MANILA, Philippines -- Julia Montes prefers to keep problems from her family, hoping to avoid giving them any "burden."
The 17-year-old actress turned emotional in an interview with "Showbiz Inside Report" aired Saturday, when her grandmother Flory Hautea noted that the "Mara Clara" star no longer shares her problems with her.
Holding back tears, Montes said, "Kasi po ang goal ko, gumaan ang buhay nila. Kung may problema man ako, kung kayang ako muna, ako muna. Ayoko munang ma-involve sila."
Montes has been pursuing her goal of providing a better life for her grandmother and deaf-mute mom since she started working at a young age.
In 2005, she joined the kiddie gag show "Goin' Bulilit" as Mara Schnittka, her real name. At the time, Montes recalled, it was her "lola" who was a constant presence in helping pursue her dreams.
"From the start po talaga, noong nag-start ako sa showbiz, even doon sa school, siya na talaga ang kasama ko, parang mommy, daddy lahat," she said.
Admittedly, Montes' closeness to her grandmother caused her mom to be "jealous."
Referring to the two women in her life, Montes said, "Mahirap po i-balance, kasi nasanay ako si mama laging wala. Ang alam ko lang, lola ko lagi nandiyan."
"Umabot talaga sa point na naging honest ako sa mama ko, kinausap ko siya. Iba talaga si lola ko, hindi dahil hindi ko siya (mom) love, pero iba 'yung sacrifice ng lola ko, kasi nung panahong dapat tumayo siyang nanay, lola ko 'yung nandiyan," the young actress said.
Sharing successes, burdens
Montes recalled, seeing her "lola" barely making ends meet to pay for her tuition motivated her dream to enter showbiz. At one point, the "Walang Hanggan" star said, her grandmother had to sacrifice her salon business to pull their efforts together to support Montes' at the start of her career.
At the time, Montes had just started filming the 2010 remake of the drama series "Mara Clara." The actress' portrayal of the angst-filled teen and "kontrabida" Clara marked her rise to popularity.
This was followed by a string of successful projects -- the teen-oriented series "Growing Up" (2011), the 2012 series "Walang Hanggan," and the romantic-comedy film "A Moment In Time," which is currently in theaters nationwide.
Thanks to her thriving career, Montes was able to put up a new salon last year as a way of "repaying" her grandmother. She also bought a new house to mark her 17th birthday in March.
"Hindi mo talaga maiwasan na nagi-guilty ka," Hautea, Montes' grandmother said, referring to the actress being the breadwinner of the family at an early age.
Offering to share at least her granddaughter's personal burdens, Hautea turned emotional in saying, "Dapat sa akin muna [mag-kwento ng problema], bago sa iba. Syempre ang sa akin, ako ang nakakaalam ng buhay niya."