DEREK at home with
In His Own Home
PLUS • stargazing daniel padilla; scarlet, vicki, hayden; richard gomez; robin, kylie, aljur; marian rivera; Gretchen & dominique; claUdia Barretto; elnella moments; sanG’Gres’ reunion; kz & Jessie J; matt evans; sharon; ryle santiago; binibining pilipinas candidates; Ruru madrid & cast of sherlockJr. • theater
himala,isanGmUsikal • showbiz lengua REVERSE PA MORE • farewell direk MARYO J. • BIZ sam pinto & benjamin alves • snaps sarah lahbati, Bernardo BERNARDO, KARLA ESTRADA, BROOKLYN beckham • HELLO TO the babies OF pokwang, michelle madrigal, alyanna martinez, Jerika ejercito
The house that Derek Ramsay painstakingly built for himself measures nearly 600 square meters. It has two floors and four bedrooms. His bedroom occupies half of the second floor, but this is not where he spends most of his time. He’s usually all over the place to check on things.
“Pag nandito ako sa bahay, lagi akong nag-aayos,” Derek tells YES! “Everything has to be in place.”
With Derek are four of his five dogs: (L‑R) Shakira, an English bulldog; Lowfat, a Pomeranian; Habibi, a Bichon Frise; and Riri, a corgi. “The house that I built in Alabang, that was me from the ground up talaga,” Derek Ramsay announced back in April 2017, when he was showing the YES! team around his family’s beachfront property in the town of San Vicente, Palawan. Derek was our cover star in June that year.
One late morning in August 2017, four months after that out-of-town assignment, we visit Derek’s house in an exclusive village located just outside Barangay Alabang in Muntinlupa City. The 41-year-old actor, athlete, and product endorser is out playing golf with fellow actor and golfer John Estrada. But he has thoughtfully instructed his housekeeper, Marissa Sevillano, to let us in, so we can start shooting parts of his house. Later, we partake of the sumptuous lunch that Marissa has prepared, along with the takeout food that we’ve brought to the photo shoot.
We admiringly look around, and recall Derek’s fastidious approach to supervising house construction and interior design.
“Medyo maarte ako when it comes to stuff like that,” he told us in Palawan last year. “You’ll see it in my house sa Alabang also. Do’n, it was just me in charge, sobrang makikita mo that everything is in perfect order. Parang ’yong light switch has to be perfectly straight, or if there are little things na nakikita kong mali, pinapaulit ko. So, I’m not scared of telling the workers to do it all over again. Basta I want it done right, and I guess I got that from my mom.”
Indeed, the celebrity homeowner’s meticulous attention to detail is seen and felt all over his Alabang domain. Every spot is perfect for a shot, and any decor item is a conversational piece.
But the overall look doesn’t intimidate. It’s actually inviting, for instance, to sit on the expensive-looking sofa, couch, and chairs, or maybe to hang out in the den on the ground floor and in the foyer on the second floor. A dip in the pool may prove to be irresistible, too.
Derek arrives by mid-afternoon with his girlfriend Joanne Villablanca, who lives with him. He tells us he needs to freshen up, but nevertheless starts giving us a rundown of what’s inside and outside, some of which he describes in particular, while others he mentions in passing. Sometimes, he turns to Joanne and asks her to help him remember the details.
After a quick trip to the shower, the good-looking actor, who shuns makeup and fashion styling, is ready to pose for his portraits wearing his own shirt-andshorts ensembles. Then, he tours us around his two-story property, which measures close to 600 square meters.
He was still living in his old digs in the neighboring city of Parañaque when he discovered this place in Alabang.
“I was just driving around,” he recounts. “I get some sort of peace driving around and looking at houses.”
That was early in 2015. He had already bought a 1,600-square-meter lot in Nuvali, which is described on its website as “an eco-city development” in Laguna province. He was ready to build his dream house there. But he changed his mind when he found this Alabang house, which was under construction at that time.
Derek recalls getting down from his car and telling the workers: “Stop, I’ll buy it as is.”
He did just that two days later, buying it from a man who’s into building and selling houses.
“But I still got him as my contractor,” he points out. “Ibang-iba ’yong plan nila diyan. Ang panget! Ayokong gawin… Sabi ko, ‘Ito ang gusto kong gawin diyan.’”
