Many people still remember Jaypee de Guzman as the doe-eyed child actor in the ‘80s who starred in a number of notable movies.
Eventually, Jaypee left showbiz to finish his studies.
Later, he worked behind the camera and started a family.
Twenty years since he left the limelight, Jaypee has returned to acting.
EARLY EXPOSURE. He was only four years old when he starred in the critically acclaimed family drama movie, Saan Darating Ang Umaga.
In this 1983 film, child actor Jaypee shared equal billing with drama heavyweights Maricel Soriano, Nestor de Villa, and Nida Blanca.
Jaypee’s portrayal of an orphaned boy was very moving and he caught the attention of producers.
He made one movie after another, including Mga Batang Yagit (1984) and Tinik Sa Dibdib (1985).
In the latter film, he worked with the powerhouse cast of Nora Aunor, Eddie Garcia, Phillip Salvador, Pilar Pilapil, and Dina Bonnevie.
“I think the ‘80s was very glamorous kasi you got to work with the best,” Jaypee, now 36, told PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in a recent interview.
He related that a few weeks before this interview, he caught a re-run of Mga Batang Yagit on cable and realized how lucky he was to have worked with highly respected actors.
Jaypee said, “I was like, wow! I was working with Bembol Roco and Charo Santos, before she headed ABS-CBN. Jay Ilagan was there, Amy Austria…
“I had the privilege to really work with them and learn from them.”
MOST MEMORABLE FILMS. Jaypee named three of what he considers his most memorable movies.
He said Saan Darating Ang Umaga made a mark in Philippine cinema because it was a family drama in the “bomba” era, where titillating movies were the box office hits.
“It was really out of left field kaya feeling ko naalala siya,” explained Jaypee.
On the other hand, Tinik Sa Dibdib was noteworthy because he protrayed a mentally challenged kid. That was no easy feat for an eight year old.
Both Saan Darating Ang Umaga and Tinik Sa Dibdib were remade into teleseryes by the GMA Network.
Saan Darating Ang Umaga (2012) starred Joel Torre, Lani Mercado and Yasmien Kurdi, while Tinik Sa Dibdib (2010) featured Sunshine Dizon and Marvin Agustin.
Jaypee also confirmed that the Kapuso Network has plans to do a remake of Mga Batang Yagit as a teleserye.
He said he would never forget the experience of filming the final scene of Mga Batang Yagit because the cast camped along Manila Bay for two days. He also had to swim in the dirty waters of the bay together with other kiddie actors.
HE NEVER LEFT SCHOOL. Being a child actor, Jaypee said his mom, who was also his manager, specified in his contracts that he would continue going to school.
He recalled, “We packed up at 10 p.m. so I could get enough sleep because I had school the following day.
"So I got to finish my education.”
Did he have a normal childhood?
“People always ask me [that], I think 'normal' is relative.
“It’s not like we were caged. We were acting lang naman.”
But leaving school was definitely not an option for Jaypee.
“No, I never left school. I finished college. School was never really an issue for me kasi I like studying."
He added that at some point, his parents made him choose between school and showbiz.
“Sabi ko, ‘I like school,' so I chose to study and do the whole day thing. Meron na akong alma mater loyalty noon.”
ACTING MENTORS. PEP asked Jaypee who among the senior actors he had worked with made a big impact on him.
“Si Christopher de Leon, I got to work with him quite often," he said.
He worked with the seasoned actor in Kapag Puso’y Sinagutan and Huwag Mo Kaming Isumpa.
“Maraming tips sa set ‘yon,” he said of Boyet.
And then, of course, the late Dolphy.
“What’s memorable about Dolphy was not really on the set, it’s how he remembers you after the movie.
“He would send you gifts, even a year after we filmed [a movie] together."
He worked with Dolphy in Teng Teng De Sarapen (1983) and Nang Maghalo Ang Balat Sa Tinalupan (1984).
He recalled the time when he and the Comedy King ran into each other during a Metro Manila Film Festival Awards Night.
“Nakasalubong ko si Mang Dolphy sa CR [comfort room], that was 10-12 years ago.
“Of course matanda na ako, I was medyo hesitant to greet him.
“He greeted me first, ‘Jaypee, kumusta ka na?’ 'Tapos sabi niya sa kasama niya, ‘Si Jaypee de Guzman 'to, naalala mo?’
"His memory was amazing, so it was really humbling, it was a good experience.
“Ganon talaga ang matatandang artista, e, people-person.”
He and PY have three sons aged 6, 5 and 2 years old.
One other thing that keeps Jaypee busy is his position as national coordinator of Elim Community's youth ministry.
“We are in a ministry. I serve in a Catholic community, I handle youth ministry, I work with young men and women, teens, and I mentor them,” he said.
As a family man, he described life as "pretty quiet.”
He added, “I don’t know if you can consider having three boys as having a quiet life because it’s not.
"It’s a pretty normal life, we go out, we bring them to school, we eat out on weekends, very normal.”
BACK TO WORK. Jaypee admitted feeling his way on his first day of taping for his comeback project, My BFF on GMA.
He related, “I guess like anything, you need to get into the groove of things, so I was telling my wife, ‘First taping day, parang siguro I was pretty hard on myself, parang nabibitin pa ako dun sa [performance ko].'
“And then sa last taping day namin, okay na ako. I’m okay.
"Kailangan din ng momentum, warm-up.”
In the teleserye, Jaypee also gets the chance to work with showbiz batchmates and That’s Entertainment almuni Janno Gibbs and Manilyn Reynes.
“Kasi matagal na kaming magkakakilala... sila Mani [Manilyn] at Janno.
“Nung isang beses nga, naghihintay kami ng take, andun kami sa sofa, nakaupo kami, ‘O, ano nang gagawin natin?’
"May pinag-uusapan lang kami about sa iba naming kasama sa That’s… Hindi nawawala yung camaraderie, tagal n’yong magkakasama. We grew up together.”
In My BFF, Jaypee portrays the role of Tolits, best friend and sidekick of Janno’s character.
“I’m there to support him, give him advice, a breather. Meron siyang kalokohan, yung parang meron siyang taong pagbabatuhan niya ng iniisip niya at sama ng loob.
"So I play his sounding board.”