• How Judy Ann Santos Keeps Her Kids' Birthdays Fun and Meaningful

    Lucho's two birthday parties recently showed how the actress is like any mom: she wanted Lucho to enjoy and remember the celebrations for the important things.
    by Nerisa Almo .

  • Say the word showbiz, and people think glitz and glamour. But this is the exact opposite of what celebrity parents Judy Ann Santos and Ryan Agoncillo want to instill in their three children --Yohan, 11; Lucho, who just turned 6; and Luna, 9 months old.

    So when Lucho celebrated his birthday recently, he had two parties. The first was a birthday treat from his family at Lactum 3+ milk, which he and his mom endorse. Held at SMX Convention Center, SM Aura Premier in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig last October 1, the party was a grand birthday celebration filled with fun games and exciting surprises. The most exciting part was the “future park,” where virtual reality games and augmented reality coloring activities were set up for the kids to enjoy. 

    In a showbiz world, this was how Lucho celebrated his 6th birthday. However, on his actual birthday last Friday, October 7, his parents gave him a simple yet very meaningful celebration. On her Instagram post, Judy Ann shared their family picture with the dino birthday cake they prepared for Lucho.

    In an interview with SmartParenting.com.ph, Judy Ann says the kids' birthday celebrations have the usual cake blowing, "Pero hindi namin sila sinasanay na palaging may party, kasi not all the time naman party lagi ang dapat gawin. We just ask them where to eat, very simple lang.” 

    Birthday gifts also have certain conditions. “We ask them what they want for their birthday. Pero ang kapalit no'n, kapag mataas ang grades nila sa school, makukuha nila ang top choice nila. Pero kapag hindi, doon lang tayo sa tier three.”

    Instead of spending a lot for a party, Judy Ann and Ryan surprised Lucho with his birthday wish, which involves what he would like to be when he grows up.  

    Lucho wants to be a scientist, and Judy Ann is happy that he and his sister Yohan are not so into gadgets, unlike many children today. Aside from being a scientist, Lucho is also actively training as a parkour, which involves intense running, climbing, and jumping to get from one point to another. You've seen parkour's moves if you remember the opening scene of the James Bond film Casino Royale.

    Judy Ann says, “I'm happy kasi mas nag-e-engage siya sa ganyang klase ng mga activities than video games. Although he loves playing video games, when you make him choose what he likes most, he'll always choose parkour and swimming over video games. They know that they have their time limit with video games. 

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    “I'm just happy that my children are very much engaged with sports.”

    Doesn't she worry about Lucho getting hurt while doing parkour? “Siyempre, nandoon 'yong kaba,” she replied. “May time na sumama ako sa kanya... In fairness naman doon sa instructor niya, natuturo naman kasi 'yong proper way of jumping and proper way of landing. 

    “I would rather na matutunan niya sa tamang paraan 'yong pagtalon kaysa sa talon lang siya nang talon sa kung saan-saang bagay na mas prone pa siya sa aksidente.”

    Meanwhile, Judy Ann admits that being a celebrity and a mom at the same is sometimes difficult. With her and Ryan's busy work schedule, it's sometimes impossible to be with their kids all the time.

    “Siyempre, gusto kong maging hands-on as much as I could,” she said. “Kung puwede nga lang sa bawat paggising at pagtulog nandoon ka kasi you want to experience every moment with them. But I try my best. I'm trying to be there for them sa mga school activities nila.”

    Like what parents would always say, time management is very important. The TV host-actress stressed, “I have my moments with Yohan, I have my moments with Lucho, I have my moments with Luna. Same thing with Ryan.

    Kumbaga, we divide our time with our kids. Of course, it will never be enough naman.”  


    For Judy Ann, every mom has her own definition of being hands-on, and that’s all right. In Judy Ann’s case, what is important is to always explain their absence to their kids. 

    “'Yong sa amin, since we also work, we try to explain to our children why we have to work, why we have to leave them to their lolo and lola, why sometimes we have to go on a travel just the two of us. 

    “We explain it to them, everything. 

    “So, 'yong pagiging hand-on mom, for us, 'yong feeling lang na kapag natakot sila, may kailangan sila, ang una nilang hinahanap kami ng tatay nila. 

    “Feeling ko, achieved naman namin 'yon.”

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