Right away, he shared his vision with the construction team, and he later guided them in turning that vision into reality. He did so while he was neck- deep in work that year, taping for his two shows for his home network, TV5 (the reality-TV show Extreme Series: Kaya Mo Ba ’To? and the sitcom Mac & Chiz, opposite Empoy), and filming for his former network ABS- CBN’s moviemaking arm, Star Cinema (the romance- drama with Coleen Garcia, Ex with Benefits, and the ensemble piece All You Need Is Pag-ibig).
“One year din of every day coming here,” he says, chuckling. “Sa umaga, kahit puyat, I’m here to check on it. New idea, come back, palit na naman ng idea. Nabaliw sa ’kin ’yong contractor ko, sobra! But he’s a cool guy. Pulido siya gumawa, as you can see.”
Since mid-2016, Derek has been living in his Alabang house, which has become a showcase for his recently discovered but rapidly developing interest and talent in home and interior design.
“Ewan ko nga kung ano ’tong pinasukan ko ngayon, e!” quips the Filipino-British mestizo known for
his machismo appeal and athletic pursuits. “Kasi, no’ng bata ako, wala akong pakialam sa mga ganyan. Before, it was sports and cars. Now, I don’t even care about cars. I don’t use them. Now, I like buying magazines about houses.”
Though he gets ideas from magazines and other resources, Derek has his own ways of bringing those to fruition. He points to the walls. “Ito, akala mo, marble?” he asks us. “Semento lang ’to! Winax. Masilya, then you seal it with wax. And then wax, and then wax, and then wax. Medyo matrabaho, pero if you noticed, may perimeter wall. Pinaganyan ko, kaya di kumakapit ’yong dumi… Basta, layers and layers of wax.” He gestures upwards. “You won’t notice, but may accent lights sila,” he tells us. “Cheap lang, S&R [a membership-shopping club]. May remote ako. Even at night, it lights up at the back, and you stay there. Magic!”
And he picks up the remote from its slot. “This is the remote. It has a timer. You just press it, and even underneath that table there, it lights up. Accent lights. Light is key.”
Derek says ideas just pop into his head, and the ones that he pursues follow his number one rule: “Ayaw ko ng may kapareho.” He follows the same rule when finding furniture and furnishings—a practice that drives Joanne, whom he calls by her nickname Jo, crazy.
“Siya, nabubuwisit na sa ’kin,” he says of his girlfriend. “Talagang sa isang araw, iikutin ko lahat ng shops, ’cause I want everything done right away… Kahit na nakapunta na ako do’n sa shop the day before: ‘Balik tayo do’n.’
“She’ll say: ‘Pero nakita mo na lahat do’n.’
“‘Parang I recall seeing something that I know can work, and I wanna go back kahit di ako sure.’
“Masipag talaga ako, and stress reliever siya— to look at furniture and then magazines.”
Derek is enjoying his newfound passion, so much so that he now mulls over the idea of building an extension to his property. “Gusto ko ngang bilhin ’yong across the street. I wanna buy that, tear that house down, and then make it into a parang garage and game area.”
Then there’s his Nuvali lot, which, he proudly reports, has passed the soil boring tests—that is, tests made by engineers to determine, among other things, the ability of the soil to support structures.
“Maganda talaga ’yon,” he beams. “You should see the sketch of my house in Nuvali. Talagang naka-budget na ’yon, nakalatag na. Naka-save na ako for that house. ’ Yong parking ko do’n is three hundred fifty square meters. Underground. I have two hundred fifty square meters for man cave, gym, or whatever you wanna do, and then, do’n ’yong movie room ko.
“The wall of my movie room is a swimming pool, and my garage’s wall is the swimming pool. So, you can see the cars when you’re swimming, and then, double-sided glass siya. It’s an aquarium and a swimming pool. When you’re in the pool, it looks like you’re swimming with the fish. And then two wings siya. Big pool in the middle, parang beach style.
“Crazy house! There’s a bridge there to connect the two wings. But I told them to take the bridge out. Sobra naman ’yong bridge.”
