Why Edward Barber almost said ‘no’ to first MMK episode with Maymay Entrata

Teen idol Edward Barber considers himself lucky for the continuous work opportunities amid the pandemic. He used to get swamped with hosting gigs for MYX. They did podcast, interviews, and live episodes during this quarantine. It helped him keep motivated, just in time when he was growing anxious after week two of lockdown.

Edward thought the quarantine was the vacation he needed and always craved for over the past four years in showbiz. But he realized that two weeks spent in idle isn’t healthy, and not even fun, at all. MYX saved him from anxieties then. But unfortunately, he alongside other employees was retrenched from the music channel just last week of August. 

When a door closes, another window opens, they say. Despite the sad news, Edward found several other reasons to be hopeful, one of which is the re-airing of the Maalaala Mo Kaya “Sunflower” episode this Saturday, September 28. He still does guestings for ASAP Natin ‘To and hosting for iWant ASAP. There’s a major MayWard project in the works and Edward prays it gets pushed through. He also plans to venture into game streaming soon as a way to interact with the fans. 

The tight schedule doesn’t stop him from keeping healthy. He makes sure to balance work and rest. He lives in a condo unit with his mom while his sister stays in a separate unit nearby. Mom’s cooking is always the best. And home-cooked meals make the work-from-home more convenient. His mother recently put up an online baking business, which means he gets to munch down homemade goodies. Edward knows when to control the sweet temptations, though, in order not to gain too much weight. 

Mental health is just as important to him. While others focused on the physical glow-ups this quarantine, Edward’s transformation was about his spirituality. He’s grown his faith. He wakes up earlier than usual for morning devotion. It’s only through God’s word that he’s able to overcome all the negativities around him. It also helps to have a solid support system. Edward mentioned that he keeps in touched with his showbiz friends, however few they are. He now tags them ‘brother’ and ‘sister.’ Unlike others who found solace in learning artistic skills, Edward just clings to nothing but his faith in keeping him sane. He is walking out of this season not with new skills but with a broader spirituality, and that would be more than enough. 

“Good for you if you guys are doing something, keep on doing it. But for me, I knew I was not gonna walk out of quarantine knowing new language or knowing a good skill. But when I walk out of quarantine, because of the strengthening in my faith and the strengthening within my heart, my mind, and my soul, and my body, when I walk out, I’m gonna approach life completely differently,” said Edward. 

He knows the challenges we are facing are beyond our control. There’s no easier way to move forward than learning to accept our limitations. Edward stressed the power of surrender. “If you are anxious, maybe you are taking something that’s outside of your control into your own hands,” he added.

Struggling with anxiety for years, Edward realized the importance of a solid support system. There’s comfort in finding friends or a community that will encourage, strengthen, and even challenge you. This isn’t just a coping mechanism but likewise a tool that’ll help you flourish more. 

“Ang buong 2020, baka din first half ng 2021 is all about survival. Just get through it. Don’t worry about your plans. Don’t worry about doing something amazing in the future. Just get through it, step by step. ‘Yun ang importante and keep on staying safe, and keep on focusing on your mental health,” Edward advised everyone dealing with anxiety. 

He underscored that comparison is damaging. You don’t have to keep up with all things trendy. Don’t let social media dictate your timing. “Just take care of yourself and get through this year. Then, in the next year, we can focus on moving forward. Kasi this is a whole thing that affects the whole world, so stay safe lang.” 

The whole quarantine experience taught Edward the importance of “touch” – something that’s quite just a memory nowadays due to social distancing. He learned to appreciate human interaction even more now that simple gestures like shaking hands and beso-beso are discouraged. During work for ASAP Natin ‘To, they content themselves with meter-wide greetings, however they long to hug and be more close to each other. And when he gets home, he acts extra cautious getting near his own mom. These are simple rules that bring striking impact and realizations. Edward hopes the world will appreciate human interaction more once we survive these trying times. 

MMK: Sunflower

In November 2019, Edward and love team partner Maymay Entrata breathed life to the inspiring love story of Gab and Max (who succumbed to cancer) in the Maalaala Mo Kaya “Sunflower” episode. They were in an out-of-the-country show when they heard about the offer. Just hearing the letters “MMK” brought Edward fear, knowing that the drama anthology has a legacy to keep and that the episode would surely require gargantuan emotions.

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Edward almost backed out from the project, scared of the acting requirements. But meeting Gab and Max’s family in person soothed his jitters. He realized this isn’t just a fictional story. It made him want to keep Max’s legacy living on and mount realism to the couple’s inspiring tale. It became a responsibility worth taking the risk for and later on, one of Edward’s proudest pieces of works. 

There was a point, though when he felt drained after a series of crying. He had qualms about his abilities prior to Max’s death scene, one of the heaviest in the episode. But he delivered a superb performance. Edward thanks Direk Kevin Alambra for giving them artistic freedom.   

Edward didn’t have to strain his effort putting on the character’s shoe. They share a lot of similarities. Just like Gab who grew from soft to strong because of Max, Edward used to feel weak as well. He eventually became braver, thanks to Maymay, their supporters, and the work experiences in showbiz. 

“Live life to the max,” said Edward when asked about his takeaway from the episode. This lesson applies even to our current situation. Edward gives viewers the heads-up to reconnect with loved ones because we just never know.