Siblings Jerika, Jake, and Jacob Ejercito look back on their childhood and talk about how their close relationship shines through for Jake’s daughter, Ellie
Anyone who grew up with siblings knows exactly what it’s like to have to share everything. It’s no different for Jerika, Jake, and Jacob Ejercito. Even with their considerable age gaps, this trio is as tight as they come. With a high profile showbiz and political family, the unique experiences they shared in their youth only strengthened their bond. As Jake became a father, his brother and sister came through for him with undeniable support as they welcomed a princess into their family with open arms.
Growing up together
Jake had barely made it out of his teen years when fatherhood came knocking. Jerika and Jacob were the first ones he confided in, and they didn’t think twice about giving Jake the help and encouragement he needed. “Being a single parent, it’s a huge deal to have them as my support system,” says Jake, who is the middle child of the brood.
Sibling rivalry doesn’t discriminate, and no childhood is complete without memories of bickering and fighting. “My sister and I were mortal enemies, growing up. She bullied me for years, and though much has changed for the better, I’m still trying to make her pay for it!” Jake says jokingly.
To confirm this story, Jerika laughs, “I have to confess, I was not the gentle and loving sister that is now in front of you. Jake and I were typical siblings while growing up. We fought and excommunicated each other from our bedrooms and all that. Although, we had rare moments of affection and love— maybe for photos.”
With Jacob being the baby among the three, his experience almost sounds as if he grew up with entirely different siblings. “My brother was such a sweetheart, and he was my best friend,” he says of Jake. As for his sister, who left for college when Jacob was just starting grade school, he considers her to be like a second mom. “With Ate Ika, even though she was in London for a while, we always shared a genuine connection every time she returned for vacation. We’re both an open book with one another,” he explains.
Growing up in the public eye and having your father be the former president of our country undoubtedly came with perks, but it also came with expectations and judgments.
It was a challenge to lead completely private lives, and they quickly learned that sometimes the world was not too kind nor forgiving, and that’s what made them even closer to one another. “We learned to give importance to the simple and even mundane moments in life, like Sunday lunch as a family. No matter what we are doing, any time we are complete is simply wonderful,” says Jerika.
She also mentions that having a prominent extended family really forced them to forge their own separate paths in life. Jacob remembers that their parents always stressed the importance of being their own person, while Jake shares that their mom always made sure they kept their feet firmly planted on the ground.
“Despite having parents who were known by many, we never felt the pressure of being compared to them at all. The shared understanding of being comfortable with our own identities is what makes our bond very strong. Even if our professions are worlds apart, we always had this drive to be the best versions of ourselves, and so we cheer and support one another in every step of each other’s journey,” says Jacob.
The co-parent’s support system
Due to the co-parenting setup, Jake and his daughter, Ellie, only spend a certain amount of time together. The modern single dad says that he and his siblings all collectively make sure to make the most out of that time. Each with a distinct and special role to play in Ellie’s life, there is never a dull moment.
“My siblings have their own ways of bonding with Ellie. My sister, Jerika, and Ellie have being the unica hija in common, and she has really become like a second mom to Ellie. When Ellie is home with us, having her there is great, and I leave it to them to do girl things together. Jacob is the cool, crazy, fun-loving tito who is always ready to play all sorts of games with his niece and nephews,” Jake proudly shares. And their Instagram content is proof of just how much fun they all have when they are together.
Jerika expresses her fondness for Ellie very clearly since they are the princesses of the family, “She is my only girl since I have four boys. I love her like my very own. I love sharing things with her, I love seeing her wear some of my old jewelry. It’s just a beautiful experience to have with her. I make sure she knows that she is loved, and maybe too much sometimes!”
“I show my support to my brother by letting him know that he is a great father. Every time Ellie is home, I can see how excited they both are to be spending time together. Being the creative genius that he is, he always plans different activities for Ellie,” beams Jacob, who also boasts his goofy and adventurous relationship with his niece.
When a sibling turns into a parent
When it comes to watching their brother grow into becoming a father, Jerika and Jacob only have praises.
“It really anchored him in a lot of ways. It gave him focus and purpose. Everything shifted for him and for our whole family. He grew immensely into this Super Dad!” Jerika quips. She continues, “I always say that every girl in the world deserves a dad like Jake. If they did, ‘daddy issues’ would be a thing of the past. Real talk!”
Jacob not only commends his brother’s efforts in making life for Ellie as beautiful as possible, but he also noticed a great change in work ethic and lifestyle. “He actively helped in the family business and began to open a number of small businesses as well. He also went out less during the weekends, as he would devote his time to catch up with his one and only Princess Ellie,” he adds.
Blood is thicker than water
Jerika has four sons, which makes Ellie the undisputed princess of the house. But their relationship as cousins is undeniable and could prove to outdo their parents. “Ellie loves all her cousins, but no one can deny her special bond with my eldest son, Isaiah. They are the dream team and the sweetest duo you will ever meet. They care for and protect each other, and always have fun together. It’s been like that since Isaiah was born,” says the mom of four.
“We either make fun of one another or we pretend to be anything we want to be. We have this special bond being the two youngest ones in the house, so we treat each other as best friends who can’t wait for the next adventure!” Jacob elaborates about his relationship with Ellie.
“She learned how to become an Ate on the fly, and does a fantastic job at it! Ellie’s very sweet and loving to her cousins, she always plays with them and would intentionally lose in games just to make her cousins smile,” shares Jacob. “All four of them love being around her, and I believe this is just a testament of how much love Ellie gives to people — she makes them feel special.”
There is no coming between them
Each child in the family always has that designated role to play. Siblings always end up with labels, whether they like it or not, and with Jacob being the youngest, he clearly expresses his admiration for his older brother and sister.
“I’m very fortunate to have older siblings who unconditionally love, and passionately serve. My brother gave me protection and excitement that have helped me grow into a strong-willed and daring person. My sister showed me sincerity and service that have inspired me to become an honest and altruistic person. Both have given me a firm foundation to unapologetically be myself, while treating others with the utmost respect,” says Jacob.
Jake appreciates the contrast they each bring to the table, and says, “For me, the thing I like most about us siblings is that we kind of belong to different generations. Even if we almost have the exact same values, we always tend to have diverse opinions on things which make for a lot of humorous conversations.”
For Jerika, it’s all about keeping them close. “I will love and support my baby brothers for the rest of my life. Unbeknownst to them, before my marriage and kids, they were my inspiration to be a better person. I was not always the best sister, but they gave me the chance to make it right by them with no questions asked. I just hope that this lifetime is enough for me to let them know how much I value them and how proud I am of both of them.”
It isn’t difficult to see just how tight-knit Jerika, Jake, and Jacob are. Their love and respect for one another shines well beyond their siblinghood, rightfully spilling over to their children. While unspoken bonds are usually kept discreet, the Ejercito kids proudly shout it out from the rooftops, and that’s exactly how it should be.
PHOTOGRAPHY by Miguel Abesamis
SITTINGS EDITOR Marga Medrano-Tupaz
ART DIRECTION by Ferdi Salvador
MAKEUP by Tamara Pineda of NARS Cosmetics PH (Assisted by Nathan Dalida)
HAIR by Joseph Fantone and Desire Desp of Colorbar PH
JAKE’S HAIR by Roberto Orleanes
STYLING by Maita Baello and Leanne Ledesma of Qurator Studio
Special thanks to:
Palacio de Memoria
Cibo by Margarita Fores
Swab testing by Avignon Clinic