Unlike psychicpants, I have no memory of Romnick Sarmenta as Peping. I only know him as the chinito ka-labtim of Sheryl Cruz, whose launching movie as a "serious" actress was "Bihagin ang Dalagang Ito." (Which by the way credits Ricky Lee as a co-writer and the campy Maning Borlaza as director.) That was back in the day when the measurement of popularity for teen actors was the number of screaming fans who belong to clubs whose banners spew variations of "Romnick-Sheryl Solid Forever United" and then buy spiral notebooks with their idols on the ubiquitous cover and with dedications like "Study Hard!!! Love, Nicko. *smiley*"
It is a phase that all teen idols must go through: Be part of a loveteam that the fans adore and shout out their tonsils for, and then try to cross over to the "mature" roles, usually in the form of ST movies, as was the order of the day in the 80s. Thus, Sheryl Cruz gets hostaged in the aforementioned film, and which also explains Romnick's "First Lesson," which must be good since it was produced by Seiko Films. Those who fail would be either doomed to make ST movies and then fade to oblivion, or just that, fade out from the limelight like teenage acne.
Romnick Sarmenta got a spew of good roles in the mid to late 90s, most notable of which was "Miguel/Michelle," in which he played the role of an OFW who went home to his province as a post-op transexual. He was sort of typecasted after that, then sort of hobbled along with the occasional stint and stage play. His ka-labtim went to the States, became a teacher and got married, had a kid, and then suddenly went back home. What followed was a supposed tug of war with Judy Ann Santos for a plum role in Mano Po 3. She started appearing in television, and then there she goes as Linang, the chief fairy of the waters in Mulawin, where she is again paired off opposite Romnick's Habagat.
These past few days, Mulawin's storyline revolves arounds Habagat's past with the fairy, and how the hiyas na walang kupas figures in the whole mythology arc. What previously was a bit that made the Scouts seem like Peter Pan's Lost Boys now has a backstory that involves Habagat, Linang and that other fairy who fancied Habagat but never got the chance. All in all, it's very interesting and the Romnick-Sheryl pairing gets positive feedback. But according to one of the writers of Mulawin, the Habagat-Linang pairing almost didn't push through as the actors themselves "weren't comfortable with each other." Jealousy on part of the spouses were implied, but the old showbiz adage still ruled, the show must go on indeed. And what a show it is. Mulawin is the only soap apart from the now long gone Kung Mawawala Ka that I actually come home to and watch as often as I can, that is, barring school duties and anti-loser night campaigns.