Calinda met Ramirez when she was 20 and he was 22. She was the rising star of women’s skating, and he was the superstar forward of men’s hockey. Her parents and coach were against their relationship, and because Calinda wanted to prove that no hot guy would ever distract her from her dream, she chose skating over him–and also avoided him all together.
Ten years later, they meet again as gold medalists and prominent sports advocates, still single and undeniably attracted to each other. It’s still not a good time for them, because Ramirez is retiring from hockey and moving back to the United States. Calinda doesn’t do relationships, really, and proposes they use his final three weeks in Manila to explore what might have been, and do all the things they wish they’d done (there’s a list!). Then he can leave for good, and they can both move on with their lives without this one regret.
Miri dela Merced’s film director grandfather and Pabs Paglinauan’s studio head grandmother had a huge falling out that ended Lolo Ikong’s career. At seventeen, Miri finds herself in the same summer film internship program as the down-to-earth film studio heir Pabs, whom she’s decided to automatically write off, just because of his lineage. As Miri gets a crash course in her expectations vs the reality of what’s it like to work on a real movie, her true feelings for Pabs become harder and harder to ignore. In between attending outdoor screenings of classic Pinoy movies and battling monster production assistants together, can flipping the script on a decades-old grudge be only a few sequences away?
What does it really take to be a champion?
When East Genesis Project’s Jo Yihwan reluctantly pinch-hits for injured band mate Steven Bae in a reality TV-slash-talent competition, he decides he’s only in it to win. After all, he is representing his band, and the All-Kill Champion title had some handsome perks attached to it.
But he didn’t expect to meet a gutsy, driven teammate like Ha Yoojung, or feel drawn to her incandescent spirit week after week after week. He didn’t expect her to be carrying a devastating secret that could cost them the grand prize, either.
What starts as a competition becomes so much more. With careers, a long-held dream, and honor at stake, can Yihwan and Yoojung’s hearts survive?
Magic is in the air…
For the first time in a century, the fruit in San Antonio’s most famous mango farm all turned sour. Fiona, thirty-six and single, knows why. According to her family’s legend, the only way to keep the mangoes sweet is for the women who run the farm to be married and bear children. If Fiona doesn’t find anyone soon, the inheritance her family has been protecting for generations is in danger of rotting away.
Greg used to have a massive crush on his older sister’s best friend. When he drops by Fiona’s farm to get his sister some of San Antonio’s sweetest mangoes, his quick visit turns into an extended vacation. As the days go by, his feelings for Fiona begin to take root and grow. At twenty-eight, how can he convince Fiona that he’s more than her friend’s kid brother?
Noah might be the best oceanographer the Institute has seen in years, so he’s in no hurry to finish his Master’s degree…until a new arrival threatens his chance at a once-in-a-lifetime research grant. Suddenly, it’s sink or swim time.
Lise knows there’s a slot at the Institute’s newest project with her name on it. But she’s all math and very little science, and when it comes to the ocean, she’s completely out of her depth.
Lise and Noah are determined to win—even if it means working with each other to overcome their fears. But what begins as a shallow bargain lands them straight into the deep end when they realize they want the same thing—each other. Unable to ignore their physical chemistry, can they balance personal ambitions against an illogical attraction that threatens everything they’ve worked so hard to achieve?
CEO-in-training, heiress and cosmetics company marvel Isabel Alfonso needs to hire an assistant. She needs to hire someone who is smart and competent to arrange a trip to Shanghai for her to meet with potential business partners. She needs to learn how to let go of her cosmetics company, her baby, in order to take on the CEO role which she’s been groomed for her entire life. What she does not need to hire is a young single dad, last seen with her in bed as a one night stand.
Falling for Adam Sevilla is a complication that Isabel doesn’t need. And with so much on the line, she can’t afford to make any mistakes. Can she really leave everything behind, just to head the family business? Or will she hold on to what she has with zero guarantees?
Seventeen-year-old Alexa Zamora looks as if she’s always been the beautiful and graceful center of attention. If you knew her in grade school though, you’d remember a sad little girl, who had lost her parents, and spent most of her time on the martial art arnis—a rough sport, not something girls were supposed to like. If you knew her then, you might have ostracized her for it.
She learned from this mistake, and has done her best to hide all traces of her sport and skill in a new school, and now she’s New Hope Academy’s It Girl. But transfer student Theo Guevarra, who happens to be her old arnis buddy and first love, arrives and makes her question the life she’s been living. How long can she keep up appearances, before it all falls apart?
