‘It’s all worth it’: Elisse Joson & McCoy de Leon on being first-time parents

Charmie Joy Pagulong - The Philippine Star
âItâs all worth itâ: Elisse Joson & McCoy de Leon on being first-time parents
Reel-to-real-life couple Elisse and McCoy enjoy witnessing the milestones of their daughter Felize, who recently turned one.
Elisse and McCoy’s Instagram

First-time parents Elisse Joson and McCoy de Leon enjoyed witnessing the milestones of their one-year-old daughter, Felize.

They don’t consider being a mom and dad to Felize a “job,” rather, “All the things we do for Felize, the adjustments, makita nga lang yung small milestones niya, natutuwa na kami. It’s all worth it,” granted Elisse in a virtual call. “Us being parents, perhaps continuously we’re gonna keep on learning. May mga sablay pa din kami (we make mistakes) but it’s part of it naman talaga.”

“Expected naman na merong hard times,” added McCoy. “Meron naman talagang pagsubok but the important thing is the journey and her progress growing up. Kaya ang saya ma-witness ang memories with her and the help of our families. Hindi kami pinapabayaan both sides. Kaya wala kaming halos hirap pero gusto namin mahirapan para matuto kami.”

Elisse quipped that McCoy gave up his bachelor lifestyle since they started a family. On a serious note, she said that the moment they became parents, they limited their time spent with friends. “Hindi naman namin completely nawala but sometimes, you’d rather choose to be with your daughter more than going out in general,” she explained.

It’s about priority, Elisse further shared. “Trabaho-wise, yun din. (Like) sa pagpili ng trabaho because we’d rather experience the milestones of Felize. We’d rather be with her, now that she is still young. Those are the things that we gave up, I guess. But hindi naman siya masakit or mahirap i-give up.”

For McCoy, “To be honest, wala naman akong halos ginive up. Hinanda ko na yung buhay ko na gusto kong i-sustain.” He stressed that his priority is his loved ones which is his family. “Now that I have my own family, I always tell Felize and Elisse, ‘You’re my priority.’ Kaya yung mga ginagawa ko noon na mag-work for my family, may kunting hirit lang na pangsarili but my priority is my family kaya may kunting ginive up. Pero mas maraming natutunan.”

From their 2019 film together, Sakaling Maging Tayo, here comes Habangbuhay, a Vixamax film about a girl (Bea played by Elisse) who is in a constant battle for her life and is asking a boy (JR played by McCoy) to fight for their love. If only he is not too consumed by his own battles.

Five to 10 years from now, the two want their daughter to feel proud of the movie they made together. “We want her to be happy. Gusto namin mapanood niya na magkakasama (kami), siguro may kapatid,” McCoy joked.

“Ipon muna,” he sincerely said. “Proud siya bilang daughter namin. We also hope that whatever path she chooses, if she wants to be an actor, proud din kami sa kanya in the future.”

The reel-to-real-life couple have also learned how to separate their personal lives from the roles that they portray on screen. “When we are on set and naka-costume na kami ng aming character and nasa buong katawan na namin na we’re to be Bea and JR, automatic na sa amin na hindi na kami si Elisse at McCoy,” explained Elisse.

She continued, “Especially sa set (nandun yung) pakiramdam na you’re really living that person’s life. So nakakatulong yung set, the wardrobe and syempre yung mind talaga namin na i-prepare to be that character kaya nahihiwalay na din.”

McCoy concurred, it’s about preparations, mindset and commitment. “Before pa lang ng shoot, kumbaga inaral na, sa set pa lang. Sinusulat ko kasi lahat, lahat ng nasa isip ko na pwedeng makulayan yung character na yun hangga’t mabuo na para pagdating na dun sa set, hindi ka na ma-confuse kung sino ako. Bago matulog, yun din ang nasa isip, paggising yun din ang nasa isip ko,” he said.

They were spontaneously asked if they believed in forever or “habangbuhay?” It’s a resounding yes for the two young actors.

“Oo naman. Katabi ko na nga po yung forever (ko),” enthused McCoy, with both of them laughing. “Of course, we both believe in forever even before. Pagmamahal lang na nararamdaman mo sa lahat ng mahal mo, yun na yung forever.”

Elisse echoed, “Like what we always say, we’re at the point na alam na namin talaga na forever na ‘to. Road to forever. We always say that so alam naman na din ng lahat. Alam namin sa isa’t isa na importante din (ang forever).”

Habangbuhay is helmed by Real Florido, who won Best Director at the London Film Awards and Best Feature Film at the Canada International Film Festival for the movie 1st Ko Si 3rd. The same movie also won the Gender Sensitivity Award at the QCinema International Film Festival.

As per media release, Elisse plays Bea who is diagnosed with Common Variable Immune Deficiency (CVID). Her body has low levels of protective antibodies, thus making her highly susceptible to various infections. Because of this, Bea does not have the luxury to go places.

Bea’s over protective mother Lily (Yayo Aguila) just wants to keep her safe at home. In spite of this, Bea maintains a cheerful disposition. She enjoys being in her own world filled with music dreams, and imagination. She does live streaming to interact with other people. So, all things considered, Bea is doing good.

And with JR around, she’s feeling even better. McCoy is JR, the family’s houseboy. Years ago, Bea’s nanny took him home after finding him roaming the streets in tears. JR grew up taking life too seriously, even calling himself a “sad boy.”

But as he learns to loosen up, Bea greatly enjoys his company. She’s proud to say that he’s the one who truly makes her feel alive.

But suddenly, this man whom Bea considers her “safe space” seems to be creating a gap between them.

What will become of his promise that they’ll be together for a lifetime?

(Habangbuhay is now streaming on Vivamax.)




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