Who would ever forget Santino, the bright-eyed little boy in the classic Kapamilya series May Bukas Pa? Now all grown-up, Zaijian Jaranilla, the actor who breathed life to the iconic character faced the King of Talk for conversations about his life as a child star, most memorable experiences, and going through the so-called awkward stage.
LOOK: Zaijian Jaranilla in May Bukas Pa (2009)
A video footage of Zaijian’s first interview with Boy Abunda while he was still young casts a smile on his face. The hint of laughter is brought about by memories of him using fake teeth as character requirement.
WATCH: Are Zaijian’s answers to interview questions 11 years ago still the same?
Zaijian himself wouldn’t forget May Bukas Pa, the show that opened up a slew of opportunities for him. He considers it as the tool that moved him closer to his big dreams. Working as a child star then helped him provide for his family.
Although he wanted to become a doctor and not a celebrity at first, Zaijian eventually fell in love with the craft. Reading positive comments from his audiences also boosted his desire to hone his acting skills better. “Sa totoo lang hindi ko siya nagustuhan agad pero noong nakita ko ‘yung mga reviews ng tao na ‘Ang galing batang’to,’ na-appreciate ko ‘yun, so pinagbutihan ko pa po lalo.”
Besides May Bukas Pa, Zaijan also starred in another inspirational series Hawak Kamay alongside Piolo Pascual. Looking back on his fondest memories while doing the show, he said Piolo surprised him on his thirteenth birthday. This makes Hawak Kamay one of his most unforgettable projects.
Not every child star would manage to successfully surpass the awkward stage. Zaijian is among the lucky few who were able to sustain their popularity and visibility. His gratitude goes to the management for trusting and supporting him. Yet, Zaijian knows he also worked hard to achieve everything he has now. “Kapag tumatanda ang daming insecurities like my pimples, nakakababa ng self-esteem. ‘Pag awkward stage nawawalan ng project pero thankful ako kasi binigyan ako ng ABS-CBN ng mga projects pa,” expressed Zaijian.