It’s a bad day for Ben. After years of earnest work, he’s been fired from his job as a speechwriter for a Philippine senator. Name tarnished and bridges burned, he steps into what he thinks is a shuttle ride home, and accidentally joins a tour of his own city.
It was supposed to be a good day for Naya. Her passion is traveling, her hobby is discovering cool things to see and do, and taking people on tours of Metro Manila is her only job right now. An extra person at the last minute isn’t ideal, especially if the person is a former colleague and the subject of the day’s hottest political trash fire. But work is work, and she decides to let him stay in the tour.
She’s hoping she won’t regret it. He’s hoping his day turns around. What kind of day could it be? Maybe the best kind.
All roads lead back to beachside music festival Summer Crush for another weekend of high waves, rock & roll, and the promise of summer romance.
On any given day, Michael Brian doesn’t need to do much to hit the right notes with a girl, but there’s something about this day—and something about this girl—that’s got him out of tune. (A Taste of Summer, Six delos Reyes)
Indie filmmaker Datu puts on his dusty event videographer hat for Summer Crush. But memories of a love he let slip away resurface from every corner of this surf town. Now what he thought would be an easy job just isn’t so easy anymore. (Rushes, Tara Frejas)
Corporate-highflyer-on-vacation Ringo has a question to which cookie bar boss woman Kris has the answer, if only they’d stop getting in each other’s way. (Ask Me Nicely, Jay E. Tria)
Rae and JR choose to begin, taking that final step into something new.
Rachel and Geoffrey choose to give in, claiming what they’ve always wanted and running with it.
Punky and Jazz choose to accept, acknowledging that they’re different and that’s okay.
Some choices leave a small imprint in our lives, a little push, a little nudge. While some… can turn our worlds upside down.
Where will their choices take them?
After getting her heart broken, 23-year-old Diana Gomez is afraid to fall in love again. But when her office crush Paul invites her to join a running club with him, she goes for it.
What she doesn’t know is that to be a part of the club, she actually has to train for a half marathon—and that she’ll meet Joshua, the handsome club veteran who becomes her unofficial running buddy.
As if it isn’t hard enough to do speed work, interval training, and long runs after work and on weekends, she has to deal with her feelings for both boys and face her fears of falling in love.
Will she reach the finish line without getting herself (or her heart) injured? Journey with Diana as she reaches running milestones, overcomes obstacles, pushes herself to the limit, and discovers the strength within her… one kilometer at a time.
Mindy and Javier are not friends, okay.
Despite their mothers’ matchmaking, they’ve managed to stay out of each other’s way. Until Mindy goes to Paris for a week, and her mother insists she meet up with Javier. He’s in Paris to study, really looking forward to see you, she says. Watch over each other.
No thanks. Javier is taciturn and boring, Mindy is dramatic and has a tendency to yell at things when her eight siblings are brought up. It’s not a great combination.
But things start to look a little different under the Paris lights, and what felt like hate feels a lot closer to love.
There’s a first time for everything. Gatecrashing a KPop concert with an oppa in a business suit. Taking shelter from the storm with the girl you’ve been meaning to shake off. That kiss that blurs the line between friendship and something more. A one-night stand (or, is it?) with your best friend from across the hallway.
Dive into these 10 stories of first encounters – unapologetically queer, happy endings required, with a smattering of that signature #romanceclass kilig. Whether you’re recalling your own firsts or out there looking for one, there’s a story in here for you.
So, go on.
Turn the page.
Expanded Edition: Plus three short stories!
When she was nine-years-old, Katie knew she wanted Chris to give her her first kiss. It wasn’t because she was in love with him (no way, he was her best friend! Besides, she was in love with his fourteen-year-old big brother), it was because she could make him do anything she wanted.
Besides, it didn’t really mean anything. After all, it was only a kiss.
But things started to change. They grew up. They parted ways and went to different high schools. Then other girls and other boys—well, just one particular boy—came into the picture, throwing their lives upside down.
Told from the alternating points of view of Katie and Chris, this love story between two best friends will tug at your heartstrings and leave you thinking about how the simplest things mean so much.
