MANILA — Alexa Ilacad considers KD Estrada her “greatest takeaway” from her “Pinoy Big Brother” (PBB) experience, saying their close friendship will go on far beyond their 71-day stint in the reality series.
Ilacad, 21, and Estrada, 19, were evicted from the program’s celebrity edition at the same time on December 26.
During their months-long stay in “PBB,” the actress-singer and the showbiz newcomer developed a strong bond, with Estrada finding comfort in Ilacad as he dealt with romantic rejection and anxiety.
Speaking with ABS-CBN News, Ilacad shared she has had the chance to review her interactions with Estrada, as seen in “PBB” episodes aired since October 2021 until their joint departure.
“It really warms my heart every time I watch something related to the two of us, or just reading the comments of people about us,” she said.
While Estrada appeared to rely on Ilacad for emotional support as shown in key episodes of “PBB,” the actress explained that she, too, drew motivation from him.
“It was a two-way thing. If he got strength from me, I got strength from him, too. Our bound was just so genuine. From the very start, we had this really, really strong connection. We are the only ones who understood each other, and who wouldn’t get tired of each other,” she said.
“Inside the house, where everything is so stressful, honestly — mentally, spiritually, emotionally, physically, with all the challenges — it’s a giant blessing for me that KD was there. If he’s thankful for me, I’m thankful for him even more.”
Since their exit from “PBB,” Ilacad and Estrada have frequently spent time with each other, given their common guest appearances — and beyond, going by their social media updates.
“He’s my greatest takeaway from the whole ‘PBB’ journey, because now I have a solid person in my life who I can really count on. And that’s so rare to find. It’s so rare to find someone that you just connect with, someone who gets you, and who assures you na hindi siya mapapagod sa ‘yo,” Ilacad said.
During their stay inside the famous yellow house, both Ilacad and Estrada opened up about their respective mental health condition.
Ilacad had been grappling with major depressive disorder caused by body dysmorphia prior to entering “PBB,” while Estrada’s depression and anxiety were tackled in numerous episodes of the ABS-CBN program.
“We both have a condition,” Ilacad said. “We understand that it’s hard for people to understand us. We’ve been called aloof, loners, everything, inside the house. But the two of us, we get each other. Just to have that, it really helps to get me, personally, through day by day, knowing na nandoon siya, na maaashan ko.”
That they got evicted on the same night was likely “destiny,” Ilacad surmised, “because if one of us were left in the house, and one of us were out, the one left inside — I don’t know — I would personally maybe go crazy!”
“Ang hirap na ng susunod ng mga araw na wala ‘yung isa sa amin. We get strength from each other, e,” she said.
Asked how she would now describe her relationship with Estrada, Ilacad answered, “Nothing’s changed, actually.”
“Kung paano kami sa loob, ganoon din kami sa labas. We’re still looking out for each other, always kinukumusta ‘yung isa’t isa. Obviously, we really enjoy each other’s company.
“I’d say we’re both growing, we’re both in a really good place right now. Even with our conditions, we’re both happy. That’s really important,” she said.