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Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan: Judy Ann shares who made it possible for her to become a happy, fulfilled wife and mother

Our mother’s immense love for us is certainly beyond compare. Even before we came into existence, our mothers have already given us everything by taking very good care of us, making sure we will be born safe and that we have a secure and safe future ahead of us. This episode of Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan aired on August 1 featured four moving stories of mothers whose incredible life experiences that made them stronger.

Life-saving bond

Christine “Tinay” Jacobo, a freelance lesbian visual artist, may seem not like the usual mother figure but has become a dedicated and loving single parent to son O’Neil, who has been her  biggest blessing. But behind her courage in raising her son, there were past traumatic experiences that caused much pessimism about life. As young as four years old, Tinay already underwent a terrible ordeal, having been sexually molested, which she kept as a secret to her family. When she reached the age of 20, Tinay admitted, she became more liberated when it came to her sexual adventures. At that time, she tried exploring with several partners, having them in quick “one-night stand” encounters. This made her belittle herself as a person.

Faced with uncertainty, Tinay prayed for someone who would truly love her. Soon, she met the man who eventually became the father of her son that she met through a social networking site. Tinay admitted it was a whirlwind romance and it didn’t take long before discovering that his promise of love turned out to be a lie.

When she gave birth to O’Neil, the father was remiss with his obligations. It even came to a point where he would turn a blind eye to his son’s needs. That’s why Tinay decided to quit and break it up with her ex-partner. She told herself she’ll be the one to raise her son on her own. She started working as a call center agent and by this time, Tinay couldn’t keep her real gender identity from O’Neil, coming out as a lesbian.

She met Marj Pascua, who shares similarities with Tinay, being single parents and they both have passion for the arts, especially painting. Marj was actually the one who encouraged her to become a painter. And since then, Tinay immersed herself in creating works of art that has become her source of fulfillment. In 2018, however, Tinay faced one of the worst challenges in her life. While she and Marj were attending an art event in Vigan, she had a heart attack. When Tinay was confined in a hospital to treat her heart condition, her medical bills soared. During this difficult time, Marj never abandoned her. She helped Tinay in paying her hospital bills and would soon have Tinay and O’Neil live with her in Pangasinan. As a gift to her good and trusted friend Marj, Tinay gave a tube of acrylic paint that symbolizes their long lasting friendship.

Superhero artist mom

Marj Pascua, the mother and superhero of her son Heri, also once dreamt of becoming a successful painter during his younger years. However because of financial problems, she wasn’t able to pursue a degree in Fine Arts in college. She would instead pursue a Math degree, but she did not also get to finish her course as she needed to earn and work immediately. During those times, she was also having an on-and-off relationship with her high school sweetheart, who became the father of Heri. However, their relationship unfortunately came to an end. When she gave birth to Heri, the midwife said they should have Heri undergo newborn screening since he had signs of Down Syndrome. However, again, because of financial limitations, they weren’t able to do it. While Marj accepted Heri’s condition, she was worried about her son’s future, especially if she won’t be there for him anymore. Being a special child, his needs are way more costly than a normal kid, and this includes spending for his heart complications.

In 2011, as Heri’s situation improved, Marj faced the most painful chapter in her life when her mother died. She admitted questioning God about the loss since her mom never stopped in supporting and guiding her. But Marj chose to move on and stay strong for Heri, who at one time asked her if he could paint just like her. And Marj said that it took Heri less than an hour to finish his impressive painting which showed beautiful combinations and shades of bright colors. As such, Heri’s artistic talent he inherited from his mom boosted his confidence.  Yet, the ordeals didn’t stop when Heri contracted dengue and his hospitalization incurred huge costs that they couldn’t afford. She tried everything just to settle Heri’s medical bills that’s why she thought of selling her paintings online. That was when her works caught the eye of one unexpected buyer—award-winning actress-producer, teleserye queen and Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan host Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo.

