One of the biggest hurdles of dating or marrying a foreigner is adjusting to each other’s culture and often, it becomes a ‘make-or-break’ factor in relationships. For Pokwang, however, it was one of the things that strengthened her relationship with long-time partner, Lee O’ Brian.
In an exclusive interview with SmartParenting.com.ph, the 48-year-old actress and mom of two shares that Lee, whom she fondly calls “Papang,” really took the time to learn and adapt to the Filipino culture. Lee, also an actor, was born and raised in the United States.
“Sabi ko sa kanya, ‘Babe, ako, kahit hirap na hirap ako mag-English pero I’m trying my best to communicate with you, lalo na sa anak natin. Pero rerespetuhin ko kung hanggang saan lang ‘yung kaya mong i-adapt, ‘yung culture namin, kung ano meron kami,” the mom shares.
But according to Pokwang, Lee really stepped up for their family. “In all fairness naman kay Papang, nag-adjust naman siya ng bonggang-bongga. Nag-aral siya ng Tagalog, tapos ‘yung mga pagkain na ‘di mo akalain na kakainin niya,” she says, adding that Lee has tried food like balut, durian, bagoong, and dinuguan.
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A good father and partner
Pokwang and Lee have been together since 2015. They also have a three-year-old daughter named Malia.
While they have had their share of arguments, Pokwang says it’s also easy for them to make up. The key, she says, is to walk away while you’re at the height of your anger.
“Kapag galit na, lalayo na lang. Kaysa mag-English ako ng mag-English na ikamatay ko pa, aalis na lang ako. ‘Pag balik, wala na ‘yung galit,” the actress shares in jest.
“Basta ang bonding namin lagi, nagkakasundo kami ‘pag oras na ng kainan. ‘Uy, pinagluto na kita’, ayun bati na kami nun,” she adds.
Pokwang asserts that Lee is a good father and partner. When they opened their small food business, PokLee, it was Lee who took the lead on the business side of things.
“Sobrang malambing siya. Bukod sa suporta niya sa’kin, sa negosyo namin siya talaga ang super busy. Ang nag-iisip ng lahat ng ikagaganda ng negosyo,” she explains.
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While Pokwang is the main disciplinarian when it comes to Malia, Lee is their daughter’s playmate. This will especially be helpful as the mom will start acting again, having recently signed with GMA Artist Center.
“Siya ay isang malaking laruan ni Malia, siya ay isang malaking pisara,” Pokwang says with a laugh.
“Natutuwa naman a ko sa kanya, talagang nakikita ko naman sa kanya ‘yung bilang isang tatay. Kahit magmukha na siyang clown, kung anu-ano ‘yung ilagay sa kanya, nag-e-enjoy ‘yung bata. Siguro ‘yun na lang ang way niya makalimutan ang anak niya na we’re in a pandemic, nililibang na lang niya,” Pokwang says.
How is Pokwang raising her two kids amid the pandemic? Click here to read the story.