MANILA, Philippines -- Piolo Pascual is happy to welcome back former "love team" Judy Ann Santos as the "Queen of Pinoy Soap Opera."
The 35-year-old actress is set to topbill her 10th soap opera in 25 years with the drama series "Huwag Ka Lang Mawawala," which is set to premiere on ABS-CBN's Primetime Bida block on June 17.
The upcoming TV series, which also stars Sam Milby and KC Concepcion, is seen as Santos' drama comeback after headlining "Habang May Buhay" in 2010.
"I'm happy she's going to have a soap again," Pascual told reporters on Tuesday, shortly before he left for the 2013 Cannes International Film Festival.
"Ang tagal nating hinintay 'yan. Queen of Soap Opera 'yan e, kaya magandang mapanood ulit si Judai sa primetime," the actor said.
Pascual, whose on-screen tandem with Santos is considered as one of local showbiz's most successful, last worked with the actress in 2006 in the film "Don't Give Up On Us" and the TV series "Sa Piling Mo."
In the same year, Pascual and Santos' then-boyfriend Ryan Agoncillo figured in a controversial tiff, leading to the falling out between Pascual and his "love team" partner of several years.
A year later, both camps reportedly settled their differences. Santos, however, has expressed hesitation to be paired again with Pascual in a project.
"Hindi ako makasabi ng oo, hindi ako makasabi ng hindi," Santos said in November last year, referring to reprising her tandem with Pascual.
"Hindi ko rin talaga alam kung ano na yung magiging plano. Anything can happen... but not this year, not in two years," she said.
Asked on Tuesday if he is still willing to work again with Santos, Pascual said, "I've always been open, alam naman ni Judai 'yon. Walang problema."
Currently, the 36-year-old actor is paired on the small screen with actress Angelica Panganiban in the TV series "Apoy sa Dagat."
"Maganda, pabigat nang pabigat [ang 'Apoy sa Dagat'], kasi we're more than midway through [the series now], kaya pabigat nang pabigat ang mga eksena," Pascual said.
He admitted that taping for the series has become increasingly tiring, "pero at the same time nakakataba ng puso pag nalalaman mong naaapprecaite ng mga tao 'yung [ginagawa] mo."
Pascual added: "We're thankful and we're grateful sa mga nakakapanood ng 'Apoy sa Dagat.'"