Marj admitted and shared in delight when Judy Ann inquired and showed interest in buying her painting in the most trying time of her life—and the proceeds she used in paying for Heri’s medical expenses. To show her deepest thanks to Judy Ann, Marj gave Judy Ann a painting made by Heri.

How Judy Ann found her forever love

An acclaimed actress, successful entrepreneur, devoted wife, loving daughter, and above all, a selfless mother - these and more are what encapsulate Judy Ann Santos as a woman.  In achieving her success in the showbiz industry, Judy Ann admitted she also had to earn all of what she has now through hard work and patience. She revealed she had grudges before towards her dad for being the reason why her mother had to leave them and work out of the country. She wanted her mom to go home already and be with them again so she worked at an early age.

Another goal was to invest for their future house, which she later on owned and gave to her mom. And she said seeing the smile on her mom’s face during that time made her heart full. Her brother and fellow actor Jeffrey Santos attests that Judy Ann never lost her focus especially when she wants to achieve something. But being in showbiz entails inevitable judgments from people. Judy Ann said she has probably received all the hate words she could ever receive, and it undoubtedly made her weak at some point. She said every time she couldn’t take it anymore, she would go to the adoration chapel to lift all her burdens to God. She would cry out of physical and emotional exhaustion.

And Judy Ann even reached the point where she thought she would never need a man in his life. One of the major reasons why she came to think this way was the unsuccessful marriage of her parents and that of her sister.  For her adopting a child was enough to have a family of her own, and when foster daughter Yohan came to her life, she thought life was complete. Until she met the man whom she promised to share her life with forever. And the one who started their love story was the person whom Judy Ann will give her utmost thanks and appreciation for the rest of her life. She is Nanay Gloria Mayo, a wardrobe assistant in her 2006 fantasy series Krystala.

Judy Ann shared that during their shooting days in Krystala, in which she and Ryan Agoncillo both starred in, people especially Nanay Gloria would always tease and “ship” them. She would also leave the two alone in the dressing room. And that actually served as a way for Judy Ann and Ryan to know each other better and become good friends, until things escalated and the two confessed their love for each other. Nanay Gloria said that she thought Ryan was different from the other guys linked romantically to Judy Ann. She added she saw Ryan’s sincerity. That’s why Judy Ann gave a necklace with a heart pendant to her longtime wardrobe dresser, now the head of ABS-CBN wardrobe department, whom she’s always treated as family, and to whom she attributes finding her forever love and having a blissful and fulfilled family.

Overcoming immense challenges

Nanay Gloria, meanwhile, had a successful marriage with her late loving husband, Dominador. They were actually childhood sweethearts. When they realized they really love each other, Dominador asked her hand in marriage. Their families did not accept it at first but eventually gave in. They were blessed with three kids and Nanay Gloria said she would not have raised their kids well if not for the love and hard work of her late husband. She said that their only dream for their children was to finish their studies. However, her husband lost his job so she was forced to work in Manila. But one day, after she reached the city, she was devastated to learn that her husband passed away due to a heart attack. Less than a week after Dominador had been buried when she needed to bring one of his sons to the hospital.

So Nanay Gloria decided to go back to Manila to find a job there which could provide for her children. She actually became a product checker before working as a wardrobe assistant for ABS-CBN. Despite all the problems that she had to face and the challenges she had to endure, Nanay Gloria was fortunate enough to have a very strong support system, especially the family of her late husband who helped his son Anthony to finish college.

Nanay Gloria led the way for Judy Ann to find fulfillment and happiness as a wife and mother. The kind of contentment Judy Ann passed on to a needy Marj faced with a terrible predicament of finding the means to cover the medical bills of her son, when she purchased her artwork. This gratitude for Judy Ann’s patronage and help inspired Marj to also assist her close friend Tinay, who needed financial assistance in her own battle against a heart illness.

This chain of kindness not only helps saves lives, but actually makes people stronger in the face of uncertainty and ordeals—touching expressions of selflessness and love we celebrate on Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan, presented by Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo, airing every Saturday, 6:45pm on the Kapamilya Channel.