Jerika Ejercito, Amanda Griffin-Jacob, Cristalle Belo-Pitt, Regis Andanar, and Katarina Rodriguez pay tribute the women who never fail to be there for them.
Due to the pandemic, some of us are due for in-person quality time with our moms. On this second Mother’s Day gripped with COVID, five people share some of their favorite moments with the most important woman in their lives, from the little things to significant life events.
When Ejercito’s husband, Miquel Aguilar, was in the process of asking the former’s father for her hand in marriage, he collaborated with Ejercito’s mother, Laarni. “While my mother was already warming up to my then ‘boyfriend,’ convincing my father was a totally different story,” she shares. “And to help us with this very challenging endeavor, my mother worked with Miquel in preparing the perfect dinner for my father.” Ejercito’s father is former Philippine President Joseph Ejercito Estrada.
When Miquel finally mustered up the courage to ask the million-dollar question during the dinner, Ejecito’s Father, didn’t let up so quickly. Another dinner had to be planned to get his “official” approval. “In the end, my mother’s planning bore a very fruitful result as I have been married for the last four years and expecting our fifth child this October,” Ejercito muses. “All thanks to my mother’s perfect touch.”
Ejercito and Laarni bond over their faith the most, “it is the most beautiful thing. We love talking about books we are currently reading; we talk about theology and even took the same classes together. We love to discuss The Bible and Biblical history and everything else in between,” she shares. Her bond with her mother is what she hopes to have with her only daughter when she’s grown.
Amanda Griffin Jacob
Jacob’s mother flew to Hong Kong to be with her during the birth of her first child. “I was a bundle of nerves about being a first-time mama. She stayed with us for three weeks to help me with my baby. I really needed her support, and she was there for me,” Jacob shares.
“Due to this pandemic, I haven’t seen her for almost two years now. It has really robbed my kids and me of quite a lot of time with her. We used to see her at least two to three times a year. Praying that we can be reunited with her at Christmas this year.” Jacob now resides in Singapore, while her mother lives in Australia, and they keep in touch via Facetime calls.
As a mother of four, Jacob says she and her mother have different parenting styles. However, she owes the active practice of prioritizing her health and wellness to her mom, “She always (and still does) made it a point to take care of herself. As a mother now, I know that I want to be the best version of myself for my family, so I followed her lead and have made wellness a central theme in my life.”
“Powerful” is how Belo-Pit describes her most treasured memory with her mother. When her parents had just separated, the entrepreneur was seven-years-old and her brother, Quark, was nine. “We were at the mahjong table, playing a game called push and pull. In the background is Whitney Houston and Toni Braxton’s music,” She shares. “We would play the game, again and again, listen to the CDs multiple times, and see my mom cry through it all,” Belo-Pitt recalls the difficult moment that strengthened her bond with her brother and mom, Dr. Vicky Belo.
“At those moments, we saw the human side of our mom. Her vulnerability allowed us to step up and take care of her. She raised us, kids, as a single mom. I have so much respect and admiration for that, “she adds. Even though Belo-Pitt is currently living in Australia, she keeps Vicky updated with her children’s milestones, “like Siena learning how to walk or Hunter talking.”
As a mother now herself, Belo-Pitt aspires to be as loving, generous, and thoughtful as her mom. She says, “my mom is such a beautiful and generous person— everyone who knows her will attest to that. Love overflows from her.”
Ever since he could remember, Andanar has been accompanying his mother, Annie, to work-related events. Those times have been some of his fondest memories with her. “I would often stick out like a sore thumb because I’d be the only kid in the room, but that was the most fun part about it!” he shares. “I never felt that she was too busy for me because she always made it a point to spend time, even if it meant that I had to tag along to important meetings with her. I actually got to know my mom a lot more because of this.” Annie Andanar has worked as the legislative specialist and director of committee affairs at the Philippines’ House of Representatives.
Andanar feels that his connection with his mom is growing stronger, even though he’s away from home for his Master’s Degree in EADA Business School, Barcelona. “Thankfully, the internet exists, and we always have a direct line to each other at all times! It’s true that distance indeed makes the heart grow fonder,” he says. “Our calls are never really planned, and that’s what I love most about it. And yes, motherhood never stops because she still sends me typical mom reminders, albeit in a digital manner.”
Rodriguez finds it challenging to choose one favorite memory with her mother, Ana. “She’s the type of mother who would create traditions for my brothers and me. I can’t help but be nostalgic of all our beach trips, theme park adventures, and preparations for Christmas,” she shares. “But my most cherished memories of her and I are in high school where I would skip ballet rehearsals to have my favorite ice cream with her. We would talk for hours about what’s happening in life and bond just the two of us.”
Over the past year, Rodriguez finds herself dialing her mom for video calls more frequently, “sometimes every night! We just talk and talk for an hour or two. I look forward to the day we can spend time together in person again. My wish is she could come to stay in Siargao with me for a few months.”
The 2018 Miss World Philippines titleholder adds that she takes her love for reading from her mom and considers books the best material gifts Ana has given her. “Growing up, she would never say no to buying me a new book to read,” Rodriguez says.