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Meet 20 Smart Parenting Filipino Families That Inspire

Meet 20 Smart Parenting Filipino Families That Inspire

In a time when admiring others is just a swipe away, Smart Parenting shines a light on those who have bravely shown us that to be a parent doesn't require perfection. Just the relentless love for our children.

20 Smart Parenting Filipino Families That Inspire

There are different ways to parent but there is one truth all parents will agree on: parenting is not easy. Whenever we feel the weight of our roles, we find inspiration in those who show us that building a family is worthy of the work and challenge we face daily.

Here at Smart Parenting, we recognize that we are in this together. And as Smart Parenting celebrates its twentieth year as the number one parenting media brand in the Philippines, we proudly bring to you 20 Smart Parenting Filipino Families That Inspire today and the unique ways they've shaped families throughout the years.

We have chosen four categories for our awardees, which are the traits they have inspired in all of us: courage, kindness, self-love, and devotion. These 20 families have helped us shape our values and are the voices that remind us there's no one way to parent. 

At a time when admiring others is a daily occurrence and just a swipe away, Smart Parenting shines a light on those who have bravely shown us that to be a parent doesn't require perfection. Just the relentless love for our children that pushes us to learn anew, even when it may lead us to overhaul the ways in which we've always lived. Because our children, as one awardee says, "are always worth it."

Courage

Dimples Romana and Boyet Ahmee, together with children Alonzo, Elio, and Callie (not in photo) are one of Smart Parenting's 20 Most Inspiring Families awardees under the Courage category. Hair and makeup by Muriel Vega Perez and Team MVP; styling by Debra Bernales
PHOTO BYRONAN CAPILI

Dimples Romana and Boyet Ahmee

Society has long dictated that when a child is born, a mother is born too. The birth of the mother means dropping everything, focusing on the child, and putting everything else on pause. The father? He continues to be the provider.

But the Ahmee family is living proof that it doesn't have to be the case for the set-up to work. For award-winning actress Dimples Romana, she will forever be grateful to her husband Boyet Ahmee for stepping up as the parent who will be left with the kids at home so that she can pursue her dreams and provide for their needs. He puts it firmly, being a hands-on and present father doesn't make him feel less of a man.

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'I would wear a fairy costume for [Callie], mapasaya ko lang ang anak ko... As long as I do and make my children proud, that I guess my measurement of being a manly father,' -Boyet Ahmee

"I would wear a fairy costume for [Callie], mapasaya ko lang ang anak ko. And I don't see that as a non-manly thing. As long as I do and make my children proud, that I guess my measurement of being a manly father," said Boyet.

Unconventional, yes, but although it seems like a win-win situation for their family, making the call was hard. "Courage is not the absence of fear," Dimples told Smart Parenting. They said the most courageous thing they've ever had to do for their family is letting their eldest daughter Callie go so that she can achieve her dreams of becoming a pilot.

With their Captain Callie soaring high in Australia, Dimples and Boyet are raising their two sons, Alonzo and Elio, ensuring that no matter how busy their schedules get there will always be at least one parent who will be present in all of their milestones in life.

"Boyet and I believed in giving the children what we feel they need to find their [own] paths and never be influenced by others as to who they want to become in the future - even us," Dimples said.

She maintained, "Let the kids decide and embrace the way they are."

Judy Ann Santos and Ryan Agoncillo

Judy Ann Santos became a parent when she adopted Yohan, now 18 years old, and while she just started getting romantically involved with her costar-turned-good friend Ryan Agoncillo. Ryan would later on admit he felt “nag-alangan” with Yohan.

But true love and courage prevailed. Thus after the couple got married on April 28, 2009, when Judy Ann’s petition to legally adopt Yohan had been long granted, Ryan filed (and then approved) his own petition for the girl to carry the Agoncillo name. They then had a son, Lucho, 12, and another daughter, Luna, 7.

“There’s no such thing as a cool parent,” Ryan tells Smart Parenting in an interview. “You hope you’re cool in your kid’s eyes. But once you get down to do the work needed to be a parent, trying to be cool takes a backseat.”

