Regine Velasquez, 43, has always been a huge fan of Christmas.
Apart from preparing food—she’s a self-taught, natural talent at cooking—and sharing a scrumptious feast with her family, the singer/actress loves the gift-giving part of the holidays.
She told PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) and other members of the press in an interview last December 2, Monday, “I don’t know why I get excited about gift-giving! Siyempre, receiving also!
“But more than that, I’m more excited about yung magiging itsura nung family members ko na binigyan ko ng gift na pinag-isipan ko.”
She is one to listen and take note of her loved ones’s needs, a quality she probably acquired from being the breadwinner in her family.
Come Christmas time, Regine excitedly hands out the gifts, drawing happiness from the expression of the person she's giving the gift to.
Now a mother, Regine wants to teach the value of giving to her two-year-old son with Ogie Alcasid, Nathaniel.
“That same spirit, I want him to learn—the spirit of giving.
“And not just for our family members but for the others also, kasi siya, lalaki siyang medyo privileged, e.
“Kasi ako, lumaki akong hindi ako privileged.”
Growing up, Regine was fully aware that she had to help her parents send her siblings to school and put food on the table.
“Sa tulong ni God, sa tulong ng 'binigay na gift ni God sa akin, natulungan ko yung family ko. And now, we’re doing okay. Hindi kami mayaman, but we’re doing good.
“So, si Nate, medyo okay yung life niya. I want him to be able to share also to others.”
She has enough, the singer clarifies and then jokes, “Wala akong Rolce Royce!”
In truth, Regine only wants one thing for Christmas, having gone through a rough patch this year because Mang Gerry, her father, underwent surgery last July.
The experience has made her value wellness, which is all she wants to receive this holiday.
She points out, her tone sad, “Na-realize ko, nung nagkasakit Tatay ko, talagang no amount of money, no amount of jewelry, bag—nothing, wala—hindi yun makakapantay sa good health ng family mo at ng sarili mo.
“You really need to take care of yourself.”
Apart from being hale and healthy, Regine also wants a rekindled relationship with God.
“Yung spirituality natin, dapat handa rin tayo. Any moment, di ba? Parang it’s very important to have that kind of, you know... It’s very important to have that relationship with God.
“Alam na natin na do’n naman tayo pupunta.
“This Christmas, parang yun lang yung wish ko for my whole family, to discover God again, to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.
“Kasi ako, parang ngayon pa lang ako nagsa-start. So, I want my family to have that same experience.”
She tries to be humorous in spite of herself, “Pang-family naman kasi talaga ang Pasko. Valentine’s, pang-jowa!”
HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS. In retrospect, the highlights of Regine’s career in 2013 include her two major concerts.
She had her Silver concert repeat last January and she was in Foursome, a show Regine herslef mounted with OPM singers Ogie Alcasid and Concert King and Queen Martin Nievera and Pops Fernandez. The latter show was a Valentine special.
But asked what the best part of her year was, Regine ends up recalling the pain that came with the good memories.
“Hindi ko alam kung ano yung maganda. Marami naman! In fairness, marami naman.
“Thankful lang ako sa magagandang bagay na nangyari sa akin this year.
“Kaya lang, minsan na-o-overshadow ng pangit yung maganda. So, parang hindi ko masyado maisip kung ano yung magaganda.
“It’s very human. But just the same, I’m just thankful for this year.
“And I’m thankful that it’s finally ending.”
She starts counting her blessings: “I’m very thankful because God has given us another chance to be with my father, to be with family, to be with my mom.
“I’m also thankful that my son is doing really well. He’s healthy.
“There was a time that he was getting sick all the time, pero ngayon parang okay naman siya.”
Does she look forward to anything in particular in 2014?
She pauses to think, then chuckles, “I’m just looking forward. Period.”
Regine adheres to the saying that we never know what lies ahead. Thus, she advises people “to keep praying, look forward, and to keep positive.”
As for regrets, the singer says that while she feels remorseful about certain things, she tries not to dwell on them.
“Meron din, meron din naman [akong regrets]. Pero… kasi wala namang maitutulong, e.
“What you can do is really learn from your mistakes.
“That’s all you can do because regretting—sure you can—but it’s not gonna change anything."
Regine tries to make sense of it all, “You keep regretting na ‘Sana hindi ko na ginawa yun!’
“Nabago ba? Hindi naman. So, parang you just feel guilty.
“So, wag na! Wag na mag-regret! Keep learning from whatever mistakes you do.”
KEEPING GROUNDED. Regine’s inspiring life story—from being a regular contender in small-town singing contests to becoming Asia’s Songbird and now also a certified star of OPM (Original Pilipino Music)—is familiar to most Filipinos.
She need not be reminded of her hard climb to stardom because Regine herself has a firm hold of who she is and where she came from.
Everything she dreamed of, she says, was given to her.
“Yung pinangarap ko noon, pinray [pray] ko kay God na sana matulungan ko yung family ko, kasi nga mahirap lang kami no’n. And I wanted to be a recording artist.
“This is really so much more—what happened to me.
“This is so much more than dun sa wish ko, dun sa pinangarap ko, dun sa pinag-pray ko. He gave me so much more.”
How her journey has gone and how her prayers have been answered amazes her until today, which is why keeping her feet planted on the ground is effortless to her.
Asked how she keeps humble, the singer laughs, seemingly astounded by the question.
She quips, “Because of family. And also, parang, ngayon pa ba ako makakalimot, ‘te?
“Sa tagal ng inilagi ko sa industriyang ito?
“Parang weird naman, ngayon pa lumaki ulo ko? Parang ang weird!”
Being a singer has been and will be just work for Regine. At the end of the day, she sees herself as a regular person who comes home to a family.
“When I go home, I’m a mommy, I’m a wife, I’m a daughter, I’m a sister.”
Regine thinks that fame can destroy one’s values. So, for her, it helps to remember that one’s abilities are God-given.
“Minsan talagang alam mo yung pag lahat ng tao pinupuri ka? Parang [sasabihin mo,] ‘Ang galing-galing ko talaga!’
“Nakakalimutan mo na hindi ikaw ang magaling.
“Si God ang magaling kasi binigay niya 'yan sa 'yo! So, you tend to forget that.
“At the end of the day, aalahanin mo lang yan.”