Andi Eigenmann is picture-perfect as she walks into the studio on the first day of March, exactly one month since announcing to the public that she is pregnant with Baby No. 2—her first with her boyfriend Philmar Alipayo.
The surprise announcement came via Instagram Stories last February, when Andi, 28, posted a “body update” where she shared a photo of her bikini-clad self with an obvious baby bump.
Now 19 weeks, the bump has grown even bigger—and the expectant mom doesn’t shy away from flaunting it, whether it’s during a shoot or on her Instagram account. In a February post, Andi wrote: “This time around, I am fully cherishing every moment of my pregnancy.
“It will not be about hiding the bump, and bouncing back as soon as possible so that nobody notices that I actually gave birth. This time, it will be about celebrating the blessing of having another chance to raise another flower child.”
Andi, whose first pregnancy became the subject of persistent rumors and speculation in 2011, also said that raising her daughter Ellie has given her “the courage to be proud of every bit of evidence in my body that shows that I am a mother.”
One month after making that post, she tells us, in plain and simple terms, that she is ready as any mother can be—regardless of what other people might have to say about it.
“I’m so excited to have a baby, because ready naman na ako, e,” the radiant Andi says.
“Ready na ako i-embrace ’yong pagiging Mom ko. I mean, na-embrace ko na with Ellie, kaya I want more. I want another kid and Ellie has been asking and asking, so I thought, ‘if it happens, it’s okay… it’s so sarap to build a family and raise children in Siargao. Like I found a place where I belong, e.”
Siargao, known as the surfing capital of the Philippines, is home to Andi’s boyfriend, surfing champion Philmar Alipayo. The island province is also where the couple are building their dream home, on a property where Andi hopes to run a bed and breakfast in the future.
Andi says she met Philmar during one of her surfing breaks in Siargao. The actress asked to take a photo with the surfing champ, whom she knew because of her passion for the water-based sport.
But romance didn’t blossom until Andi’s 28th birthday, when she decided to take another trip to Siargao, this time solo. She recalls: “Wala si Ellie, nasa Singapore kasi graduation ng Dad niya.”
“[So sabi ko,] ’Sige. mag-Siargao ako mag-isa, since single ako. ’Tapos ’yon, sabi niya [Philmar], ‘Halika, mag-surf tayo.
“’Tapos magkasama na kami every day, biglang kasama ko na siya sa buong trip ko imbes na solo trip,” she says, her lips forming into a wide smile.
The actress has enjoyed the surfer’s company since then. “Ang saya kasi ’yong mga date namin, talagang out of this world. Other people, I’m sure they don’t care, I’m sure sa kanila ang corny naman n’yan, but to me it’s like, ang galing, ang saya ng mga date, ang unique.”
“I have a good life right now. It’s not the same when I was still an actress, but definitely happier.”
Aside from Philmar, there’s also one other person making Andi happy, and that is none other than Ellie, her 7-year-old daughter with former boyfriend Jake Ejercito.
Andi says that her daughter was the first person after Philmar to find out about the pregnancy—and the news excited Ellie so much that she immediately shared it with her dad Jake.
Says the mom: “Naku, si Ellie tsismosa!” But joking aside, Andi says that she is really enjoying this new time in her life with Ellie, whom she considers to be her best friend.
“She has her own pregnancy app on her phone,” Andi shares with a laugh. “Tapos no’ng nag-OB kami, nagagalit ’yon pagka hindi ko siya sinama. As in kailangan kong maghanap ng schedule in a way na makakapunta ako sa doctor kasi school time. ’Tapos weekdays lang na hindi siya makaka-skip ng school kasi kailangan makita niya.”
The proud mom continues: “’Tapos no’ng nag-visit kami no’ng last, the doctor was like, ‘Look at your beautiful healthy sibling,’ ’tapos sabi ni Ellie parang, ‘Yeah, but it doesn’t look cute yet, it’s super thin because in my app it said the baby is fully formed but still small…’ Hahaha!
“Alam niya lahat ’yong mga ’yon. ’Tapos [she will say], Mom, your baby, our baby is the size of an avocado, pear… Mom, what’s pomegranate? Ano siya, naiisip niya ’yong mga gano’ng bagay.”
Andi says that Ellie is really hoping to have a baby sister—but the mom herself is “secretly wishing for a baby boy.”
Andi recalls: “It’s so funny, when she heard me say to Philmar na sana lalaki, she told her Dad [Jake], ‘Mom is so annoying because she said she wanted a boy but I wanted a sister.
“Akala niya, ’yong parang isa-submit mo, parang mag-a-apply, akala niya ikaw ’yong magde-decide no’ng gender. Hahaha!”
“Sabi ko, ‘No babe, we don’t decide... It’s like a surprise, it depends on what God gives us.’ ‘Oh.’”
The mom is also pleased to say that Ellie gets along really well with Philmar, because had things not worked out between the two of them, Andi would have broken it off with the surfer.
