At 5 years old, Baeby Baste is the youngest co-host in the longest-running noontime show, Eat Bulaga! He’s also considered the cutest with his mestizo good looks, chubby pink cheeks, and lovable bibo personality. He has a growing army of fans, too, who can’t get enough of his charming ways and funny antics. On Instagram alone, he has 1.1 million followers and counting. But what’s most remarkable about TV’s child wonder is he has remained the same Sebastian Benedict Granfon who was born and raised in General Santos City, aka GenSan. That’s because of his family — father Sol, mother Sheila, and younger brother Sam-Sam — who keeps him grounded.
Sheila, who is called Mama by her kids and Mommy Sheila by Baste’s Eat Bulaga! co-workers and fans, gives Baste no special treatment and treats him no differently from Sam-Sam. In a recent interview with SmartParenting.com.ph at Pauleen Luna’s baby shower, the GenSan native Sheila gave a sample of her pangaral to Baste, whom she also calls Bash. “Kasi baby na baby pa din po kahit malaki ang katawan niyan,” she says, chuckling.
This is how Sheila usually talks to her celebrity son: “Ikaw, Baste, iba ka sa bahay. Anak ka namin. Kailangan ka naming disiplinahin. Anak ka namin na mag-follow ka kay Mama at kay Papa. I-love mo ang brother mo. 'Pag nasa labas ka, siyempre sila, Bash, kilala ka nila. May tendency na mapagod ka na magpa-picture sila. Pero kung mapagod ka, you have to tell them na, sorry po.”
Sheila has made it a point to enroll Baste in a regular school where he’s now in Kinder 1. “Kahit sa school po, normal kid po siya,” she points out. “Parang ’yong mga batang classmates niya at ibang levels din, ’yong gusto niya, play, play. Kasi kapag mga bata ang kasama niya, wala silang alam about Baste, e. Makikita lang po nila si Baste sa TV, pero hindi po nila alam na sikat siya.”
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She adds that the kids only realize that they’re playing with a popular showbiz personality when their parents or yaya ask for photo ops with Baste. “Pero pag normally sila lang po, like may activities, wala. As in play na normal kid lang si Baste na kalaro sila. Gano’n,” she explains.
At least once a week, Sheila takes him and his younger brother Sam-Sam, who’s 2 years old, to places where they can engage in social activities, such as the playhouse and the swimming pool. She believes that such activities are “very important din po sa development niya, na hindi lang puro sa work niya.”
As a hands-on mom, she knows her children well, including their strengths and weakness. This way, she’s able to raise them “na may takot ang anak mo sa ’yo” and “makuha po sila sa tingin.” Meaning, she simply gives them a stern look to call their attention, especially when they go against their house rules. That was the parenting style she learned from her elders back in GenSan, and that’s what she’s practicing now.
Part of that old-school parenting style that she subscribes to is “spare the rod and spare the child,” so she doesn’t hesitate to spank her children if only to instill discipline in them. “Spank po talaga, Ma’am!” she exclaims to this writer. “Hindi po puwedeng wala. Ako po, I believe na iba-iba po ang ways in disciplining kids. Kasi pag na-spank po sila, pag nakaranas po sila ng sakit, they will avoid such things na mauulit silang ma-spank. Gano’n po ’yong sa amin.”
Sheila clarifies, though, that as a parent, she tries to be patient and understanding to her children. She only resorts to spanking “pag nasobrahan.” Even then, she counts first before taking action. Thankfully, she happily reports, she only goes as far as to the count of two until the two boys behave. Her parenting style seems to be working, particularly on Baste. He is such an outgoing boy that he practically joined all the games that were played during the baby shower.
“Very competitive po ’yan,” she beams. “Super competitive. Kasi po siyempre number one, sa Eat Bulaga! May mga games sa Eat Bulaga! Ie-explain mo sa kanila na may nananalo, may natatalo. Sabi ko, Bash, kung puwedeng lahat ng games, salihan mo. Para alam mo kung ano ang feeling ng manalo at ’yong natatalo. Kasi kung wala kang sasalihan, ’ta’s biglang napasali ka, ano ang reaction mo? Iiyak ka nang iiyak kung natatalo.
“Sabi ko, kung puwede lahat ng games, salihan mo. Kasi iba-iba ’yong feelings at types of winnings, ’yong mga gano’ng emotions. Kapag natatalo siya, alam na niya ’yong feeling. Okay, talo ako sa game na ’to. I will try next time. Never give up.”
Baste’s younger brother Sam-Sam, on the other hand, doesn’t feel envious of the child star getting a lot of attention. Their Mama Sheila points out that Baste is actually the one who gets envious of Sam-Sam. When they go out, for example, Sam-Sam can walk and play freely, while Baste can’t move much because his fans approach him and ask for photo ops with him. She admits that privacy is the price that her celebrity son has to pay, and Baste is dealing with it well, thanks to her pangaral.
“Ang importante, mga moral lessons. Habang bata pa, paulit-ulit mong ipa-remind sa kanila para madala nila paglaki,” she concludes.