Plus Just A Little Bit of Love:
Three short stories about three young girls: Anita, Ina, and Carla. Each one finding their lives disrupted by a boy. Maybe it’s because he wanders into the coffee shop where she works after school every Tuesday. Maybe it’s because he won’t leave her alone even if she has made it clear that she is crushing on his football teammate. Or maybe it’s because she’s spent one unforgettable afternoon with him—despite being oh-so-forgetful. Three small doses of love that serve up a whole lot of feels.
All Cris Villareal had ever dreamed of was becoming a doctor. But after the death of a patient under her care and the subsequent humiliation she suffers under a senior resident in her hospital, she begins to lose faith in herself. And no one else could understand her and her despair.
So one Halloween night, up on the rooftop of her apartment building, she decides to end it all.
She is stopped from jumping by Emilio, the ghost of a young man who haunts her building, who also committed suicide there many years ago. Eventually, Cris finds herself opening up to him, in a way she had never before, with anyone living or dead.
There is only one problem.
Emilio isn’t really a ghost.
He is actually a living young man named Nathan Morales, and Cris was just one of the unwitting victims in a prank he had once played on the tenants of her apartment. But being Emilio was the only way he could think of to stop her that night, and the only way now he could get her to open up to him. As Emilio, he was someone she could trust enough to help her, in a way Nathan himself never could.
As their relationship becomes deeper and their feelings grow stronger each day, can he finally help her find a reason to keep living?
But how long can he keep lying to her?
Yes, Universe, Kimmy Domingo knows that you hate her. But she’s a nice person, she really is — as long as you ignore the stories of people she’s bullied, manipulated, and annoyed in the past. She totally gets that you’ve gotten back at her by having her fiance’ dump her a week before their wedding. Soon after, she quit her job, hopped on a plane, and just hid from everyone who knew her.
A year later and she’s back in Manila to be maid of honor at a wedding she can’t miss. She’s home because she’s ready to start over, but she also knows that some people at that wedding were responsible for the mess her life turned out to be. The first step to recovery? Cutting off the ones who caused her troubles to begin with: her best friend and her first love.
Daphne Cardenas is the best wedding planner around, and everyone knows it. That’s why her friend Greg hired her as an emergency replacement one month before his wedding—because he fears his fiancée Helen is falling for the guy they first hired for the job.
Aaron Trinidad is new to the wedding industry but years of conference planning and loads of charm make him good at it. Really good at it. Planning the wedding of his friend Helen should be easy, and it is. To be unceremoniously fired isn’t good for his new career, but the chance to learn from the best might be the silver lining.
Aaron and Daphne have chemistry, but there’s history with Helen that at least one other person considers a threat. Who’s the planner who can fix this impending disaster?
(Part of the Chic Manila series, but can be read as a standalone.)
Why my life sucks
by Geri Lazaro
1. My dad left when I was a kid.
2. My mom is in love (insert eye roll).
3. With a guy who is like 10 years younger than her!
4. My friends think he’s hot. (Gross)
5. I love ballet but our dance studio has a leak and we have to dance in this smelly studio that doubles as an aikido dojo.
6. There’s this Dojo guy who thinks the studio belongs to him.
7. Friends think Dojo guy is cute. (Ew.) (Okay, objectively maybe but still, ew.)
8. I’m failing algebra.
9. Need to quit either basketball or ballet. Or both.
10. Dojo guy keeps showing up! (Fine, he does aikido in the same building but whatever.)
11. Dojo guy is asking me to dance with him. And maybe he is as cute as my friends say.
12. I don’t know what to do anymore!
At 31, Kris’s dating life is starting to resemble a reality show. So when she strikes up a conversation with a nerdy but gorgeous stranger on the train, getting serious is the last thing on her mind. Been there, done that, and she has the emotional baggage to prove it.
At 24, Ringo knows what he wants—and when a train flirtation turns into a night he can’t forget, he knows he wants Kris. But it’s clear she has other plans, and they don’t include him. So when they find themselves on the same flight to Seoul, it’s Ringo’s chance to turn up the heat, and convince Kris to take a risk.
In a new city, with someone new — the right someone — what could change? Maybe nothing. But also, maybe everything.
It’s all fun and games until someone catches feelings.
If there’s something Pio Alvez is good at, it’s pretending to be someone he’s not. On stage and on-screen, the actor has mastered the art of becoming the characters he plays, and his new role should be no different. After all, how difficult would it be to pretend to be smitten with a beautiful, intelligent go-getter like Audrey Alonzo?
Perhaps it’s more difficult pretending not to be.