Jessa Zaragoza believes that when it comes to raising children, nothing beats the Filipino way. That’s why she prefers to raise Jayda, her nine-year-old daughter by husband Dingdong Avanzado, in the Philippines.
“Iba pa rin ang values dito,” she explains in an interview at Dayrit’s Burger & Roastbeef House on Friday, Nov. 23. “Kahit anong sabihin mo, kahit liberated pa rin ang Pilipino, dito pwede mo pang pagalitan ang anak mo. Doon, tinuturo ng teacher na pag may nag-verbal abuse sa `yo, kahit parents mo, pwede mong isumbong sa pulis.”
Jessa observes that there’s a thin line between `abuse’ and being firm in making your point or in disciplining your child. In other words, parental ‘abuse’ in one culture is just matter of enforcing discipline in the Filipino home.
Thus, trust Jessa to raise the second child she and Dingdong are planning to have, in the Philippines.
Jessa admits Jayda won’t take it lightly. Their little princess admits she’s happy being an only child. This, and Jessa’s busy schedule are making the couple think twice about when they can give Jayda a little brother of sister.
Jessa is part of the Bea Binene-Jake Vargas starrer “Cielo de Angelina,” where she plays a politician for the first time. She swings to the other side of the pendulum in the primetime show “Pepito Manaloto,” where Jessa shows her funny side along with Michael V, Nova Villa and Manilyn Reynes.
[View photos: Little Ms. Philippines turned celebrities - Jessa Zaragoza]
Hers –and Dingdong’s hard work is paying off. The couple plans to move into their Quezon City home before Christmas. In fact, the carton boxes containing the things they need to transfer from townhouse to cozy home are ready.
“Dingdong will take care of the interior design. He’s more artistic,” Jessa relates. “Taga-linis lang ako.”
Yes, glamorous Jessa can go down on her knees and clean the house. The singer-actress did just that when she, Dingdong and Jayda lived in the US for a few years.
“Kami naglalaba, namamalantsa, naglilinis ng inidoro,” Jessa admits. She recalls a time when she and Dingdong brought all their concert requirements with them every time they had a show because they didn’t have assistants.
Their shared challenges, plus open communication, reveals Jessa, is the secret of their 11-year marriage.
“Hindi perfect ang marriage namin. Meron din kaming ayaw. Pero may communication kami. May humility din. Pareho kaming nagso-sorry sa isa’t isa. At bago siya matakot sa akin, matakot muna siya sa Diyos bago gumawa ng kababalaghan.”
The supportive wife plans to join Dingdong in major campaigns when he runs as Siquijor vice-governor in 2013.
“Public service is his passion,” she reveals. It’s also in his blood. Dingdong’s parents were mayors – his dad, in Siquijor; his mom, in Oton (Iloilo).
But even though she’ll be in Siquijor in the next few months, Jessa will not neglect her career.
She misses the movies, and dreams of making one which Jayda can watch. This means no bed scenes, which she politely turned down.
“Baka sabihin ng anak ko, `Mom, why did you do that?” Jessa explains.
Jessa has no problem with kissing scenes on TV, since “the approach is more wholesome.”
What about posing for the cover of a men’s magazine? Upon Dingdong’s request, even before their marriage, Jessa has kept that to-die-for figure that has been the envy of young mothers like her.
“If the photographer is Jun de Leon or Raymund Isaac, why not? I’d like to work with people I’m comfortable with,” Jessa answers.
Will she be just as happy accepting assignments even if she gets pregnant again?
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“Family is my priority,” she replies. Read: She’ll gracefully exit from the scene if motherhood beckons again.
“Hands-on mom ako,” Jessa crows. “Kahit may yaya, gusto namin ni Dingdong subaybayan ang anak naming. Hindi pwede yong lagi kang nasa taping at tawag ka na lang ng tawag sa bahay.”
The lady has it all—a thriving career and a happy family. On Dec. 1, German Moreno will finally give her a star in Philippine showbiz’s version of Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.
Who says one can’t combine professional and personal success? Jessa is proving she can. And people can’t help but sit up and take notice.
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