Last Friday, friends and family threw Andi Eigenmann and her boyfriend Philmar Alipayo a baby shower and gender reveal party—and the couple have since shared the happy news that they’re expecting a baby girl!
Philmar, who is based in Siargao, flew in specifically to attend the baby shower and meet Andi’s side of the family, including her mom Jaclyn Jose.
Though Andi and Philmar are both in Manila, they won’t be staying for too long—they will soon fly to Siargao with Andi’s daughter Ellie, who will spend her summer break in the top surfing destination. After that, it’s back to the city, where Andi will give birth to her daughter with Philmar.
This frequent back-and-forth is nothing new to Andi, who made the decision early last year to uproot herself from Manila and pursue her long-held dream of living a quieter life in a province like Baler or Siargao.
“One of my goals as a young girl was to save enough money, become successful, work hard and then ’yong end point ko, ’yong long-term goal ko beach house talaga, or like cliff house by the beach,” the mom-to-be tells pikapika.ph. “And I thought that I needed to attain so much in my life before I got there without realizing na hindi ko pala kailangan ng sobrang daming pera, ganyan, para maabot ’yon.”
This realization is reflected in her and Philmar’s island home, which is currently being built with inexpensive materials like cement and recycled wood. “Naniniwala ako na hindi mo kailangan ng maraming pera para gumawa ng bagay na maganda,” says Andi, who put much of her savings into the building of the house in Siargao. That’s because the structure will not just serve as her dream home, but an investment as well—a chic bed-and-breakfast for the many tourists who head to the world-class surfing spot each year.
“Para kumikita na rin, kasi syempre I’m about to have two kids,” says Andi with obvious excitement on her face.
With her dream house on the way, Andi is definitely one step closer to achieving her dream of island living. But the actress wants to clarify that she doesn’t live in Siargao full-time yet—and that she, in fact, spends about half of her time in Manila to take care of her daughter Ellie.
Says Andi: “What people think is talagang completely pumunta na ako do’n ’tapos never na ako bumalik dito.
“You know, as much as I’m trying to chase after my dreams and I’m really happy there, hindi naman pwedeng bumaliktad agad lahat ’yong life ko, so half and half, because Ellie studies here in Manila. I still have to come home.
“But most of my life is there na talaga, kasi parang doon ako nagbi-build ng hanapbuhay, do’n na ’yong mga kaibigan ko,” she says.
These friends include many Siargao locals who, Andi is happy to say, treat her just like any other Siargaonon and not at all like a Manileña with roots in show business.
“They’re my friends, they know me and that I’m from there na,” Andi says.
“Halimbawa ’yong mga surf instructor, ’pag nando’n ako sa dagat ’tapos may mga tinuturuan sila na mga dayo na mag-a-ask magpa-picture parang sasabihin lang nila, like, ‘Dito ‘yan nakatira, e.’
“Parang di na nila ako tini-treat na I’m a different person, they treat me like I’m one of them, which is also one thing that I love. Actually even when I was new, e, hindi masyado nasa culture ng mga taga-Siargao ’yong mahilig sa artista per se, kasi hindi naman sila masyado nasa loob ng bahay or nagti-TV. Palagi silang nasa labas.”
The actress points out: “Ang ganda-ganda ng paraiso nila tapos nasa loob lang sila ng bahay?”
“As much as I’m trying to chase after my dreams and I’m really happy [in Siargao], hindi naman pwedeng bumaliktad agad lahat ’yong life ko.”
It’s obvious that Andi has fallen head-over-heels for the island paradise she and Philmar both call home. But it’s not just the couple who love being in Siargao—Andi’s daughter Ellie also considers the popular surfing destination as her second home.
“Si Ellie, ’yong heart niya nando’n din sa Siargao,” shares mom Andi. “Each time we come home, ’pag one day na lang ’yong natitira iiyak ’yan talaga, as in ’yong iyak na sobra kasi hindi niya maintindihan kung ba’t kailangan pang bumalik dito [sa Manila].
“Although, what makes her feel better is that her Dad is here, her Nanay [Jaclyn], so that makes her realize ‘Okay, sige, uwi tayo sa Manila.’”
Currently, Ellie spends half of her time with Andi and half of her time with her dad Jake Ejercito, the son of former President Joseph Estrada.
Says Andi of her agreement with Jake: “Ang set-up namin half and half... 10 days sa kanya, 20 days sa akin, or two weeks, two weeks.
“So ’yong times na nando’n si Ellie sa Dad niya, pwede ako sa Siargao, ’yong times na nasa akin siya, ’pag wala siyang pasok nasa Siargao kami. ’Pag may pasok siya, nandito kami,” she explains.
The agreement seems to be working well for the former couple, who reunited last December to celebrate Ellie’s 7th birthday with a gymnast-themed party organized by Jake’s family. Andi gamely participated in the party activities and happily posed for family pictures with Jake and Ellie. Have she and Jake completely put the past behind them?
“We’re not friends,” Andi says matter-of-factly. “Pero I mean I’m naturally open and talkative, so when we see each other I just tell him random stories and he seems to be engaged naman. Hahaha!”
The actress continues: “‘Yon na ’yong pinaka-relationship namin. But I like it and I appreciate it because I know that even if we don’t communicate that much other than things about Ellie, we both have the same priorities.
