Follow your heart may sound like a cliché but there are people who can attest that love indeed leads us to the right destination. In this episode of I Feel U, our celebrity guests share stories of how different facets of love brought them fulfilment.
In the segment Panalong Overseas Pinoy, host Toni Gonzaga introduced Myrna Padilla, a businesswoman. Before reaping success, Myrna had to endure big storms while sowing the seeds of dreams and hard work. Life then was a struggle. There were days when she had to sleep with an empty stomach, “Dahil wala talagang mahain ang magulang namin.”
Myrna had to navigate life’s steep learning curves when she became a mother. Worried about her kids’ future, she was forced to work as a domestic helper. She felt like it was the only option to provide her two kids good future. She worked in Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, wherein she also got active in community service.
One of the darkest seasons of her life was when she became a victim of human trafficking. Then-18-year-old Myrna received an offer to go to Manila and apply for a job in Japan, “Sa probinsya, ‘pag wala kang pinag-aralan at wala kang natapos, parang hulog ng langit ‘yung alok.” She had to audition as part of the application process and it was then when she felt exploited, “Hindi ko na nagustuhan ang trato sa akin kasi hinihipuan ako ng Hapon habang audition, so nasampal ko tuloy ‘yung Hapon.”
Myrna knew she can’t be taken advantage of as she won’t sacrifice her dignity for anything, “Kung mahirap kayo at wala kayong pinag-aralan, the only thing you want to hold on is your dignity. If you lose that dignity, wala ka nang maipagmamalaki sa buhay mo.”
After the incident, she was deserted by her recruiter. Myrna sold ‘pandesal’ in the streets to survive until she worked as a housemaid. She eventually became a domestic helper.
Myrna credits her grit to almost two decades of working overseas and the thirst for knowledge. “I never stopped learning. I don’t allow myself na hanggang diyan lang ako,”said Myrna, who was told by the people around her to stop being too ambitious. She grew up wanting to become a lawyer. Although she doesn’t have the title, Myrna’s work as the CEO of Mynd Consulting is more than impressive.
In her desire to help provide jobs for more people, Myrna put up a BPO business that develops software and mobile applications. Myrna’s story reminds us that poverty is never a hindrance to achieving one’s dreams.
Beauty, brains, and love life – Michelle Vito got them. Sana all, right? Blessings are pouring down the young actress as she finishes college, continually gets projects amid the pandemic, and shares a happy relationship with boyfriend Enzo Pineda. In this episode, the Kapamilya beauty shares how she juggled everything at once.
First off, Michelle expressed gratitude for being part of the afternoon series Bagong Umaga, now en route to its finale. She related the struggles of working under ‘new normal.’ It was difficult at first but she eventually got used to the safety guidelines. It helped that the cast and crew got along like a true family.
On her latest feat as a degree holder, Michelle admitted that it was a real struggle juggling college life and showbiz, “Mahirap talaga. May times na gusto ko nang sumuko o piliin na lang ‘yung school o showbiz.” But the diploma is worth all the sweat and tears.
Dreams entail sacrifices. Michelle could vouch for that, saying she had to turn down some projects to prioritize school works. “Kailangan kong mamili talaga. Kasi iniisip ko, like, kapag kinuha ko itong project na ‘to, ma-e-FDA ako at next term ko pa ulit makukuha ‘yung subject, so talagang naglalaban kung school o showbiz.” She also had to leave her previous high school even if she didn’t want to.
One factor that made her eager to graduate is seeing her siblings finish their schooling. Besides, it’s her childhood dream. “Para sa akin, iba pa rin kasi ‘yung nakapagtapos, eh. Iba ‘yung matututunan ko sa showbiz, iba ‘yung learnings at experience doon. Pero iba din ‘yung sa college, professional ka, meron kang degree.”
She added that determination reflects how much you value a dream. She had her low moments as well, times when she’d just feel like crying. Thus, she is so relieved and happy to have finally reached the finish line. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management at the College of Saint Benilde.
Proving more her expertise in time management, Michelle managed to keep her relationship with Enzo. She said the actor was very supportive. For instance, he would send her ice cream, her ultimate comfort food, during her stressful thesis days.
