In our two-storey home in Parañaque City, a large pair of angel wings cast in wood adorns our white brick wall, nestled among our precious collection of paintings by national and up-and-coming artists. These are the most important pieces adorning our house, as they represent my father and sister, who continue to give me wings to follow my own dreams.
I was a shy teenager raised in Brotherhood Compound,which used to be a squatters’ area in Parañaque City. Before he passed away, Papa was a postman while Mama sold slippers from Divisoria to put food on the table. We did not have anything much, and when my sister battled with leukemia for four years, we were left with very little.
It was immediately after my sister’s death that a talent scout saw me in a mall and brought me to ABS-CBN to audition. I couldn’t sing well, but I poured out buckets of tears because I was heartbroken. When the offer came to appear in a TV drama, I thought, whatever it takes to pay the bills and help my family, I’ll do it. The network discovered I had a knack for crying. This was how I became a dramatic actress at the age of 12. Over time, my heart healed, so to sustain my acting, I learned to take my craft seriously and joined several workshops. I was able to send my two other siblings to school with what I earned.
Out of my telenovela earnings, I availed of an auto loan from UCPB to buy a Toyota Fortuner, which I named Vira, after my character in the 1992 remake of Mara Clara. I still use my first car, a Toyota Revo, but the cast and crew used to tease me whenever they would see me, “Bakit ka namamasada?” (Why do you drive a public utility vehicle?). Actors usually own flashy cars but I really don’t mind how others see me. Instead of buying a flashy car, we bought a 3,000-square meter agri-coco land in Alfonso, Cavite to have our own farm.
Over the span of my 14-year marriage with my husband Boyet, we have produced two kids — our 13-year-old daughter Callie and two-year-old son Alonzo — and bought six properties. We always buy in pairs — 2 condominium units, 2 houses, and 2 other real estate properties — which we can hand on to our two children in the future. One of the condominium units and the second house in Parañaque were acquired through a UCPB home loan.
What I like about UCPB, aside from their fast credit approval, is that they actually care about their clients. They give me sound advice when acquiring property which helps me make wise choices. They also help in making sure that all our acquisitions are done in the proper manner which lessens our worries.
We may be a relatively young couple, but we already thought of a strategy to maximize our earnings. We rent out our condominium units to make them self-sustaining. We are also building cottages in our farm to prepare them should we decide to rent them out in the future. Whatever
I earn from my tapings, hosting, and endorsements, I invest in property, artworks, and high-yielding financial instruments rather than being highly liquid. This way, I spend for long-term assets that appreciate in value rather than on spur-of-the-moment luxuries. I also learned from my senior co-actors not to be afraid to invest, as having a financial obligation is the best motivation to get up in the morning and work as hard as you can. This age is also the best time to make mistakes, so to speak, as we still have time to recover in case we encounter any difficulties.
We’re also such big believers in prayers. We go to Manaoag Church once or twice a week to ask for guidance and blessings, and go back to give thanks. We also don’t let go of the things we began with. This is why we have chosen to keep our old home in Brotherhood, this first house, and our first car. They keep us grounded even as we work hard to make our dreams come true.
We teach our kids to appreciate the value of hard work. After all, every single thing we have came from blood, sweat, and, literally, buckets of tears. I tell my daughter: “You’ll never feel the sweetness of victory unless you’ve felt how it was when you had nothing.”
Now in our thirties, we already have everything we need. With God’s grace, we plan to be done with our financial obligations in a few years. And with tons of luck and prayers, the possibilities are endless.
Date published: January 8, 2018