For Judy Ann, though, Ryan is “so cool” when explaining things to their brood. She explains, “The kids get him. Alam nila kung kelan sila kakausapin nang seryoso, kelan sila magbibiro.” Ryan then says of his wife, “She’s a pretty awesome mom. I still admire her energy and strength as a mom.”

"I guess I would always go back to authenticity," Judy Ann exclusively says to Smart Parenting about being an inspiring family. "When you show everyone your love is pure, you're being authentic with your family, then you inspire people."

PHOTO BYINSTAGRAM /AMYCOSIO

Kiddo and Amy Cosio

When Kiddo and Amy Cosio decided to make the big move from Manila to La Union around 2012, the couple had lots of doubts as they would be leaving behind their respective jobs in digital marketing and as a human kinetics instructor. But they also had so much courage to pursue their goal of spending as much time with their young children Cadence, Dylan, and, later on, Adam.

Today, the couple watch closely, and satisfyingly so, how each member of their brood grows up with them while enjoying the outdoors and getting into sports (usually surfing the waves or on land), not to mention unschooling, too.

'What I like about unschooling the kids is that we get to navigate each day together. Sometimes it’s frustrating, but it’s also so rewarding. Even Kiddo and I are learning every day. We are all growing together, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.' -Amy Cosio

“What I like about unschooling the kids is that we get to navigate each day together. Sometimes it’s frustrating, but it’s also so rewarding," Amy told Esquire. "We know each other inside out. Cadence, Dylan, and Adam know all my flaws and I know theirs. I don’t have to wait for report cards. Even Kiddo and I are learning every day. We are all growing together, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.”

Kiddo and Amy have also managed to turn their humble business venture, El Union Coffee, into a must-visit shop in the famed surfing town. Not bad a reward for the bold and courageous move they made in pursuit of “a life by the sea.”

INSTAGRAM /JAYJAYLUCAS

Feliz and Jayjay Lucas

"The willingness to proceed in spite of fear is the true essence of courage." This quote truly encapsulates the story of "Courageous Caitie" and her family.

In 2016, Catie's parents Feliz and Jayjay Lucas shared their daughter's story and her battle with a rare blood cancer. Since then, Catie has become a source of inspiration for many families.

'Do we still cry? Of course. Grief never leaves you. You just learn to live around it,' -Feliz and Jayjay Lucas

Although it has been years since Catie joined our Creator, her courage and bravery continue to inspire others. Her story has helped her family find deeper purpose and meaning in life. "Do we still cry? Of course. Grief never leaves you. You just learn to live around it," wrote Feliz and Jayjay in their book More Than Most: The Story of Courageous Caitie.

Feliz now coaches people who are also experiencing grief and loss. She also enjoys homeschooling Ethan, Calea, and Tori and sharing resources with those interested in this type of education.

For his part, Jayjay is dedicated to capturing beautiful memories and empowering creators through his studio ventures.

Their journey has been long, but one thing is certain: courage can be found even in the darkest moments, when we feel like we've lost all strength to keep up with our journey. The longing for someone we love dearly will not fade over time but displaying the same fearlessness they showed, like how Catie did, is the best way to honor their memory.

PHOTO BYRONAN CAPILI

Camille Prats and VJ Yambao

"Sis, iba ang motherhood," Camille Prats Yambao told then-mom-to-be Angelica Panganiban while peeling potatoes a la Princess Sarah and Becky in the former's YouTube vlog. They talked about how you will never get to sleep again when you become a mom.

The former child actress who played the iconic role of Princess Sarah in the movie Sarah Ang Munting Prinsesa openly talks about how she had a unique childhood, where she started working at age 7. When she became a first-time mom at 22, she said that she struggled with sleep, but nobody knew it wouldn't compare to the challenges she was about to face.

Camille's first husband, Anthony Linsangan, succumbed to cancer at age 31 in 2011. Being a young widow and a working mom of then-3-year-old Nathan put her in a vulnerable position. But according to Camille, she trusted God's plan and just played the most challenging yet best role she could ever have: a mother.

'We just chose to be together, we choose to love each other because this is our family, and that kind of love for me, it's amazing.' -Camille Prats

In 2012, Camille found love again in her former elementary classmate, VJ Yambao, a single dad of one at that time. Now, they have built a beautiful, big, and blended family, raising two teens Ice and Nathan, and two youngsters Nala and Nolan, where they draw their strength to make the most of every moment every day.

