Prince in a castleBy Bayani San Diego Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
GMA 7 teen star Derrick Monasterio doesn’t mind living in a household of women—that is, his mom, former actress Tina Monasterio; sisters Mary Hazel and Janna Allyson; and niece Audrey.
Being the only thorn among roses has its perks, he admitted. In this three-story home somewhere in Quezon City, Derrick has always been treated like a prince.
Derrick’s bedroom is in the attic, his mom Tina said as she gave Living Stars a tour of the place.
Since the attic is quite spacious, Tina said, she often asked the whole family to sleep there at night. “It gives us precious bonding time. We watch movies and, since we have to turn ononly one air-con unit, it helps us save on electricity.”
Derrick described his blue-and-white room as “pretty chill,” perfect for cocooning and unwinding after a busy day.
The young star, who had just wrapped up work on two Kapuso shows—“Alice Bungisngis and Her Wonder Walis” and “Tween Hearts”—regards the home as his sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of the biz. (He’s currently in the cast of the prime time series “Luna Blanca,” playing the suitor of Barbie Forteza.)
“I always feel relaxed, even sleepy, at home,” he admitted. “I watch TV; I hang out with my sisters and niece.”
Audrey, Mary Hazel’s daughter, was born two years ago. Uncle Derrick dotes on the toddler, treating her like a “cute stuffed toy.”
“He teases her a lot,” Tina said. “But when Audrey gets mad and cries, Derrick would make it up to her by bringing home presents—cake and foodstuff, as peace offering.”
Although Derrick can be “mischievous, he has a sweet, generous side,” mom insisted.
Mom as mason
Mom practically built the three-story family home with her own hands.
“I did the masonry work,” she related. “I molded the accent pieces on the walls. I’ve always loved stone and wood.” She used bricks from her old home, she said. She wanted the façade to look like a European castle.
She pored over interior design magazines and allowed her imagination to run wild. “I saw the grillwork in a magazine. Same with the façade. I just modified it a bit.”
The overall concept is Spanish country with a twist. She said: “It’s not really modern, not Mediterranean. It’s unconventional.”
As unique as the rest of the house is the kitchen—a burst of warm, vibrant colors. “I painted the kitchen in gold and yellow,” said Tina.
Strewn all over the kitchen are souvenirs from her and Derrick’s travels—ceramic figurines and other trinkets from Europe and the United States.
She filled the house with lots of potted plants. “My favorite color is green,” she explained. “I want to feel close to nature, though we are in the middle of the city.”
Tina created a cozy pocket garden just beside the dining area. “It’s relaxing,” she pointed out. “While eating, we can gaze at the garden and the mini waterfall.”
The figurines in the living room are from the collection of Derrick’s grandmother. “Most of the furniture pieces are from Pampanga,” said Tina. “I picked an Italian-style sofa set.”
The decorative plates are mall finds. The grandfather clock in the living room was given “a long time ago” by Tina’s contemporary, actress Daria Ramirez. “She’s a good frie
nd.” Tina said.
Several antique pieces in the attic, mostly religious images, were handed down from her late mother, Lydia. Tina said: “The Sto. Niño is made of ivory; so is the statue of Our Lady of Manaoag. That one of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is older than I am.”
The Japanese umbrellas in the attic are likewise gifts from her mom.
Tina said the house—which stands on a 263 square meter lot that she acquired in 1978, long before Derrick was born—is the product of her earnings from a five-year stint in show business.
“I was very lucky because my mom encouraged me to invest my talent fees in real estate,” she said.
It was Derrick’s mom who discovered his potential as a performer when he was six years old.
“He sang along with the radio and I noticed that his voice had a good timber,” Tina recounted.
When he was in fourth grade, his teachers urged him to join Claret School’s Kilyawan Boys Choir. Derrick traveled with the choir to China and Austria with mom as chaperone.
When he recently flew to Switzerland (for a concert with Sarah Lahbati) and the United States (for the premiere of Yam Laranas’ “The Road”), he was again accompanied by mom.
“For one so young,” Tina pointed out, “he’s quite well-traveled.”
After the show in Switzerland, Derrick, Tina, Sarah and the rest of the team proceeded to Paris. Mother and son bought lots of souvenirs, including refrigerator magnets.
Derrick had been excited about the US trip because it allowed him to renew ties with his American dad. “They got to talk,” said Tina.
Tina was a movie actress in the 1970s. She appeared in action films that starred the late Fernando Poe Jr. “I was in ‘Bato sa Buhangin,’ ‘Nagbabagang Asero,’ and ‘Kumander Ulupong.’ My last movie was ‘Hibla,’ which was also directed by Yam in 2002,” she said.
Derrick gets to watch mom’s old movies on cable and she has become his inspiration. “I want to do well as an actor,” he said. “I want my mom to be proud of me.”
He also witnessed how hard his mom worked as a barangay councilman from 2002 to 2010. Tina said it was good that her kids were exposed to socio-civic work early on as she had worked from home.
Derrick was recently chosen by the National Youth Commission to serve as Youth Ambassador. The honor will be conferred on him this month in Malacañang. He sees this as the perfect birthday gift—he turns 17 on Aug. 1.
He credits his mom for raising him well and making sure he learns from her own stint in the biz.
“I share my experiences with him,” Tina volunteered. “I don’t want him to grow up spoiled just because he is earning his own money.”
Just a regular guy
At home, Derrick is a regular teener, said mom. “He can be naughty,” she admitted. “He’s a Leo—just like me—but he is generally well-behaved.”
In fact, he is his mom’s son and they share a number of qualities. “Sometimes he’s quiet, sometimes he’s talkative. He’s moody, too,” Tina said.
And a hearty eater as well. “He feasts on crabs and fried chicken,” mom said. “His favorite restaurant is Red Crab.”
She proudly pointed out that Derrick can cook and is not entirely clueless about other household chores. “He cooks his own food. He irons his own clothes.”
Currently home-schooled, Derrick said he wants to take up Culinary Arts after high school. “I want a course that’s not stressful,” he explained. “In any case, I’m into cooking. I want to be like [actor-businessman] Marvin Agustin, who owns several restaurants.”
Fit and fab
Derrick has become conscious about his looks and is sticking to a diet. “From three plates of rice, I went down to half-a-cup to no rice at all.”
Like many teenagers, he follows the NBA games on television and is hooked on basketball video games on PlayStation 2. “I’m a DOTA addict, too,” he confessed.
He’s a certified Twitter fanatic as well, avidly following Kendall Jenner of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” his all-time crush.
But unlike other teeners, he clarified, he’s not into gadgets. “I’d rather save up for my own car or house.”
These days, the top item on his wish list is an ATV motorbike. “I saw (GMA 7 costar) Lexi Fernandez’s ATV and thought it was cool,” he said. “It’s also a practical investment. I wouldn’t have to commute or take a cab when going to a friend’s house, to the grocery or anywhere nearby.” He’s not keen on driving the family car, as “fuel is too expensive.”
He sees himself moving into his own pad at 21. “Right now, I’m too young to live in a condo.” (And he would miss the pillow fights and slumber parties in the attic with his family.)
Given the chance, he said, he would build a vacation house on top of a mountain. “I’d like it to be made of stone, with high ceilings … maybe an elevator.”
Sounds like a modern castle.
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