He's always going to be known as Ryan Christian, althought he doesn't mind if you call him just Ryan (He has also heard people call him by his dad's name, Ralph, or by his brother's name, Luis). Unless you've caught his very few TV appearances of late, you might still picture Ryan Christian Recto as a fair-skinned, brown-haired, doe-eyed little boy. He is still all that, except that now he is twice as tall as that little boy and is a 19-year-old college student, taking up management at the Ateneo de Manila University. At the time of the Yes! interview, Ryan is thinking of shifting to another business course, management economics. "I still haven't made up my mind what to specialize in," he says. "I'm just exploring everything now." Yes, even including show business and politics.
Ryan dabbled in acting when he was younger. He had regular guesting stints on the long-running kiddie gag show Goin' Bulilit (He was in the same batch as Kathryn Bernardo, Nash Aguas, and Jane Oineza). "I'm cool with it," he says. "I think others want it more than me. It interests me, but not to the point where I'd go to the same lengths as others. More like, if it's there, it's there." Just a normal teenage boy, except that he is not - at least not to us, the public. He is, after all, the son of the Star for All Seasons. He grew up in a world where his mom was already the Ate Vi. To this day, when he comes home from school, there are times when he would look for his mom and jokingly shout: "Ate Vi!" "I didn't see her before she wasn't well-known to everyone," he says.
"I didn't need to get used to it, you know what I mean? Kasi, for me, that was normal." It was normal that one day he stumbled upon videos of the Darna series that starred his mother. "The feeling you get, you know," he says animatedly. "You see Wonder Woman, but I can say my mom did it better! Hahaha! Kasi ako, I'm a big komiks fan and the fact that she played a superhero, that's...ang galing!" Ryan lists the Darna series, particularly Darna and the Giants, as his favorite in his mother's filmography. Not many can say that their moms had "playing Darna"in their resume, but Ryan says that, for the most part, his mother is a "regular Filipino mom." Whenever Ryan had friends over, Ate Vi would welcome them and insist on feeding everyone. "Kahit busog ka, bibigyan ka pa rin." At home, Ryan says his mom would typically be in a shirt, "short shorts,"and one of those workout headbands. Not in a duster? "She's too young for that!" Ryan replies, chuckling.
"I'm kidding. Not just her thing." He says Ate Vi, on her days off from work, can usually be found sitting on the couch in the TV are. "She does everything in that couch!" he says. She works out, eats, watches TV, and even falls asleeep there. "She sleeps with the TV on," Ryan reveals. "If you turn off the TV, she'll wake up." Overall, he says, his mom is "a mix of strict and cool." He even prefers talking to her when it comes to the subject of girls. Both of his parents "give good advice," he says. "Pero I like mom's advice better. Hahaha! If you want to know something about a woman, why would you ask a man? Might as well ask a woman! So girls -Mom. Dad -all of the serious stuff." Ryan is currently in a relationship and has brought his girlfriend home to meet his parents.
"Napaka-welcoming ni Mom, fortunately. Every time we have a family thing, 'O, invite your girl,' like that." Ate Vi has also encouraged Ryan in music. He had tried diffrent kinds of instruments, but he found that the drum "clicks with me." he adds: "And like my mom said, pinakamalakas na appeal daw in a band is the drums. Hahaha! Siyempre, my mom, dancer siya, e. So my mom, sa beat siya. You can't make people dance with the guitar, di ba? There has to be a beat." He reiterates: "Kaya drummers siguro 'yong may pinakamalakas na appeal. Hahaha!" Like other boys his age, Ryan is also allowed to have fun and have a few drinks with friends, but not without getting serious reminders from both his parents. They always remind him not to drink and drive, and not to go all out when it comes to alcohol.
"Magtira ka bago umuwi," he says, repeating his dad's words. "Let's say you're in a friend's house and you get drunk. Don't puke in their house. That's very, very disrespectful to them. Don't pass out in their house or something. Don't do that." Ryan takes his parents' trust in him seriously. He knows that these freedoms were given to him out of trust. "It's mostly a matter of me just being responsible. If they see that I am responsible, that I can manage myself when I go out of whatever, that's fine. But if they didn't see that, then no." He makes it a point to give his parents updates on his whereabouts. "Not naman every five minutes, no. It's more like letting them know where I am, how long I'll stay." But, of course, the cool-parenting part ends somewhere.
Ate Vi draws the line when it come to serious matters like schooling. One time, when he was in high school, Ryan got into huge trouble because he was always late for school, which was "literally 20 steps away from our house." "Inaabuso ko 'yong the fact na my house is near," he recalls. "Napupuyat ako palagi. At night, I just think about the next day. Sometimes I watch movies. And because of that, nasanay na." His tardiness got so frequent that the school sanctioned him and made him do community service. "I had to clean up a beach." As a result, Ryan got an earful from his parents. Ate Vi tell us later, when it's her turn to be interviewed by Yes!, about how she scolded her bunso. She told him: "Kahihiyan na 'yan anak. Mahiya ka dahil 'yong ginagawa mo, boomerang sa amin.
Parang wala kaming kuwentang mga magulang, you know. Five minutes away sa school, late pa? May memo pa?" Ryan has since learned his lesson. Now that he travels from Ayala Alabang in the south to the Ateneo campus in the north, he leaves the house an hour and a half before his scheduled calss. He is now very punctual, his mom tell us. These days, he even prepares his school stuff, including the clothes he will wear to school, the night before. Ate Vi reports: "Nagugulat ako! 'Anak, are you sure?' Nakikita ko na preparing na. 'This is what I am going to wear tomorrow.' Nilalabas niya na 'yong rubber shoes, ayun." By the looks of it, Ryan is growing up to be a stand-up man, someone who's reliable and trustworthy, someone you can depend on to "stand up and be counted." Ate Vi and Senator Ralph must be doing something right. - Candice Lim-Venturanza, Yes! Magazine October 2015