"Siguro 'yung masasabi kong sikreto is that, when the pandemic started, we just started building on our faith as our foundation,” Camille told Smart Parenting in September 2022 when their family graced us to be our cover family.

"It made me realize there is nothing we can control ever in our lives so I sought the Lord, and 'yung seryoso talaga. I did it myself, and [VJ] did it by himself as well, and then we would do it together. So I think that's what changed everything," she added.

Camille also said, "We just chose to be together, we choose to love each other because this is our family, and that kind of love for me, it's amazing."

Kindness

Kryz Uy and Slater Young, together with Scottie and Sevi, is one of Smart Parenting's 20 Most Inspiring Families awardees under the Kindness category. Hair and makeup by Raisa Bercede; styling by Agustin Pedrano.
PHOTO BYJEFFREY ROGER KHO OF ROCK PAPER SCISSORS

Kryz Uy and Slater Young

Slater Young and Kryz Uy’s panganay of two boys, Scottie, is not only cute to watch in his parents’ social media posts but also admirable in how he mirrors their values, including kindness to others.

When the almost 3-year-old, for instance, accidentally hit Kryz’s mobile phone while playing with his toy cars, he apologized. “Don’t cry little one, I’m here,” he told his mom, as if she’s his baby brother Sevi.

Kryz recognizes that netizens have seen how Scott often asks permission in the Skyfam vlogs and she says it might be because kindness is at the core of everything they teach their kids. Even when he doesn't want to do something, Kryz and Slater ask him to communicate his needs with a kinder tone.

'Our learning is really to have more grace for ourselves because we tend to be so stressed out about not doing everything by the book. Just do your best and give yourself a little bit more grace.' - Kryz Uy

Slater, for his part, has shown how he prioritizes Kryz and their kids’ needs over his own wants by giving up his reliable car to “move on to a more family-friendly vehicle”. He has also successfully convinced his wife to go on a solo trip for work as this is beneficial to them as a family in the long run.

Kryz then thanked her husband, in her vlog, for the encouragement: “I’m grateful to Slater for pushing me to do this and allowing me to pursue my own passions.” The Skyfam doesn't shy away from taboo topics like treating kids as a retirement plan or a tricky topic like marriage, and its listeners know through Kryz and Slater's example that honesty can co-exist with kindness to oneself and to others.

Both Kryz and Slater know they're new and young parents who are still in the early stages of parenting but sometimes it's this period that feels like there's much pressure on the parent to get everything right. "Our learning is really to have more grace for ourselves because we tend to be so stressed out about not doing everything by the book or all of these stages if meron man," Kryz told Smart Parenting in their exclusive February 2023 interview. "Just do your best and give yourself a little bit more grace."

PHOTO BYFROM LOLETTE OLIVA-ALIPE

Lollete Oliva and Em Alipe

"Not all angels have wings," this was among the comments left by Smart Parenting readers when they read the story of Lollette Oliva Alipe and Em Alipe. The couple took in four orphaned half-Italian siblings in 2007, plus a baby whom they found inside a plastic bag outside their home in 2009. Through fate and rooted in their values of kindness and thoughtfulness, they increased the Alipe tribe from four kids to nine.

Lollette isn't called the "mother of multitudes" for nothing. She was already in her 50's when she accepted the responsibility of caring for a newborn baby without hesitation or fear. That's when she realized maternal instinct never fades.

As a blogger and published author, Lollette loves chronicling and celebrating her family's achievements and writing about her extraordinary life. She is turning 65 this year and being married to her husband for more than four decades, Lollette generously shares her wisdom from what she has learned throughout the years, including this truth: "Jealousy is a useless emotion."

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, she wrote a children's book about a snail that teaches kids about the steadfast love of God, The Steadfast Snail.

"This book is dedicated to our five grandchildren with ages from less than one month to 10 years old. I truly believe that I was inspired to write this story to share with young children so they can learn to be steadfast–how not to give up in difficult situations and to trust in Jesus," wrote the proud Mamita.

The same loving kindness bestowed on her, she pays it forward to as many children as she can-whether bound by blood or not.

