Thanks to the quarantine, Jake Ejercito was able to spend uninterrupted quality time with his daughter, Ellie Eigenmann.
Jake and Andi Eigenmann—Ellie's mother and his former girlfriend—share joint custody of their daughter.
Ellie was living in Jake's house in Manila when the community quarantine took effect on March 15, 2020.
Andi, who is based in Siargao, was able to fly back to Manila in June 2020.
This meant that for three full months, Jake had Ellie all to himself.
The experience taught him a lot as a father.
"Doon sa three months na nagkasama kami, talagang mas nakilala ko siya," the new Star Magic artist said in his interview with TV5 talk show, Chika, Besh!
"Na-face ko rin ang challenges of being a father. Siyempre, at her age—she's turning nine this year. So, parang at her age, siyempre iyong mga bata na ganoon, naghahanap ng new activities every day."
Jake had to try new things, and, at the same time, introduce his interests to her.
"First time ko mag-bake ng cookies because of her.
"Somehow, I tried my best na mahiligan niya rin iyong mga hobbies ko and interests ko, so in-introduce ko si Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Harry Potter... And then ang basketball, medyo pinilit ko pa sa kanya."
They also played badminton together.
ARGUING OVER TIKTOK
Their three months together also made Jake realize how much Ellie is becoming her own person.
For one, Ellie loves posting on TikTok, a social media platform where one does various dance videos and comedy skits.
At first, Jake was against the idea of his daughter using the video-sharing app.
He said, "Pinagbawal ko siya before na mag-TikTok kasi, siyempre, being a father and having a daughter, siyempre ang dami kasi makikita sa TikTok, di ba?
"Siyempre you have to be vigilant, and you want her to be discerning sa mga makikita niya doon.
"Pero hindi niya ako sinunod. Akala ko dinelete na niya. After a while, nakikita ko nagpo-post pa pala siya."
They argued about this during quarantine, but the father-daughter duo eventually reach a compromise.
"Ayon, hinayaan ko na siya eventually. I just told her, iyon nga, to be discerning sa mga nakikita."
Jake also learned that Ellie inherited one of his traits.
"Na-discover ko na napasa ko sa kanya ang pagiging impatient ko," he said, laughing.
"But she's a very shy, kind, quiet kid. I'm proud of her."
Jake as a dad
How is Jake as a dad?
He revealed, "I'm the bad cop, aminin ko na iyon. But, at the same time, I make it a point to be authoritative and not authoritarian.
"I want Ellie to trust me and not fear me. Iyong hindi siya matatakot na magsabi ng anything."
He also voiced out his concerns about raising a daughter in today's world.
The son of former Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada and former actress Laarni Enriquez said, "Having a daughter, it's hard not to worry. Kasi, parang, despite the advancement sa women empowerment, di ba? Parang, there will always be sectors of society na will objectify women, unfortunately, and treat them differently."
This is why he wants to be intentional in the way he raises her.
Jake said, "Ngayon pa lang, gusto ko na-e-empower si Ellie to save herself and not to feel the need to be saved by anyone else. Self-validation."
Ellie is turning nine this November.