“Isa siya sa mga taong nagpu-push sa akin na, ‘Sige, laban lang.’ Okay kasi ‘yung feeling na may mga tao sa paligid mo na sumusuporta sa’yo. Kung ako lang, parang hindi ko kakayanin, eh. Iisipin ko na ayaw ko na. Pwede akong mag-give up.”
For Michelle, the love for learning and the love of people around her kept her pressing towards the goal.
JC De Vera and wife Rikkah
Despite the inevitable fame, JC De Vera managed to keep his relationship and family life private. In this interview together with his wife, Rikkah, he said keeping their romance low-key is a conscious effort.
“Baka maging magulo. Baka ma-shock siya,” thought JC when asked why he kept Rikkah out of the public eye as much as possible. The couple used to be schoolmates but he was seven batches higher. They met through a common barkada at a birthday party.
On first impressions, Rikkah admitted she thought of JC as a playboy. She noticed that he’s quiet and he showed no traces of being an ‘artista.’ But she was not impressed with the mysterious vibes, which reminded her of the age-old Filipino phrase “nasa loob ang kulo.”
To her surprise, JC added her on Facebook the next day. Unlike most girls who’d go crazy over the heartthrob, Rikkah was careful and unassuming. It took a while before she finally let him into her world, “My walls were very, very high when it comes to him. As in, ‘No, hindi mo ako masyadong makikilala. Hanggang dito lang tayo.” But, then again, JC kept his moves slow and consistent until Rikkah was convinced that he’s a nice guy. She knew he has good intentions.
JC, on the other hand, knew that Rikkah is the one when he felt that they work well together. “Maganda ‘yung flow namin. Maganda ‘yung pakikitungo namin sa isa’t isa. Nagge-gel lang talaga kami. Alam namin kung paano susuyuin kung may mga circumstances na hindi namin kaya.”
One thing that makes the relationship work is their give-and-take attitude, which they had since the boyfriend-girlfriend stage. They are the best of friends, just wishing to be beside each other every moment. “Hindi namin kaya na hindi makita ang isa’t isa,” he said.
Rikkah praises JC for being a hands-on father to their unica hija Lana Athena. She said the Kapamilya actor loves to spend time with their daughter, “He’d take the task na magbantay kay Lana, even samahan siya sa school. Nararamdaman mo talaga sa kanya na family is his number one priority.”
Lana changed the couple’s dynamics in a way that they now keep everything scheduled. They keep their attention on Lana while not neglecting couple time. JC and Rikkah wish to have two more kids in the future.
As they grow together, JC and Rikkah discover the true meaning of love. For her, it’s a never-ending sacrifice and compromise. He added that love is about being giving not just in material things but more importantly spiritually and emotionally. Above all, communication is always the antidote to misunderstandings.
Kaladkaren and fiancé Luke Wrightson
From UK, with so much love! In this episode of I Feel U, Kaladkaren is joined by British fiancé Luke Wrightson to share their story of love and updates about their upcoming wedding.
Kalakdkaren was supposed to just spend Christmas and New Year with her boyfriend Luke and his family in England. But the travel restrictions forced her to stay longer. She’s not complaining, though, as they get to spend more time together after years of long distance relationship.
As a merchant navy, Luke’s life has always been away from home. Thus, the past months have been extra happy as he gets to spend it with his family and girlfriend. They would find joy even in the mundane. Even ordinary things like cooking, walking in the woods and going to the beach, watching movies, and sharing stories have been so special.
Luke shared that Kaladkaren prepared ‘adobo’ and he enjoyed the dish. Kaladkaren chimed in, “Favorite nila dito lumpia, pancit. Parang every week daw magluto ako ng stir-fried noodles o kaya adobo. They really like it.”
The couple announced their engagement in September 2020. While they are over the moon, the pair decided to postpone the wedding until next year. Kaladkaren’s family wishes to attend the ceremonies in the UK, that’s why they have to wait until travel restrictions are relaxed. In the meantime, she’s enjoying the engagement bliss and taking on little steps to organize the ceremony.
