Mommy se­ries

CaRMiNa Vil­laR­ROEl kaRla EstRada


M other and ac­tress Carmina Vil­lar­roel-Le­gaspi con­sid­ers her­self twice blessed. In 2001, she gave birth to beau­ti­ful twins Mav­er­ick Peter and Maria Cassandra. In 2012, her long­time love and part­ner Zoren Le­gaspi pulled off a flash­mob pro­posal (Carmina said yes!) and they were mar­ried min­utes later in the sur­prise gar­den wed­ding of the year.

In Jan­uary this year, the twins, aka Mavy and Cassy, cel­e­brated their 16th birth­day with a Boho-themed comin­gof-age party.

“Ang bilis!” Carmina ex­claims, with a mix of dis­be­lief and sad­ness in her voice. “Akala namin, for­ever si­lang gano’n lang, for­ever lang si­lang ba­bies.”

This, she goes on to say, is prob­a­bly why she and Zoren didn’t have any more kids. “Sig­uro kasi, first-time par­ents kami. ’Ta­pos, dalawa agad. At di lang dalawa, pair agad— boy and girl! So parang masyado kam­ing na‑over­whelm, ’tsaka masyado kami nakatu­tok. Pero when they were grow­ing up, na­pa­paisip ka na sana pala na­sun­dan pa natin ng isa. O isa pa, para apat.”

No re­grets, though. “Feel­ing ko, baka ’yon talaga ang gusto ni God, na dalawa na lang. Pair na ’yan, okey na ’yan, happy ka na. Hindi na­man kami nag­pigil, hindi rin na­man kami nag‑su­per‑try magka‑baby ulit. So baka ito na lang talaga.”

While rais­ing twins is dif­fi­cult enough, the 41-year-old ac­tress ad­mits that par­ent­ing teenagers is noth­ing short of a chal­lenge. “Alam mo, mahi­rap. Parang mas gusto ko, tod­dler na lang sila.”

She ex­plains that the is­sues and con­cerns of ado­les­cents are to­tally dif­fer­ent. Still, Carmina says, she’s lucky her twins are good kids. “I’m very thank­ful na kahit na nandiyan na sila sa barkada stage, they still pri­or­i­tize fam­ily. ’ Yon talaga ’tin­u­turo ko sa kanila, na da­pat pam­ilya ang una.”

“Cool” par­ents

Known to be a fun and af­fec­tion­ate cou­ple, Zoren and Carmina have an easy­go­ing vibe. This is pal­pa­ble in their fam­ily com­mer­cials and ex­tends to their par­ent­ing style and their house rules for Cassy and Mavy.

“Hindi na­man kami strict,” says Carmina. “They can go out with their friends, have din­ner, punta sa mall. We’re fine with that. Kasi gusto ko na­man na mag­ing nor­mal si­lang mga bata. Gusto ko ma‑ex­pe­ri­ence na­man nila ’yong gano’n.”

The twins don’t have a cur­few be­cause Carmina feels there’s no need for it—for now, at least. “Meron kasi kam­ing Viber [mes­sag­ing app] group, so

Mommy Carmina thinks a show­biz ca­reer for Mavy and Cassy is pos­si­ble, but then again, the fu­ture may hold some­thing else al­to­gether.

“Ac­tu­ally, gusto talaga nila ’yong sumayaw. Hindi ko pa alam kung gusto nila ’yong act­ing. Sabi ko na­man, kung gusto talaga ninyo, ta­pusin n’yo muna ’yong col­lege n’yo, and if you re­ally want to be an artista like [me and Zoren], then go.

“Ngayon kasi, ang gusto nila, sa busi­ness side talaga. Parang they want to have their own busi­ness. They have two more years in high school, so parang da­pat pag-isi­pan na nila ‘yong course nila. Con­sis­tent, e— busi­ness.”

On the dif­fer­ences be­tween Mavy and Cassy:

“Mav­er­ick is a morn­ing per­son. He sleeps early, he wakes up early. Si Cassy, ba­lik­tad. Si Cassy sleeps late, ’ta­pos me­dyo mahi­rap gisin­gin sa umaga pag pa­pa­sok sa school.

