Inquirer Super

What’s your favorite story to tell about your mom?

By Compiled by Pam Pastor
05/10/20 6:00 AM

To celebrate Mother’s Day, we asked twenty-four to people share touching, sweet, funny stories about their mothers.

Best adobo

JRex with mom Jeanette

My Nanay cooks the best pork adobo. I can eat it every day! I’d always bring it as my potluck “ambag” in high school and college. My friends would expect it during reunions and other celebrations. I’m now working in Makati but every time I go home to Palawan, no matter how quick, Nanay would always prepare my favorite. It is so delicious that even an ex would request me to bring some whenever I go home. And Nanay obliges every time, preparing and packing it with so much love. That’s also the best thing about her–she always supports, she never judges and she gives so much of herself every day. Her adobo has no special ingredients, it’s so simple yet so good. Just like the way she cares for us and the people we care about–no complications, no conditions, just pure love.

– JRex Jardinero

Mima

Therese (second from left) with mom Vivian and sisters Catherine and Maan

Our mom, who we fondly call Mima, is the type of person who is down for anything—from joining retreats and pilgrimages to hiking or even mountain climbing. She doesn’t mind if it’s a long drive or a long flight—she’s ready for any kind of adventure.

Way back 2012, we went to Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia for a vacation. Our family decided to go trekking. Things went smoothly at first as we successfully reached a waterfall. But on our way back to the main camp, our mom, who was the last in line, tripped and hurt her ankle. She was forced to stay at the hotel for the remaining days of our trip. She even needed wheelchair assistance at the airport. She wore a cast for several weeks after the incident but we are all thankful that she was able to fully recover.

That story makes us laugh now but it actually reflects how much Mima is very open to trying new things with us. Nothing has changed except that she’s already enjoying her retirement. We may not be able to go hiking or trekking again but whenever we would invite her to do things like watch something on Netflix—from “White Chicks” to “Hunger Games”—she would always immediately answer “Sige.”

– Marie Therese Albino

Grace and strength

Anika Punzalan with mom Mildred

My mom has always been a figure of grace and strength. Ten years ago, my dad was diagnosed with cancer and I clearly remember the moment the doctor stepped out of the operating room and told us about my dad’s condition—that should he not respond to further medication, he only had 6 months to live. My mom never shed a tear, not in front of us at least. We were five in the family and my two sisters were still very young then so I can just imagine the emotional and physical stress that she was going through. But she kept moving forward, breezing through each day as if she has no cross to carry. I’ve fallen so many times and I look back on those days and think about how my mama did it—just the thought of being her daughter gives me the strength to power through. If she can, so do I.

– Anika Punzalan

Santa Claus

Mich with mom Ditas

I was receiving gifts from Santa Claus up until I was in second-year high school. So one time my friend and I were talking, she jokingly asked what I was going to ask for that year. I answered and then she said, “You know Santa is your mom right?”

I was in shock! I ran to my mom, told her what my friend said and asked her if she was Santa. She still denied it!

Of course I had doubts even when I was younger. I remember asking them several times but each time I asked, they would tell me, “If you keep doubting Santa, he will really stop giving you gifts.” So I stopped asking and kept believing (and receiving!). Well, at least until second-year high school. That year I didn’t receive any gifts from Santa anymore.

This story always reminds me of my mom’s childlike heart. This is the best thing about her for me, because she gives and receives love like a child. Growing up, she always made sure we had a happy childhood, felt loved and cared for. Even until today, simple things like eating her favorite dessert, watching K-drama or my brother cooking for her make her genuinely happy.

– Mich del Rosario

Best friend

Luke with mom Cecille Trono

My mom is the best friend I’ve always had. I have too many favorite stories about her. Traveling is something my mom and I look forward to every now and then. Now that COVID-19 impairs people from going out, all I can say is the best story with my mom
is yet to come.

– Luke Jickain

She believed in me

Lex with mom Carolina Perez de Tagle

The best thing about my Mom is that she believed in me when no one else did, and, at my lowest points, she always made time to listen to me, give me support, and reassure me that success was in my future. Not everyone knows that my life in high school and college were some of my darkest times because, despite the fact that I was constantly studying, I kept failing my classes. It also didn’t help that several teachers went out of their way to put me down. I felt like a total disappointment because, try as I might, I just couldn’t understand the lessons being taught. Throughout all of that, my Mom was my cheerleader, and because she believed in me, I eventually began to believe in myself. Thank you, Mom! I love you!

