Contrary to what people might assume, Jake Ejercito and his younger brother Jacob lived a normal childhood despite those years coinciding with the height of their father's political career.
Joseph "Erap" Estrada served as the 13th president of the country from 1998 to 2001.
Jake, 26, and Jacob, 20, are the politician’s sons with actress Laarni Enriquez and younger brothers of Jerika Ejercito, 31.
True, the family’s set-up was beyond the ordinary with nine other siblings on the paternal side, but there was "no friction," said Jacob in YES! magazine's October 2016 issue.
Their father made sure that everyone grew close to one another.
Jacob added, "I grew up knowing my half siblings na. So, I was used to it. [My dad] made it a point na although marami siyang anak, each would graduate from college, each would have a good life.
"Every Sunday we would visit, talk, and catch up, lahat. So, no friction at all. I love them."
For almost seven years since 2000, their father was on house arrest in his private rest house in Tanay, Rizal.
This was described by the brothers as a "blessing in disguise" because the politician was able to focus on being a father.
Jake revealed, "We’d spend out summers there. Sa Tanay, meron siyang parang taniman do'n, and we planted and harvested with Jacob."
He continued, “I knew his strengths. I knew more about him. Iyong sobrang passionate niya sa tao, doon ako na-inspire...
"I wanted to be like him when I grew up.”
But ultimately, the reason why Jake and Jacob were able to live a normal childhood was because of their mother.
Jacob said, "She’s a package deal. Kung ako tatanungin mo, masuwerte si Daddy kay Mommy kaysa masuwerte si Mommy kay Daddy.
"Kasi, when my dad was busy, my mom gets, parang, every thing."
"She keeps us grounded. She always reminds us, ‘O, Jacob, Jake, Jerika, alam niyo naman ang tatay niyo, blah-blah-blah...You always have to remember where you came from.
"That’s why sobrang close ng family namin, because of my mom."
POLITICS AT AN EARLY AGE. Between the two, Jake seemed to have shown more interest in politics.
This was probably because when Erap’s term as president began, Jacob was only two years old.
For Jake's part, as early as five years old, he had been joining Erap’s campaigns and sorties.
At that moment, the young Jake believed that politics was the path for him.
But in 2000, the corruption scandal, impeachment trial, and, eventually, Erap’s ouster became a traumatizing experience for Jake.
He recalled, "Cardinal Sin at that time issued a circular para sa Catholic school, inviting everyone to come to EDSA II.
"I received the circular. I brought it home. Something na ini-invite ako to call for my dad’s resignation.
"And then iyon, after that—actually, all throughout the impeachment trial—nabu-bully ako by the upper batches."
Read the full story in YES! magazine's October 2016 issue available at bookstores and newsstands nationwide for 110 pesos.