But Derek’s housing plans don’t end there. He’s also looking into Tagaytay City, where his parents live, to build a bungalow that “extends off the cliff.” His inspiration for his future project is the Casa Till (or Till House) built by the Latin American architectural firm WMR Arquitectos on the cliffs of the Los Arcos area in Chile.
The actor turns pensive when asked if he sees himself getting into the business of building and selling houses. He then mentions a famous American TV host who engages in such an enterprise: Ellen DeGeneres.
According to her own book, Home, released in 2015, the internationally known talk-show host “has bought and renovated nearly a dozen homes over the last twenty-five years, and describes her real-estate and decorating adventures as ‘an education.’”
Derek is thrilled at the thought of following in the footsteps of Ellen DeGeneres.
“Para akong bata,” he admits. “Nae‑excite talaga ’ko, e. I’m entering a world that I know I enjoy, but I’m gonna make a lot of mistakes. So, I have to think this through, and I really need to find somebody whom I can trust, who’ll guide me through it. It’s not something I could just jump into, kaya I’m practicing on my own stuff for now. So, when I make that investment and make a house to sell to somebody… We’ll see. But again, I don’t think it’s going to happen overnight.”
SPORTS & SHOWBIZ
An alternate career that Derek may consider is that of a professional golf player.
“It’s kinda late at the age of forty to jump into the pro level, but nothing is impossible,” he says. “So I’ll try to put down that I was once a professional, even if it was just for a year or two. But it’s just for the game of golf I love—even if I don’t reach the pro level, at least when I get my handicap down to almost a pro, and I’m getting there slowly.”
Fret not, Derek’s fans. The actor is not leaving the entertainment industry anytime soon.
Since moving into his Alabang house in 2016, the actor has starred in three movies—the rom-com Love Is Blind (Regal Films), with his ex-girlfriend, Solenn Heussaff; the sex- drama The Escort (also Regal Films), with Kapuso actress Lovi Poe; and another rom-com, My Candidate (Quantum Films), with Kapamilya actress Shaina Magdayao. But Derek doesn’t have a regular TV show.
The contract star of TV5 explains his absence from the small screen: “I made a deal with myself na I think it’s fair na I concentrate on what else I’m passionate about, and that’s my sports.”
This time, he’s talking about Frisbee, specifically the World Championships of Beach Ultimate (WCBU), which took place from June 18 to 24, 2017, in the resort town of Royan, France.
“Yeah, it was a big risk for me to take six months off to concentrate on my sports. But I think that’s fair enough to me. I need to be fair to myself, and I want to balance everything that I have. I’ll never be able to go back to the World Championships if I didn’t do it then. I wouldn’t have the opportunity to compete again at the highest level of the sport that I love, and I’d be just depressed. I’ll always tell myself, ‘What
if?’ So I told myself I’ll do it, and hopefully I’ve given enough to the industry for the people to still remember and love me when I come back.”
Derek and his Frisbee team scored 14 wins against two losses in the competition, but their efforts still didn’t earn them a slot in the finals.
He found solace when, upon returning home in July, he led the opening rites of The Barracks, the food park that his family owns in Tagaytay, and people greeted him with excitement. He remembered feeling “so much love” and getting constantly asked, ‘Kelan ka gagawa ng movie? We miss you on the big screen.”
A month later, in early August, just a few days before the YES! house shoot, Derek went to Cebu for a store visit at an SM mall in support of the Lee clothing line that he endorses, and he was again overwhelmed by the warm welcome he got there.
“Napalunok ako talaga,” he tells us, recalling the experience with fondness. “I didn’t know what to say to the Cebuanos. They haven’t been seeing me on TV, and if you don’t get seen on TV, nalalaos ka. Like, punong-puno ’yong SM, and they had twenty guards and bouncers to hold the crowd back. But I said I completely appreciate the love and support they give me. Pag nakakakita ka ng gano’n, maeengganyo ka talaga magtrabaho. You just get so pumped up and motivated to work and do something to make them happy.”
Shortly after that Cebu trip, Derek received a call from lawyer and film producer Joji Alonso, who bankrolled his hit movie opposite Jennylyn Mercado, English Only, Please. That movie was a top-grossing entry in the 2014 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF). It also won the best actor and best actress awards for Derek and Jennylyn.
