#TheSugboanon: Christian & Vova On Defying Expectations & Redefining Love

“We deserve to experience love fully, equally, without shame, and without compromise.” – Elliot Page

Photo from Christian & Vova

Once upon a time, a Filipino nurse and an international model met when fate decided that they should; and they did!

Christian and Vova, a couple living together in the US shared to us how their life had been, their relationship, and their career goals will be in the next years.

On Building The Filipino Dream

A striving Filipino nurse, Christian kept on pushing for his dreams to have a better, more independent, and stable life. At the age of 27, he was able to buy his own house and car, and sustain his life in the United States, when asked about it, he responded humbly, “It was just a blessing in disguise.”

Photo from Christian & Vova

Christian bought his first home at the time of the pandemic, when the supply for housing projects are high yet the demand for it was low because of the dip in employment. Still, the price can be a bit hefty for anyone planning to purchase a house and car, so we asked Christian and his partner, Vova replied, “Work a lot. He works a lot!” in which Christian agreed, “Yeah, I used to work a lot. Like 16-hour shifts!”

Wait for your own time. Life is not a race, life is about the quality of it.


Because of his achievement, his sister and many others want to know his secret and how they can also meet that goal, “I don’t want to imply the age bracket between this age and that nga you have to achieve it, because I believe man gud that we have our own timeline. Maybe my time was just early, and yours will be later, and it’s okay. Much better pa sa akoa. I keep on telling my sister, she’s like “Kuya, I’m already this and that nga age, and you’re already this!” So, I’ll tell her “Day, we have different timelines, yours mas nindot pa sa akoa, who knows.”

On Taking Risks

Vova is an international model and in the past 5 years, he’s been traveling everywhere for his career. But, everything changed when he finally decided to be with his family in the US, “After a long time of not seeing them, I just wanted to be with them.”

The move made Vova question his decisions as it affected his career wherein he had to pause the contracts he signed. “So, I decided to break from my future contracts and fly to the US and make an instant move; not telling anyone. I had a time gap and everything crumbled; like my plan ahead. I had no other choice but to just stay here because of my choices; these choices made me ruin the bridges.”

And just like Christian, Vova didn’t know at that time that his residence in the US would be the start of, not just his career, but also a new life ahead; a life filled with love and support.

The Comeback Of Christian & Vova

Photo from Christian & Vova

“Are you planning to come to the Philippines?” we asked and they replied with a resounding yes!

We’ll have our wedding in the Philippines, next year in Siargao.


“He proposed to me last December. So, hopefully the wedding will be in January. Maybe a week or two,” Christian answered and he even added why they chose the place for their matrimony “I fell in love with Siargao!”

The two seemed to have their life planned, and they even joked that life in the US needs to be planned as everything has to be plotted, due to their busy schedules. “I have many plans but I don’t foresee the next 5 years, just for the next year…”

I can see that we are getting married and settling together


…and I’m also thinking about going back to modeling since I’m already knowledgeable about the tricks of it. I now know it better and I can start traveling again. But, I’m also considering taking college and changing occupations,” shared Vova.

On the one hand, Christian aims to also pursue further into his education and take a masters degree. “We’re pretty much career oriented, for now.”

How to Be A Model, According to Vova

Photo from Christian & Vova

Christian showed his enthusiasm and excitement for Vova’s career comeback especially since Vova planned to be a US-based model instead of staying in different countries for his shoots. So, we asked Vova what an aspiring model can do to establish a career, and here’s the ultimate checklist:

  1. Go to the gym.
  2. Straighten your posture.
  3. Eat your diet.
  4. Build your personality
  5. Follow other models on Instagram and do what they are doing.

“Eventually everything will start working for you. You will start building your personality for that, you can start finding photographers or they will find you. They’ll schedule you for shoots. It really starts there, from yourself. Just a systematic approach on becoming a model. Just take care of yourself,” said Vova.

Photo from Christian & Vova

In The Beginning, There Was A Dating App & Pushy Friends

Christian and Vova’s relationship couldn’t have happened if not for their pushy friends who kept suggesting they use a dating app.

When Vova arrived in the US, his friend told him to just try downloading Bumble and swipe; so, he did! He swiped left and right til he matched with over dozens of other folks. “I was swiping right, and Christian was there. We had a match. I don’t know, probably he liked me too. And we started texting.”

On the other side of the world, as Christian was still hopping on a flight from Cebu, he downloaded the app too, because his friend told him so. When he arrived at the US, he had a match: Vova! “I thought he was a poser. He was too gwapo. Too good to be true. I didn’t message him, I just reacted to one of his photos. “So cute”, and then we matched and we started to have a conversation. And now we’re here.”

Aside from it being a play on fate, Vova highly recommended to just swipe right to everyone. “My friend advised me to just stop complaining, because I was matching with no one, and to just swipe all to the right.”

Dating App Tip: Always swipe to the right and send a text “Hey” and see who texts you back, and see if there’s a connection.


“It’s hard to decide if you like them personally or not, based on the photo. I had matches with guys and girls, but I don’t know how out of 100, it’s Christian and he asked me weird questions,” said Vova as he shared the weird texts of Christian:

“What did you eat today?”

