Ever since Maris Racal confirmed her relationship to OPM icon Rico Blanco in May, she's been vocal about how much he inspires her in creating music. They've worked on three songs together so far: "Abot Langit" in 2019, "Not For Me" in 2020, and most recently, "Ate Sandali."
Earlier this month, she spoke about their relationship as collaborators and said, "I think it just comes naturally. Walang study, walang perfect formula for it. Pero if you get each other, then automatic na yung connection, yung attraction, or whatever you call that. Minsan kasi may songwriter ka na mame-meet na hindi mo kapareha ng ways, hindi mo kapareha ng technique. Nagkataon lang medyo pareho kaming dalawa that's why ang bilis namin nakuha yung writing ng isa't isa. Before kasi nag-meet kami through that and then nung nagkaintindihan na, that's when the music happened."
In a recent interview with PUSH, the 23-year-old rising actress-singer spoke more about how they make music together and said Rico doesn't overstep in her songwriting process and just lets her do her thing. But she did briefly talk about the qualities she loves most about the 48-year-old musician, and gushed about his humility, "He is really a nice person. He is genuine and humble. I know that he is humble pero hindi ko alam na ibang level pala yung pagka-humble niya. Wala sa utak niya yung status niya sa music industry."
When she was asked to name a song for their relationship, she chose Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time": "Maganda kasi yung song and siguro 'yan yung best song that can describe our relationship."
The couple has a 25-year age gap but Maris was surprised by the outpour of positive support from people around them. "Yung reaction ng people and yung support nila for us is very overwhelming," Maris told PEP.ph. "It's something that I really did not expect. Kasi akala ko maraming magagalit, but baligtad yung nangyari." And according to Maris, even her own mom remains understanding of their relationship: "Kasi, medyo hindi typical yung relationship namin. Pinakauna ko talagang sinabihan si mama and, surprisingly, naintindihan niya."