LUIS & JOSELLE
That’s how Luis Alandy describes the phase that he was going through in the first quarter of 2014. By April of that year, though, the lone wolf—who got his big break as an actor in the original 2000-2002 run of the teleserye Pangako Sa’Yo, starring Kristine Hermosa and Jericho Rosales— decided to snap out of his introversion. He signed up for the 360 Fitness Olympics 2014.
This was a daylong competitive event organized by 360 Fitness Club, a health club with gyms in various parts of Metro Manila. The 2014 competition was held on April 13 of that year at the Meralco Sports Center in the Ortigas commercial and residential district, and was open to gym members from all of the club’s branches. Luis had been going for about a year to the Pasig City branch, also in the Ortigas district.
The erstwhile loner joined Team Ortigas in the Circuit Men’s Division— and his team won the gold medal!
It was at the 360 Fitness Olympics 2014 that Luis crossed paths with another member of Team Ortigas: Joselle Fernandez, the woman who would capture his heart. Nearly three years later, on February 17, 2017, Luis and Joselle became husband and wife at Two Gardens Tagaytay, an event venue in Tagaytay City in the province of Cavite.
In the couple’s pre-wedding interview with YES! Magazine, Luis, who turned 37 last February 7, and Joselle, who would turn 24 on May 31, recall with fondness how they literally bumped into each other at the event.
“Nando’n ako, ’ta’s parang nakita ko siya,” he says, grinning. She reacts, feigning irritation: “Parang nakita talaga?”
“Hindi,” he replies, his grin widening in mischief. “Parang tatlo silang girls na… Ayan na naman, sasabihin ko na naman…”
She gets his drift and laughs. “Lagi niya kasing ina-assume na siniksik ko raw siya no’n,” she says. “Pero hindi ko talaga alam na nakaupo siya no’n sa bench. ’Yong view ko, nasa kabilang side, ’ta’s uupo ’yong friends ko, so umusog ako. ’ Yon pala, may tao sa gilid ko. Siya pala ’yon.”
“Nakaupo ako,” he confirms, and then teases. “Nagpapapansin siya kunwari.” She just keeps laughing, and he continues his side of the story: “Akala niya, bag ako… Umusog-usog lang siyang gano’n, ’ta’s sabi ko, ‘Sino ba ’tong naguusog sa akin?’”
She interjects: “’Ta’s sabi ng friends ko, ‘Si Luis Alandy ’yan, a!’ Hahaha!”
He explains why he wasn’t easily recognized at that time: “Naka-cap kasi ako no’n.”
She adds: “Nauna kasi kami do’n.” He protests: “Nauna ako.”
She shakes her head in mixed confusion and amusement on what really happened that day. “Hanggang ngayon, hindi ko alam.”
He settles the issue with a deus ex machina: “Siguro, ginusto ni Lord na gano’n.”
The ice was broken between the two gymmates, but Joselle didn’t warm up easily to Luis. She only knew him as Clarence, a major character in Sa Dulo ng Walang Hanggan, the drama series that she used to watch as a child in 2003. Ten years later, she saw him in person for the first time at a charity event.
“Hindi siya mukhang friendly,” she says of the good-looking actor who seems to be as serious as the roles that he usually plays. “’Tsaka alam mo ’yong feeling na pag artista na lalaki, parang maraming girls.”
The petite and pretty University of Santo Tomas fine arts graduate, who has found a career in the sales and marketing department of SMC Global Power, a subsidiary of San Miguel Corporation, confesses that “na-prejudge ko talaga siya.” Less than a month before their big day, Luis and Joselle talk to YES! about, among other things, what made them fall for each other.
Luis takes us back to early 2015, when he and Joselle were still in the getting-toknow-you stage. They were then having lunch with their gym friends in a restaurant at the Shangri-La Mall in Mandaluyong City.
“I was honest naman sa kanya,” he says of his ladylove. “Sabi ko, when we had our lunch there, ‘It’s the first time that I really felt genuinely happy about life again.’ Kasi, for the longest time, medyo may pagka-loner ako.”
Isolating himself was, in a way, an effect of his breakup with his immediate ex, a Filipino immigrant in Canada whom he had been engaged to.
That Shangri-La Mall lunch date made him come out of his shell again, and brought him closer to Joselle, whom he describes as “sobrang bait,” “close na close sa family niya,” and “mabilis siyang patawanin.”
She chimes in, laughing: “Kaya feeling niya, nakakatawa siya.”
For her part, Joselle owns up to her initial distrust of him: “Dahil nga na-judge ko na siya before, parang no’ng unti-unti ko siyang nakilala, sabi ko, malalim pala ’tong person na ’to… Private pala siya, e. So nakita ko naman kung gaano siya kabait. ’ Tsaka ’yong effort niya, tested na sa layo pa lang ng bahay ko.”
For his part, Luis maintains that he didn’t expect her to be so much younger than he was. At his first sight of Joselle, he just thought that “ang cute ng girl na ’to,” though he also found her “masungit” and “hindi namamansin.”
One day, some of their friends at the 360 Fitness Club Ortigas invited them to have lunch—and they all had a great time. They exchanged phone numbers and followed each other on social media. From there, Luis started sending messages to Joselle through text and Instagram. But she rarely replied to him, choosing instead to stick to her first impression of him.
When the year 2015 rolled in, the group of gym friends had been hanging out more often and going on out-of-town trips. Joselle began seeing Luis in a new light, realizing, for instance, that “magka-wavelength kami ng humor.”
A week or two before her birthday that year, Joselle invited all her gym friends to a simple celebration in her family home in the city of Sta. Rosa in Laguna province, but only Luis, who lives in a condo at the Ortigas Center, showed up. His attendance surprised and delighted Joselle and her family. She specially liked the way he hit it off with her parents, siblings, and other relatives, who are all very close and dear to her. It turned out that he was quite familyoriented, too.
Since that birthday party, Luis became a fixture in Joselle’s home. At times, he would wait outside in his car because he had just come from an overnight shoot of the drama series that he was making then, The Rich Man’s Daughter. He would then drive Joselle to her Ortigas Center office, which is near his place.
Luis also endeared himself to Joselle’s officemates by personally delivering breakfast items he’d buy from establishments such as Starbucks and Krispy Kreme. “Kaya alam nila na may something na,” Joselle says with a sheepish smile.
That something turned into an official romantic relationship on June 23, 2015. They were then on a four- day trip to Puerto Princesa to give donated goods to a school there. On the eve of their flight back to Manila, they had a heart-to-heart talk that culminated in their becoming officially a couple.
Unlike their unpleasant first meeting, their boyfriend-girlfriend relationship was stress-free and smooth sailing.
“Wala pa kaming major fights talaga,” she points out. Nodding, he concurs: “Wala ’yong petty quarrels dahil sa sobrang understanding naming pareho.”
Seems like there won’t be big bumps ahead for this compatible couple.