TAGS: ate glow, issa pressman, jervi li, kaladkaren davila, kenneth concepcion, marga bermudez, mari jasmine, paolo ballesteros, renee hampshire, samatha lee

It’s that time of the year again when roses are everywhere, romantic dinners are set, and gifts come in heart-shaped packages. Indeed, love is in the air this Valentine Day’s—and all the way to the weekend.

Speaking of love, it knows no age, gender, race, or anything that can be a hindrance to and a suppression of a person’s amorous feelings and intentions.

Take it from these celebrities and their partners who proudly represent the LGBTQ community. Scroll down and check out their inspiring love stories.

PAOLO BALLESTEROS AND KENNETH CONCEPCION

TV host and actor Paolo Ballesteros has found love in his boyfriend Kenneth Gabriel Concepcion. They’ve been together for three months now, and call each other on social media using the hashtag, #SioPao. Sweet!

Photo from Instagram (@i_lovegab)

In celebration of their 2nd monthsary, the couple poured out their feelings online. Paolo, for one, posted a video collage of their photos together, along with balloons, that spell the word, TWO—and shaped into hearts. Kilig!

Photo from Instagram (@pochoy_29)

In his post, Paolo wrote in the caption: “Looking forward to many more. i love you siopao @i_lovegab.”

Photo from Instagram (@i_lovegab)

Gabriel also posted what was assumed by their social media followers as each other’s gifts for their monthsary. Gabriel wrote in the caption: “Second with siopao” with a tag to Paolo.

Even in normal days, the lovebirds express their appreciation and love for each other:

Photo from Instagram (@i_lovegab).

Renee “Ate Glow” Hampshire and husband

Who would ever forget former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s impersonator, comedian Rene-Boy Facunla (or most popularly known as Ate Glow), in the 2000s? A couple of years after she left showbiz for good, Renee (as she now calls herself) found a new home in the United Kingdom, where she tied the knot with her British husband in 2016.

Photo from Instagram (@withloverenee).

Ate Glow, who now goes by the name Renee Hampshire, happily shared with StarStudio.ph their love story.

“We met on the 30th of December 2014 in London for an afternoon drink,” she said in our email interview.  “We instantly 'clicked' where we went for lunch, and then to the cinema. So for a first date it was much longer than planned but it flowed very smoothly and both of us were very relaxed and comfortable to be ourselves. Later we decided that day to meet up and enjoy New Year’s Eve together the next day—this was important as we had only just met and we went to a Japanese restaurant to see in the New Year.”

 “The rest as they say is history,” she continued. “Very soon after, we decided to live together - this felt right to both of us but equally it was low risk as we were both in our early 30's and so were mature enough to make a relationship work with patience, love, tolerance and compromise.”

Photo from Twitter (Rod Magaru).

From that “instant click,” Renee and her beau soon found their happily-ever-after. They got married at Chelsea Old Town Hall in London in mid-2016, with their family and closest friends in attendance.

She told us that her husband has visited the Philippines.

“We have met each other's families and travelled to different parts of the word together including the Philippines - Manila and Palawan - the bluest sky and clearest water he's known!”

Photo from Instagram (@withloverenee).

Renee also revealed how they keep their relationship strong.

“We embrace the differences between us,” she said. “For example, we have different cultures, backgrounds and interests and that allows us to share those experiences together even if we don't do everything together all of the time.  We have always respected each other—whether it is opinion, interests or views—there is always room to acknowledge different perspectives.  We don't ignore the simple things—for example we enjoy walks out together and appreciate our time together even if it is eating together or watching TV or films.”

Photo from Instagram (@withloverenee).

As seen on Renee’s Instagram, she and her husband have been traveling together in many places across Europe, proving that such shared passion binds them together.

 “Like travel, food and drink, and a curiosity to explore is something that can always bring us together,” she pointed out, adding that communication is very important just like any other couple.