“’Ta­pos, si Mav­er­ick, me­dyo OC [ob­ses­sive-com­pul­sive]. Parang ako. Very or­ga­nized sa mga gamit niya. Si Cassy, hindi na­man siya mag­ulo, pero mas OC lang ’yong lalake ko. Cassy is like Zoren, na nandiyan lang ’yong gamit… hindi na­man mag­ulo, hindi rin maayos, pero alam niya kung nasaan ’yong mga gamit niya.

“Mav­er­ick is some­how like me. Ako kasi, pag­dat­ing ko sa ba­hay, pahinga lang nang konti, ’ta­pos gagawa na ako ng home­work. Si Cassy, chill lang muna. So hindi mo siya puwe­deng sabi­han, ‘Cassy, do your home­work.’ Kahit no’ng bata siya, meron siyang sar­il­ing diskarte. Parang si Zoren. Pero makita mo na­man, ‘Ay, na­gawa na.’ She has her own con­cept of time. Mas gusto niya ’yong nagkacram, ’yong gano’n. Ako na­man, oh my God, hate ko ’yan. Pareho si­lang mag-ama.”

na­gre-re­port sila,” she says. “Be­fore umalis, nag­pa­paalam na sila. So alam na namin ang de­tails, saan, sino’ng kasama, anong oras uuwi, bakit gano’ng time. E, na­susunod na­man. Hindi na­man sila ’yong pag sin­abi ni­lang din­ner, twelve mid­night na sila uuwi. Hindi. Right after din­ner, uuwi na talaga sila.”

To her re­lief, the kids are not in the par­ty­ing or barhop­ping stage yet. When that time comes, she and Zoren may have to start im­pos­ing a cur­few. “Baka sumama ako sa bar!” Carmina says with a ner­vous gig­gle. “‘Tatay [Zoren], do’n tayo sa ka­bi­lang ta­ble.’ Di ba? Nakakaloka!”

An­other thing that makes her—or any other par­ent, for that mat­ter— ner­vous is the thought of her ba­bies start­ing to date. “Nai­isip ko siya be­cause that’s the re­al­ity,” she con­fesses. “I don’t want to be self­ish… Kasi du­maan ako do’n. Ayoko ipagkait ’yon sa kanila, pero sa ta­mang edad.”

She adds: “Like I said, mababait ’yong mga anak ko, kaya alam nila na hindi ’yon pri­or­ity. Ang pri­or­ity e pa­gaaral nila.”

Luck­ily, her kids ex­er­cise good judg­ment when it comes to choos­ing friends, and this helps calm Carmina’s mommy nerves. “Ki­lala ko ’yong mga kaibi­gan nila. Im­por­tante ’yon sa mga mag­u­lang—ki­lalanin ang mga kaibi­gan ng mga anak mo.”

Start­ing ’ em young

Carmina shares this par­ent­ing ad­vice: Start mold­ing them while they’re young.

“’ Yong foun­da­tion talaga ang im­por­tante, e. Kasi, kung ma­ganda ’yong nai­tatag mong foun­da­tion sa kanila, di ka na mahi­hi­ra­pan.”

A con­crete ex­am­ple is how she and Zoren have trained their kids not to be heav­ily de­pen­dent on elec­tronic gad­gets.

“Wala na­man akong ini-im­pose sa kani­lang rules, es­pe­cially sa so­cial me­dia, kasi they’re not ad­dicted to it. Sig­uro kasi, baka late ko sila na-start sa mga gad­gets. Alam na­man nila na pag-aaral muna, at pag nan­dito sa ba­hay, pag ka­harap kami— es­pe­cially pag ku­makain, kahit sa labas— hindi puwe­deng may hawak na tele­pono o nanonood ng TV. Basta gusto ko, nag-uusap kami. So sig­uro, kung maaga mo na-in­still ’yon sa kanila, hindi ka na makulit ngayon.”

It also helps that they’ve ex­posed the kids to phys­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties and sports. Mavy plays basketball and ten­nis. Cassy, on the other hand, is a vol­ley­ball player who also plays basketball. “Nag­wowork­out din kami to­gether,” says their mom. “So marami si­lang gi­na­gawa, kaya hindi masyado ma-so­cial-me­dia.”

Ul­ti­mately, they en­cour­age their kids to talk—to her and Zoren, es­pe­cially. “Bata pa lang sila, gano’n na kami sa kanila, e. Ine-en­cour­age na namin sila magkuwento… from small things like ‘How was school?’”

