Known nowadays as the young hero Liksi in “Bagani,” 16-year-old Zaijan Jaranilla first became a familiar face to Kapamilya viewers as Santino in the 2009 drama series “May Bukas Pa.”
“The best,” was how he referred to his experience with his debut series, “kasi doon po ‘yung naging pag-angat ko, at natulungan ko ‘yung family ko dahil doon.”
Throughout the decade that followed, Jaranilla managed to stay visible on television, despite the “awkward stage” of transitioning from a child actor to a teen star.
In an interview on “Tonight with Boy Abunda” that aired Monday, Jaranilla said he is grateful that despite that phase, he continued to be given roles by ABS-CBN.
“Thankful pa nga po ako kasi binigyan ako ng ABS ng mga project pa, kahit hindi mga teleserye. Tuloy-tuloy po, kahit walang mga major [roles]. Dahil sa pagbubuti ko, nakita nila siguro po nila na deserve ko,” he said.
Jaranilla admitted, however, that as he faced the cameras, he also grappled with insecurities that came with puberty. For one, Jaranilla was candid in sharing that his acne breakout continues to affect his self-esteem.
Now approaching his late teenage years, the former child actor said he is still learning how to navigate romantic relationships, referring to himself as “torpe” or shy when it comes to approaching someone he likes.
While he is still years away from building a family of his own, Jaranilla is looking ahead to ensure that having a broken one, as he had experienced as a child, won’t be the case for his children.
Referring to his “Bagani” co-star, Jaranilla explained: “Natutunan ko ito kay Tita Dimples [Romana] — ‘yung mga pinagdadaanan, huwag mong sarilinin, ibigay mo ‘yan sa trabaho mo, para maging mas mabuti ka pa.
“Lumaki ako na hindi ko kasama ang mama ko, and wala kaming family pictures. Hindi ko gusto sa mga anak ko na pag laki nila, wala silang makitang family pictures.”