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by Ronald Constantino, Manila Bulletin, 30 March 1999, Entertainment Section

CLASSY LOVETEAM -- Viva has the good fortune having three popular loveteams in its roll of contract artists: Antoinette Taus and Dingdong Dantes, Kim de los Santos and Dino Guevarra, Sunshine Dizon and Polo Ravales. On both big screen and small screen, the tandems have captured the support and admiration of the public.

Which loveteam is making the biggest waves, eliciting the loudest scream on and offscreen?

The consensus is that of Toni and Dingdong, said to be the classiest, too. The pair is indeed impressive where looks and credentials are concerned. Toni has such a sweet face, a Fil-American beauty. Dingdong is "muy guapo," a fine mixture of Fil-Spanish ancestry. Credentials? They come from rich families; both are taking up AB in good schools. Toni at Ateneo and Dingdong at San Beda. They intend to pursue law.

The three Viva loveteams share stellar billing for the first time in "Honey, My Love So Sweet," which opens in Metro Manila April 3, Black Saturday.

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WORRIED FATHER -- They -- meaning Toni and Dingdong -- are so sweet to each other that her American father, Tom Taus Sr., opted to pull out his daughter from the TV show "TGIS," where Toni is paired with Dingdong. Mr. Taus fears his daughter might get into a serious and deep commitment with Dingdong, who openly says that Toni is very special to him. Toni, 17 going on 18, feels the same...and she doesn't have to say it. It shows on her face.

At this point, Dingdong can't even visit (in Angeles City) Toni. Phone calls are limited to a few minutes. Dingdong describes his dream girl as sweet, long-haired, intelligent, "hindi malapit sa mga lalaki," attributes which toni possesses.

Dingdong understands Mr. Taus. His own father, a former PAL pilot, is strict with the three Dantes girls. Dingdong himself is. "Wala pang makapanligaw sa kanila. Dumadaan muna sa akin."

Toni's father is also a former pilot, with Air America of the CIA. He was a Vietnam War veteran who took an R&R in Clark Field and fell in love with and married a local lady. The Taus family owns a restaurant in Angeles City. He comes from a small town in Ohio.

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ON VIRGINITY & SEX -- Dingdong Dantes has had his share of embarrassing moments, like being asked by the outspoken and irrepressible Rosanna Roces on TV if at 18 he's no longer a virgin. Dingdong said he couldn't, wouldn't answer, realizing he was supposed to be a model for the youth. Osang volunteered to be his teacher, making Dingdong blush even more.

How important is virginity in a woman? Dingdong says it depends on the woman. If she wants to preserve it until marriage fine, if not then go ahead.

Will he go steady or even marry a woman who's no longer a virgin?

"Why not? But it would be better if she's a virgin. But then if I love her, okey lang," says Dingdong. He also says that if a guy wants premarital sex, fine. But be sure he is ready to face the consequences.

Surely, the Benedictines will not approve of Dingdong's opinion on sex. But then young people these days are more liberated than Bedans of the '50s and '60s.

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NOT FOR KEEPS -- Dingdong realizes an actor's career has a short span. Education is a good fallback. Should a law course be derailed, he wants to study filmmaking. He was told there are good film schools in New York and Los Angeles. But then he doesn't have to go far to learn to direct. Mowelfund in Cubao, Quezon City offers filmmaking every summer.

What if he and Toni end up as man and wife? Will he allow her to continue acting and singing? "No. Showbiz marriages don't last. I myself might quit when and if I get married."

In the meantime, Toni and Dingdong keep their fans "kilig to the bones."