– Lex Ledesma

Bitten by the theatre bug

Gab with mom Vicky

When I was about 7 years old, my mom enrolled me in Trumpets Playshop’s children’s musical theatre summer workshop and forced me to go. It was my first time ever and I didn’t want to. She insisted and that was the first time I got bitten by the theatre bug! At the end of that summer, I missed my showcase because of major miscommunication and it was my mom who kept crying and apologizing to me. She was more affected than me! I remember telling her I was okay because I was happy I had the best summer ever and I was glad to even just get my certificate! Also, I loved watching my mom’s concerts at the Music Museum. She was part of the band Music and Magic in the ’80s and ’90s! I loved learning their songs and dance steps. My love for theatre and music began because of my mom and it never went away.

My favorite thing about her is how she loves us, her children, and our dad. It’s almost as if, more than anything else, she was born to be our supermom and she smothers us with her undying love. All of us love teasing her a lot but we couldn’t be more grateful for her. Love you mom!

– Gab Pangilinan

Sacrifices

Karmina with mom Amy and sister Kathy

My mom Amy singlehandedly put three of us through private schools. Now that I am an adult with no kids, I can appreciate her sacrifices even more. Just imagine: three tuitions, three mouths to feed. We were nowhere near rich, but I do not remember wanting for anything. She sacrificed so much of her own happiness and comfort to make sure we all got an equal chance at life. I can only hope everyone is just as lucky. We are not the most expressive family, but I know that my mother will always be there for me.

– Karmina De Ungria

She allowed me to fly

Mau with mom Josefina

I am so happy and proud to share how my mom has molded me into who I am today. Everything I am is a big part of her great work. She told me to be the boldest and most confident version of myself. She taught me to be very independent and do things on my own as a basic rule for survival in this crazy world. I greatly attribute to her my love for gab and public speaking and my exposure to different kinds people at an early age. She would put me on tables to recite poems during family reunions and I would end up having a small talk show with the elders.

My mom Josefina Perez opened the world to me and allowed me to fly and experience the ups and downs of reality, victories and defeats, highs and lows of life, love and even the most painful heartbreaks. She saw me through it all. As I grow older, that old adage holds true: your one and only best friend is your mother. Most of all, like what most mothers do, she always tells me to use my eyes when looking for something and not my mouth, that’s my mom Josefina Perez. Today, Mother’s Day, I am so thankful and I honor her. I love you Mom!

– Mau Perez

Quite the character

Ana with mom Baby

My mom Baby Felizardo is quite the character.

Sometimes she’d be the high school beauty queen that she was and would insist on taking so many photos. I couldn’t find any proper photo of us together because she normally avoids my silly faces like the plague and scolds me all the time. “Anna Liza, para kang sira!” she would say, right before the camera clicks.

On some days, this mother of three thirtysomethings would get serious and start delivering a litany, tears beginning to fall as she says, “Nanay ako, kahit matanda na kayo, magwo-worry pa din ako sa inyo!”

Mostly though, she’d be her jolly old self, nagging everybody about her favorite occasions. “Nak, malapit na birthday ko!” she’d say in November when her birthday is actually in March. “Nak, Mother’s Day na!” she’d say as the new year starts.

The best thing about my mom is the reassurance that there will be a gazillion more stories of grace, strength, redemption, laughter, tears, and love. I’m already 100% as lukring as her, but if I could ever be half as good a mother she is, know I’d be alright. Happy Mother’s Day, Ma!

– Ana Felizardo-Mendez

First heartbreak

Daphne with mom Dot

It was my last year in college when I found out that the guy I’ve been dating for three years cheated on me. Usually, I don’t tell my mom mushy things and I always to try to keep my love life private but I just couldn’t handle it anymore. I was in my dorm near UST when I called my mom at 11 a.m. and cried, “Ma, hindi ko na po yata kaya. Hindi ko na talaga kaya. Puntahan mo na ako. Hindi ko na po alam gagawin ko.” I was sobbing and I couldn’t breathe.

