Andi Eigenmann is not just a tourist on the island of Siargao, Surigao del Norte.
The actress-mom has begun planting roots in the popular surfing destination.
Having tried what it is like to lead a simple life in Baler, Aurora, the next plan of beach-loving Andi is to put up a business in Siargao.
"Well, technically nagsisimula na pero wala pa yung structures.
"I’m building Airbnb," she said, referring to the company that offers private homes as lodging to travelers.
"Transient, ang set-up is a house that you can rent. Bed and Breakfast."
Her boyfriend, top surfer Philmar Alipayo, is also her business partner.
Andi says of Philmar, "He’s born and raised in Siargao."
PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) spoke to Andi at the press conference of her horror movie All Souls Night held at the Sampaguita Compound, Quezon City, on October 16.
Is she really considering to settle down in Siargao?
"Sana," she answered with a smile.
"It’s just hard because my daughter studies here in Manila. That’s the only reason why I said two weeks-two weeks. Siyempre, she studies here and when the time na she’s with me and she has school, I have to be there."
Andi also clarified that she only stays in Siargao when daughter Ellie is with her father Jake Ejercito. Andi and Jake share custody of Ellie.
"Palitan po kami ni Jake," Andi explained. "Kapag time ko po of the month and since may pasok, nandito po ako. Kapag Christmas, summer, I’m going to be bringing her there with me."
Andi and Jake seem to have a more civil relationship now, considering that their misunderstandings played out in public early last year.
“Wala naman, wala...” Andi said when asked whether she and Jake still encounter problems today.
How does Jake feel about her bringing Ellie to Siargao?
“Well, I’m the mom so I still make most of the decisions. But when Jake naman has something to say, he messages me. And since he doesn’t say anything, siguro naman okay lang.
“At saka, sinasabi ko nga sa anak ko she should invite them—well, I actually personally tell Jake that, you know, 'You should come to Siargao, it’s really fun.'
"I want them also to be comfortable that my daughter has a life there, has friends there.”
Andi and Jake have managed to set aside their differences for Ellie's sake.
“We’re not friends but as parents, yeah, I would say we’re really good.”
How does Ellie feel about her new hometown?
“Sobrang happy! As in!”
Andi continued, “Ilang beses na yun na umiiyak sa akin kasi may pasok siya so hindi ko siya madala. Then, sinasabi niya, 'But mom, you said next month.' E, akala ko kasi may sembreak siya.”
Both Andi and Jake come from a line of actors. Andi's late dad Mark Gil belonged to the Eigenmann clan, which has produced some of the best actors in the industry. Her mom Jaclyn Jose is an award-winning actress herself. Meanwhile, Jake has former actor and Manila Mayor Joseph "Erap" Esrtrada and former actress Laarni Enriquez as parents.
Is Andi open to the idea of Ellie getting into showbiz?
“I will support her in whatever she wants to do because that’s her life. And as long as she’s happy, and I will just make sure to raise her... yung smart decision. But it’s really up to her.
“But as of now, she’s too young to decide on that.”
With regard to her decision to live away from Manila, Andi said the simple life, whether in Baler or Siargao, suits her.
She remarked, “I guess, realizing that money is not really the secret to success or happiness.
“Having less is easier to be happy and thankful and to appreciate everything around you, that you don’t really need much.
“Also, I have better relationship with friends and the people that I’ve met there.
“And I feel like when you take away everything—your insecurity, pride, ego, yung panlabas mong hitsura—at ang nagma-matter lang yung heart mo, what’s in there and your mind, how you connect with people, mas madali at mas meaningful yung relationship na nabi-build mo.”
All Souls Night, Andi's comeback movie directed by Aloy Adlawan and Jules Katanyag, is showing on October 31.