Elijah fondly looked back at JM’s talents, character, and life
TW: Mental Health
Actor Elijah Canlas admits initially struggling to write a tribute about his late brother, JM, but he finally found the right words to honor him.
“I don’t think anything will be enough to honor you,” he said in an emotional post alongside photos with JM on his social media accounts on August 13, 2023.
The actor’s 17-year-old brother passed away on August 4, 2023, as confirmed by their older brother Jerom. A cause of death was not named, but the family said that JM struggled with his mental health.
Elijah started by sharing the story of when he first met his little brother.
“Our parents told me, ‘Kuya ka na! Alagaan mo kapatid mo.’ I vividly remember walking slowly to your room. You were on the bed sleeping. I was excited but shy. As I laid beside you, I just started to be mesmerized. Kuya na ako,” he wrote.
JM and his many talents
With three of them in the entertainment industry, Elijah went on to underscore that JM’s talent outshone him and their eldest brother Jerom’s.
Elijah then talked about JM’s artistry and intelligence, saying that he performed in musicals since he was four years old and would win math quiz bees.
He likewise shared about JM teaching himself to play the guitar and piano, how he would write songs, and how he loves singing, gaming, and technology.
“You weren’t really formally trained in acting like us but, oh boy, did you excel whenever you’re onstage or on-screen (watch ‘Unconditional’ on Netflix to know what I mean). Mapa-Cinemalaya or Virgin Labfest pa iyan,” he added.
According to Elijah, his late brother is “the go-to guy for our country’s dubbing industry” even if his voice has changed over time.
JM is best known for appearing in the top films “Kiko Boksingero” and “ANi.” He was also a voice actor and was part of the Tagalog dub of “Coco,” “Stranger Things,” “Home Alone,” “Extraction,” and “Little Einsteins,” among others.
On a personal level, Elijah added that JM was the kind of person to impress everyone around him and make them feel comfortable, important, cared for, and loved.
“You always end up being everyone’s favorite. Because you’re JM! The most intelligent, selfless, funniest, reliable, talented, and empathetic person. You really are the best of all of us.
“I can go on and on about your achievements and success at your very young age. But most importantly to me, you’re the best little brother anyone can ever ask for. I am so so proud of you, JM. Iba ka,” he adds.
Apologies for the shortcomings
After discussing his late brother’s vibrant character, the “Kalel, 15” actor apologized for their shortcomings.
“I’m so sorry we couldn’t take away your pain. The guilt and regrets will forever be with us. Walang hanggang patawad para sa lahat,” he said.
Elijah then said that they will continue JM’s legacy.
“Babawi kami, JM. We’ll continue all your dreams and goals for us and this country. We’ll carry on your amazing legacy. We’ll continue being kind and being there for whoever’s in need. Like you always do. We will live by you through each and every second of every day,” he said.
Before ending his letter, Elijah left a special message for his brother.
“Walang makakatapat o higit sa ‘yo. Enjoy ka lang diyan! Don’t worry about us. No goodbyes. I’ll see you later, JM. I love you more than anything. Mahal na mahal ka namin. Mahal na mahal ka ni kuya. Mahal na mahal na mahal na mahal na mahal!”
Elijah also shared links for counseling services as well as hotline numbers for mental health. These include: DOH-NCMH Hotline: 0917-899-8727 or 02-7989-8727; Natasha Goulbourn Foundation Hopeline: 0917-558-4673, 0918-873-4673 and 02-8804-4673; and In Touch Crisis Line: 0917-800-1123, 0922-893-8944 and 02-8893-7603.
If you or a loved one are experiencing mental health difficulties, you can reach out to the National Mental Health Crisis Hotline at 0917-899-8727/090-863-92672 or visit Mental Health PH for more resources.
Banner Art Paulo Correa