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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Manila Bulletin "Students and Campuses": A Life in Perfect Harmony

Blog Widget by LinkWithinThe career, life, and love of Regine Velasquez may very well be likened to her trademark singing — starting off a heart wrenching ballad soft and low, building up the melody, and then belting out the high notes near the end, with so much ease, of course.
We have all heard and read the story of trials and triumphs of Regine. How she knew she wanted to be a singer when she was just six years old; how she was trained by her father Mang Gerry by immersing her in neck-deep water while singing; how her mother, Teresita, taught her how to move on stage and interpret songs.

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Regine won around 60 of the 200 amateur singing competitions she joined in her younger years, until finally clinching the big one, as the first grand champion of the then hit singing competition on TV “Ang Bagong Kampeon.” What followed thereafter is an unstoppable string of successes – in recording, in competitions, in live performances, in film and television.  More than eight million albums sold (here and around Asia), and 25 colorful years later, Regine has remained the benchmark for any aspiring female singer in the country.
If there is anything to be learned from Regine’s story, it is that she got to where she is now through years of sheer determination and hard work.
Although it took her a while to find the right one, when Regine finally found the love of her life, she didn’t let go. She married long-time partner singer-composer Ogie Alcasid in December 2010, and recently added mommy duties to baby Nathaniel in her to-do list.
Currently, Regine is trying to get back in shape (trying to lose all the baby weight) for her much-anticipated comeback concert “Silver” slated on Nov. 16 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. Prior to that, she will be seen with perennial onscreen partner Aga Muhlach in their reunion movie “Of All the Things,” opening on Sept. 26. She added yet another feather on her cap, as a full-fledged TV host, via the magazine talk show “H.O.T. TV” on GMA. She will also host a cooking show, “Sarap Diva,” which will start airing on Oct. 6, (every Saturday) before Eat Bulaga.
For this 60 Minutes interview, in between hearty laughs and trip down memory lane, Regine Velasquez-Alcasid reveals her other side, that of a devoted wife and a doting mother, talking about how much motherhood (although scary, she admits) has changed her life, recalling memories of those struggling years which she always loves going back to, and revealing that in her very content state at present, she is more than willing to give up life in the limelight for her family. (Jaser Marasigan)
STUDENTS AND CAMPUSES BULLETIN (SCB): People are seeing you now being very active on Twitter. What made you decide to finally open a Twitter account?
REGINE VELASQUEZ-ALCASID (RVA): That started after I gave birth. Gumigising ‘yung anak ko every two hours to feed. So I did Twitter while breastfeeding (laughs). Kasi hindi naman siya kumikilos noong mga panahon na ‘yun. Hindi actually ako natutulog and Twitter was my way of keeping myself up. You can also keep in touch with the fans, especially if you’re not really busy in the business, para maramdaman nila na nandiyan ka pa rin. Like when I was pregnant, parang hindi mo masyadong naramdaman na nawala ako. Ang ingay ko nga sa Twitter. Kung nasa showbiz ka, maganda rin to be on Twitter.
SCB: You are known not to be a techie person so many were surprised to see you on Twitter, a very public arena.
RVA: I think I’m the last person to do so. I realized that Twitter is also a very good avenue to promote. Kasi ang bilis and it reaches people not only here but all over the world so I might as well continue.
SCB: Being a social media user now, don’t you sometimes feel that your privacy is being invaded?
RVA: It really depends on what you want to share. Saka even if they ask you questions, you don’t really need to answer. Fans feel so close to you kasi parang nag te-text lang kayo. If they see you on TV, they tweet you that they did. Or minsan they say goodnight to you. It has become personal.
SCB: But you also cannot stop them from saying bad things to you, like there was a time na may pumintas sa baby mo...
RVA: Oo. Inaway ko nang bonggang-bongga (laughs). Mali rin ako na pumatol ako. But then again when you see it at four in the morning (laughs), ok ka lang? (laughs). Kakabuwisit eh. Siyempre sa akin pinakaguwapo ang anak ko, ano’ng pakialam mo eh anak ko ‘yun (laughs).
SCB: What lessons have you learned from that?
RVA: The girl apologized naman. Nagsabi lang din ako na you can say anything you like here, there’s freedom of speech pero huwag niyo namang idamay si Nate. I’m just sharing the pictures.
SCB: Have you blocked followers yet?