“I was so surprised, kasi hindi ko naman ipipilit ’yong mga tao [kay Ellie], e. Actually pagka sinabi niya, halimbawa five months in, matagal na ’yon into being in a relationship with Philmar ’tapos sinabi niyang ayaw niya [kay Philmar]... di bye! I’m sorry, goodbye.
“Like yes, I’m gonna be heartbroken and sad, but Ellie is my priority. But at the same time, hindi ko ipipilit na tanggapin niya or mamahalin niya kasi labas na ’yon ng relationship namin, e.
The laidback mom also says that just because she is taking the next step with Philmar, it doesn’t mean that Ellie will have a new dad—as that title is reserved for Jake and Jake alone.
“Yon lagi ang sinasabi ko kay Jake before,” explains Andi. “Na hindi naman gano’n, e. Ikaw pa rin ’yon, wala kang kalaban. And tinuturo ko ’yon kay Ellie.”
“Halimbawa five months in ’tapos sinabi niyang ayaw niya [kay Philmar]... di bye! I’m sorry, goodbye. Like yes, I’m gonna be heartbroken and sad, but Ellie is my priority.”
That’s why she’s so glad that Ellie really loves Philmar’s company, so much that the 7-year-old was beyond excited when Philmar joked that he was staying in Manila with Andi and Ellie “forever.”
Andi recalls with a laugh: “Na-surprise ako, sabi ni Ellie ‘Yehey! We’re always gonna have a funny man in the house! And there’s someone who’s going to play with me when Mom is being boring!’”
“So parang na-realize ko na maybe me and Philmar are good combination from her perspective in a sense, kasi lagi siyang merong buddy.
“Kasi si Philmar, very open lang rin and simple kasi. Wala siyang restrictions na parang, ‘O, baka isipin mo Dad ako.’ Hindi. No fuss lang. Parang, ‘Okay, I’m gonna play with you if you want me to, but I won’t force it if you don’t want me to.’ Gano’n sila.”
It seems Philmar, who also has a son from his previous relationship, will be a great dad to the baby. But for now, Andi looks forward to him meeting the rest of her family, especially her mom Jaclyn, at her baby shower and gender reveal party happening tomorrow. “Doon pa lang sila magme-meet.”
“I know she has her own opinions,” says Andi of her mom Jaclyn. “It’s okay, it’s normal for a mother.
“But ’yong lagi kong sinasabi sa sarili ko is, i-a-assure ko na even if meron siyang sariling plans or gusto for me, for my life, I’m gonna show her that it’s okay, you have nothing to worry about because I’m really happy.
“This is really what I want and I’m gonna have a good life... I have a good life right now.
“It’s not the same when I was still an actress, but definitely happier.”
Happy is definitely a good word to describe this future mom-of-two, who is fully embracing every step of her pregnancy—something she could not do back in 2011 when she was still carrying Ellie.
The 28-year-old recalls her outlook on motherhood at the time: “Dati, hindi ako magsusuot ng maternity clothes pero kailangan lahat ng damit ko maluwag kasi ayaw ko nakikita ’yong tiyan ko.
“’Tapos lahat ano pa rin, treat pa rin ninyo ako like a 20-year-old kahit may anak na ako, ayoko tumanggap ng kahit anong commercial or endorsement na magmumukha akong nanay. Gano’n ako kaarte dati, as in, kasi gusto ko patunayan sa sarili ko na hindi, pwede ko pa rin ituloy ’yong buhay na meron ako kahit pinili kong magka-anak. ’Yon nalang ’yong compensation ko, parang gano’n.
“Ngayon, hindi,” Andi says with a smile. “Having Ellie makes me realize how awesome it is to become a mom and such as a blessing to carry a human being in your womb. So now, embrace ko na siya.”
Though the pregnancy has not been a walk in the park—Andi suffered from intense morning sickness throughout her first trimester—she can definitely say that it is much easier for her now that she is free from the negativity that surrounded her during pregnancy #1.
“Mas madali kasi wala na ’yong media,” she whispers, “saka ’yong mga nakakabigay ng stress. Wala nang negativity.
“Actually, I’m sure meron pa rin pero I have too much or other things to worry about and to focus on than those things, so hindi ko siya nararamdaman.
“So mas ano na ako ngayon, confident.”
This also means that she has stopped caring about what other people think of her—especially the online bashers who criticize her and Philmar on Instagram.
“Napagod na ako,” she says.“Parang… bahala kayo d’yan, masaya ako.
“Hindi naman kayo mapipigil and marami ring mga nasasabing negative kay Philmar… pero look at how they see it. It’s totally not how my life is or how we are, you got it completely wrong.
“So lalo kong na-realize na wala akong need to defend, kasi kung ganyan ’yong nakikita ninyo, e di ganyan. Wala akong magagawa.”
For now, all Andi can do is look forward to her future—with Ellie, with Philmar, and with their new baby.
And that is all she needs to become one happy momma.
INTERVIEW: Anna Pingol
PHOTO & VIDEO: Melo Balingit
COVER ART & VIDEO EDITING: Stephen Jan Cruz
INSIDE ART: Irene Mislang