It's a sapphic romance we want to see.
Ever since Regina Vanguardia and Narda Custodio have appeard onscreen, fans have been wanting one thing: for Darlentina to end up together.
Sure, Joshua Garcia's Brian Robles is Narda's love interest, but the fanbase is shipping "Darlentina" (Darna + Valentina) like their life depended on it.
It's no surprise, though. Jane de Leon (Darna) and Janella Salvador (Valentina) have undeniable chemistry. It also doesn't help that they've been teasing the ship online and have acknowledged it in interviews.
When De Leon tweeted "Pakagat ako Valentina!" Salvador wittingly responded with "Be careful what you wish for, Darna 😉."
Be careful what you wish for, Darna 😉 https://t.co/JIIF79ICMn— Janella Salvador (@superjanella) September 1, 2022
In an interview with CNN Philippines, Salvador said that Regina and Narda will be very good friends in contrast to how Valentina and Darna are enemies.
"Jane and I are okay off-cam, we bond, we watch movies together and it's funny because some people ship us together," the actress said.
"With Janella, grabe yung chemistry naming dalawa, sabi pa nga nung director, baka kami pa yung magkatuluyan sa huli," De Leon said.
In scenes where the two appear together, the friendship between the two characters looks intense—they lean on each other and their walls are so broken down, the tough lawyer is able to cry in front of Narda.
@yawnsedits "hindi kita iiwan" #darlentina #janenella #darna #janedeleon #janellasalvador #wlw ♬ Everything Has Changed (Taylor's Version) - Taylor Swift
Their long hugs, the way they hold their hands and stare longingly at each other—they all seem fruity to fans.
@narda.s_bato pov: LQ #pov #darna #narda #janedeleon #regina #valentina #janellasalvador #darnatvseries #darlentina #fyp #foryoupage ♬ bound 2 - 🎃
And when Narda told Regina she could sleep over at her house anytime—so the lawyer could soothe her nightmares—it sent fans gushing on Twitter.
Queer art at its most dedicated
Fans are so dedicated to this ship, they have made various beautiful fan art and written complex pieces of fan fiction. The actresses even liked some of the art shared online.
They've even regarded Narda as the "golden retriever gf" for her warm, friendly nature while Regina is the "black cat gf" for her ferocity.
On fanfiction site Archive of Our Own, there are over 90 entries about Darlentina, ranging from wholesome stories to more NSFW fantasies.
In addition, there are many videos and fan edits on TikTok, with the #Darlentina garnering 86.6 million views as of writing.
However, some fans worry that the series writers might be queerbaiting them with these sweet moments to fuel the rivalry between Darna and Valentina. Queerbaiting happens when a show or film implies a same-sex relationship between two characters to attract interest from an LGBTQ+ audience, but are never actualized.
Others also acknowledge that it's likely they won't be endgame as we haven't seen a serious sapphic romance portrayed on mainstream media, but it won't stop them from enjoying the series.
not darlentina being obviously a queerbait but we're eating it up so good because we're so deprived of sapphic representation in media— 리아 (@panfriedd) September 18, 2022
But having Darlentina be endgame would mean so much to LGBTQ+ representation in the Philippines. Most shows portraying same-sex relationships or BL/GL (boy love/girl love) series are streamed online through platforms like WeTV, iWantTFC, etc.
One study found that increased representation of LGBTQ+ communities onscreen caused an increase in acceptance and support for the queer communities, making them a norm and informing more people about their stories and struggles.
Queer representation on Filipino TV has been ramping up lately with the release of shows like Drag Race Philippines and Sleep With Me. Stories from people in the LGBTQ+ community are brought to the spotlight, including issues they face such as discrimination.
As Jiggly Caliente put it on the drag reality show, "It is up to us to tell our stories. Like Marsha P. Johnson who started our gay revolution for the world, that one rock started the ripple effect for us to get what little liberties we have and I do mean little because we don't have it all yet. We don't even have the SOGIE bill here in the Philippines."