Derrick Monasterio

In his hopes of becoming a competitive weightlifter and CrossFit athlete, Derrick Monasterio has dedicated himself to rigorous and regular training under three coaches. And so far, so good, he said. Every month, he sets a personal best.

But while his increasingly buff physique has fans on social media fawning over him, Derrick realized recently that he’s starting to register bigger on television.

“I’m actually trying to lean down because I look too big onscreen now. I have noticed it for a while. But the thing is, I don’t actually lift super intensely. I just have big bones; I’m a big-boned person, so I get big easily, even if I don’t lift often,” he told the Inquirer in a virtual conference for “Oh My Oppa,” the latest episode of the drama anthology “Daig Kayo ng Lola Ko.”

His goal is to strike a good balance. “I want to have a sustainable physique that’s not too big, but will still allow me to lift heavy weights… I’m still figuring out the science behind it, but I think I’m on the right track,” said Derrick, who had previously expressed his dreams of representing the Philippines in the Olympics.

The Kapuso actor, who picked up weightlifting two years ago, is surprised by the progress he has made in such a period. “That’s still the endgame—to be an athlete. I’m very dedicated,” he added. “I want to master what my body is capable of and what my mind can achieve… Every month, I set a personal best. I’m able to lift heavier and heavier.”

Pushing the limits

Derrick finds satisfaction in pushing his physical limits. “I feel strong—the kind that makes you carry all the groceries in one go!” he joked. “Doing all the training allows you to use muscles that you don’t often use. It makes you more in tune with your body It also relieves stress,” he said.

But as determined as he is in his new endeavor, the 26-year-old actor doesn’t see himself leaving acting or singing. “If presented with big breaks in both [show biz and weightlifting], I might still go for show biz,” he said. “But I’m serious about both… Let’s see what happens in the future.”

In “Oh My Oppa,” which airs Sunday nights until Nov. 28, Derrick plays Toti, a hotel worker in love with his coworker Grace (Sanya Lopez). But despite his genuine intentions, he gets overlooked by Grace, whose taste in men has been influenced by her addiction to Korean dramas. Grace wants to have an oppa so badly she buys a robot boyfriend (Gil Cuerva) that looks like one.

“Toti has a disability and feels inferior to others. But he has a pure heart. And in this story, we find out if kindness still has a place [in dating] amid looks and swag,” he said.


He can relate to the situation, Derrick said, because like Toti, he, too, has been rejected by girls. “I have been rejected, got ‘basted’ a couple of times… But you move on eventually,” said Derrick, who’s currently dating a girl in show biz whose identity he chose to keep secret for now. “You just have to be confident. And the important thing is that you love yourself more than others.”

Derrick was thrilled to be working again with Sanya, whom he described as one of his favorite leading ladies.

“I love Sanya so much… When I get asked who’s the kindest leading lady I have worked with, I always say it’s her because that’s that truth. She’s down to earth and professional. And I admire and respect that about her,” he said. “Despite her successes and accomplishments, she remains humble.” INQ

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