Derek to the Point
CONVERSATIONS - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - January 11, 2015 - 12:00am

Just when some people thought that Derek Ramsay was on a downward spin, he surprised everybody, including himself, by winning Best Actor at the just-concluded Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) for his performance in English Only, Please, directed by Dan Villegas (named Best Director) and produced by Tuko Film Productions and Buchi Boys Films with co-producers lawyer Joji Alonso and businessman Edgar Mangahas. Derek was second choice (after Sam Milby), and so was his leading lady Jennylyn Mercado (Best Actress awardee, after Angeline Quinto), but in the history of Philippine Cinema second choices always end up the better (the best!) choices.

In the movie, Derek plays Julian, a Fil-Am who comes to the Philippines in search of a Tagalog translator (played by Jennylyn) for a short English speech with which he plans to close his relationship with a girl (guest star Isabel Oli) he initially intended to marry. Derek and Jennylyn got the nod not only of the MMFF jurors but the moviegoers who trooped to movie houses after the awards night and pushed the movie to the Top 4 (among the eight official entries) moneymakers, never mind the few bashers including a radio/TV host who blatantly insinuated that Derek didn’t deserve the honor. But why dignify the people who were sour-graping?

English Only, Please was one of the three movies (the others were The Janitor, as a bad guy; and Trophy Wife, as a man torn between two women) Derek did during the Year of the Horse which was full of trials, including being charged in court by his ex-wife (case settled out of court).

A Dragon (Dec. 7, 1976), Derek will “breathe fire” in this Year of the Sheep and will prove that, as the cliché goes, you can’t put a good man down. 

You were missed at the Gabi Ng Parangal where you could have savored your victory.

“I found myself in a situation where I had to choose between attending the awards night and being with my family. That time of the year is, for me, always for family. I’d been working so hard during the year and it was the first time in my life that I was spending Christmas Day with my family. I didn’t want to break that family tradition.”

How did you spend that day?

“We watched my movie. On the 27th, we went on a family outing in Tali Beach, Batangas. There’s no award that can replace family. Of course, a lot of people had already been congratulating me on Twitter pero iba pa rin ‘yung napanood mo ang actual announcement. I told my parents about it and they got out of bed, so we watched the delayed telecast together. My friends were also there, so we sat around and had drinks to celebrate.”

What does the award mean to you?

“Winning came as a major shock to me because I didn’t expect it, and that made it even better. The award has given me new energy to look forward to 2015, to continue what I’m doing. Honestly, I was at a point where I thought of quitting the industry and the award gave me the incentive to go on.”

2014 was a challenging year for you, right?

“You know, what strange is that every year I have challenges in my life. Everybody does. The only difference is that in our case everything is magnified. But people are the same — we get hurt, we laugh, we feel happy, we feel sad. But still, at the end of every year, no matter what I go through, I always receive some kind of a ‘reward.’ Nakataga na ‘yan sa bato. I think it has something to do with being positive. And, in my case, it’s a lot easier when you have your family to back you up, and friends who are there to love you and care for you.”

There were the usual bashers (including a media guy who said, “Kahit pala simpleng, manonood ka lang, kukulo ang dugo mo kapag ang alam mong karapat-dapat sa parangal ay mistulang inalisan ng dangal,” obviously rooting for another actor). How did you deal with those “sour-grapers”?

“Oh, did he say that? I didn’t know. You know, as we always say, everyone is entitled to his own opinion. I don’t really mind as long as the opinion is expressed in a respectful manner. I have no problem with that. Pero kung pambabastos lang, hindi ko na binabasa, hindi ko na pinapansin. Don’t get me wrong. I like the opinion of people whether it’s in favor of me or not. What’s important, what matters, is when the opinion comes from knowledgeable and respected people. The awards were decided upon by a respected board of judges. Why should I bother with negative opinion?”

What about your being a second choice (and so was Jennylyn)?

“That’s not a problem with me. I’m just thankful that I was given the job and the people who trusted it to me were very happy with my performance. You know, Michael Jordan didn’t make it to his high-school team and he ended up the greatest basketball player in the world. Ako, hindi namimili ng trabaho ko at katrabaho ko. Basta, I just do my job well.”

You are so natural in the movie, so “very Julian,” your character. Do you see yourself in Julian?