Derek was subsequently offered by Attorney Joji to take over Jericho Rosales’s role as Jennylyn’s leading man in an entry in the 2017 MMFF. He said yes, and went on to reunite with Jennylyn in a movie helmed by their English Only, Please director, Dan Villegas. The movie, All of You, hit theaters last Christmas Day, and fared fairly well at the tills. It also gave Derek his second best actor trophy from the MMFF.
On January 9, 2018, Derek posted on IG a photo of his first shooting day for a movie with the working title Kasal. Among those with him in the photo taken on the movie set were his director, Ruel Bayani, and his costars, Bea Alonzo and Paulo Avelino.
Derek told YES! about this bigscreen project as early as April 2017, while we were in Palawan. He was delighted about being reunited with Bea, whom he had worked with in two movies, One More Chance (2006) and And I Love You So (2009), and in two teleseryes, Maging Sino Ka Man: Ang Pagbabalik (2007) and Magkaribal (2010). He also looked forward to being directed again by Direk Ruel, who helmed No Other Woman, Derek’s 2011 blockbuster with Anne Curtis and Cristine Reyes.
Kasal created buzz less than two months before filming began when ABSCBN, the parent company of the movie’s production outfit, Star Cinema, issued a statement through its TV and online affiliates. The statement, dated November 17, 2017, said: “ABS-CBN welcomes back Derek Ramsay who will soon work with Bea Alonzo in the film ‘Kasal’ under Star Cinema. ABS-CBN’s top management and Derek have met recently and resolved the issues arising from his transfer to another network five years ago.”
“Ito, ako nag-design,” Derek announces as he leads the YES! team into the kitchen, which has top-of-the-line appliances and implements. But what’s impressive is the way this area is kept clean and organized. “Everything is concealed,” he explains.
Soon, there were talks of Derek’s return to ABS- CBN after leaving TV5. Derek cleared the issue on December 1, when he met with website news reporters and individual bloggers for a blogcon, or bloggers’ conference, to promote All of You. He did so by downplaying the meeting he had with the Kapamilya network’s top management, including Malou Santos, Cory Vidanes, and Gabby Lopez.
“It’s more of we finally had that talk that was long overdue to squash whatever it is that happened,” he said at the blogcon, as quoted by PEP.ph, the online affiliate of YES! “It’s a courtesy call. I got to speak with Tita Malou, Tita Cory, Gabby Lopez… Kasi it is a big thing, and we never had closure. So I vented out why, and they vented out why. It was just like a bunch of friends na nagkatampuhan, and we walked out there relieved, and to look forward—which is this
movie with Bea and Paulo, which will start off in January. It’s a big project.”
He also pointed out that he’s staying put in his home network: “I am still under contract with TV5, so my loyalty is with TV5. My contract expires April of 2018, so they have all of me, and I’m gonna give a hundred percent to TV5 because I am committed to them… After that, if they still want my services, then I will give them that respect, and siyempre, sila pa rin ’yong priority. But if not, I’ll see what happens.”
YES! gets in touch with Derek via the Viber messaging app to follow up on the topic in time for this article. He replies on February 9 with this message: “My contract comes to an end april.”
Derek’s Alabang house is abuzz with activity on the day of the YES! photo shoot. We follow Derek around as he shares bits and pieces about this and that detail in his residence.
We ask him to pose for photos in different spots, including on a patch of grass just outside the gate, where we shoot him with his canine companions— Shakira, an English bulldog; Habibi, a Bichon Frise; Lowfat, a Pomeranian; Riri, a corgi; and Tyson, another English bulldog.
Late in the afternoon, his colleague and golf buddy John Estrada turns up to catch up with John’s old pal, Anna Pingol, YES! Magazine’s managing editor. John and Anna occupy one side of the dining table, while Derek’s girlfriend Joanne and her brother Jose Villablanca, who had come earlier, take the other side.
Joanne, 28, is a commercial model and a fitness buff. She’s a single mom with a 10-year-old daughter named Sophie, whom Derek dotes on. The little girl has her own room in Derek’s house, but she’s not around on the day of the YES! shoot. “Nasa dad niya,” Joanne tells us, when asked about Sophie. The little girl spends half of her time with either of her parents.