Luke believes he’s in-charge of the engagement while his fiancée is set to command the planning. He just told Kaladkaren to ask for his mom’s help. “In terms of preparation, nagsa-scout na kami ng venue. Ang ganda ng venue parang ang lakas maka-Disney princess. Old hotel siya tapos ang view niya, bay. So nasa cliff siya, so kitang-kita mo yung magandang view habang nagwa-walk ka sa aisle” she said, and we couldn’t wait to see the fairy-tale wedding come to life.
Asked what made him realize that Kaladkaren or Jervi is the one, Luke looked back on the eight happy years they shared. That number alone is enough of a sign for him, “You don’t stay with someone that long if you don’t deeply care about them. For me, we’re always there when we need each other. I think over the years, our relationship got stronger and we got more comfortable with each other.”
He added that theirs is more than just a mushy, love-at-first-sight romance. They spent the past eight years growing the relationship. It sure entailed hard work and a good amount of patience especially in defying the distance. As they soon embark on a new chapter, Luke is certain he can rely on Jervi as a life partner. He knows they will have each other no matter the circumstances. He will do everything for her.
He likes her best for her energy, the happiness she passes on to others. He would attest that Kaladkaren is a source of good vibes on and off cam. Kaladkaren continued, “Tahimik kasi ito, eh. So lagi ko siyang pinapatawa pati Mommy niya. Mga jokes natin sa Pinas, dinadala ko dito. Tinuturuan ko siya ng gay lingo.”
But, probably the biggest question of all is how much Kaladkaren can sacrifice for the relationship. Will she give up her career in the Philippines? She said Luke has been very supportive since day one. He gave her the green light to still pursue local showbiz once they get married, certain that they can work out any situation. Luke joked that he’s ready to be the house-husband in case Kaladkaren chooses to stay in the Philippines and pursue showbiz.
However, when it comes to the legality of marriage, Kaladkaren thinks the UK would be a better option. “Tanggap ko naman na wala pang ganoon [same-sex marriage] sa Pilipinas at naiiintindihan ko ‘yun. If one day we decide to move here, I’m ready naman to compromise. We have to sacrifice. We cannot have everything that we want. At one point, kailangan natin mag-decide which is our priority,” she related.
Wherever they choose to move in, Kaladkaren and Luke will make it work as long as they have each other.
The experiences of being bullied inspired Trisha Denise to pick up the guitar, pen, and paper and write songs glorifying God’s unfailing love. Considered a new breed of OPM, the 24-year-old singer-songwriter shared her journey in this episode of I Feel U.
Trisha was bullied when she was a teenager. It was a difficult season that she almost gave up. But, thanks to her family’s spiritual influence, she managed to make something good out of the negativities.
“Nag-lead po ‘yun sa dark times na parang I wanted to end my life so ‘yung mga songs na nasusulat ko, kasi I grew up in a Christian family, about thanking God pa rin kahit ganun ka-dark ‘yung mga experiences,” she said of being bullied.
The lack of social life grew her spirituality. She had no friends but she’s certain God was always with her. Music also helped her cope with the struggle.
Tables turned when the bullied girl rose to become part of the music industry. Trisha has written songs for big performers including Regine Velasquez, Moira Dela Torre KZ Tandingan, Jake Zyrus, Inigo Pascual, Janella Salvador, and Kyle Echarri. She also composed OSTs for films like “Unbreakable” and “Love or Money.”
From writing songs based on miniscule experiences about life, Trisha learned to broaden her perspective to create relatable pieces. She considers Tori Kelly and Ed Sheeran as her biggest musical influences.
Trisha will soon release her album under Star Music – an achievement she did not imagine. She used to just create songs as an outlet. Now that she’s doing it professionally, she’s thankful that Star Music trusts in her talent.
Looking back on her journey, Trisha realized that nothing can stop God’s plans for us, “’Pag gusto kang dalhin ni God sa dapat mong puntahan, dadalhin ka talaga Niya doon.”
Check out this video as Trisha sings “Mahalin” from the movie “Love or Money.”