MANILA -- “We are not perfect.”
That was what actress Elisse Joson told ABS-CBN News when she faced the media Monday with her real-life partner, Mccoy de Leon, the dad of her one-year-old daughter, Felize McKenzie.
Joson and De Leon admittedly went through a lot before they decided to have a family. They broke up, reconciled and picked up from where they left off.
“Maraming challenges kaming pinagdadaanan,” Joson added. “I am thankful na si McCoy ang partner ko in all. He’s a very hands-on dad. Nakita ko ‘yung shift from being just a boyfriend, tapos naging dad na siya.
“Everyday, even if I don’t tell him, nakikita ko ‘yung pagiging responsible niya na tatay. I always tell that to Felize everyday. She’s very lucky to have McCoy as her dad. He’s very responsible and he’s really working hard for Felize and me.”
Getting back together again was not something Joson and De Leon consciously planned. “Hindi talaga sadya ‘yung pagre-reunite namin,” Joson said. “One day, nagkita na lang kami casually. Wala na ‘yung pain.
“Magaan na ‘yung pakiramdam namin at wala na ‘yung galit sa isa’t isa. Kung ano man ‘yung negative na feelings namin when we separated, wala na. Doon nag-start.”
Thousands rejoiced, most especially their loyal followers, when McLisse got back together again, reuniting romantically. “It was not very easy,” Joson admitted.
“We had a past relationship, we separated and then we got back together. Now, nagkaroon kami ng anak and we are starting a family.”
De Leon and Joson are paired anew in the romance-drama, “Habangbuhay,” which marks their second film project together, following director JP Habac’s “Sakaling Maging Tayo” in 2019.
“Mahirap talaga ‘yung movie namin nu’ng 2019, because it affected the both of us and our work,” Joson explained. “In and out pa kami noon sa relationship namin.
“Now, napag-uusapan namin how we would do our set-up and we have our rapport. We are able to talk to each other. Mas madali talaga ngayon. We want to make the audience see the rawness na hindi nila nakikita before.
“Ang mas naging challenging, paano namin ipapakita the different side of us because we’re a couple already. The first time, hindi pa kami couple.
“We started over sa pinaka-una na hindi pa kami mag-boyfriend-girlfriend. But it became okay naman. We were able to pull it off.”
“Habangbuhay,” set to stream starting April 22 on Vivamax, gave Joson and De Leon a lot of discoveries both as actors that will give new color and contrast to their craft.
“Ang haba ng process before we completed this movie,” Joson admitted. “We have to consider the pandemic. First time namin to make a movie na may baby na kami. We decided to go for it. Sobrang matured scenes. Iba at bago sa amin.
“At the end of the day, what matters most to us is how we were able to perform sa ginawa naming film. Malalaman din namin how well we did. Kung ano kulang o sobra. But hearing it from the people you actually worked with, that made us proud.”
Joson plays Bea, a girl diagnosed with Common Variable Immune Deficiency. Her body has low levels of protective antibodies, thus making her susceptible to various infections. Because of this, Bea does not have the luxury to go places
De Leon is JR, the family’s houseboy. Years earlier, Bea’s nanny took him home after finding him roaming the streets in tears.
Joson shared they are both “excited” when the project was presented to them. “We were excited to work together again. We were excited to explore each other as actors.
“Hindi ko akalain na ganito ang magiging resulta. Ang tagal naming hindi nagka-work. Excited kami to show this to you.”
Curiously enough, a few scenes in “Habangbuhay” hew closely to De Leon and Joson’s real-life experiences as a couple.
“May mga scenes na hindi namin nagagawa or nasasabi sa isa’t-isa in real life, pero nagawa naman namin sa movie,” Joson shared. “In real life, those are the things we wanted to do but we are not very vocal sometimes, so hindi namin na-express.”
For his part, De Leon insisted they both felt anxious and under pressure even when they were already filming “Habangbuhay,” with Real Florido at the helm and John Versoza as screenwriter.
De Leon’s real-life relationship with Joson is something for the long-haul. “Panghabang buhay na ‘to,” he said. “Sobrang contented ako para sa masayang pamilya namin.
“Hanggang ngayon, I’m still trying to win to the highest level ‘yung heart ni Elisse. Siyempre, hindi naman one day lang ‘yan. Habangbuhay. But I know love is not enough.”
Joson added: “There’s understanding, respect, compromising, giving. We are still learning up to now. Sobrang grateful lang talaga ako na siya ang daddy ni Felize.”
De Leon cannot be more thankful that he has a family now and that makes him work double time for their future.
“Si Elisse, gusto din niya palaging best para sa kanyang family,” said De Leon. “Gusto niya lahat mabigyan ng time, kasiyahan. Ayaw niyang may male-left behind.
“Nakita ko siya as girlfriend ko and now as a mother. When she’s at home, makikita mo ‘yung priority niya. Si [baby] Felize. Wala akong masabing kulang. Wala rin akong masabing sobra.
“Sobrang perfect ni Elisse para sa naging anak namin. Thankful ako kay Lord dahil mayroon akong pamilya, mayroon akong partner na tulad ni Elisse at anak tulad ni Felize.”
The young couple is apparently not pressured by the inquiries of many people around them, especially their relatives, when their altar date will happen.
“Preparations kasi talaga,” maintained Joson. “Alam naman natin na with the baby, sudden din. We want to be prepared to move forward with our future. That’s important to us.”