Derek continues with the photo shoot and interview. Every now and then, he talks to either John or Joanne. He also checks on his dogs, which his house helpers keep in the back area so as not to interfere with the shoot.
Though he loves every bit of this house, Derek doesn’t see himself raising a family here.
“If I’m gonna settle down, I’d rather have a more open house, with more open space where my dogs can run freely and
The foyer on the second floor says a lot about the homeowner’s flair for mixing and matching furnishings (above and right photos).
To counterbalance the mustard seat that he bought from the Casabella furniture shop— “Such a masculine couch, lalakeng-lalake”— Derek got a stool that’s called a Mochi Ball, because it looks and feels as soft as the Japanese pastry of that name. Then he placed a huge suitcase in the center to remind him of the bygone era of his lola. Finally, he put together, on a high shelf, a trio of paintings of adult-movie performers Maria Ozawa, Sasha Grey, and a Russian porn star (whose name escapes him during the YES! shoot), along with an action figure of the superhero title character that he played on the teleserye Kidlat (bottom-right photo).
A few steps from the foyer, Solenn’s other painting is displayed on the wall (center-right photo). Derek says his ex gave it to him on his birthday in December 2016. “Solenn’s very close not just to me but to my whole family,” he says of his leading lady in the rom-com Love Is Blind, which was also released in 2016. my [future] kids can play with them,” he points out. The actor’s only child so far, a boy named Austin, now 14 years old, stays in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, with Derek’s estranged wife.
“As you can see, I don’t think this is a house for kids. So, I’d have to childproof it a little bit more for little kids. But with Sophie, she enjoys it here. She loves playing around here. She has her friends over, and they swim. Pero ’yong maliliit na bata, mga delikado pa. So, definitely, if I’m gonna start my family, it has to be something more open.”
He goes on describing his dream family home: “I’m a fan of bungalow houses, so I like something sprawling and more open. Safer for kids. There has to be a very big garden… And I don’t know kung sa’n ako hahanap ng property. Hindi naman sa ayoko ng kapitbahay, ayoko lang ’yong cramped. I don’t like having a perimeter wall or a front gate. But I don’t know, maybe I’ll chance upon a property, and do that.”
Suddenly, he remembers his sizable lot out of town: “My property in Nuvali is a cul- de-sac, so maybe I could do it there. Everything naman is moving to the South, so, hopefully, the plan is to be retired and spend time with my family.”
But retirement doesn’t necessarily mean giving up acting totally.
“Siyempre, pag may tamang project for a movie, I’ll definitely consider it,” he points out. “You think about these things na your priorities change. But my passion for acting and the industry will never change. It’s still there. We have chapters in our life, and it’s time for me maybe in the not-so- distant future to go into that chapter. We’ll see.”
A wide grin appears on his ruggedly handsome face when he’s asked if he sees himself settling down with Joanne, who’s been with him for the last three years.
“Yeah!” he replies. “I mean, why would I be in this relationship if I didn’t, di ba? You clearly see that I share everything with her, and how much I adore and love her daughter, so it would be a complete waste of time. And habang tumatanda ka, your time gets shorter, so it would be a complete waste of time to be committed to somebody without looking at your future together. So most definitely, it will happen in the next three to five years.”
The influence of Derek’s mom is most felt in this room— specifically, in the choice of a classic rug (top) and in the collection of religious items (inset). Two more women have tokens of remembrance here: Virgie Ramos, whose company distributes the...
Framing the dining area are three items that Derek refers to as “talking pieces” (that is, conversation pieces): a sculpture of a seated man (left), a bull head that the homeowner stumbled upon in a Pasong Tamo shop (right, top), and an audiovisual...
The electric bike that Derek proudly owns and displays in the living area is a Scrambler unit manufactured by the U.S. company Vintage Electric. It’s described on Vintage Electric’s website as the “ultimate electric adventure bike inspired by today’s...
Citrus colors, courtesy of the sofa set and bookcase, give fresh ambiance to the living area. The sofa set is by the French furniture brand Roche Bobois (left photo). It’s so comfy to sit on and quite conducive to sleeping. Derek’s portrait is part of...
The transparent bowl placed on the smallest glass table is the domain of Derek’s pet turtle Michelangelo.