People & Inspiration

In Focus: The Fierce And Fab Kakai Bautista On Besting Bullies

In Focus: The Fierce And Fab Kakai Bautista On Besting Bullies

As a child growing up, actress and singer Kakai Bautista encountered bullies who would ridicule her for her appearance and lack of toughness in sports. “Naranasan ko ‘yun—parang ‘Ano ba ‘yan, walang nanliligaw sa’yo. Ang pangit mo,’” she opens up to ABS-CBN Lifestyle. “Tsaka yung ipapahiya ka kasi hindi ka magaling sa ganitong bagay. ‘Wag niyo na isali ‘yan! Tanga naman ‘yan.’”

Kakai—who appeared in 2019 films like Hello, Love, Goodbye and Jowable—was part of a volleyball league where she, admittedly, wasn’t good at. “Weak talaga ako sa sports, pero join lang,” she says, recalling a time when she got called names and broke down in tears. “Umiyak ako. Umiiyak ako habang tumatakbo tapos pumunta ako sa bahay. Pero sa banyo ako umiyak kasi hindi ako nagpapakita kapag binu-bully ako. Hindi ako nagpapakitang umiiyak ako. Ano? Masaya kayo? Hindi ako magpapakita sa inyo. Magtatago ako sa banyo, pero dedma.”

[related: In Focus: Cai Cortez, The Big Girl Driven By Heart And Humor]

Such instances left her feeling insecure about herself. “Yung adolescence period natin, ‘yun talaga yung awkward stage. High school, gitna ka, tapos papunta ka ng senior year tapos pa-college ka? Ang dami kasi minsan, syempre, gusto mo diba ikaw nalang yung crush?” she shares, saying she just decided to shift focus to her studies. “Sumali ako sa quiz bee, nagulat sila.”

It's amazing how despite the many bullying experiences, Kakai mustered enough strength to keep it all to herself. “Bakit ako magsusumbong? Kaya ko naman i-handle. Bata palang ako, kaya ko na i-handle,” she declares, adding that it didn’t reach the point of physical harm as she knew how to fight back. “Subukan nila! Lalaban talaga ako!” 

[related: In Focus: PBB's Lou Yanong On The Importance Of Self Love Amidst Adversity]

After all, the comedienne is grateful to have emerged stronger from the torrent of bullying she had to endure. “’Yun yung twist nun—hindi mo makikilala ang sarili mo kung hindi mo mararanasan ang bagay na ‘yan,” says Kakai, who once was mocked for her close friendship with Ahron Villena and Mario Maurer (her Suddenly It's Magic co-star) for no reason. “Minsan yung bullying at bashing, paraan yan ng universe para makilala mo ang sarili mo.” 

“Hanggang sa nabully-bully ako, mukha akong kabayo, ang laki ng ngipin ko, laki ng gums ko, na-realize ko, ‘Oo nga noh?’ Pero nagamit ko ‘yun sa mas magandang paraan. Kumita ako ng pera, so hindi ako naawa sa sarili ko. ‘Wag na ‘wag mong kaawan ang sarili mo. Eh yung putol nga ang kamay, putol ang paa, bulag, bingi, may mga taong hindi nila kinakaawaan ang sarili nila. Ikaw pa? Kumpleto ka,” concludes Kakai, who always gets to break her comedic mold and shakes audiences watching her live as an exceptional performer on the long-running Rak Of Aegis.

ALSO READ: Now Showing: 'Sila-Sila' Delves Into The Harsh Truths About Modern Dating

Produced by Camille Santiago | Photography by Vyn Radovan | Video by Lui Jimenez and Kang Garcia | Makeup by Chuchie Ledesma | Hair by Sam Corbillon of Triple Luck Brow & Nail Salon | Styling by Aldrin Ramos | Shot on location at Privato Hotel Quezon City | Special thanks to Pinoy Big Brother, Gabriel Perez and Katrina Luz-Lincuna

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