RVA: Ang dami. Basta pag meron akong nakitang hindi masyadong kagandahan na patulan ko, block and report (laughs). There are those who just really bash whoever.
SCB: Which irritates you more, the sensationalized news in tabloids, or bashers in social media?
RVA: Alam mo, I never really mind reading stuff, kahit a lot of times alam mong imbento na talaga. So parang, bakit mo pa pagtutuunan ng pansin.  But I understand reporters more because trabaho ‘yun. They need to do that so that the people will buy and actually read it. At saka may mga mukha sila.
Ang nakakatakot ay itong social media kasi walang face, kaya sila matapang. You don’t know them. At saka instant, ang daming maaabot kaagad. Kung meron silang sabihin na medyo derogatory sa’yo, kanino ako magrereklamo? Buti nga may report and block na. I think dati wala pa. Mas nakakatakot sila.
SCB: Pero on the other side, ‘yung mga fans naman who adore you, defend you…
RVA: Kaya may balance din.
MOTHERHOOD BECOMES HER
SCB: But what other things has Nate inspired in you? What changed in you?
RVA: I now take better care of myself, nag-workout ako (laughs). I’m not young anymore. I gave birth so I need to lose more weight and I need to have more energy so I can carry him. Dati kasi nangangawit ako nang madalas, nilalagay ko siya sa playpen niya, nagagalit siya. Or ibibigay ko siya sa yaya. At least ngayon, I have more energy na talagang ako lang.
SCB: You will need that energy when he starts running around…
RVA: Baka ikulong ko muna siya  sa store room namin (laughs), pag naubos mo na ang energy mo, labas ka na ulit (laughs).
SCB: Did you imagine that motherhood would be like this?
RVA: When I was just pregnant with Nate, people were telling me that motherhood would change my life.  Ano kaya ang i-chachange ng life ko bukod sa lumobo ako nang bonggang bongga (laughs). Mukha akong baka! (laughs). Humaharap nga ako sa salamin, sino ba ito (laughs)? Parang feeling ko kinain ko si Regine. Kinain ko tapos naging kahawig ko nang konti.
SCB: Did you become depressed by the weight gain?
RVA: Hindi, I was very happy. I didn’t care, buntis naman ako eh. At saka all my life,  payat naman ako. Ngayon lang ako tumaba, care (laughs)!
SCB: And then your realizations about motherhood?
RVA: Nung dumating na si Nate, there are no words to describe how my life has changed. First of all, hindi ko naman inakala na meron akong maternal instinct, bilang ang instinct ko lang ay kumanta. Although mahilig ako sa mga bata, ang dami kong pamangkin, pero kapag umiyak na,  isosoli mo na sa mga magulang. I even asked Ogie, puwede ba akong maging nanay? Sabi niya, you’d be surprised.
Habang tumatagal, you learn to rely on instincts, alam mo na even before he gets hungry. Bago pa umiyak, alam mo na at kung ano ‘yung kinaiiyak niya. Meron ding iba-ibang klaseng lambing. May lambing na harutan na bargas kasi lalaki ang anak ko, may harutan na loving-loving lang.
As a person, siyempre mas una mo nang iniisip ‘yung asawa mo at saka ‘yung anak mo. You are already balancing your time between them. Now, as much as I love my career, it has been my life for a long time, hindi na siya ‘yung priority ko. The passion for work is still there pero hindi na ‘yung buong buhay ko naka-devote sa work ko.
SCB: Is there something about motherhood that you don’t like?
RVA: Nothing at all. Even the not sleeping! Kasi naman hindi ko na nga inasahan na magkaka-baby pa ako. Nag-uusap nga kami ng asawa ko, Hon, ok ka lang ba kung tayong dalawa lang? Ready na kami dun. Tapos binigay sa amin. Parang gift. Kaya nga Nathaniel ang pangalan niya, gift of God.
SCB: Has pregnancy in any way changed your voice? Was the range affected?
RVA: No. Ang nagkaroon lang talaga ako ng problema was not being able to control my voice. Kasi ‘yung hangin hindi mo ma-control. Kung saan-saan napupunta ‘yung notes mo. Siyempre ‘yung core mo hindi pa masyadong sanay. Parang nakabuka pa sila, hindi pa sila sama-sama.
SCB: Did you have a hard time during your pregnancy?