My mom, who was in Bulacan, calmly responded, “Okay, puntahan ka namin ni papa mo. Stay ka lang dyan sa dorm.” At 1:30PM, my mom was knocking on my door. She hugged me. She listened to me. She brought me to the mall. Then, she said words that made me realize that I should hold on to my dreams (I was graduating then), focus on my passions and entrust everything to God. I would never forget that day. It was my mom who helped me recover from my first heartbreak. It was she who guided me and made me wiser and stronger.

Her unconditional and genuine love for her family is just one of the reasons I admire her so much. By the age of 24, she was able to build a house for her parents. She would always be there whenever a family member is in trouble. She puts family above herself. That’s the best thing about her-my mom is selfless.

– Daphne Gripal

Teaching independence

Twinkle with mom Lena Lengson Santos

During my last two weeks of rotation during clerkship, I was assigned to a government hospital. It was the saddest moment of my med school life. I was so tired. I would only go home every 2 weeks. I called my mom and said bluntly, “Nalulungkot na ako.” You know what she said without missing a beat? “Buy chocolate and eat it while doing rounds.” That helped me survive the longest two weeks of my life. My mom always pushed us to be the best that we can be by teaching us that hardship is temporary if you know how to deal with it. She knows we can always do more and she doesn’t fail to help us realize that.

Back in 2009, when I was still a first year resident, Ondoy happened. I was on duty that Saturday. We were all in our respective ORs at 7 a.m. At around 10 a.m., I saw other doctors hurrying downstairs. Since the Operating Room Complex has no windows, we had no idea what was happening outside. I went down and was so surprised to see Amorsolo St. submerged in waist-deep water. My first thought was, “Oh no! My car!”.

I called my parents right away. My dad said, “Wade in the water. Check your car.” My mom said, “Look for a window in the upper floor overlooking your parking space, check your car in open parking, and go back to you patients!”

My mom is always like that. She never fails to remind us the importance of our dedication to our work. Our work gives us independence. I think that is the best thing you can teach your children, to be independent.

– Twinkle Santos

Prettier

Tessa with mom Judith

I grew up hearing that my Mommy is prettier than me. When I was a little girl, people would compliment her on how beautiful she was, and then take one look at me as I stood beside her and remark that I must take after my Papa.

Judith Fernandez was the fourth of 13 kids. In a household like that, she had to find a way to stand out. And she did just that. Her lovely brown eyes, delicate facial features and shy smile were her assets. There was even a time when her hair had a dark blonde shade to it. She was the prettiest among the Fernandez daughters and was one of the celebrated local lasses of Sipocot, Camarines Sur.

As her physical appearance and charm opened doors for her throughout her academic career and work life, Judith wisely took care of herself from a young age until she became a mother. She taught her only daughter the importance of self-care and good grooming. She balked at my attempts to go to class at the University of the Philippines in less than impeccably ironed clothes despite the laidback, grungy look being the norm among the natives.

She was always well put together from the time she wakes up to the time she retires for the day with her Netflix series. For a long time, I chalked up her ways to pure vanity. But I’ve come to realize that her beauty is part of her power as a woman. She has been prudent in protecting what she’s got.So I get to learn from a master.

Now that I’m in my 40s, I can appreciate her efforts to combat aging. I regret making fun of her a few years back when we were going around Montreal in the middle of a hot summer day. In an effort to avoid direct sunlight on her skin, she sprinted from shaded tree to an awning to like a vampire being chased by the sun. I get it now, Mommy.

When people comment these days that my Mommy looks young enough to be my sister, I no longer resent it. I embrace it with pride and hope that I can be even just half as pretty as my Mommy when I get to 70.

– Tessa Mendoza

Amazing Amah

Gay (top left) with mom Lyd and family

My mom was such a vivacious and lively woman. She was hardworking, tough and yet caring and loving to us children. She always looked forward to being a grandma but all her grandchildren lived abroad so when I got pregnant, I was so excited that she would finally be a hands-on grandmother. But two months before I gave birth, she suffered from a severe stroke and was left paralyzed. It broke her heart to see my baby but couldn’t carry her and take care of her and so we made it a point to visit her at least once a week so she could see the baby. She later on had two additional granddaughters here and would see the three of them every Sunday until she passed away last December. We all sorely miss her but we also made sure that her grandchildren would remember what an amazing Amah she was.

