Xyriel reminisces child star memories

There’s definitely no doubt that Xyriel Manabat was one of the greatest child stars in Philippine showbiz. And she further astounded us when she made an acting comeback in 2023 via Dirty Linen and Senior High as she wowed us anew with her versatility and intensity as an actress. 

As we are still looking forward to see what’s next for her, let us listen first to her inspiring, insightful, and amusing exchange with ABS-CBN News showbiz correspondent Gretchen Fullido in this episode of “On Cue.”

According to Xyriel, it has been her dream to become an artista ever since she was a kid. She recounted how fond she was of imitating commercials, teleserye scenes, and movie clips, as well as how she was already able to introduce herself at two years old, which convinced her parents to support her in her acting pursuit.

They took her to various auditions and go-sees for commercials and TV shows and even let her join kiddie pageants and talent searches. It was also them who rehearsed her every time she would have an upcoming shoot or audition when she was still little.

And all their efforts finally paid off when Xyriel became part of the Star Circle Kid Quest in 2009, wherein she finished as the 3rd runner-up. She might have fallen short in her bid to becoming the grand winner, but a string of projects stilled poured onto her, with the 2010 classic soap opera Agua Bendita being her biggest break. Her stint there was supposedly just brief, but it got extended due to the tremendous support of the viewers.

From only having a limited appearance, she was eventually bestowed her first-ever lead role that same year via Momay, as well as a supporting cast in Noah. The following year, she impressed with her remarkable portrayal of Anna Manalastas in 100 Days To Heaven, wherein she got to work alongside veteran actress Coney Reyes. 

While working on the series, Xyriel recalled having to learn and mimic the way Coney move, behave, and speak. Since she was around 6 to 7 years old then, she also divulged having to wear dentures a lot of times because her baby teeth tend to fall off often, which would affect the continuity of the scenes. 

Aside from being one of her most notable projects, another thing that made 100 Days To Heaven, closer to her heart was being able to work with her ultimate idol Judy Ann Santos when she made a special participation as one of the figures of the Tagabantay. 

Xyriel then appeared in a slew of teleseryes and movies after that, mostly playing the young counterparts of the lead stars, such as in The Legal Wife (2014), Ikaw Lamang (2014), and Wildflower (2017). But prior to these career milestones, she imparted that just like other artists, she also started as an extra in TV shows and movies. 

Showbiz hiatus and comeback

Even though she was already at the peak of her career, she still decided to step out of the limelight and take a break from acting in 2017, much to the surprise and wonder of fans. Xyriel divulged that her main motivation for doing it was for her to fulfill her yearning of living a normal life, which she didn’t get to experience since she began working at a very early age. 

“Siguro po ang totoong reason ko noon is gusto ko pong mabuhay nang regular, mabuhay nang normal. Gusto ko pong gumising na walang schedule, pumunta sa mall na walang nagpapa-picture nang ‘di dahil sa mall show [o] nang hindi dahil may work. Gusto ko pong gumising na sa school ako pupunta at hindi sa call time. Gusto ko po ‘yong alarm ko, hindi sa pull out papunta sa location, kundi dahil susunduin ako ng service,” she expounded.

In the six years that she was not in front of the camera, Xyriel continued to reap recognitions and commendations as student for she was consistently in the honor rolls ever since she started in high school, and later on completed junior high as the salutatorian.

Although she was already doing good with her studies and the simple and peaceful life she was living, the former child star still decided to return to showbiz in 2023. She confessed that aside from practical reasons, which was really her main motivation, it was her friends in and out showbiz, which include her fellow child stars and Senior High co-stars Andrea Brillantes and Zaijian Jaranilla, as well as her non-showbiz boyfriend Nat Toledo, who encouraged her to pursue acting again. 

And now that she has gone back on track, she’s striving not just to attain success in her career, but in her personal life as well.