RVA: My husband was telling me I had a hard time pero parang hindi naman. He said I was very pleasant daw. Pinaglalaruan nga niya ako. Pinaiiyak niya ako kasi lahat iniiyakan ko, very emotional ‘yung hormones. I had a hard time kasi I had gestational diabetes so I couldn’t really eat what I want and I was growing without eating anything. Sabi niya, ‘yun lang ‘yung part na nahirapan ako. Hindi ko matandaan na nahirapan ako doon sa part na ‘yun. Siguro nafu-frustrate ako.
All I could remember was I was laughing because he would make me laugh especially during the first trimester namin. Kasi talagang bed rest ako noon. Nakahiga lang. Tatayo lang ako to go to the toilet, aakayin pa ako ng asawa ko. He also stayed with me for three months. Hindi siya nag work. He took care of me. He would just tape for “Bubble Gang.” Nung masiguro niya na ok na ok na talaga ako, ok na ‘yung baby, saka lang siya nag work ulit.
SCB: After giving birth, did you ever consider not going back to work?
RVA: Nang bonggang-bongga (laughs)! I don’t want to sound ungrateful to the business kasi siyempre bread and butter ko ‘to, ang laki ng itinulong nito sa akin, sa sarili ko, sa mga kapatid ko. Kaya lang umaabot ka rin dun sa point na parang ok na ako, parang tapos na ako.
SCB: So what made you come back?
RVA: Ogie encouraged me.  He said, kung hihinto ka, huwag kang humintong kumanta kasi papatayin ako ng mga fans (laughs). Sabi niya, if you want to slow down, you can. Puwedeng hindi ka na mag soap opera, pero huwag kang humintong kumanta. Keep on recording songs, make an album. I love singing. I really do. I can always sing, sa banyo, sa bahay, pwede naman. Mag party ako, pwede naman (laughs). Mag sing-along. Kaya nga ngayon, parang effort na talagang mag-devote ng time for work. Ganun na nga ‘yun. Kasi dati it’s the other way around, effort mag-devote ng time for myself.
SCB: You have always been known to make exciting career plans, career moves for yourself. Are you still the same now with a new life?
RVA: Mahirap mag long term plan kung may anak ka. Hindi ko na kayang gawin. Dati that’s what I do, pinaplano ‘yung buong year. My sister would plan my calendar for the whole year para alam niya. Hindi na ako masyadong ganun kasi nga I’d rather be home. Dati wala akong ibang inisip kundi kumanta,  involved ako sa lahat ng aspects ng career ko, ako pa ang nag di direct ng show ko. Pero now, even in my forthcoming concert, hinahayaan ko na ang director.
But the way I perform will always be the same, if not better, I don’t want to shortchange my audience. Kaya nga ako nagwo-workout, nagpe-prepare para pagtayo ko dun sa stage, wala silang ibang nakitang change kundi nag mature lang ako.
SCB: Do you sing to Nate?
RVA: All the time. Gustong-gusto nga niya kapag kumakanta ako. Natutuwa siya. At saka pinapanood niya ako. ‘Yung mukha niya parang, wow you’re singing to me!
SCB: What do you sing to him? May birit?
RVA: May birit! (laughs). Favorite niya ‘yung Angel of Mine by Monica. Kapag kinakanta ko ‘yun kahit matutulog na siya, didilat ‘yun. Kukunin niya ‘yung dede at manonood siya. ‘Yung mata niya parang kikiligin siya (laughs). Kapag nag-hum lang kami, alam niyang we’re trying to put him to sleep. Pero kapag may lyrics, may kanta, may effort, nakikinig talaga siya.
THE WAY SHE WAS LOVED AND RAISED
SCB: Will you raise Nate the way your parents raised you?
RVA: Oh yeah. ‘Yung may tamang balance. Alam mo noon, kapag sumasali ako sa contest, kaya never ako nagkaroon ng insecurity kasi ‘yung tatay ko, kapag sumasali kami at natatalo ako, sasabihin sa akin, “Luto, anak!” (laughs) Lahat, lahat ng natalo ako, luto! Pero kapag pauwi na kami, kaming dalawa na lang, sasabihin niya ako na nagkamali ako sa part na ito, na nag-flat ako, na next time ingatan ko ang pagkanta ko, ang breathing ko. Alam ko na meron akong mali, pero hindi ako dina-down. Kahit matalo ako, ok lang, kasi luto naman eh (laughs).
SCB: How did those years shape you?