Now that the kids are young adults, the open­ness re­mains. “Very thank­ful kami dahil nag-o-open-up sila, so pinagu­usapan namin la­hat— any­thing un­der the sun… Kasi ’yon ang ki­nalak­i­han nila. Kahit na busy kami sa tra­baho, we make sure na alam namin what’s go­ing on in their lives.”

Their top­ics, she says, in­clude even sen­si­tive sub­jects such as death and sui­cide, as well as the prob­lems of their peers and class­mates. For Carmina, it’s im­por­tant to make her kids aware of what’s hap­pen­ing in the real world. “As much as we pro­tect them in our house or sa school, iba, e. ’ Yong mga da­pat mong matu­tu­nan sa real world, di mo matu­tu­nan sa es­kuwe­la­han ’yan.”

Wing­ing it

Ac­tress, com­mer­cial model, wife, and mother of two— Carmina does it all and she ap­par­ently does it well. But the show­biz per­son­al­ity who has been in the in­dus­try for al­most 30 years claims she has no clue on how she man­aged to sur­vive—no, thrive—es­pe­cially when the twins were much younger. “Sig­uro, if you re­ally love what you’re do­ing, you’ll find ways. It’s a mat­ter of pri­or­i­tiz­ing… and time man­age­ment.”

What’s tricky, though, was find­ing time for her­self—par­tic­u­larly in the early years. “Mag­tra­tra­baho ako, ’ta­pos ’yong konting time sa ba­hay, I would spend with my kids. Kung ’yong iba natu­tu­log, ako, di ako natu­tu­log. Do’n ako sa kam­bal nakatu­tok.”

She re­calls catch­ing up on her zzz’s in the car go­ing to work or on her way home. “’ Yon ’yong gi­nawa ko para mag­a­m­panan ko ang pagig­ing artista, nanay, at asawa.”

Clearly, all that she has done in the past has paid off, hav­ing raised two well­rounded and good-na­tured 16-year-olds. This, while nur­tur­ing a strong mar­riage with hus­band Zoren! But Carmina doesn’t want to call her hard­ships a “sac­ri­fice.”

“I love what I’m do­ing and mga anak ko ’to, e,” she says. “Siyem­pre uu­nahin mo muna pam­ilya mo, and then your work.”

On Carmina: Green Pin­stripes Dress, RELIGIOSO

On her show­biz idol: “I want to be like Glo­ria Romero. ’Yong tu­manda na [ sa show­biz]. Di ba, nakasama ko siya sa Pal­ib­hasa Lalake? Ev­ery time na tit­ig­nan ko siya, sinasabi ko, ‘Tita Glo, I want to be like you.’ Gusto ko mag­ing gano’n, kasi nga ito lang ang alam kong gawin, at ma­hal ko gi­na­gawa ko. So ayoko mag­bi­gay ng time limit. Basta hangga’t kaya ko, hangga’t gusto ako ng mga tao, hangga’t may projects ako, dito ako. I’m here to stay.”

( Pal­ib­hasa Lalake, di­rected by Johnny Mana­han, was a sit­com that ran from 1987 to 1998.) On Carmina: White Top, RELIGIOSO Brown Pants w/ ring, SFERA


On her love for show­biz:

“When I was start­ing— mga thir­teen ako no’n, di ba? Sig­uro no’ng mga fif­teen, six­teen ako, alam ko na, na this is what I want to do. Pi­nagsabay ko, e— nag-aaral ako, na­gaartista ako. When I joined show­biz, I knew this is what I re­ally wanted. Gusto ko na talaga ’to. Nag-een­joy ako.

“Oo, mahi­rap, it’s not an easy job. But I just love what I’m do­ing, I’m in love with my craft. Look­ing back, wala na­man akong nag­ing prob­lema with any­one, with my coac­tors, di­rec­tors, pro­duc­ers… I want to be­lieve na pag sin­abi mong Carmina, alam mong she’s a very ded­i­cated ac­tress. Alam mong she loves her pro­fes­sion. Kasi I don’t think tata­gal ako nang gan­ito, na more than half my life nasa in­dus­try, kung wala akong pas­sion and ded­i­ca­tion.” On Carmina: Olive Jump­suit, MISS SEL­FRIDGE

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