“Where did you go?”

“How was your sleep?”

“How did your toilet go?”

Christian and I laughed at Vova’s confusion since it is known that us Pinoys do ask those kinds of questions, especially in getting to know new people. “No, coz in the philippines, if you wanna know somebody, that’s how we ask somebody “Nikaon naka? What did you eat? Have you eaten already? What did you do? What are you doing?” diba ing ana? That’s how I do it. For him, it’s his first time that somebody asked him that question: ‘What time did you eat?’ ‘What is your dinner?’ ‘Breakfast?’ ‘What’s your lunch?’ You need to update everyone. He thinks it’s weird,” said Christian.

Vova responded, “Normally people will just compliment you or joke, and he’s like ‘What did you eat today?’ and I was like ‘Dude, who are you?’, but then I saw his photos and saw that he’s living a healthy lifestyle. Traveling, taking nice photos, in planes all the time; I thought we had something in common actually. I did not talk about what I eat though, I just talked about something else.”

Vova’s decision on swiping right first became the stepping stone towards the start of their relationship, but he still was able to leave it to fate to find someone with the weirdest and most intriguing questions; and in that, Christian Filipinoness stood out.

Si OA Ug Nonchalant

Photo from Christian & Vova

When talking about their typical date night, Christian and Vova shared their own thoughts and discussed the importance of compromise, “There are my dates and there are his dates. I go to his dates too,” said Vova. “He’s not a party guy, but he comes with me and with my friends. Then there are nights when I cook for him when I get off work,” added Christian.

He balances me out.

Christian & Vova

Although they prefer different ways to spend their nights, Vova expressed how much he likes Christian’s simple way of living, “He is just different. He likes the basic things in life and balances me. He’s funny and laidback; and that makes me feel young as I felt too old in my own skin.”

It was an awww moment as Vova placed his arm around Christian during the interview. “He balances me out too,” said Christian. “I keep in mind that someone’s waiting for me at home and he’s the one who reminds me to be safe and to long to be at home. He doesn’t stop me from doing what I want, which is great. So, when I go home after a party, it’s because I wanted to go home. He’s waiting for me, someone’s waiting for me. He’s sweet,” he added.

The love between Christian and Vova is inspiring, especially in this time and age where marriage is usually no longer a priority for most couples. So, here’s their advise when it comes to building relationships and keeping them:

Vova: Try not to judge and just talk to people. A perfect match is not just by the looks, get to know them, make an effort and see what you feel about it. Communicate and start as friends. Be stable in what you do.

Christian: Be yourself, be who you are. In the Philippines, there’s a stigma in appearances. When you’re maya, ‘Oh, you need to be manly, discreet, so that people will like you.’ But, just be who you are, go with the flow and shine your glow. Let your glow radiate to someone else, and that’s how you find love. Also, loyalty is the key.

On Defying Expectations & Redefining Love

Photo from Christian & Vova

The relationship of Christian and Vova is not without its challenges and setbacks, and we got to know deeper, especially since their love is a bit on the other side, defying tradition.

Photo from Christian & Vova

We asked if they ever felt and experienced any sort of discrimination when they announced their relationship to anyone, and Vova took the mic for it. “I felt insecure being in an open gay relationship. People started seeing me as gay. I never fancy myself being gay, though I’m queer. There’s a deep part of me that can be considered gay. But me myself, I think of myself as a guy, I never associate myself being gay; because of the stigma. So, I felt insecure when we had to announce it,” shared Vova. It was a struggle that he had to face, but according to him as well, “Later on, it turned out that nobody really cares. Everyone cares about each other, as long as you are happy, everyone will be happy.”

Photo from Christian & Vova

Vova, as a model, always had roles leaning more into his masculinity, which is why he has a bit of a challenging time to embrace this side of him, with Christian. But, their love defied his insecurities and it helped him be more open, especially with his partner’s constant support.

On how Christian dealt with the insecurity of Vova? Well, he just posted. “Haha. I used his photo man gud. Y’know us Filipinos kay i-post jud nako. When he found out, he was so mad because iyang mga pictures jud lagi daw kay from big time clients.”

“I guess it was a good experience anyway. Christain was mocking me in front of clients and I was embarrassed. He was saying ‘AHHH! You don’t like me? You don’t love me? You don’t want to show me? You are shy of me?’ And I was thinking, ‘Oh my! I’m gonna lose my career. He got really offended. He always wants to come to my gig and it’s not allowed. He gets pissed,” shared Vova jokingly.

At the end of the day, Christian learned what not to do while Vova’s working and Vova learned the value that Filipinos placed in posting photos of their loved ones on social media.

Now, the two welcome their followers and anyone to catch glimpses of their lives online as Christian spearheads their blogs. Their story has captured the hearts of netizens, spreading joy and inspiration far and wide.

As they celebrate their love, they also celebrate Pride Month, reminding us all that love, in every form, is beautiful and worth sharing.

Also read

Lenie Lañojan
Lenie Lañojan

"Everyone deserves a chance to fly" - WICKED
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