The traditional family set-up is still strongly favored in the country, but sometimes, mothers have to do it alone. Parenthood should be a shared responsibility and yet, there are countless stories of struggles by women who have to take on the dual role of mom and dad.
There were rough patches, that’s for sure, but many of those who grew up with a solo parent are flying high today, made more resilient by their experiences they had gone through. We share the stories of these celebrities as examples for those who are raising their kids solo today.
The queen’s life was not always so glamorous. Her German father and Filipina mother separated, and at the age of 11 she took on modeling jobs in order to support herself, her mom, and younger sister. She also worked in a restaurant in the UK when her mother moved the family there when she remarried.
Even when she was already in showbiz, then teenage Pia tried to save money in order to have more for their household. Her longtime friend Pauleen Luna once shared that they would eat at convenience stores “para mas tipid”. It was the thought of her mother and her sister that kept her going through the trials she encountered in the pageant circuit before she was rightfully crowned as the most beautiful woman in the world.
Technically it was not her biological mother who raised her on her own. Jennylyn had very traumatic experiences as a child, where she was battered by her stepfather and it was her aunt Lydia who rescued her. “'Yung likod ko pinaplantsa tapos pinapaso ako ng cigarette. Tapos kapag pinaso na niya ako ng cigarette, 'di ba lolobo siya, pipisain niya 'yon. Gusto talaga niya nang nakakasakit, Jennylyn revealed in an interview with GMA's show Powerhouse.
Mommy Lydia gave her the support and love and encouraged her to follow her dreams. It was Jennylyn’s soft-spoken aunt who accompanied the actress to her auditions and subsequently to showbiz commitments. The awards and box-office hits followed. When Jennylyn became mom to baby Jazz, it was also from her aunt that she drew strength. Even as she wondered how her showbiz career would go given her status as a single mom, it was her aunt who encouraged her to have faith.
When mommy Lydia passed away in 2016, the actress was distraught and in tears during the service. One year after, she posted a photo of her aunt on Instagram with the caption: “I’ve never been the same.”
There was a big to-do when her parents Lotlot de Leon and Ramon Christopher “Monching” Gutierrez broke up after 19 years of being together. Janine and her siblings were caught in between, especially with custody and living arrangements. There was even a time when her Lotlot left all the children in Monching’s care, just so they would all be together under one roof. Before she made the decision to do so, Maxine and Jessica were with her, while Janine and Diego lived with Monching. “I made the sacrifice of living away from them, I felt it would be safer if they were all together,” she told a reporter of the Philippine Daily Inquirer back in 2015. She also shared that she allowed them to grow up to be independent, but she would always be there to show them her support.
Janine has come into her own, especially with a rising showbiz career, and she gives credit to her mom.
For Lotlot’s birthday last March, Janine wrote in an instagram post, “Mama, you're everything to me. I hope you know how much I love and admire you and everything you are with my whole heart. I don't know how you did it–and how you still do. You're strong and selfless and everyone around you is so lucky to be. I'll always be proud to be "si anak ni Lotlot"
The Pinoy Big Brother darling was born in Angono, Rizal, but she was brought to Japan by her mom Mercedes when she was 3 years old. Mercedes worked as an entertainer there and raised Miho single-handedly.
It was a rather carefree upbringing, and while Miho did her part by working in customer service at a bar and doing some modeling on the side, she liked to go out and party. When Miho was 16, she had a baby who she named Aimi. It was Mercedes who supported her through her teenage pregnancy, and through her dream to audition for the reality show.
When Miho’s showbiz career started taking off after PBB, she chose to leave Aimi behind with her mother, reasoning that Aimi would throve better in Japan as all her friends are there and she speaks only Japanese. They are now together and Miho is seen as a role model as a single mom who puts her child’s needs first.
Elisse recalls a childhood where she and her mom Mercedes moved from place to place in the US. I was born in Bataan and my mom moved us to the US, first to Guam, then to California. I was used to transferring to different schools because my mom would always transfer jobs. It was not an easy childhood, she recalls, but she always had her mom looking out for her. Even as her showbiz career was starting out, she was already faced with intrigues, and it was her mother who was her rock and staunchest defender.
For Mother’s Day last year, she posted a mother and child painting on instagram and captioned it, “Iingatan ka, aalagaan ka. Sa puso ko ikaw ang pag-asa. ?? I used to sing this song sayo nung bata pa ko.. now I fully understand the meaning of it. I will always love you, ma. Salamat sa lahat ng ginagawa mo para sakin.”