“We always make time to ask how each other's day has been as we are still two individuals that together are a couple—by allowing each other to grow then, we grow more as a stronger couple. However, at the heart, we love each other and make each other smile.”

Renee’s husband was not named for privacy purposes.

MARI JASMINE AND SAMANTHA LEE

TV host/blogger/model Mari Jasmine and Baka Bukas director Samantha Lee make us believe in celebrating all kinds of love.

Photo from Instagram (@givemesam).

On July 4, 2018, Mari confirmed their relationship through an Instagram post filled with photos of them attending the Pride March. She included a heartfelt message saying she’s had the privilege of being in love with both men and women, and that she dreams for “the same kind of love, compassion, and understanding to be shown to the LGBTQIA+ community.”

Photo from Instagram (@marijasmine).

Mari also penned a message for her fellow members in the community, telling them that they are “wonderful, worthy, and loved.” Such inspiring words!

Photo from Instagram (@givemesam).

The couple’s confirmation of their relationship may have shocked a lot of people, but Mari and Sam are never bothered by it. With their stylish photos and happy faces as a pair on Instagram, love really looks great on them.

JERVI "KALADKAREN" LI AND BOYFRIEND

Comedian/host Jervi “Kaladkaren” Li and her British partner’s seven-year romance proves that love does conquer all.

Photo from Instagram (@kaladkaren).

When they first met in Hong Kong, Kaladkaren’s partner found her attractive while she was wearing Rihanna-like red curly tresses (she admits to being a fan of the R&B singer). They later communicated through Skype, and a few months later, her beau flew to the Philippines to visit her. And even before he could arrive in the Philippines, Kaladkaren had already confirmed that they were officially a couple. Kilig!

Photo from Instagram (@kaladkaren).

In an interview with ABS-CBN Lifestyle, Kaladkaren shared that being her boyfriend’s first transgender partner was never an issue: “Our relationship is something different, but I don’t think spectacle siya. Because in our culture, if you are a trans or you’re a gay person, a lot of people are skeptical about love.”

Photo from Instagram (@kaladkaren).

 “They think it’s not true love because either the other person is pineperahan lang ’yung bakla or whatever,” she pointed out. “Feeling ko, why people talked about it no’ng first time nilang nalaman is because it’s quite inspirational in some aspects: Nagkakaroon ng ilusyon ’yung trans din na like or gay people na merong pag-asa. Ayoko namang sabihin na Messianic, or ‘beacon of hope.’ First time lang siguro nakita na puwede palang magkagano’n. It’s kind of a testimony to the possibility of finding true love.”

Kaladkaren’s boyfriend was not named for privacy purposes.

ISSA PRESSMAN AND MARGA BERMUDEZ

Another proud couple who continues to inspire others through their relationship is social media influencer Issa Pressman and singer/musician Marga Bermudez. Issa is a sister of actress Yassi Pressman.

With glowing and happy faces, Issa and Marga shared their heartfelt story in a toothpaste promotional video. 

Photo from Instagram (@pressmanissa).

Like any other LGBTQIA+ community members, they feel unhappy with how people perceive them together as a couple, saying that they’re “sayang” or they “could have been better with other people.”

Photo from Instagram (@pressmanissa),

“’If you’re happy with what you’re doing, if you think what you’re doing is something that would make you happy, that could make you happy, then go ahead, that’s my dad would always say,” Issa said, adding that her parents fully accept who she is and her relationship with Marga.

Photo from Instagram (@pressmanissa).

Marga, on the other hand, felt heartened that many people sent messages to her on social media, asking how they were able to come out. She answered them with “kaya niyo din ’yan,” while giving them this message: “If you love somebody, and you’re not hurting anybody and you are being the best version of yourself with this person, or you feel like that you could be better because of this person. Don’t be so fixated with what other people tell you.”

Photo from Instagram (@pressmanissa).

“If you find love and happiness in that person, then that is love and happiness. So yeah, you are free to love. Truth is, love does really win. Always.” Very well said.