There's a reason why child star, Zaijian Jaranilla, is being dubbed as the "miracle boy."
The most obvious, of course, is his performance of Santino—the main character of ABS-CBN's popular primetime series, May Bukas Pa. Santino has endeared himself to the viewing public through his natural kindness and unwavering faith to God in the face of trials and adversity.
But other than the assumed role, Zaijian's dramatic rise to fame is nothing short but inspiring. Despite appearing in a few television commercials, the seven-year-old actor seemingly came out of nowhere to make a mark in the primetime rating contest.
INNATE TALENT. Many are amazed with Zaijian's ability to cry easily in front of the camera. The sight of a young boy shedding uncontrollable amount of tears in a drama series is a rarity in local television.
May Bukas Pa production manager, Ethel Espiritu, felt that acting for Zaijian comes out naturally. Even the boy's work ethic was admirable according to Ethel and the production staff.
"Mabilis ang comprehension niya," Ethel proudly said about the young actor. "Nakakapag-memorize siya ng lines, even dun sa mahahabang lines kaya niyang ilagay yung tamang emotion."
ACTING WITH LT. May Bukas Pa has featured a number of guest stars including John Estrada, Gabby Concepcion, Claudine Barretto, Susan Roces, Cristine Reyes, and Anne Curtis.
At Zaijian's solo press conference held at the 9501 Restaurant in ABS-CBN, Quezon City, last May 6, it was announced that award-winning actress Lorna Tolentino will appear in May Bukas Pa for its Mother's Day presentation. This year, the red-letter day falls on May 10.
Ethel excitedly shared, "Last feedback that I got from Direk Jerome, nakipagsabayan daw kay Lorna Tolentino. Alam niya [Zaijian] kung saan ilalagay yung tamang emotions. Siyempre na-surprise kami kasi parang ‘uy, very good na bata ‘di ba?' So yun po ang last feedback that we got from Direk Jerome."
Zaijian was then asked: "Sinong mas mabilis umiyak sa inyo ni Ms. Lorna, ikaw o siya?"
"Kami pong dalawa," he replied, much of course to the delight and admiration of the press.
But more admirable is Zaijian's continued indifference to his popularity. And when reminded about his achievements, the young boy simply dismissed that observation with surprising maturity.
"Nagsisimula pa lang naman ako," he said candidly, his expressive eyes flashing an innocent glint.