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    Maricel Laxa, 50, has been a mom for nearly half her life. Over the years, she’s evolved into a mellow, relaxed, and wiser mother.  

    “My older kids say I was stricter with the four of them and allow Solana to get away with everything,” the actress told SmartParenting.com.ph in an email interview. “I don’t totally agree, of course, but I have mellowed with my strictness.

    “Having parented the four has allowed me to be wiser as a mother, and now, I know better what battles to take on when it comes to issues I have to delve into with Solana. I am a more relaxed parent now.”

    Maricel and her husband Anthony Pangilinan have five children: Ella, 24; Donny, 22; Hannah, 21; Benjamin, 19; and Solana, 9.

    Maricel agrees there are unique challenges for parenting in the digital age, where technology can be more of a bane than a boon. She pointed out, “I think now, more than ever, there is a need for us, parents, to be most available and present for our children because so many things are calling for their attention.”

    She added, “Our presence will help establish a strong foundation for them, so that they can be their authentic selves online. My reminder to parents, as I have learned from children, is to be a friend of their kids offline, so they will be gladly accepted as their children’s friend offline.”


    Then there’s the general observation and concern that Generations Y and Z feel privileged or entitled. Maricel explained that she and Anthony, a TV anchor and entrepreneur, helped their children become grounded and motivated with their Christian faith and sensible parenting.

    They made sure they taught their brood the difference between needs and wants. They provided for all the needs and they let the kids find ways to attain the wants.

    Case in point: “When they were old enough to have cellphones, we gave them very basic units, so we could reach them, and they will be able to reply to us when we message them. If they desire to have extra features for their phones, they will have to find a way to ‘earn’ the amount needed to attain what they want.”

    The mother of five adds further, “I think many of us think this generation is sensitive, but I would think that more than them being sensitive is that they are just unaware of our generation’s history, and vice-versa.

    "There needs to be a bridge to a communication gap that has developed between generations, which needs going out of our way to highly consider during this day and age.”

    Ella, Donny, and Hannah are making their own names as visual artist/creative strategist, actor/musician, and vlogger/singer/songwriter respectively.

    They also have their ways in giving back to the community. Donny, for example, has provided the seed money for his mom to buy food for villages outside theirs to help feed families for many weeks during the height of the lockdown.

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    Maricel and Anthony also talk with their kids about getting into a romantic relationship, which is basically “to love the person all the way.” This means “to do what is best not only for them but also for the other person.”

    Their advice if that other person is worth pursuing, “do everything to make it work.” But if that other person would rather not be in a relationship, “it would be best to set free” he or she “because that is what is best for the other person.”

    So far, it’s only the eldest, Ella, who is seeing someone. Maricel describes Ella’s boyfriend as a gentleman who honors her and her husband.

    Maricel currently plays a grandmother (gorgeous lola!) in the ongoing Christmas-themed drama series on TV5 called Paano Ang Pasko? Her character, Faith, has adult daughters (Julia Clarete, Beauty Gonzalez, Devon Seron) and a teenage grandson (Elijah Canlas).

    At 50, Maricel happily reports being at her fittest. She’s into hardcore fitness routine involving daily three-kilometer runs, yoga, and skipping rope. She also continues pursuing her dreams, like the doctorate degree that she’d been working on for more than 10 years.

    Her newest children’s book was recently launched, and it’s called Maya at Laya. She explained, “It talks about two sisters who have very opposite personalities and traits that can sometimes cause problems. But through the guidance of their mother, they realize that they can celebrate each other’s differences.” 

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