For a show on random acts of kindness of individuals who in turn pays it forward to more people, host Judy Ann Santos has a handful to thank for being the iconic drama queen that she is today.
In “Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan” virtual presser on Wednesday, June 10, Judy Ann made rare mention of four special people she hasn’t thanked enough to achieve her stature in showbiz.
She would name her late former manager Alfie Lorenzo, her first-ever handler Jess Osida, father Manuel Santos, and her longtime nanny Sabina “Nanay Binay” Quintana.
Her Tito Alfie, who oversaw her career during her peak as a young actress, had his share of ups and downs with Judy Ann. Yet, he still owns a special place in her heart, since his death in 2017 due to a heart attack.
“May mga hidwaan kami pero nagkakasundo kami, may hidwaan uli tapos magkakasundo ulit.” Judy Ann recalled those colorful moments she spent with Alfie at the helm of her career.
“We parted ways and then he got sick,” Judy Ann said, as she turned emotional. “But I still took care of him and nagpasalamat ako sa kanya sa cremation niya, sa mismong araw ng part na iyon.”
Judy Ann described Alfie as having “a strong, tough, personality but he has a somewhat kind heart.” She added “Medyo tagong tago lang. Hindi masyadong pinapakita pero he’s a nice person.”
She also thanked Jess Osida, who was a talent coordinator during her breakthrough stint on her first teleserye as a 14-year-old, Mara Clara, in 1992. She identified her Tito Jess as her first-ever manager. “Si Tito Jess na una kong manager na hanggang ngayon may communication pa kami pero very seldom na kami magkita,” Judy Ann noted.
Judy Ann likewise cited the important role of her Nanay Binay “na nag-alaga sa amin magmula nung bata pa kami.” She passed away in 2017 after losing her battle against cancer.
And in an even rarer moment, Judy Ann acknowledged her estranged father, Manuel, that despite having missed him most of her life due to his separation from her mommy Carol when she was just three years old, his absence pushed her to enter show business.
“We never had the chance to have a good relationship pero kung hindi dahil sa kanya (daddy Manuel), wala ako sa mundong ibabaw. Despite the pains and the past hurts, mas iniisip ko ‘yung buhay ang gusto kong ipasalamat. Kung ‘di siya umalis, malamang ‘di ako nag-artista. May dahilan ang mga binibigay ang Diyos sa atin,” Judy Ann stressed.
This opportunity to thank all those special people in her life was inspired by the theme of the show, which will focus on how simple acts of kindness changed lives and passed on further to spread goodwill to other people during the pandemic.
Judy Ann revealed that the pandemic and the resulting lockdown had brought her family closer and more responsible, with her children Yohan, Lucho, and Luna adjusting wonderfully to the situation. Aside from following better hygiene practices to protect against the virus, her kids would become more active in household chores. A gifted cook, Yohan would whip up Korean meals inspired by her favorite KDrama shows and KPop idols. Lucho would have a “morning routine” growing plants in their garden, while Luna would act as Judy Ann’s “angel helper” in the kitchen.
Judy Ann said the kids are really responsible when it comes to household chores, which she and husband Ryan Agoncillo appreciate. “’Yun ang pinaka-nagustuhan namin kasi they are trying to really adjust and they are maturing in front of our eyes. We see them how they got mature through the quarantine period,” she pointed out.
Judy Ann then made special mention of adopted child Yohan, who “has been a very good ate with how she takes care of her little siblings, pinapaliguan n’ya, braid siya nang braid.” She added she could even start a salon business for Yohan, since she’s now skillful in haircuts and applying hair color.
In honoring Yohan, Judy Ann reiterated that she had been a blessing and the answer to her prayers since she adopted her in 2004.
“At 26, I got Yohan. And it changed my life. I wasn’t prepared. Naramdaman ko na lang na okay go at pag-uwi ko ay nanay na ako. And it changed my whole being, my lifestyle, everything,” she underscored.
While she admitted difficulty in telling Yohan she was adopted, the child would accept it wholeheartedly, and this would give her a valuable lesson. “(Yohan) taught me how to be open. She taught me how to be real, how to be honest, to show the world how to be really, really happy. And pareho kami nag-mature sa proseso,” Judy Ann disclosed. “Tinuro niya sa akin ‘yung I will be honest in whatever form I could. Kung sa paanong salita pwede kong ibitaw sa’yo. It could be painful but I promise you I will never leave you.”
The mere fact that Judy Ann had spent quality time and learned more about what her children can do in the face of a crisis, makes her ponder the reason why the unfortunate pandemic happened.
“Bakit nangyayari ito? There’s should be something behind this. I realized na we all go back to family. It’s God telling us give time to your family,” she emphasized. And the pandemic, despite all the tragedies and uncertainties, still bring out the best in us—spreading a chain of kindness, with even a simple smile, that will make a big difference in the lives of people affected by the crisis—such stories, which “Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan” aims to convey.
Catch more of Judy Ann’s insights and reflections during the community quarantine and what to expect in her upcoming show in this video.
Watch heartwarming stories in Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan, hosted by Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo every Saturday ay 6:45 PM on Kapamilya Channel on SKY, Cablelink, G Sat, and most cable operators under PCTA nationwide. Livestreaming of the Kapamilya Channel and on-demand viewing of its programs are available on the iWant app and on iwant.ph. Its episodes will also be shown worldwide on TFC and tfc.tv.