you were together?
J: Friendly. I sat next to her and she talked to me the entire time.
K: He had a very Americanized accent when he spoke English. (Laughs)
So, you did the whole LDR thing after Sinulog! What was that like?
K: We we’re quite serious with each other even though he was still living in CDO. We just didn’t want to set anything in stone because we were so far apart.
Throughout that time though, was there a particular moment that made you realize you were in love?
J: (When) I left the comfort of my home and hometown to be with her [in Manila].
K: Probably a month before he moved. It was kind of out of the blue, though he’ll [argue] that he fell in love with me first because he said it out loud first. (Laughs)
How soon after did you become official boyfriend and girlfriend?
J: September 22, 2012. It was a few days after I arrived in Manila.
K: He just plainly asked me if I would be his girlfriend. It was a pretty easy decision to make. (Smiles)
And now you’re getting married! Congrats on the engagement!
J: I can’t really say that I had it planned out…
K: That's a funny story. Whenever we travel, I’ve always [been] the one who packs for the both of us whenever we travel. And I never saw a ring! He was very good in hiding it.
J: I just knew that I was going to propose to her during our trip to South Korea. The moment presented itself when we were in Nami Island.
K: We had been talking about getting married for a while but we knew we just couldn't do it yet. We were walking around Nami Island and we reached an area so scenic that we started taking pictures. He took me aside and asked for a picture (turns out he was taking a video) and when he knelt down I blacked out for a moment because I never imagined it would happen. It was just a rush of happy emotions and I was trying to say ‘yes’ over my crying.
Have you started planning the wedding?
J: Yeah, the plan is to get married on March or April of 2019.
K: We're not really about the grandeur of traditional weddings so we’re looking to have a small intimate gathering to celebrate with close family and friends.
In the years you’ve known each other, what would you say are your biggest similarities?
J: We don’t like experimenting with new restaurants. We prefer to dine in places we know and are familiar with. We’re afraid of being disappointed. (Laughs)
K: We both have very strong personalities. Sometimes we can be stubborn. So [there’s] been a lot of growth in the sense of trying to work through that stubbornness and compromising with each other.
How about differences?
J: She can say no to rice.
K: He likes rice and I don't.
So far what are your favorite memories together?
J: I’d have to say getting down on [one] knee and asking her to marry me.
K: We take a short trip at the end of the year, just the two of us, for a couple days. This is for us to reflect on the year that [has passed] and to talk about what our goals are, professionally, personally, and as a couple for the year to come. Just having time to talk about that together is something I look forward to. I think it helps us grow and sets us on the right track.
It’s interesting how you’re technically life and business partners. How do you make that sort of arrangement work?
K: I don't think it’s very difficult to separate our personal and professional relationship.
J: We know that work is work and [it] shouldn’t affect our personal relationship.
K: From the very beginning, we set ground rules on how to go about it. We're partners, and we both have responsibilities in the business that have to be done no matter what.
But if conflict arises, how do you handle it?
J: I say sorry. (Laughs)
K: We usually stop talking once one of us is angry. Sometimes that can last the whole day. But we made a promise to never go to sleep angry at each other. So usually by the evening of that day, once we've both calmed down, we talk about what happened and just sort out how to fix it.
Now that you’ll be saying I do, what’s one thing that you want for your future husband/wife?
J: That she’s always happy.
K: To see him grow these past few years has been such a privilege. I've seen him overcome his obstacles and carry on [with] so much determination and perseverance. I hope he achieves the success we've always talked about. He's more than deserving.
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Photographs taken from Keena Campos' and Jude Boo's Facebook and Instagram accounts. Banner Image by Lui Jimenez.