Cris Villanueva and Keempee de Leon on Bagong Umaga and raising kids during new normal

Life has its own timetable. It will throw in everything that it’s supposed to give whether you are ready or not. Challenge will come as a surprise, and so does hope, which gives light to a “new day.”

Cris Villanueva and Keempee de Leon, cast members of the newest Kapamilya series Bagong Umaga opt to look on the bright side amid uncertainties. Cris said the digital side of “new normal” excites him. He’s amazed at how the Kapamilya Network, ironically, managed to thrive in the digital space after all the crisis it faced.

He misses the bonding moments outside yet being stuck at home is a great reminder that he has a family to keep. Raising kids during new normal is both a challenge and a delight. He understands the anxiety kids go through by suddenly cutting outdoor activities and keeping them away from friends.

Thus, Cris makes sure to be his children’s constant buddy at home, to always make time for them, and to get the creativity flowing. New hobbies sprouted and Cris loves seeing productivity alive.

The pandemic taught him that self-care is a reflection of love for others. “Kung talagang ikaw ay taong nagmamahal, iingatan mo ‘yung sarili mo na hindi ka makakuha ng kahit anong sakit na pwede mong ipasa sa kanila, na hindi mo naman alam kung anong magiging epekto sa kanila at sa’yo,” he said.

People often look far for company. But this pandemic reminded everybody of what and who really matters – family, for one. Cris had sleepless nights thinking about his family during lock-in tapings.

Albeit he misses the old life, like traveling, Keempee remains grateful that he can keep in touch with family and friends virtually. His daughter is currently under Lola’s care, and although he misses bonding with her, safety remains the top priority. Thanks to social media, he’s able to maintain their connection.

Keempee’s takeaway is about the importance of mental health. “Siguro, psychological-wise kailangan maging fit rin ‘yung utak mo. Hindi mo kailangan mag-panic kasi kalaban mo talaga dito, sarili mo, eh. I-exercise mo din ‘yung pag-iisip mo talaga, eh,” he expressed.  

Cris mentioned that the pandemic brought us back to basics. Similarly, Bagong Umaga also imparts lessons on the things that really matter. “’Yung pera, all of a sudden, walang halaga… All of a sudden, pantay-pantay tayong nakakulong sa bahay at ayaw lumabas. Dito sa Bagong Umaga, makikita mo kung ano ba talaga ang masaya – ‘yung maraming pera pero hindi mo inaasikaso pamilya mo o ang halos walang pera pero ang pamilya buong buo,” he said.

The new show is a proof that nothing can wane down the ardent passion of a Kapamilya. Everybody is just eager to rise up even using the challenges as stepping-stones. Cris opts for ‘blessed’ and ‘happy’ to describe how it feels to be in a new Kapamilya series. Keempee added that jobs are precious nowadays, knowing that others struggle to look for projects. He is thankful that Bagong Umaga came as a surprise blessing.

The seasoned actors are all praise of their younger co-stars Heaven Peralejo, Barbie Imperial, Tony Labrusca, Yves Flores, Kiko Estrada, and Michelle Vito. They said it’s refreshing to work with the new generation of talents that is always lively and eager to learn. The ‘bagets’ exude inviting energy, especially Yves, the mastermind of playtime on the set.

These youngsters remind Cris and Keempee of their neophyte days. And as senior artists, it is now their responsibility to pass on their knowledge gained through years of experience.

In Bagong Umaga, Cris plays Ian, a doctor who showed no compassion for other lives during a stormy night that connects the lead characters. The coming episodes will show more of his greed as he pushes defenseless families to downfall despite his mother’s pleas.

On the side of the poverty-stricken yet compassionate Magbanua family, Keempee plays the patriarch, Jose, the tricycle driver holding on to his principles and family’s love as his only treasures.

Bagong Umaga is a great reminder that after the darkest night comes a new dawn. It airs every Monday to Friday after It’s Showtime, on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, and A2Z Channel 11.