Ana Abad Santos, who will be the first to describe herself as a working mom, has been having a good year. Her role in Apocalypse Child, an indie film that drew critical acclaim almost a year ago to date, has garnered best supporting actress wins from the Film Academy of the Philippines and the Gawad Urian Awards this year.
In the film, which will begin its commercial theatrical run this October 26, Ana plays Chona, who sired a son, played by Sid Lucero, when she was 14. According to town gossip, Chona's son's father is the world-famous director Francis Ford Coppola who met Chona when he shot the film Apocalypse Now in Baler. Fueling the fire, so to speak, is the name of Chona's son: Ford. But all that is really just the side story to the plot of this film, where you are likely to find yourself questioning Chona's judgment calls.
In an email interview, SmartParenting.com.ph asked Ana, who counts surfing as one of her passions, if she found any similarities with Chona. "Rather than thinking if we had similarities, I just embraced her fully -- I became her. I drew her out from somewhere inside of me. When I do roles, I can't judge them. I have to understand them 100 percent."
Before television (she is currently in the cast of the Jericho Rosales-Arcie Muñoz teleserye Magpahanggang Wakas) and movies came knocking, Ana was already a veteran stage actress, something she she fell in love with after watching a play on Broadway when she was 9 years old. Her son, Tommy, now 16, grew up seeing Anna perform onstage, and was comfortable enough to make backstage his hangout place. He would also sometimes get involved in the production like helping work the smoke machine.
Ana feels that her son prefers watching her plays than her movies only because "he finds it safer," Ana says. Nonetheless, Tommy loved her movie Metro Manila with Jake Macapagal and John Arcilla, which also won Best Film at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Watching movies, she says, has been one of their favorite pastimes together. "It's been great because we love having dinners and talking about life. Hanging out with him is a joy," she says.
If her son's' love for the arts was in part influenced by Ana, he did the same for her when it came to surfing. It was through her son that Ana discovered her love for riding the waves. They used to surf together a lot until her son fell in love with horses and is now polo player. "Surfing made me fall in love with the Philippines. It also opened my eyes to global warming and forced me to take a more active role in the environment. It made me appreciate an alternative lifestyle: simplicity and economy," explained Anna.
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Like most moms, Ana wears several hats. She is the co-founder of local theater company Red Turnip Theater, and she recently put up Switch & Surf Inc., a one-stop surf house in San Juan, La Union. Her day job, however, is with Fila Philippines, where she is a partner and the company's advertising manager.
It's a lot to balance, and while she tries her best to spend more quality time with her son, Ana acknowledges that it's never enough. “Quantity time is still the best quality time, I believe. But it's unrealistic. I'm not sure if I really get to balance everything [in my life]. One is bound to suffer. They take turns. Sometimes it's my career. Sometimes it's my corporate life, Sometimes it's my family," Anna says.
"But that’s life. You just do your best. Be true. Keep your integrity, and always love," she adds. "We just make the best of what we have. We all have our own talents, gifts and passion. I believe it’s important for our souls to pursue them. I say to all women, 'Live out of the box.'"