JC Santos finds bliss in fatherhood, acting, and the kitchen

Growing up in the gastronomic province of Pampanga, JC Santos got an impressive cooking talent that’s now a big part of his ‘popshie’ arsenal, trying to keep up with the kitchen skills of wife Shyleena Herrera, a chef by profession. The actor is taking his Daddy and hubby duties up a notch by turning the kitchen into a heavenly household nook.

JC and Shyleena share the same love language – food. For them, the kitchen isn’t just a small place for preparing meals but also a space where love can be expressed and blossom, especially for JC who grew up with fond childhood memories of his mom’s cooking.

“Childhood ko ang mag-stay sa kitchen. ‘Yung mommy ko, kapag nagluluto siya, lagi akong nandiyan. It’s my favorite spot sa bahay kasi ‘pag nagluluto ‘yung Nanay ko, gusto ko naaamoy ko ‘yung ulam tapos naglalaro lang ako sa gilid, so malaki ‘yung sense of memory and impact niya sa akin.”

The organic Bali-inspired kitchen renovation, therefore, is a fitting metaphor for a fresh start and building a nest where love can grow. According to JC, the minimalist and Bali theme was Shyleena’s idea. His only requirement was the center island. “Never pa akong naka-experience ng ganu’ng kitchen, pwedeng gawing breakfast table tapos nandoon ‘yung gripo sa gitna ng kitchen tapos nasa gilid ‘yung lutuan.”

JC’s brother, a fresh graduate of Architecture, was a big help in the project. “May company na siya na pinagtatrabahuan, so ni-request na lang namin sa kanya. Madaling-madali, ginawan niya kami ng design.”

The idea was to create a space with natural textures and that’s full of life. The kitchen looks bright at daytime, apt for happy breakfast hours, and warm at night. The gorgeous backyard adds more to the raw, inviting aesthetics.

To those inspired by the family’s kitchen renovation, JC’s first tip is to stick to the budget and adapt minimalism. He didn’t want to invest on too much kitchen tools, “Kung ano lang ‘yung kailangan, ‘yun lang ang dapat nandiyan. Kasi minsan ‘yung sobra, nakakalito na kung nasaan. At least, kung tamang-tama lang lahat ng bagay, alam mo lahat kung saan nakalagay. Less is more.”

Another thing that makes his days happier is being a hands-on father to his baby daughter, River Aletheia, who’s turning one on the 26th. The family will celebrate this milestone in Boracay.

JC described 2020 as the most adventurous year. Just imagine navigating the unfamiliar world of parenthood amid the pandemic. Nonetheless, the lockdown gave him more quality time with the family and he’s able to witness his child’s milestones.

JC enjoyed the transition and adjustment and just being present in Baby River’s many ‘firsts.’ He is grateful that despite the chaos outside, his little family found their safe space inside the home, and in each other’s company.

“Dito at Doon”

Brace yourselves for a ‘kilig’ online romance! JC Santos and Janine Gutierrez are bound to capture our hearts via upcoming rom-com film “Dito at Doon.”

Using the ‘new normal’ as backdrop, the movie is about finding new love amid the pandemic and trying to maintain the connection despite the circumstances. JC’s character, Caloy is a frontline worker (a delivery rider) while Janine’s Len is often stuck at home. How will they sift through arguments given the limited, tech-based conversations?

“Dito at Doon” is more than just a lockdown love story. Besides the love angle, it will also tackle the struggles of frontliners distanced from their loved ones, of being stuck at home, and the possibility of meeting new people online amid a crisis. JC said the film is everything rolled into one, “May comedy, drama tapos love story. Exciting!”

He added that moviegoers can relate to Len and Caloy’s circumstances. Even JC could understand his character’s plight, “He’s a delivery boy and kailangan niya mag-provide. So, na-channel ko din ‘yung ‘Paano ba ako makakapag-provide in the middle of this whole thing?’”

JC had to commend Director JP Habac and his genius execution of scenes anchored on video calls. Working with Direk JP was one of the reasons why he said ‘yes’ to this project in an instant. He revealed that he auditioned for Direk JP’s “I’m Drunk, I Love You” but he unfortunately didn’t make it. Working with TBA Studios is part of his career bucket list as well.

Since filming under the ‘new normal,’ JC was reminded of the value of discipline. He said the 12-hour work period was a good thing than a limitation. It inspired everyone to do their jobs better, so to maximize the time.

Some scenes were filmed at JC and Janine’s respective home and taken in repetitive shots. JC compared it to a theatrical performance. He lauded Janine’s versatility, saying she’s easily adapted to the filming. “What’s amazing about Janine, naka-adjust siya nang maayos doon sa eksenang gano’n. She managed to make it fresh every time. Sobrang galing!”

JC was part of “Babae at Baril” wherein Janine bagged her first acting award but they didn’t have the chance to share the screen. They will also play siblings in an upcoming series. “Dito at Doon” is different since they’re starring as lovers.

Asked about his reaction on Janine’s recent transfer to the Kapamilya Network, JC said Janine made the right choice. “Marami kang matututunan sa ABS-CBN – from actors, directors, and crew. Ang lawak ng pwede mong galawan. Para siyang workshop sa’yo habang nag-eenjoy ka. Adjustment, mahirap talaga pero doon ka matututo.”

As a Kapamilya, JC managed to build a colorful acting resume. But one of his still unfulfilled dreams is to go full drag. He wants to wear high heels! He also wishes to star in a historical biopic.

“Dito at Doon” will have its world premiere at the Osaka Asian Film Festival from March 5 to 14 while local release is scheduled on March 17. It’s JC’s third time to participate in the said movie festival and he’s proud of how Pinoy films are making it to the international scene.