“Maybe we are so different as parents—you know I’m more on new age and he’s more, probably more traditional given his the way his parents are, but I feel like it works well for Ellie and you know, she’s a good kid, so I don’t want to take one hundred percent of the credit.”
“I know that Jake has been a good Dad to Ellie also, so kung paano man sila sa kanilang bahay na-a-appreciate ko ’yon,” she concludes.
Can the actress see herself becoming friends with her ex-boyfriend in the future?
She replies without hesitation: “Sana.”
“Like he was one of the first people to find out that I was pregnant because my daughter was so excited… Ano naman, masarap naman ’yong feeling na he seemed to be happy for me and Ellie,” Andi recalls.
“And he’s so considerate… kahit na gusto niyang hiramin si Ellie or whatnot, considerate siya na pregnant ako so mas kailangan mag-adjust nang konti.”
Though she and Jake cannot call themselves “friends” yet, Andi is proud of the fact that they are open with their daughter, who understands that things just didn’t work out between her dad and mom.
“Si Ellie, alam na lang niya ’yon,” Andi says. “Hindi na niya kailangan magtanong, kasi open kami [ni Jake].
“Hindi naman kami nag de-deny or nagpe-pretend. And just because we didn’t work out, it doesn’t mean that we don’t talk about each other, because at one point in my life, Jake was the most important person to me, the dad of Ellie, and I’m not ashamed to tell her that.”
Andi continues: “I’m also not afraid to tell her that sometimes life is all about change. Change is normal, it’s inevitable, and the way you deal with it, in order to live with it, to keep living a happy life for me is to accept it and embrace it, and learn to just work with what’s there.
“Sometimes we get so disappointed kasi when we want things a certain way and we get so disappointed when it doesn’t happen. You have to accept that we’re not in control of our lives, God is, so diba? Let’s just make the most out of what’s there.”
Andi thinks that her daughter has now adopted this open attitude, which shows when Ellie gets a little weary of her “half-and-half” living arrangements.
“You have to accept that we’re not in control of our lives, God is, so diba? Let’s just make the most out of what’s there.”
“Lagi niyang sinasabi, ‘Why can’t you just live where her Dad lives or Daddy can live where I live? Even if it’s on a different floor or room, it’s okay…’ So ’yon, sinasabi niya ’yon very openly, pero tinatawa niya rin knowing na hindi p’wede.”
The actress hopes that she and Jake can get to a point where they can happily call themselves part of a “blended family,” similar to what Regine and Ogie Alcasid have with Ogie’s ex-wife Michelle Van Eimeren. Regine, Ogie, and Michelle have been spotted hanging out together multiple times, and Regine stands as a second mom to Michelle’s daughter Leila, who is now pursuing a music career in the Philippines.
“I hope it gets to a point like that,” Andi says, smiling. “I also would want Jake to come to Siargao or his mom… para maging kampante sila na kahit hindi sila nando’n nakikita nila ano ba ’yong buhay namin do’n, kung bakit gustong-gusto ko do’n.”
But all that is still in the future, and for now, the mom-to-be would rather focus on her present—that is, starting her family with her boyfriend Philmar, whom she describes as both “funny” and “traditional.”
It’s the second trait that Andi likes most about the surfing champ, who, according to his girlfriend, “embodies the traditional Filipino man.”
With Philmar, Andi says: “Nararamdaman mo na babaeng-babae ka.”
Smiling widely, the actress continues: “I don’t care about that, I’m quite a feminist myself… pero no’ng naranasan ko ’yon sa kanya, ah, ang sarap pala, as in ang ganda pala ng feeling lalo na kasi hindi mo hinihingi.”
“Para sa kanila gano’n talaga, women are supposed to be treated well, like ‘If I’m going to love you, and I care about you, you’re gonna be my queen whether you like it or not.’ Gano’n sila… naturally loving and caring.
“I’ve never been so well taken care of other than by my Mom,” the loved-up Andi adds. “As in. Sobra akong sheltered, having him in my life, and it feels great.”
Now that she has a baby and a dream home with Philmar on the way, does the actress believe that the surfing champ is “The One”?
“Well, I said that already with the one I was not with,” Andi says, laughing.
“I feel like that by expecting or assuming that he’s the one… is what gives me heartbreak and what makes me feel bad in the end,” she explains.
“So now, it’s not necessarily that I don’t think he’s ‘The One,’ but I hope he is. Like with every relationship, every person that I fall in love with, I always hope it’s ‘The One.’ It’s not like I decide na hindi mag-work out, so ’yon. I do hope so.”
The actress goes on to add that while she and Philmar have yet to discuss marriage—“It’s just not my thing,” Andi says—she does hope that she will someday walk down the aisle with the father of her baby.
“I would love if it gets there. I would love it if I end up marrying the father of my children, kasi sabi ko kapag di pa ito nag-work ano na, ayoko na, magiging mom na lang ako, ayoko na magka-relationship.
“Pero if it does, then I will be so happy, because this will be definitely my last relationship.”
Watch our entire interview with Andi Eigenmann in this playlist:
WORDS: Shara Cayetano
INTERVIEW: Anna Pingol
PHOTO & VIDEO: Melo Balingit
COVER ART & VIDEO EDITING: Stephen Jan Cruz
INSIDE ART: Irene Mislang