Jayjay Hermano (Keys to the Heart)

Life is meant to be a challenge, because challenges are what makes you grow, you know.
— Joma
Jayjay Hermano
Elija Canlas as Jayjay. He wears round glasses, and has a bowl cut.
Portrayed by Elijah Canlas
Appears in Keys of the Heart
Year 2023

Joselito "Jayjay" Hermano is a main character in the 2023 Philippine comedy-drama movie Keys to the Heart.

Character creation

Keys to the Heart is a remake of the 2018 South Korean movie of the same name. The remake follows the story of the original very closely.

Myuma Gonzales is listed in the acknowledgements as "SPED specialist". She is a teacher who specializes in autism and supports regular school with including disabled students. She is the daughter of Octavio and Jean Gonzales, who started advocating for autism after their son was diagnosed with autism in 1982. Amongst other things, the couple founded the Philippine Association for Citizens with Developmental and Learning Disabilities. In 2014, the family won the Jollibee Family Values Awards for their efforts in autism advocacy.[1][2]

Actor Elijah Canlas had a month to prepare for the role. In that time, he had seminars about autism and learned to play the piano.[3]

Multiple actors, including those who play Jayjay, his brother Joma, and his idol/mentor Annette, have autistic family members.[4] In particular, Annette's actress Michelle Dee has 2 siblings on the spectrum and advocates for autism awareness.[5]


Jayjay is a 21-year-old living at home with his mother Sylvia. He regularly goes to a disability center. When Sylvia gets diagnosed with lung cancer, she starts reaching out to family who may be able to care for Jayjay after she dies. When no one wants to do this, she desperately reaches out to her estranged son Joma, a washed-up boxer.


Jayjay is referred to both with the term "high-level autism" and "high-functioning autistic". While not explicitly stated to be a savant in the movie, director Kerwin Go does describe the character as such.[6]



  1. "GONZALES FAMILY BAGS THE 4TH JFVA". National Counsil on Disability Affairs. 2014-10-09. Retrieved 2023-11-24.
  2. "Jollibee honors new batch of exemplary Filipino families". The Philippine Star. 2014-10-06. p. 28. Retrieved 2023-11-24.
  3. Netflix Philippines (2023-10-13). "Elijah Canlas & Zanjoe Marudo React to Keys to The Heart | Keys to The Heart | Netflix Philippines". YouTube. Retrieved 2023-11-24.
  4. Charmie Joy Pagulong (2023-10-13). "Keys to the Heart stars share 'personal connection' to film's autism theme". The Philippine Star. Retrieved 2023-11-24.
  5. "Unlocking the Essence of 'Keys to the Heart': A Roundtable Revelation". ClickTheCity. 2023-10-06. Retrieved 2023-11-24.
  6. Tuazon, Nikko (2023-09-23). "Film director Kerwin Go lauds stellar performances of "Keys to the Heart" leads Dolly de Leon, Elijah Canlas, Zanjoe Marudo". Philippine Entertainment Portal. Retrieved 2023-11-24.

External links