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  • Jim And Saab's Secret To Happy Marriage: 'Bigayan Talaga'

    The couple has become model millennial parents to their two beautiful boys and thousands of "pod kids."
    by Elaine Carag-Calderon .
Jim And Saab's Secret To Happy Marriage: 'Bigayan Talaga'
PHOTO BY Saab and Jim Bacarro
  • It’s been 530+ days and counting. That’s how long we’ve all been living in the new normal. When Metro Manila first went on Enhanced Community Quarantine in March 2020, everyone was suddenly plucked out of their usual routines, left to adapt to a new way of life in what would be one of the world’s longest lockdowns. Jim Bacarro and Saab Magalona were no exceptions.

    PHOTO BY Saab and Jim Bacarro

    For the multi-hyphenate couple, the pandemic’s beginning also marked the beginning of a new cycle — a constant study of learning about each other as individuals, as the other’s half, and as parents to two beautiful boys Pancho and Vito.

    In this #SmartParentingExclusive, the two reveal the life-changing struggles and lessons that came with life in 2021.

    Lesson #1 Be each other’s best half

    Jim on his wife Saab: “Artist talaga si Saab. Parang executive creative director ko siya na asawa ko rin."
    PHOTO BY Saab and Jim Bacarro
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    “[The phases of the pandemic] is a testament rin of our relationship and our marriage,” Saab declares. “Bigayan talaga,” Jim continues.

    Throughout their 10 or so years as a couple, this has always been the dynamic between the two. Even when they were dating, they always had a radar out for the other.

    “Whenever we were out, parang may ‘Okay, it looks like he’s going to be the one to drink’ while I hold back kasi bigayan nga,” Saab shares.

    “Parang naging automatic na ’pag alam ko nang hindi kaya ni Saab, bigla nalang ako magkaka-inner strength to say, ‘Hey, magiging okay ’to,’” Jim says.

    Lesson #2 Play to your strengths

    Saab and Jim's latest venture is a YouTube channel for kids called Puddy Rock.
    PHOTO BY Saab and Jim Bacarro

    Fact: Jim is a good manager. “That’s why his businesses are so successful,” Saab says. “He’s a very good manager, but because he wasn’t managing anyone at home, he was kind of transferring that energy to me.”

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    When Jim began working from home, he made schedules for everyone, much to Saab’s dismay. “I was like, ‘Why are you managing my time? If I wanna chill here, let me!’” she laughs at the memory.

    “Grabe, the violence of her reaction,” Jim chides.

    Saab eventually warmed to the idea of a timetable. “I do appreciate the calendar kasi, kunwari, I wake up earlier. I spend time with the boys, then I can start na doing my me-time, prepping for meetings then si Jim naman [spends time] with the boys. We found our groove na. No one [feels] guilty,” she says.

    Jim describes both their personal and professional relationship best when he says it’s “very macro-micro.” He’s in charge of making forecasts and measuring goals, while Saab takes care of the finer details.

    “Artist talaga si Saab. Parang executive creative director ko siya na asawa ko rin,” Jim laughs.

    While they’ve always worked with each other in different pursuits pre-pandemic, it wasn’t as smooth-sailing when their work and home lives started overlapping.

    “I had all this energy na I have to do all these things pero I can’t do anything without her stamp of approval. Personally, hindi ako makaandar; therefore, I’d be frustrated,” Jim shares.

    PHOTO BY Saab and Jim Bacarro
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    At the time, Saab was struggling with her mental health following their traumatic birthing experience and losing their daughter Luna — and it took a toll on her mental health, which affected everything else in her life.

    “It’s been a process dealing with the grief. I had no idea that I was still suffering from depression. It was through therapy that I learned how I’m blaming myself for what happened [to Luna], and parang it snowballed into everything in my life. I really couldn’t make even these small decisions even if Jim was asking me to help with those things.”

    Slowly, the couple figured out what they needed to do for each other. “Tinanggal namin ’yung mga things that would lessen [Saab’s] confidence,” Jim says. “Syempre, if you don’t fulfill a task, ’di ba mababawas ’yung confidence mo. So our setup became everything that you do, you [should be] in your zone para ang dami mong magagawa.”