RVA: Naging malakas ‘yung loob ko. Because of it, kumapal ang face ko kumbaga. Wala akong pakialam. Contest eh, wala kong choice, ‘pag tuntong mo, isa lang ang aim mo, to win. Kakanta ka ng isang kanta, dapat makuha mo lahat ng nandun, hindi lang ‘yung judges pero pati ‘yung audience. ‘Yung determination talaga siguro, ‘yun ‘yung talagang bonggang-bonggang na-shape sa akin.
SCB: Ikaw naman nakaranas maglaro nung bata ka?
RVA: Oh yeah. Normal naman. Ngayon na lang ako hindi naging normal (laughs). Marami akong kapatid kaya normal na normal ‘yung childhood ko.
SCB: In the future do you want Nate to enter showbiz?
RVA: Magiging bold star siya (laughs). I don’t mind. Siyempre nakikita niya ang ginagawa namin. Aware siya. I’m sure habang tumatanda siya, mas nalalaman niya kasi i-eexplain mo. Mas ok sa akin na exposed siya para hindi na rin nagugulat ‘yung mga tao. At saka may nagsabi sa akin before, pictures are meant to be shared. Why do you take pictures? Hindi lang naman para may memory ka para sa’yo. Kaya ka nga nag-aalbum para i-share. At saka kapag shinare mo na ‘yun, nasa Internet na ‘yun. Kapag itata-type niya ‘yung name niya ‘pag tumanda na siya, andun ‘yung baby pictures niya. Sabi ko, oo nga ano, that’s a good way of keeping those memories.
PARENTING STYLE
SCB: Have you and Ogie agreed on a parenting style?
RVA: Parang natural na lang. Right now, hindi ko naman masabi na ako ‘yung spoiler kasi ngayon pa lang sinasabihan ko na siya ng “No.” Nine months palang siya. Meron siyang konting comprehension, iiyak na ‘yan kapag sinabihan mong “No.” Eh anong gagawin mo, kinakain ‘yung phone eh. Baka maubos (laughs)! Sayang naman, mahal! Hindi mo talaga ibibigay. Pero I know my husband, may pagka-disciplinarian but very malambing. Ayokong maging sobrang strict. Gusto kong tamang-tama lang.
Ang alam ko lang, first and foremost eh tuturuan ko siya about God. Kung may pagmamahal siya at may takot sa Diyos, everything else will follow. Kapag alam na niya si God, hindi na siya magsisinungaling, magiging good boy siya, kasi ayaw niya magalit si God.
SCB: Who gives you tips on parenting?
RVA: Malaking tulong ang mga kapatid ko. We see each other every week, we have family day. Ang laki ding bagay, kasi may mababasa ka sa book or sa internet or whatever, pero iba pa rin ‘yung galing sa experience. You consider them, kasi even if it worked for them it may not work for you. But at least merong ganon, bukod sa books.
SCB: If Nate takes the same path that you took, will you be like Mang Gerry?
RVA: Oh yeah. Kasi nakita ng tatay ko ang path na gusto ko, tinulungan nila ako na maging focused doon sa gusto kong gawin. Ako eh alam na alam ko kung saan ako pupunta. ‘Yun na talaga ang gusto ko.
Alam mo ang tatay ko, contrary to what others are thinking na stage father siya, he is not. He never managed me kasi he believed na hindi niya ako matutulungan kung siya lang magma-manage. Me kaalaman siya, pero wala naman siyang koneksiyon. Hinanap niya ako talaga ng manager. Umalis ako kay Ronnie (Henares, RVA’s first manager), hindi pa rin niya ako hinandle. I handled myself. Sinabi niya lang sa akin na baka I should have people to handle me, kaya kay Cacai ako ngayon. Pero hindi talaga siya nakialam. He was very, very supportive. Talagang never siya nakikialam.
Kaya kung nagiisip ako, ‘yun ang binabalikan ko kasi parang ‘yun ‘yung pinakamaganda. Kapag nakapasok ka naman na, everything else is given na to you eh.
SCB: So si Nate bata pa lang iga-guide mo rin...
RVA: Ganun naman ang role ng parents. Pero dapat ’yung balanced. Hindi naman puwede ‘yung iho-hone mo siya para ito ‘yung gawin niya, tapos nakalimutan niya everything else. Play is important too.
SCB: Would you let Nate go through the same struggles, considering you and your husband can make things easier for him?
