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After twelve years of being together, Claudia and Gaston's relationship just keeps on getting stronger. Photos by Phillip Evardone

The power couple: Gaston Perez de Tagle and Claudia Squillantini

Whenever the topic of law school couples would come up, it is impossible not to mention Gaston and Claudia.

Their relationship is something that a lot of people admire, because let’s admit it, twelve years (and counting) together is no easy feat. In fact, they even spent six out of their twelve years together in a long distance relationship. You would think that after having been together for more than a decade, they would become less affectionate with each other. However, throughout the entire duration of this interview, they were nothing but sweet–as if they are just in their “honeymoon stage.”

They first met when Claudia was in second year high school and Gaston was an incoming junior. Their parents were friends; hence, they were the ones responsible for their introduction. Gaston admits that he already found Claudia good looking at that time, and by the end of the dinner, he asked for her number. Gaston charmed Claudia through text and eventually asked her to be his girlfriend. Unfortunately, Gaston had to ask a couple of times because Claudia was being “pakipot”. In their words, Gaston had a continuing offer for Claudia who eventually gave her consent; thus, the perfection of the contract of their relationship.

Being together at such a young age was not easy for them, as they had to go on their separate ways when they entered college. Gaston went to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, while Claudia left for Georgetown in Washington, D.C. a year after. When asked how they made it work even when they were apart, Claudia immediately exclaims, “Skype!” She says that even their fights back then were on Skype. Aside from regular video calls, Gaston would visit Claudia in D.C. every semester and they would spend summer and Christmas together here in the Philippines.

Now that they both are in law school, Gaston and Claudia admit that they fight less because school work keeps them really busy. School is their main priority being, admittedly, both very goal-oriented and competitive. Both are active members of the Ateneo Society of International Law. In fact, one of the reasons why Claudia joined the Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot was because Gaston competed in the Phillip Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. Eventually, she liked mooting more than he did.

They share that a normal car ride for them would entail quizzing each other about jurisprudence and arguing about the interpretations of the law. Their competitive streak is what makes them better individuals because their fear of being the “loser” pushes them to work harder. Claudia even shares that during the time they were making their thesis, she started out a bit lazy but upon finding out that Gaston already wrote twenty pages, she pulled an all-nighter and eventually came up with twenty-five. They would even compare who received better comments from their adviser. Certainly, thesis writing became more bearable and easier because they did it together.

Overall, they think that being in law school is a key factor to the longevity of their relationship. In law school, they are able to bring out each other’s strengths, as Claudia is, admittedly, the Type A while Gaston is the self-confessed Type B. In a way, Claudia influences Gaston to be more hard working while Gaston helps Claudia relax whenever she’d get stressed out with things.

Finally, when asked about what suggestions they can give to couples in law school, Claudia shares that if the person you are with cannot handle the pressures that comes with being in a relationship in law school, then it’s not worth it because a good relationship entails helping each other achieve your goals and being each other’s support system. Gaston also adds that in a relationship, you have to be your own person such that you can exist without the other and you are two distinct individuals in a relationship.

With everything that they have been through, there is no doubt that Gaston and Claudia are indeed a power couple. However, what makes Gaston and Claudia a power couple is not the length of time they have been together but the things they have achieved and will achieve together so watch out, world! P

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