“You have to live the part. I was, as you said, ‘very Julian’ because I was living the role to the point that it was affecting my other work. I was voicing-over for The Amazing Race at hindi ko na mabasa kasi binabaluktot ko ang Tagalog ko just as Julian does in the movie.”

How are you like Julian?

“I’m very emotional, like Julian. I’m very close to my father (who is recovering from a mild stroke) as I am to my mom, unlike Julian who has issues with his mom. Like Julian, I am tanga sa pag-ibig (sucker for love). Alam n’yo naman siguro ang love life ko, hehehehe!”

Oh yes, very colorful!

“I fall easily, I trust easily and when I get into something it’s always over a 100 percent.”

People close to you said that you are, or allow yourself to be, dominated (controlled) by women.

“That’s true. I go in there with everything laid on the line. I give them my life…”

…and your body?



“…Hahahaha! Ganoon talaga ako, so hindi ko na mababago ‘yon. Huwag na! I’m really like that not only with women but also with friends.”

They say that you are pusong mamon (soft-hearted).

“Ay, totoo ‘yan! Sobra! Kunwari nagagalit ako, lapitan mo lang ako at lambingin mo ako, wala na ang galit ko.

How many women have you had so far? Be honest.

“Oh my God, oh my God! My dad knows.” (Turning to his dad who was with him during the interview) “How many, dad? Six daw, sabi ng dad ko. Hmmm, let me count…siguro mga 10.”

Only? Including, ehem, one-night stands?

(Laughing) “Hmmm, let me count again. Six serious relationships and siguro mga nine ang hindi.”

What’s your type of women?

“I want someone who is outgoing, very sporty, someone who values family…napaka-importante sa akin ‘yan…Pero ayoko ng possessive at selosa. I want someone who trusts me.”

What is the best way to your heart?

“The more simple a woman is, the more attractive she is to me.”

How are you with (some of) your exes? Like Cristine Reyes who is expecting a baby by her foreign-athlete boyfriend.

“I’m very, very happy for her. She has been wanting to have a baby.”

Why didn’t you give her a baby?

“Kasi at that time hindi pa namin alam kung ano pa kami, eh. We started as friends and we decided to have a relationship but we still had awkward moments because we were friends nga. That’s why we cut it off quickly para hindi na masira ang friendship namin. We were really good friends. I know everything about Cristine, and vice-versa. I know that she wanted to have a baby for the longest time so I’m sure that when she found out she was pregnant, she was the happiest person in the world.”

You have only one child (an 11-year-old boy with his ex-wife). You practice birth control with the other girls, I presume.

“Hahahahaha! Aside from self-control, the best is abstinence.”

Really? I guess readers of this story won’t believe you.

“You know, people think that I’m promiscuous. To tell you the truth, I have already graduated from that period in my life…every man goes through that…and, uhm, right now I don’t have time for any other activity but work. I’m in the process of finding the right one. I also want to have a family like my mom and my dad. Huwag kang ma-shock, but I’m into a ‘dry season,’ hahahaha!”

What’s the real score between you and Kris (Aquino)?

“Believe it or not but we are only friends, dear friends. We confide in each other about everything, including about our personal lives. We always ask each other for advice. That’s as far as we go. We have a pact that we will be this close for the rest of our lives.”

Let’s talk about your “firsts.” First kiss.

“Oh gee, I think I was about 17. I was a late-bloomer. It wasn’t a kiss with somebody, not in the romantic sense anyway. I didn’t know how to kiss and an older friend volunteered to teach me during a school dance in high school (in England).”

First time (“intimate” encounter).

“It happened one year after that first kiss. I was 18. It was planned. The girl and I called it ‘golf’ because the excuse that we made was to play golf.”

First heartbreak. Do gorgeous guys like you ever experience a heartbreak?

“I’ve been heartbroken several times. Siguro twice talaga ako nasaktan ng grabe, kay Solenn (Heussaff) at kay Angel (Angelica Panganiban).”

Do gorgeous guys like you ever resort to a pick-up line?

“Hindi ako naniniwala sa pick-up lines. I go direct to the point, hahahaha!”

After the MMFF award, what?

“I’m positive that 2015 will be a good year for me.”

(E-mail reactions at You may also send your questions to For more updates, photos and videos visit or follow me on www.twitter/therealrickylo.)

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