Jim and Saab Magalona-Bacarro

The ‘podparents’ of the Philippine podcast scene, Jim and Saab Bacarro give off the vibes of a young, cheery and vibrant couple.

But behind the scenes, their journey hasn't been a bed of roses. Five years ago, Saab had to go through an emergency CS operation to give birth prematurely to their twins. Unfortunately, one of the twins, Luna, did not make it. Pancho survived after staying in and out of the NICU.

Pancho, a miracle baby, was later diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. Saab said, “It was about a week and the doctor sat me down. Sinabi niyang I have to prepare myself na magkakaroon siya ng disabilities. I broke down, ‘What, what are you talking about?’ That was something na, I cried it out and from then on, that’s fine. We’re gonna work this out."

'Being parents of a child with special needs can be challenging, but it is also a privilege and honor with rewards beyond our wildest dreams,' -Saab Magalona-Bacarro

A year later, the couple was blessed with another baby boy, Vito. They had a whirlwind introduction to parenthood, but they continue to inspire us to be kind not only to one another, or our kids, but most especially, to ourselves. "Being parents of a child with special needs can be challenging, but it is also a privilege and honor with rewards beyond our wildest dreams," said Saab.

In 2021, Saab finally took the time to get therapy, “I learned na it was because of my trauma and my depression that I had a hard time making decisions. Parang I was blaming myself for what happened, which snowballed into everything in my life.”

Saab was diagnosed with Depression and adult ADHD. She realized then that she can only be the best wife and mom if she starts taking care of herself, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

In 2022, Saab shared on World Cerebral Palsy day that rather than pity, a family with a member who has special needs would greatly appreciate kindness and support.

The Bacarros continue to show us that kindness is what every one needs right now--special needs, mental health concerns, parents or not.

Jodi Sta. Maria

single mom who pushed to have a college diploma, loves traveling around the world, all the while portraying intense television characters–that is who Jodi Sta. Maria is today.

But more than ten years ago, when she and former husband Pampi Lacson separated, Jodi felt like she was "the biggest failure, the biggest joke”. 

“Nagkaron ako ng feelings of shame and guilt. Na shocks, nakakahiya. Kumbaga hindi ko ‘to na-ayos. Hindi ko nabigyan si Thirdy ng buong pamilya,” Jodi said. The actress resorted to partying, only to realize that her heartbreak can’t be mended by nights out.

'Forgiveness is a choice that we can make every single day.' -Jodi Sta. Maria

In 2014, she was invited by Coney Reyes to attend church and she started her journey of forgiveness, healing and friendship with her former husband. She said it wasn’t easy, but she chose the path of kindness for her son Thirdy, “Hindi na nga namin siya nabigyan ng pamilya na buo. Iipitin pa ba namin siya? Forgiveness is a choice that we can make every single day.”

Now, Jodi isn’t only co-parenting with Pampi, she is also good friends with Iwa Moto, his current partner. They never shy away from leaving cute comments on Instagram, celebrating Thirdy’s milestones as a blended family, and even going to the gym together. 

"There’s no greater feeling na malaman mo na yung anak mo, minamahal siya. Hindi man nag-work out yung sa amin ng daddy niya, pero yung little family namin, yung blended family namin, di ba parang mas dumami pa yung mga taong nagmamahal sa kanya?,” Jodi said. 

They say that a simple act of kindness goes a long way, and for Jodi, kindness definitely sewed up a patch for their blended family.

Danica and Marc Pingris

Marc Pingris and Danica Sotto’s love story began with a simple act of kindness. Back in 2005, he was still a rising basketball star and she, a showbiz upstart finding her own identity apart from her famous parents Vic Sotto and Dina Bonnevie. They met at a gym and became acquainted.

Since then, Marc and Danica became good friends, who eventually fell in love with each other. They got married on March 3, 2007, and today have three kids: Mic, 14; Caela, 11; and Jean-Luc, who was born just last January 13, 2023.

'We had our ups and downs, but we managed to make it, mainly because our God is the center of our relationship.' -Marc Pingris

"Umpisa pa lang nagpaka-totoo ka na sa amin ng friends ko,” Danica says in one of her appreciation posts to Marc. “Di pasikat but very genuine and humble. You never tried to pretend to be someone you’re not. Kahit pa sobra ’yung kaba mo whenever you’d have to talk to my relatives before, humarap ka pa din nang maayos at proud ka sa humble beginnings mo."

