'I'm living': Xyriel Manabat sold fish balls, enjoyed 'normal' life during showbiz hiatus

Kathleen A. Llemit - Philstar.com
'I'm living': Xyriel Manabat sold fish balls, enjoyed 'normal' life during showbiz hiatus
Xyriel Manabat

MANILA, Philippines — It was a conscious decision for Xyriel Manabat to take a break from the limelight and live like a regular, private citizen for six years. 

The recently-turned 20-year-old showed how she has grown from being the wonder child to a mature young adult as she spoke beyond her years while answering questions from the press. She celebrated her 20th birthday last January 27. 

Xyriel was last seen in the popular afternoon drama "Wildflower" in 2017. She then took a break and was seen again in another nightly revenge melodrama "Dirty Linen" in 2023. 

"Kinailangan ko rin po 'yun para mag-grow, para mas makilala ko 'yung sarili ko. Mas malaman ko 'yung mga limits ko, mas malaman ko 'yung strength ko. And para mag-mature ako ng ganito, marami po akong pinagdaanan sa loob ng six years na 'yun," the former child actress said. 

Normal life

As she talked about how she lived her life those six years, Xyriel's eyes beamed, as if recalling a wonderful time in her life as just regular Xyriel, not the child star who carried the show opposite the formidable Coney Reyes in "100 Days to Heaven." 

"Lahat ng pwede kong matutunan: nag-bike, nag-luto, nag-bake, namalengke, nag-jogging. Sumama sa pagtitinda, nag-tinda ng fishball, fries. Tumulong kay mama maghimay ng saging. Tumambay, maglipas ng buong araw sa kwarto. Mag-print ng napakaraming walang kwentang papel," she enumerated. 

"Alam n'yo po 'yun? Gusto ko lang ma-maximize 'yung araw na [masabing], 'Im living'," she added. 

Xyriel's acting reputation precedes her as she revealed that offers were made from her home network, ABS-CBN, and even from other networks, but the then teenage Xyriel chose to live normally. She stressed that she is thankful for the trust that the networks had in her during those years. 

"Sa loob ng six years na 'yun, nakaka-tanggap kami ng offer kahit sa kabilang network. Hindi po nawawalan, pero sariling desisyon ko, sariling stability sa utak 'yung ini-aim ko," Xyriel revealed. 

The young star knew the value of not missing out on life's important milestones, including growing up and experiencing things that normal teenagers would do. The thought of missing out on her teenage years convinced her to take that break. 

"Kumbaga gusto ko na hindi ko mami-miss 'yung youth ko kasi malaki po sa early age ko 'yung nawala. 

"Pero at the same time, na-enjoy ko po 'yun. Pero gusto ko lang po 'yung gigising ako ng isang araw na wala akong iisiping schedule. Wala akong iisiping work, wala akong call time. Gigising ako para tumambay, gigising ako para pumunta sa school, 'yung parang normal na buhay? Gusto ko po 'yung regular life," she said. 

No regrets please

At 20, she talked about regrets, and it is one thing that she does not want to harbor in the years to come. 

"Super, duper happy nga ako sa work, sa career, tapos may na-miss ako o one day look back ako, 'Ay sayang.' Ayoko ng regrets. So 'yun po. Gusto ko stable 'yung sa career ko, but at the same time, ma-balance ko 'yung sa normal life ko na, at one point in my life, naging normal akong tao. Pumupunta ako sa SM hindi para sa work. Pupunta ako sa SM na dadaan lang ako. O pupunta ako sa school kahit walang pasok. Tatambay lang," she said. 

Now that she is back to her usual grind, Xyriel showed that she still is the same -- the young thespian on to becoming more visible on TV screens. 

Of late, she joined a formidable casting of young acting talents in "Senior High" that include her child star contemporaries, Andrea Brillantes and Zaijian Jaranilla. She even managed to gain a fandom out of her pairing with Elijah Canlas on the show. They became one of the popular couples as RoxChie, a portmanteau of their characters, Roxy and Archie. 

Their characters' ending was sort of a cliffhanger, and many fans are hoping to see the show's second season. Xyriel is up for it. 

RELATED: Xyriel Manabat shares thoughts on RoxChie, 'Senior High' season 2

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