BENCH MEETS Ruru Madrid

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Photography by JL Javier
Styled by Nio Manzano 
Grooming by Eddie Mar Cabiltes
Produced by Margarita Buenaventura

It’s crazy to imagine that there are still cars on EDSA right now that are older than actor Ruru Madrid. But the 17-year-old doesn’t seem to walk or talk like kids his age, anyway. There’s a maturity to him, a mix of cute and debonair that comes with the child-like nickname and the occasional smolder.

Ruru first rose to fame as a runner-up on a reality contest, and steadily made his way up with bit roles in afternoon drama anthologies and variety shows. But in between mainstream roles, in which he describes he has to exaggerate his facial expressions sometimes, he got to act in smaller films too. The most recent notch on Ruru’s indie belt is Above the Clouds, a story about a young man and his grandfather finding solace after a family tragedy. It’s a far cry from his role as Erick in the recently concluded teleserye Let the Love Begin, but Ruru seems to switch on-cam moods with ease—a telling sign of his bright future in the ‘biz, perhaps.

Whatever that may mean, we’re certainly intrigued. So one rainy afternoon, BENCH hung out with Ruru and discovered a star that you’d definitely want to share an umbrella with.

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Hey, Ruru! Let’s dive straight into this—how do you prepare for a kilig scene in Let the Love Begin?

Well, na-experience ko na rin kasing kiligin. And being an actor, doon mo naman hinuhugot yun eh. Kumbaga kung ano na na-experience mo sa buhay. Ako, na-experience ko nang kiligin, ‘pag nakanood na ako ng movies or sa TV.

How do you show your affection?

Kahit sino, kahit sa kaibigan kong babae, sobrang inaalagaan ko. Literal na hindi sila pinapadapuan ng langaw. Siguro ganoon ako pinalaki ng parents ko eh, sobrang maalaga ko sa kaibigan. May special friend din ako ngayon, and sobra ko siyang inaalagaan.

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Ano nga ba ang meaning ng special friend?

Siguro iba siya sa mga kaibigan ko. Mas higit siya sa best friend. Masaya ako ‘pag nakikita ko siya, naiinspire ako magtrabaho pag nandiyan siya. So ako, mag-tetext ako ng sobrang habang “Good morning” message na dati, hindi ko naman ginagawa. Simple lang mag-alaga, ganoon lang naman eh.

Ah, okay. So ngayong tag-ulan, how would you spend a rainy day at home?

Kasi ‘pag rainy day kasi, nakakaantok. So kain ako nang kain. Malakas ako kumain, pero hindi naman ako tumataba. So ngayon, 17 ako, mabilis pa yung metabolism ko. Sa bahay, binubuksan ko yung bintana lahat, ‘di ko na kailangan mag-aircon. Iba kasi yung pumapasok yung lamig eh. Ang sarap.

Do you like spending rainy days with other people, or mag-isa ka lang?

Well, ako kasi hindi ako mahilig umalis ng bahay, so mas comfortable ako na nasa bahay lang, lalo na ‘pag rainy season. Na-experience ko na kasi yung Ondoy, natatakot ako.

Anong nangyari?

Binaha yung house namin hanggang third floor. Yung bahay namin dito, katabi yung ilog. So pag umaapaw na yung ilog, tumatapon siya doon sa’min. Buti nalang yung family namin may business — yung bags and shoes — and may gawaan kami doon kaya medyo mataas. So nagligtas kami ng mga tao. Ako nag-swim ako sa baha, para lang mag-save ng mga bata na dadalhin sa bahay namin. 10 years old ako noon, and ang hirap kasi kahit na may pera ka pambili ng pagkain, wala kang mabili. So ang laman lang ng ref namin noon, isang noodles tapos tubig. Yun lang. Eh, lima pa kami sa family. Tapos nandoon pa tito ko, pinsan ko. So seven kami. Nakakaiyak ‘pag naaalala ko siya.

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That must’ve been really hard. Did that ruin rainy weather for you?

Hindi naman. (Laughs) Kasi pangit din ‘pag palaging umuulan, diba? Pero ayoko lang yung sobra.

There’s also that sense of isolation, especially when the weather’s really bad. I remember you were interviewed before, and you said for Above the Clouds hindi mo nakausap yung family mo during filming.

One month ‘di kami naguusap ng family ko, pati yung staff hindi ako kinakausap, so ano kaya yung feeling noon? Bawal akong kausapin. Gumawa pa sila ng game na fina-fine sila ‘pag kinausap ako. Napikon ako, pero siyempre ayaw kong ipalabas na napikon ako. Siyempre, kahit sino ma-ba-bad trip. Pero noong napanood ko na siya sa Tokyo, ano pala, worth it.

So papayag ka ulit hindi kausapin?

Okay lang, basta ganoon ulit ha. (Laughs)

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#BenchBodyLanguage: Juancho Palacios
Girls' Night Out