This February, Preen talks about all kinds of relationships and how stories of love don’t always follow just one plotline. From fairy-tale romances to overlooked connections, we’re hoping to find what makes them all equally special.
Nothing stirs the cold, cynical heart like two young people who are in love. In these few days leading up to Valentine’s Day, we took some of our favorite young creatives in the industry and looked at them up close: What does love look like between two people who only have eyes for each other?
Kicking off this mini-series are photography couple and best friends-turned-college sweethearts Kimi Juan and Thomas Caja.
Kimi Juan, 23, travel photographer
Thomas Caja, 23, account manager and photographer
How did you guys meet?
Thomas Caja: We met in school; we were classmates in a major class for one term. After that term, we both decided to become classmates in all our major subjects.
Kimi Juan: We were classmates in only one of our photography classes. I remember I took his photo for the first time for our first activity and he used it as his profile photo on Facebook, and that just broke the ice. Yiiiii…
Who asked out whom? How?
KJ: Believe it or not, we started out as best friends, and I don’t mean the fake kind where we secretly like each other, but legit best friends. We both even helped each other get closer to our crushes back then. We’d always go out to eat, and watch movies together. I mean, I wouldn’t consider them dates but they were fun; no labels.
TC: We hung out a lot. Then those hangouts evolved into dates by themselves. Well, for me, every hang out was a date, even though Kimi just thought they were hangouts. Then we went on our first date, in Tagaytay. I asked her out. I don’t remember who asked first because we just kept on going out together.
Describe the moment that you decided you wanted to date this person exclusively.
KJ: Thomas and I love climbing the roof of my house, even when we were still best friends we’d go there and take pictures because the sunset would always be beautiful and you can see the skyline of the city.
TC: There was this one day, we were up on their roof, late afternoon-like sunset vibes, then we started to tell each other how we felt.
KJ: We both just started pouring our feelings of how we developed feelings for each other and maybe we could take the relationship a step further.
TC: It was magical. It was the right moment.
How long have you been dating?
KJ: If you count it “officially”, it’s [been] one year and four months.
Favorite activities to do together?
TC: We love to take photos, travel, workout, watch movies and TV series, play iPhone games, shop, and eat tokwa’t baboy and lumpiang togue together.
KJ: Shopping too! I’m glad Thomas likes going shopping with me. (Laughs) And working out—I’m glad I can finally try those couple workouts!
Favorite things about each other?
KJ: He’s kind and he’s patient, and he can handle me at my worst.
TC: She’s so passionate with everything that involves life, [like] animals, plants, nature, all things created by God. She loves taking care of them and [is] not [bothered by] their existence. She likes to keep everything natural; she doesn’t overdo things.
TC: When she doesn’t listen to me.
KJ: He is always late, but it’s improved.
Why do you think you two work so well together?
KJ: Hmmm… He fills in my blanks, he’s really the other half. I think the fact we are so different puts everything into place.
TC: We work well together because we are opposites.
Can you defend your relationship in the court of law? What would you say?
TC: I would say like, “I don’t need to prove to you guys that I am in love with this woman. This relationship is between me and her.”
KJ: “Your Honor, guilty ako!!! In love ako!!”
What’s your take on V-Day? Fun day of cheese or cheesy Hallmark holiday?
TC: Basta masaya kayong dalawa, yung tipong sincere lang. It will get cheesy along the way.
KJ: I love Valentine’s day, even when I was single I loved it, but even more now. Thomas and I love to just do something simple, just like a normal date but with flowers, nothing too cheesy as long as we have fun. (Laughs)
Are you guys celebrating? How?
KJ: This Valentine’s we’re just going to our favorite restaurant. Good, good food, and just enjoying each other’s company. People would probably say it’s just like a normal date, but can’t every day be Valentine’s Day?
TC: I feel like I celebrate Valentine’s every day when I’m with her.
Photos by Paolo Tabuena
Sittings by Jacqueline Arias
Makeup by Jorence Delimos for MAC Cosmetics
Styled by Ria Casco