When they celebrated their wedding anniversary in 2017, Marc honored his wife, who helped him reconnect with his father, with this heartfelt message: “For the past 10 years, I know that what we went through was not easy. We had our ups and downs, but we managed to make it, mainly because our God is the center of our relationship.”

One important ingredient to the couple’s successful marriage is the way they resolve conflicts with humility and kindness.

"Talagang pinag-uusapan namin,” Marc said in a TV interview. “Hindi kami natutulog hanggat hindi kami nagso-sorry. Pinagpi-pray namin, para next time, alam na namin. Di na namin pag-aawayan.” 

Self-Love

Iya Villania and Drew Arellano, together with their kids Primo, Leon, Alana, and Astro, are one of Smart Parenting's 20 Most Inspiring Family awardees under the Self-Love category. Hair and makeup by Madge Lejano; styling by AJ Alberto; shot on location at The Marco Polo Ortigas Manila.
PHOTO BYPAOLA ASERON

Iya Villania and Drew Arellano

There's no question why the Arellanos are among the most loved and revered celebrity families in the Philippines today.

The charm and wit of Drew Arellano coupled with the strength and grace of Iya Villania is where their family has built its firm foundation. Add their bunch of adorable kids--Primo, Leon, Alana, and Astro--and we get why netizens can't help but take their "one more baby" jokes seriously.

The couple repeatedly emphasized in their podcast Life with the Arellanos that communication is at the core of their relationship and marriage. It's probably why Drew and Iya find it relatively easy to meet halfway when it comes to parenting and still grow and flourish as individuals. They look at each other as teammates and not competitors for the "Best parent award."

"Now I really feel the partnership, and it's because we're leading this home, and we want to bring out the best in each other because in bringing the best out of each other, we're modeling how to bring out the best in our children. I think iba talaga 'pag family na," Iya said.

'You realize the power in the example that you can be for others, you also become more responsible for your actions and the kind of life you live.' - Iya Villania on what being an inspiring family means to her

Iya and Drew are also every parent's peg when it comes to health and fitness. Iya once confessed that her fitness journey is because she wants to still be the best wife for her husband. "I want to feel good about myself, connected to that is it's also for you--I want you to look at me and love me with all that I have," she said.

While they admit that traveling with their kids is the "best education," Drew and Iya make it a point to travel together alone just like when they didn't have kids yet. If they are given the chance to have dates, although it's not as consistent as they hope to be, they make the most of it.

Although they are among the most admired couples of this generation, Iya and Drew are not spared from criticisms about their parenting and family life. They were questioned why they haven't enrolled Primo yet and bashed that the new Casa Arellano was not designed to be child-friendly.

Nevertheless, Iya and Drew remain as chill as they are, and it's because they understand and love each member of their family to the core.

To be considered as inspiring is a feat and Iya appreciates what it means. "To inspire means you're doing something good for the world because if you can lift others up and encourage others to strive to also be better, do better and push even thru the difficult/challenging times, then that's a wonderful way of helping make the world a better place. Also, when you realize the power in the example that you can be for others, you also become more responsible for your actions and the kind of life you live."

PHOTO BYINSTAGRAM /NICOBOLZICO

Solenn Heussaff and Nico Bolzico

As much as she is a fully-committed mom, Solenn Heussaff also strongly advocates for self-love, something her husband Nico Bolzico rallies behind as well.

'Mum guilt can be real, but remember to always take some time off for yourself sometimes!' -Solenn Heussaff

Since becoming a mom, Solenn still shares snippets of her journey as an artist, fitness enthusiast, and entrepreneur. The mom of two has been vocal about the importance of carving time for one's self. "Mum guilt can be real, but remember to always take some time off for yourself sometimes!," Solenn said during her time at the Milan Fashion Week 2022 when she had to be away to her daughter Tili.

In his case, Nico continued to stay true to his comedic self, entertaining us with his oh-so-relatable #BulliedHusbandsClub videos.

Kidding aside, the beloved "El Padre," like his wife, shows no sign of putting self-love at the back seat and continues to carve time for things he is passionate about other than being a doting father.

