Jake Ejercito and daughter Ellie (MNS photo)

MANILA, Apr 22 (Mabuhay) — Jake Ejercito candidly talked about his co-parenting setup with Andi Eigenmann as they raise their nine-year-old daughter Ellie.

Ejercito said he and Eigenmann have worked so hard together to reach the point where they are today.

“I don’t really ask Ellie about it [how she feels about the setup]. Parang na o-observe ko lang sa kanya. Kasi siyempre Andi and I, yung relationship naman namin when it comes to co-parenting, hindi naman naging smooth lagi and hindi naman siya smooth ever since,” he said.

“Marami kaming pinagdaanan na phases. Siyempre before, immature pa kami and everything. So medyo malayo din yung nilakbay bago naging ganito ka-settled and smooth.”

What’s good about their situation now, Ejercito said, is it benefits Ellie and that has always been their goal.

“Nakikita ko lang sa kanya dati, may times na kapag magulo, siyempre nakikita ko kay Ellie na nahihirapan din siya. And what’s good about now is parang kasi ang priority namin is yung what’s good for Ellie… So nakikita ko sa kanya na hindi na siya nahihirapan, smooth lahat, okay yung communication.”

Ejercito also talked about his recent trip to Siargao when he fetched his daughter.

“I went there just to pick her up, para sunduin siya, kasi nga considering si Andi may bagong baby. She has Lilo also. Mahihirapan siya kung siya pa ang magdadala dito kay Ellie. So nakiusap sa akin si Andi, kung puwede ko sunduin si Ellie and that’s what I did,” he said.

Since Ellie has been living in Siargao with her mom, Ejercito said he asked his daughter to show him around the island.

“I asked her to show me kung saan siya nagpupunta every day, kung saan siya naglalaro, kung saan siya kumakain. So ‘yun ang mga inikot namin while I was there,” he said.

Aside from visiting Siargao for the first time, the actor said it was also his first time to meet Eigenmann’s fiancé Philmar Alipayo, and their youngest child Koa.

“Si Lilo, na meet ko na dito sa Manila. And then the youngest, si Koa, I met there in Siargao and also si Philmar. It was a first time also na I met him when I was there.”

When asked what part of Ellie’s personality did she get from him or Eigenmann, Ejercito said: “We’re both very, very shy, kami ni Ellie. I guess si Andi rin naman, medyo mahiyain rin si Andi. Si Ellie isn’t that expressive. Pero once in a while, out of nowhere, mag ‘I love you, Dad’, mag ‘Thank you, Dad.’ Yun na yun for her, and more than enough na yun for me when I hear those words from her.”

Now that Ellie is turning 10, Ejercito said he just likes to make the most of his time with his daughter whenever they are together. (MNS)