RVA: I don’t think I can make him experience what I experienced kasi mas okay na kami ngayon. Nandito kami parehong mag-asawa. Mahirap nga kasi ngayong pareho kaming nasa business, baka may pressure sa kaniya, o may tendency na baka mayabang naman siya. Hindi ko pa alam kung paano namin iba-balance ‘yun. I’m taking it one step at a time.
SCB: Do you have any fears for Nate?
RVA: Ang dami! Ayaw mo na paalisin, sa kuwarto ka na lang. Meron nga kaming time, sabi ni Ogie, masarap na daw kapag puwede na ilagay sa stroller at isama mag-shopping. Ayoko! Ang daming tao, baka magkasakit.
Nung hindi pa ako nagwowork, nasa bahay lang talaga kami, natatakot ako sa lamok. Kapag lumalabas siya, ang kapal ng lotion niya, nagsesebo na ‘yung batok niya (laughs). Lahat na lang nilalagay ko. Kapag nagkasakit, natataranta ka. Nung first time niya magkasakit, lagnat at sipon, umiiyak ako. Hindi siya makahinga dahil sa sipon. Frustrated na frustrated ako.
BACK TO ROM-COM
SCB: Your movies with Aga are favorite romantic comedies. But now that you’re married, have you imposed restrictions on yourself already?
RVA: More of I impose on myself. ‘Yung passionate na kiss, depende naman ‘yun sa story. Pero kahit naman before may limitation naman ako sa sarili ko. Papayag naman ako kasi hindi naman ako 16, heller! (laughs).
SCB: Why does your chemistry with Aga work?
RVA: Hindi ko rin ma-explain. Kapag kaming dalawa ni Aga, kapag nagtatabi kami sa screen, we look good together. Minsan wala namang effort magpakilig, pero nangyayari na lang. Like ‘yung first movie namin, hindi naman namin inexpect na ganon ang magiging reaction. Kami rin, nung pinapanood namin, nakakakilig nga. Siguro me binibigay talaga sa iyo ‘yung Diyos na somehow you’re connected to each other.
SCB: Would you have been together with Aga? You were both single at the time.
RVA: Parang hindi rin, ‘teh. Bata pa ako noon eh. Mahirap mag-claim (laughs).
NO REGRETS
SCB: At this point in your life, do you think you have it all?
RVA: Parang mayabang sabihin pero feeling ko kasi may asawa na ako, happy na ako, tapos may baby pa ako. Parang ano pa ba naman ang hihingin ko.
SCB: One more baby?
RVA: Kung ibibigay pa. Puwede pa naman sabi ng doctor ko. Para may kasama si Nate.
SCB: Is there anything that you regret in your life?
RVA: No regrets. Desisyon ko naman lahat ‘yun eh. Kung meron akong sisisihin, sarili ko lang ‘yun. Pero kung nadapa man ako, those trials made me stronger. They made me who I am now, so why regret those decisions? I’m sure I’ve made a lot of mistakes in the past.
Dalawa lang naman pagpipilian mo — right or wrong, depende naman sa iyo. Lahat ng desisyon mo laging may pupuntahan. Why regret it, it’s finished anyway? Ang regret laging sa past, I’m always looking forward. Mas importante sa akin ‘yung ngayon. Kung may desisyon akong magagawa ngayon na maiiwasan kong magkamali, doon ako magco-concentrate. I don’t like looking back. Besides, nakalimutan ko na ‘yun.
SCB: Twenty five years in the business, are there memories that you love going back to?
RVA: Siguro ‘yung beginning years, ‘yung sumasali ako ng amateur contests, the struggling years. Kapag binalikan mo parang ‘yun ‘yung exciting na parts eh. Mananalo ba ko or hindi? Nung natapos ko na ‘yung amateur singing contests, will I make it in the business? ‘Yun ‘yung exciting eh, siyempre may mga kasabay na disappointments, pero laban pa rin. ‘Yun ‘yung iniisip ko. Kasama ko rin kasi si Mang Gerry nun eh, all throughout. ‘Yun ‘yung iniisip ko. Kahit ang dami namin pinagdaanan, lagi akong may kasama.

Source! By RONALD S. LIM, JASER A. MARASIGAN and IVY LISA F. MENDOZA, Photos by CROMWELL TORIO
September 22, 2012, 5:56pm
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1 comment:

  1. This makes me more excited about 'Of All the Things'. You're the best, Regine.

    ReplyDelete