In their own ways, Nico and Solenn are teaching parents that being intentional when it comes to self-love is also a way for them to model healthy behaviors for their children, teaching them to value and care for themselves as they grow up.

PHOTO BYINSTAGRAM /ILOVERUFFAG

Ruffa Gutierrez

Grit and grace. These are the two things that Ruffa Gutierrez embodies and models to her two daughters Lorin and Venice as a solo parent.

The actress' controversial separation from her estranged husband Yilmaz Bektas in 2007 has enabled her to speak up and stand for women who experience violence in their homes.

In an interview with Dra. Vicki Belo last year, Ruffa was firm that she had long forgiven Yilmaz.

'Like so many single mothers, I have a great deal of strength and fortitude, and have accomplished and overcome many challenges in her life' -Ruffa Gutierrez

"I sent Lorin and Venice on their own to Istanbul. I just felt really light about it. I prayed about it. And I said, "God, if this is the right timing that Lorin and Venice should reunite with Yilmaz, give me a sign." And I think the sign is just being comfortable, being light, being at peace. I didn’t have any hesitations. Para sa akin, yun na yung sign na hinahanap ko.”

Although she single handedly raised her two daughters, she may have prioritized them, but she bounced back and showed up for herself. "Like so many single mothers, I have a great deal of strength and fortitude, and have accomplished and overcome many challenges in her life," she said in a post where she announced that she's studying towards a master's degree in Communication Arts. She earned her college degree in September of last year.

On social media, Ruffa has been sharing bits and pieces of her journey toward reinventing herself and keeping herself in check. Aside from having a massive amount of love for her daughter and her craft, her secret to becoming the woman that she is now is this: "Eliminate what doesn't help you evolve. Period."

This year, she is committed toward being healthy and fit, with an empowering hashtag Skinny Minnie Ruffie. In her words, it’s payback time. This is her comeback. She’s not doing it for anyone, but for herself.

PHOTO BYINSTAGRAM /ISABELLEDAZA

Isabelle Daza and Adrien Semblat

Isabelle Daza has been in the public eye for most of her life, and with that comes the pressure to conform to industry standards of what makes a "star." Isabelle has experienced the darker side of fame, particularly when she became a mother. She recounted a time when “I just couldn’t look at myself in the mirror.” She recalls feeling reduced as an individual and being told that motherhood meant the end of her career.

"Lagi silang ganiyan–‘Ay, mommy ka na. Wala ka nang career. Hindi ka na magiging sexy," Isabelle shared.

'You have to know that you are enough so that your [child] will know that he is enough.'

Despite these setbacks, Isabelle has always been able to maintain a glimmer of self-love and has even sought professional help to navigate these difficult emotions. It was then that she realized this: "You have to know that you are enough so that your son will know that he is enough."

To this end, Isabelle has made affirmations a regular part of her routine, and her husband Adrien Semblat has even joined in, offering words of affirmation when he hears her speaking to herself in the mirror. The mom of three recalled how Adrien would tell her, "‘Yeah, you’re beautiful'–when he hears her speaking to herself in the mirror. Even while brushing her teeth.

Isabelle's journey is a testament to the fact that self-love is not a solitary pursuit; there are people around us who can help and support us along the way.

If you ever feel overwhelmed or lost in your own journey towards self-love, remember that there are people who can help you. Seeking professional help, like Isabelle did, is always an option. And as you work on building a more loving relationship with yourself, know that you are not alone, and as a parent you are modeling this to your child.

Devotion

Doug and Cheska Kramer, together with children Kendra, Scarlet, and Gavin, are one of Smart Parenting's 20 Most Inspiring Family awardees under the Devotion category. Makeup by Justine Navato; Hairstyling by Jay Wee; Styling by Team RAIN x EM assisted by Rio Camantigue and Elaine Villapando; On Doug: Zara and Uniqlo, on Cheska: Mango #MangoPh, on Kendra: Zara and Bershka, on Scarlet and Gavin: Zara.
PHOTO BYJERICK SANCHEZ

Team Kramer

Team Kramer, one of the most prominent social media personalities nowadays, showed us not only their accomplishments, but also their devotion to rise among their challenges.