– Gay Lao

Grandmother

Abegail with Leny

I loved telling my mother that she was going to be a grandmother. My mother loves me and helps me raise my children.

– Abegail Añola

Always first

Patrick with mom Marivic

My mom is the most caring person in the world. She never forgets to ask if I already ate, if i took my vitamins already, or if I have food for the whole week. Up to this day, she never forgets to ask how I am and how my day went. We don’t live together that’s why I appreciate all her efforts just to make sure that I am okay.

When I was in Grade 3, we had a class presentation. It was a dance performance meant to be shown just for the class. But I still asked my mom to watch. Amidst her busy schedule at work, she went to my school, watched me perform, and then went back to work again. I will never forget that day. She will always put me first before anything.

– Patrick Go

Forgery

Mon with mom Rae

When I was in the second grade, I was deathly scared of swimming class because the teacher would make us dive off the deep end and, well, I didn’t know how to swim! To avoid it, I forged an excuse letter and signed with my mom’s signature.

Well, I thought my forgery was excellent but since I was in second grade, of course it didn’t fool anyone. But the school allowed me to skip swim class. When I got home that evening, my mom asked me how school was and I promptly bawled and confessed my crime.

Apparently, the school called my mom to confirm the letter and she asked them not to let me swim anymore. She was very nice about it and did not blow up and get mad. She just told me, that’s why lying is bad-you always get caught. I’ve never forgotten that day and my mom’s reaction and advice. I carry this with me and I think I value honesty very highly because of the lessons that day.
My mom is the best because we’ll all get to heaven because of her and her prayers. Over the quarantine period, she interrupted a Zoom meeting with relatives from Canada, the US and Manila to pray the Hail Mary for everyone’s health and safety.

– Mon Guinto

Generous

Patti with mom Malu

When I was a kid, I remember wondering why there were always people coming to the house to spend time with her. Distant relatives, some people we weren’t even related to like seminarians and other families were always ringing our bell to chat with her. I didn’t know until much later that they were coming by to thank my mom and do a check-in on how they were doing because she was supporting so many of them through school. Along with my dad, they also did annual Christmas grocery giveaways in her hometown in Laguna. On year one they started with 300 bags for 300 families and increased it every year until they were giving to 1,000 or more. They were never in politics, never asked these people to pay them back, she never wanted her name on any plaque or memorabilia. Even when she gave help to public schools and parishes to repair buildings and stained glass windows and such, she always just wanted to stay in the background and do what she could for everyone around her. I grew up learning how to be generous because I saw it from when I was young. Knowing that this life and what I have is meant to serve others, that’s the best gift I could have ever received. And that is the best thing about her—her ability to live life with open heart and open hands, that this memory and legacy of lives impacted will last longer than any plaque ever would.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I hope that I can give as much as you have in my own way as well.

– Patti Malay

Raised by lola

Jearry Berg with grandma Ortencia

My parents worked abroad my entire childhood and, just like most of the kids who have OFW parents, I grew up with my lolo and lola. My lola became the best mom I could ever wish and hope for. She was the one who cheered me up in my lowest and saddest moments. She fought my fights with me, sometimes literally in school, around three times as far as I can remember. She was the one who made every single birthday I had for 31 years always special.

Last year’s birthday was probably the most memorable. She was already staying with my tita in Cavite and we hadn’t seen each other in months. But she made an effort to visit me in church despite her condition as an 80-year-old lady with walking stick. She gave money to my cousin to buy the biggest pancit-sa-bilao set as her birthday treat for me. Afterwards, she asked if I already had cake. I told her I had sets of whole cakes at home. She frowned and asked my cousin to buy me another cake. She said, “Iba yung cake mo dito sa church.” This made me tear up a bit—although I hid it from her. Despite her weakening knees and high blood pressure, she traveled two and a half hours just to spend my birthday with me, give me a birthday treat, and hug and greet me. I never thought that would be the last birthday I’ll ever have with my lola. A month after that, she passed away. I miss her every day.

My lola showed me unconditional love. I will forever remember her as the loving, courageous and most selfless person that she was.

Wherever you may be, Nay, happy Mother’s Day! I love you forever.