    When they finally put themselves in their zones of genius, as they like to refer to it, “biglang tuluy-tuloy na,” Jim says. “It was so easy, less fights. Kumbaga, we’re both feeling great.”

    “I really appreciate it that Jim lets me lead,” — Saab Magalona

    Saab reflects, “I was wasting so much time with these tasks that I’m not great at. It took me years before I decided na I was worth investing in. Ito lang may pandemic, saka lang ako nag-hire ng people to help me with my stuff.

    “And because I’m [now] able to delegate, I’m just finally making my projects, my dreams come to life. I’m finally actually releasing a vlog every week. I’m editing it, I’m doing it. I’m in my zone of genius, and I’m so happy.”

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    This happiness is what makes Jim and Saab better individuals and better parents.

    Lesson #3 Become a better person to become a better parent

    PHOTO BY Saab and Jim Bacarro

    “I really appreciate it that Jim lets me lead,” she says. “He really appreciates it, and he wants to learn how to do it.”

    The fact that social media can be ruthless on mothers isn’t lost on the couple, either.

    “Na-shock ako, how fierce the community is and the pressures that mothers face from outside,” Jim says.

    “I think everyone’s just waiting for a chance to tell you you’re doing it wrong,” Saab adds. “There are so many rules! Para sa akin, it’s not a one size fits all kind of thing. It’s really up to you, your household structure.

    She continues, “Syempre, it’ll be different if Jim wasn’t here or if we didn’t have help at home. But we’re a team, we’re a family, and I really feel the support in our home. Because of that, hindi ko talaga aakuhin lahat.”

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    Saab has become confident in their parenting — she no longer overthinks as much as she used to. Instead, she makes sure to focus on the way their kids respond to them.

    “I haven’t thought about [what others think] in a long time,’ yung mag-o-overthink ako on what to post on social media. In fairness, I don’t really get [negative] comments anymore.”

    “We have to be happy people. We have to be in love. We have to support each other because that’s the best way we can be better parents,” Jim shares.

    Though raising Pancho and Vito are very different experiences, the duo has the same takeaways regarding parenthood.

    Jim shares, “We can follow any type of style because [different styles work] for different people. At the end of the day, if it leads you to be a worse person, a worse husband, or worse wife, then that wouldn’t be good for the kids.

    “That’s why Saab and I had a discussion na parang ‘We have to be happy people. We have to be in love. We have to support each other because that’s the best way we can be better parents,” Jim shares.

    Lesson #4 See the good in the bad

    PHOTO BY Saab and Jim Bacarro
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    The pandemic may be the worst time in the world, but Jim somehow sees this period as life-changing in a good way. “Personally, as a father, this [pandemic] has changed my life.”

    When Pancho was born, Jim used to wish he could learn physical therapy so he could do it with his son. “Pancho hated [physical therapy]. Then, when the pandemic started and our therapist couldn’t go anymore, [doing it] online was so hard, it was so bad.

    “But from [knowing the] very basic to doing it myself, after the second month, kuhang-kuha ko na. So I’m happy to say that after a year, [physical therapy is] part of our play na.”

    “It was really life-changing because online therapy kind of forced us into being the ones handling him and not just watching how our therapist does it,” Saab adds.

    PHOTO BY Saab and Jim Bacarro

    “We’re holding him 100% of the time. At the start, there’s a lot of crying, Pancho’s angry. Then, slowly, he was okay na with our handling. Now, he absolutely loves it because we learned how to properly handle him, therapy-wise.”

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    For the whole family, it just completely changed their bond.

    While they have many more ventures as Jim and Saab and just Jim and just Saab, these two continue to prove that growth within a romantic relationship and within a family rests heavily on your growth as an individual — and this, for them, is what thriving is all about.

    PHOTO BY Saab and Jim Bacarro

    Catch the first part of our Smart Parenting Exclusive with The Magulo Na Bacarros here.

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