We think we can all agree that Jaclyn Jose ranks high when it comes to the country’s preeminent actors (and that’s male or female). Now the rest of the world knows it, too, with Jaclyn’s win for the Best Actress award at the recently concluded 69th Cannes Film Festival.
In her moving portrayal of the title role in Brillante Mendoza’s Cannes entry, Ma’ Rosa, Jaclyn plays a mother, who, in her desire to provide well for her children, resorts to selling prohibited drugs. She eventually gets caught and jailed.
Jaclyn (real name: Mary Jane Guck) certainly understands how a mother will stop at nothing for her children. The 52-year-old has single handedly raised her daughter Andi, 25, and son, Gwen, 14. (Andi’s father is the late great actor Mark Gil, and Gwen’s father is musician Kenneth Ilagan.)
With her kids Andi, Gwen and Ellie
Andi, who plays one of Jaclyn’s children in Ma’ Rosa, is now a single mother herself to Ellie, who, at 4 years old, already has many social media followers. For Jaclyn, Ellie is not just her granddaughter—she is her youngest child. “Bunso ko ’yan,” she beams. “Mabait si Ellie…easy to get along with.”
Her bunso is a big fan of her lola’s cooking with beef steak and sinigang as her favorites. “She only eats what I cook,” the proud lola says. “Pagka luto ko lang at saka s’ya kumakain.”
Jaclyn happily reports that Ellie is not a picky eater, especially when it comes to veggies. “Lahat ng anak ko, lumaki sa lutong bahay,” Jaclyn explains. “We don’t usually order food or sa drive-thru. I cook. Wala akong mga [tulad ng] fast food as much as possible. Ang worst na kakainin nila, na ipit na ipit ako sa oras, canned goods. Pero madalang na madalang ’yan. Nagluluto talaga ako. I see to it na fresh ang niluluto.” Admittedly, she quite spoils her first and, so far, only apo. But she knows how to discipline her, too.
“Sina-psychologize ko,” she points out, nodding. “Kung iiyak, hindi ko sinasabi, ‘Tama na!’ Or whatever. No, I’ll do something for her not to cry. I’ll think of something. Kasi bata ’yan, e.”
Jaclyn doesn’t believe in using corporal punishment, such as spanking. “No, hindi ko nagawa ’yan,” she says. “Not even with Andi and Gwen. Si Gwen, mabait. Pero hindi ako naniniwala sa palo. Kasi kung talagang maayos ang pagpapalaki mo, kausapin mo lang, maiintindihan n’ya. Ngayon, kung mag-disobey, choice n’ya ’yon. Hindi dahil hindi n’ya naiintindihan ang sinasabi ko.”
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“Kasi kailangan, malaya,” she adds. “Kahit bata, malaya. Hindi naman ’yung she thinks she can get away with anything. You have to tell, ‘No, baby, you know why if you do this.’ You have to explain.”
Jaclyn, who is mainstay in two GMA-7 shows, the daytime soap The Millionaire's Wife, and the comedy series A1 Ko Sa Yo, encourages her children including Ellie to speak their minds. Andi is already well-known in and out of showbiz as very outspoken and independent-minded.
Another thing that she’s strict about teaching Ellie is having good manners. “Halimbawa, may nag-hi sa kanya. I tell her to say hi also. You know, I teach her the good things.” If there’s one thing that Jaclyn would like her children to describe her as a mother, it would be hard working. “I’m a very hardworking mom,” she states. “Up to now, I’m raising them mag-isa. Kasi si Andi, basically, hindi pa naman nagmu-move out, so nasa poder ko pa sila. So up to now, I’m doing my part as a mom and a grandma to Ellie. Kung hands-on ako dati, mas hands-on ako ngayon.”
Jocelyn Valle is a senior staff writer at YES! Magazine who previously worked as a freelance entertainment writer for various publications like the Philippine Daily Inquirer. If she's not running after celebrities or writing long pieces on entertainment issues and scandals, she practices yoga and defies gravity with aerial hoop.