– Jearry Berg Roperos

Fierce protector

Ross and mom Sylvia

My mother Sylvia is a fierce protector. The best (and probably worst) way I saw her perform that role was when the staff of a supermarket food stall didn’t entertain her inquiry about the street food we wanted for merienda. She thought the lady was belittling our capacity to pay. My mother, who was with disappointed and hungry kids, threw those sticks at the lady and lashed out at her for her insensitivity. Almost two decades later, it sounds funny but back then it wasn’t. We were sent to someone’s office.
I was a naive boy then and my recollection might not be 100-percent accurate but that maternal act taught me to stand up when people insult, underestimate, or judge me wrongly and to always fight for family. Happy Mother’s Day, Mama!

– Ross Manicad

Never too old

Medwin and mom Loreta

Up until recently my Nanay would still call me to know how I am if our shows would run very late into the night. People would remark, “Bro, you’re too old for your Nanay to check on you like that” like it should be something embarrassing. My reply would always be, “Alagang aso at pusa nga namin hinahanap niya sa gabi ako pa kaya?” She’s always been like that and I guess that’s why all three of her sons still live with her and Tatay. I am going to have my own house soon, finally. But I’m having a bit of a quandary as to whether I should push through with that in the near future or delay it some more. My parents are already old and I must be there to, you know, check on them. Very much the same way Nanay has always done to me and to my two brothers all our lives.

– Medwin Marfil

Remarkable mother

Jimi with Nanay Aying

Serving our dad and her kids was my mom’s utmost priority, having her own needs take the backseat. We have always been her world. Her guilty pleasure was chit-chatting with the other moms in our neighborhood but that never lasted very long anyway. My mom was kinda shy perhaps because she only finished high school. But what she lacked in education she made up for with everything else-her wisdom, grace, and kindness. I loved the simplicity of her fashion sense and I think I got my being a minimalist from her. She was the epitome of simple yet elegant. Always well-mannered, she led and imparted in us virtues by example. She’s truly a remarkable mother who showed me love and acceptance through and through. Everything that I am today is because of her. She is 72 now and unfortunately suffering from dementia. She hardly remembers all of the names of her 7 kids now but that’s not to say that she doesn’t recognize us. Whenever she has a hard time trying to recall my name, she would start by saying.. “Kahinumdum ko singer gani to. Katong si… bayot.” (“I know my youngest is a singer and oh he’s gay”) and laughs so hard afterwards. I know she’s very proud of me and I’m proudest to call her my super Nanay. She’s the best. I love and miss her so much.

– Jimi Marquez

Fighting spirit

Mervin with Yoly

I admire my mama’s fighting spirit. My mother Yolanda R. Villegas, together with my grandma, raised me and my brother on her own. She had a mental disability but this didn’t stop her from being the best mom that she could be. She flooded us with so much love, affection and support. She tried almost everything just to be able to provide for us. She taught me to study hard, dream big, and have a sense of humor. People close to her will always remember her big heart. When she walks in, she would immediately light up the room and connect with everyone. She is kind and would just help without any second thoughts. Sometimes, we would argue about this as I thought her generosity was being abused already. This is one of most important lessons I learned from her–share what you have tirelessly and make a difference in your own ways. I’d like to believe she wants a world without strangers. In August 2016, she died at the age of 59 leaving indelible marks on so many people’s lives. Thank you for everything, Ma! I miss and love you so much!

– Mervin Wenke

Great communicator

Ros with mom Charito

We always say that our mom is the ultimate PR person and she doesn’t even know it. She can talk to anyone and get amazing results. While waiting in line and random situations, she chats up the person beside her and they will end up trusting her so much, they would tell her their life stories! That 30-minute wait would turn into an instant friendship. She is great at negotiations, without even trying too hard. When I enrolled in Assumption for first grade, I was one of the late enrollees. They said the could no longer accommodate me due to lack of classroom space. My mom wouldn’t hear of it. She spoke to the principal and the nuns. In a few months, grade 1 section 4 was born. The school had a classroom built on an awkward spot by the stairs. The parents of all my classmates thank her to this day. My friends and I remember that odd classroom so well! 

Mom is a great communicator and has a natural skill in nurturing meaningful connections. She even started a school in our community that turned 50 years a couple of years ago. All the parents and students have fond memories of Mrs. Juan. She has a smile that warms people up to her and she is always nurturing and sincerely concerned about people around her. 

– Ros Juan