Why Elle would have ‘gone crazy’ without BF Derrick | Inquirer Entertainment

Why Elle would have ‘gone crazy’ without BF Derrick

/ 12:10 AM January 11, 2024

Monasterio (left) and Villanueva

Monasterio (left) and Villanueva

In GMA 7’s new revenge drama, “Makiling,” Elle Villanueva’s character, Amira, is put through the wringer enduring mental, emotional and physical abuse from school bullies.

And because a lot of her scenes were incredibly taxing, she probably would have “gone crazy,” she said, if it weren’t for her leading man and real-life boyfriend, Derrick Monasterio.


“Kung wala siya, nabaliw na ako, because I get carried away by the scenes. He always makes sure that I’m OK. We don’t often use doubles, so Derrick keeps an eye on me and watches my scenes on the monitor. It’s really nice to have someone who supports you, someone who cares for you, someone who’s by your side to comfort you,” she told the Inquirer at a recent press conference. Elle and Derrick arrive and leave the set together. She said it always feels reassuring to have someone she can talk to about her day.


“After everything, after doing all the heavy scenes, there’s someone who asks me, ‘How do you feel about it? Are you OK?’” she said. “Sometimes, you have a hard time letting go of the character and the emotions. But he makes sure that I don’t get hurt. He’s always there to support and listen, and that’s something I value a lot.”

Derrick Monasterio

Derrick Monasterio



Derrick, like his character Alex, has always seen himself as a protector. And that side of him naturally turns up whenever he’s with Elle, especially when the latter is in distress.

“I didn’t grow up with my father; I’m the only male in the family. My siblings are all women. So I had to stand up for my family and provide and, in a way, protect them. Of course, when Elle came into my life, I devoted my time to her. It feels nice taking care of her and protecting her. Not that she needs protecting, though. But I just want to do it,” he told the Inquirer. The confrontation scenes Elle has to do can get pretty intense. In one of the sequences, for instance, Myrtle Sarrosa—who plays one of the villains, Portia—accidentally cut some of Elle’s actual hair instead of the extensions she was wearing.

“I was OK until I saw my hair got shorter. There came a point where Myrtle’s slaps and my screams suddenly felt real. So I was like, ‘What’s happening?’ It felt like the character was starting to get into me, that I was embodying the role. That can be unhealthy. So I cried and made sure to talk to everyone and express what I was experiencing,” she said.

“It’s hard to speak up as a newbie actress. But I’m very thankful that everyone was very understanding and didn’t think that I was just being a diva,” Elle said, adding that everything’s well between her and Myrtle after the incident.


That’s why Derrick makes sure to do whatever he can “to make Elle’s life easier.” “Unli utos—kahit ano gagawin ko!” he quipped.

“I get affected when I see her hurt. Sometimes, on our way home, I would look at her face and see that she’s about to cry. Her hair is disheveled. As a protector in the show and in real life, that hurts,” he added.

Produced by GMA Public Affairs, “Makiling,” which started airing on GMA 7’s Afternoon Prime block last Jan. 8, follows the story of Amira, a young woman who hails from a family of herbal healers living at the foot of Mt. Makiling. Hoping to help her family with their finances, Amira sets off and works in a school in Manila. But there she is harassed by a group of bullies called the “Crazy 5,” which is led by siblings Seb (Kristoffer Martin) and Portia (Myrtle). The two are scions of a massive pharmaceutical company. Amira’s life transforms when she and Alex discover Mutya, a mysterious flower with powerful healing properties in the forests of Makiling. Amira hopes to use the flower to formulate medicine that will be free and accessible to all. But the Terras and their friends get wind of Amira’s discovery and plots to steal the flower in hopes of making a fortune.

Elle Villanueva

Elle Villanueva


Inner struggle

“My character Amira loves to help people. But like many Filipinos, she has to step out of her comfort zone because of poverty. She has to leave her family and hometown. The flower Mutya changes her life. Will this change make her life better or will hate end up consuming her?” Elle said.

“Our characters represent people who are voiceless and powerless. We want to take revenge, but we don’t have the power, money. The inner struggle is how to do that with the limited means we have,” Derrick said.

While Amira gets bullied at first, she eventually musters enough strength to fight back and get even. And in this regard, Elle finds her character relatable.

“Palaban ako, ‘di nagpapa-api. When we get abused, sometimes we don’t realize that it’s already too much. We don’t ask for help. We don’t realize that we need help. Back then, I used to act upon my emotions spontaneously. I shout, I confront others. Now, I realize that’s wrong. You should reflect on yourself first. Maybe I have shortcomings, too. Assess the situation first, then decide if you should heal or get even,” he said. While Elle and Derrick have already worked previously in the drama series “Return to Paradise,” the two still had new discoveries about each other on the set.

“For a relatively new actress, she can do things that other more experienced actresses can’t. I’m just proud of her and impressed with her talent,” Derrick said.

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“He’s a very patient person. He waits for me if I still have remaining scenes to do,” Elle said of Derrick. “He’s also hungry to learn more about the craft. He asks me to go to workshops, even if I don’t feel like it sometimes. He’s the one who pushes me.”

TAGS: Derrick Monasterio, GMA-7

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