Andi Eigenmann on Jaclyn Jose: I’ve always been my Nanay’s biggest fan

Nathalie Tomada - The Philippine Star
Andi Eigenmann on Jaclyn Jose: I�ve always been my Nanay�s biggest fan
ndi Eigenmann accepts from director Jose ‘Joey’ Javier Reyes, Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) chair, the Honorary Distinction Award for her mom, Jaclyn Jose, at the national agency for film’s Parangal ng Sining event. The late Cannes- winning actress was recognized for her invaluable contributions to Philippine cinema.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the room when Andi Eigenmann accepted the honorary distinction posthumously awarded to her mom, the late Cannes-winning actress Jaclyn Jose, by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) during its Parangal ng Sining.

Jaclyn, whose real name was Mary Jane Guck, passed away last March 2 at the age of 60.

Before an audience comprising of industry colleagues and luminaries, an emotional Andi said in the acceptance message, “Hindi ko inaasahan makakaakyat pa ako sa entablado para sa industriyang ito. Pero para sa aking Nanay na si Jaclyn Jose, masaya po akong tumatayo dito para tanggapin ang parangal na ito para sa kanya. Maraming salamat po sa Film Development Council of the Philippines sa pagbigay ng parangal na ito sa aking Nanay.”

(“I didn’t expect to still be able to step onto the stage for this industry. But for my Mom, Jaclyn Jose, I’m happy to stand here to accept this award on her behalf. Thank you to the Film Development Council of the Philippines for honoring my Mom.”)

She continued, “Ako po ay pinagpala na lumaki sa mga kamay ng isang napakagaling na actress na ibinigay ang buong buhay, ang buong puso, buong kaluluwa niya sa paglikha ng mga pelikula at sa pag-arte.

Andi as a little girl with her Nanay Jaclyn.
Andi’s Instagram

“Masakit pa po sa akin na ako ang makakatanggap nito para sa kanya pero sigurado po ako na nakangiti po siya sa langit. She deserves this award. Masaya ko pong ihihilera ito sa kanyang mahigit 50 na tropeo, dahil sa kanyang galing sa pag-arte.”

(“I am blessed to have grown up in the hands of a very talented actress who gave her entire life, heart, and soul to making films and acting. It hurts me that I’m the one receiving this for her, but I’m sure she’s smiling in heaven. She deserves this award. I’m gladly adding this to her over 50 trophies, honoring her acting talent.”)

In a separate interview, Andi reflected further on her mom’s latest recognition from the national agency for film.

“Obviously, it touched me. Even the postings about her naman, when she was still alive because I’ve always been proud of my mom, I’ve always been my mom’s biggest fan although in private, ‘di ba?” she said.

“But yes, I watch her and I’m always behind her with all of these things that she goes through in her career. So nakaka-proud.”

The Siargao-based Andi has also been in Manila these past few weeks to mark the 40 days since her mom’s passing.

Asked how she is nowadays, she admitted, “Mahirap syempre pero kailangan tanggapin (Of course, it’s hard but I have to accept it) — slowly. I hope maybe I will get there but I know that she’s proud of me, I know that she loves me and her grandchildren. And so I will just focus on on the good things, I will focus on my family.”

She also spoke of how her own kids are dealing with the loss of their grandmother.

“Nakakatuwa na parang nakaka-touch na yung dalawa kong younger children — Lilo and Koa — without having to explain parang naiintindihan nila yung situation ko. Pero parati rin nilang hinahanap si Nanay, parati kasi kaming nag-ma-Manila so parang nagtataka sila, nasaan si Nanay, papunta ba tayo sa bahay ni Nanay?”

(“It makes me happy and it touches me that my two younger children — Lilo and Koa — seem to understand my situation without me having to explain it. But they always look for Mom, because we often go to Manila, so they wonder, where’s Mom, are we going to Mom’s house?”)

“Although now, they understand it somehow, which is weird, you know, because they’re still kids. And I’m proud of (eldest daughter) Ellie, who is now 12 years old, because deeper na yung understanding niya dun. I do know she’s sad and grieving, too, but she’s very strong and it’s nice to see and hear the nice things that she says to remember my mom by,” she added.

Andi is undeniably happy living the island life with her family in Siargao. From her recent posts, she even brought her younger brother there. Her only regret is that her mom never got to visit the surfing paradise she now calls home.

“Okay naman, masaya, yun nga lang, sayang ‘di nakarating si Nanay. Pero nandun na ang buhay ko, yun na ako. I love my life there... I’m just happy to be raising my family there.”

Andi uprooted herself from Manila, stayed away from the showbiz limelight, and settled in Siargao in 2017. She last appeared in a movie in 2018.

When The STAR asked how it felt to be in the company of people from the industry anew, she likened it to a dream to “meet everyone again.”

She shared, “My mom’s passing made me realize also how big of who I am is this industry. I was born into this industry. Ang sarap ng pakiramdam.

“But it doesn’t mean gusto kong bumalik kasi masaya na yung buhay ko sa Siargao,” she added.

Nevertheless, when asked if she felt inspired to return to acting, she said, “Hindi naman. Kahit na noong buhay pa si Nanay, siya naman yung dahilan kung bakit ako nagkaroon ng interest sa pag-arte at sa paggawa ng pelikula.”

(“Not really. Even when Mom was still alive, she was the reason why I became interested in acting and making films.”)

“It’s because of her passion for it… literally burning passion for it! Like I said, I’m always a big fan of my mom,” she further said.

“Hindi naman rin nawala yung interest ko sa pag arte pero ngayon kasi mas nangingibabaw yung kagustuhan ko na palakihin yung mga anak ko and be around them on the island now.”

(“I haven’t lost interest in acting, but right now, my desire to focus on raising my children and be with them on the island is stronger.”)

But she’s not shutting the door on acting forever. She explained, “What I found difficult was being young in showbiz, but when it comes to making films or acting, I won’t close any doors. I’ve never closed my doors on it.”

“Perhaps I’m just waiting for the right opportunity. Never say never.”

Andi confirmed she’s been receiving queries and offers but “I always say, depende (it depends).”

What will make her come back if ever? She honestly told The STAR: “Actually, hindi ko rin masasagot yan. I guess, the perfect (reason) is… right timing and story (laughs).”

Meanwhile, Andi was accompanied by her fiancé, Philmar Alipayo, during the Parangal ng Sining on Friday night at SEDA Vertis North. After the interview, she sweetly called out to the champion surfer, “Asawa ko,” who was patiently waiting on the sidelines but had his share of people requesting pictures with him.

Inevitably, Andi was asked about their wedding plans, given the recent revelation of actor Gabby Eigenmann (her older brother with her late father Mark Gil) that he would be the one to walk Andi down the aisle.

“Supposedly, honestly, we wanted to get married this year,” said Andi. “But under these circumstances, we decided to wait it out a bit because para sana kay Nanay yun.”

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