About to celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary this year, Doug and Chesca Kramer shared that even though they achieved their dream house, there was a time that they struggled financially.  The couple started their family in a one-bedroom apartment, but with devotion, hardwork and prayers, they are now living in their dream house with an outstanding view of Metro Manila.

'I feel like it's never too late. I feel like there's always something there you can rectify and work on. It's going to be hard... You have to be patient. But our children are always worth it.' -Cheska Kramer on building relationships with your kids when they're older

Together with their three children, KendraScarlett and Gavin, the Kramers continue to inspire us that having a ‘luxurious life’ is not all that there is. The kids, while being homeschooled, are taught basic household chores like cleaning up, cooking, baking and even gardening.

The couple makes sure to stay devoted to each other and their kids by always writing sweet messages, whether there is an occasion, or just a random act of love. They often share on social media how much they love spending time with each other, going on vacations when possible, parents dating one child at a time, and simply spending down time at home together.

Cheska told Smart Parenting in her exclusive March 2023 interview that building a strong relationship with their kids is what they've made sure to do as parents. "Spending time with your children is important because your children need to know your heart, she said. Yet she is aware that not all families started out smoothly, like theirs. "I feel like it's never too late. I feel like there's always something there you can rectify and work on. It's going to be hard... You have to be patient. It takes time. But our children are always worth it," Cheska said.

PHOTO BYFACEBOOK /ANDIGUCKEIGENMANN

Andi Eigenmann and Philmar Alipayo

Andi Eigenmann has received the highest compliment from her own mother, the esteemed actress Jaclyn Jose. “Ang ganda ng pagpapalaki mo sa mga bata,” Jaclyn says in an Instagram post showing an old photo of them. 

Indeed, Andi is fully committed and devoted to her children Ellie, 11; Lilo, 3; and Koa, 2. She co-parents daughter Ellie with Ellie’s father Jake Ejercito. She has her fiancé Philmar Alipayo by her side in raising their toddler girl Lilo and boy Koa in their home base in Siargao Island, where Philmar, a surfing champion, hails from.

'I’d rather learn from my partner who is as committed to being a parent to my kids as I am than the books that I read.' -Andi Eigenmann

Andi moved to Siargao in 2018, leaving behind her acting career and celebrity life, to build a family with Philmar. She knew she’s found the right partner, but she still thought that, given their disparate backgrounds, they would clash and contradict each other. Eventually, she realized their parenting styles actually complement and work hand in hand.

“He’s the firm one, I’m the gentle parent,” Andi tells Smart Parenting in an exclusive interview. “Kung kailangan pagalitan o pagsabihan, pagsasabihan niya. Hindi siya naghe-hesitate because for him, ’yan ang hinihingi ng anak ko at this moment.”

Andi thus appreciates Philmar’s support when disciplining their kids, particularly Lilo, who has a stronger personality compared to Ellie, the eldest in the brood. She says of her partner, “Lagi niyang sinasabi, ‘You are allowed to be firm, you are allowed to tell her she’s not allowed to do that.’”

The mom of three, who initially thought her partner’s ways were going against the gentle parenting strategies she reads in her books, has this realization: “I’d rather learn from my partner who is as committed to being a parent to my kids as I am than the books that I read. I’m learning more about myself as a parent when I see the way he parents.”

PHOTO BYCHRISTIAN HALILI

Rica Peralejo and Joseph Bonifacio

Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio has a way with words and sharing her learnings without imposing or intimidating. We figure it's because she has always been open to being vulnerable and sharing her own struggles of working to get to where she is right now when it comes to her faith.

Rica is refreshingly open about her past mistakes and her ongoing journey of growth alongside her husband Joe Bonifacio. Her willingness to be transparent and honest about her own shortcomings makes her relatable and endearing, and it's what makes her such a powerful voice on topics related to parenting and family dynamics.

What sets Rica apart is her ability to challenge limiting beliefs rather than reinforcing them, which makes her insights especially valuable.

'One of the greatest things you can do as a parent is [to accept] that your kids are born in a different time and for a different time.' -Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio

This is how we our YouTube series Poprica came to be: "Popular Parenting, Spiced by Rica Peralejo," where we take on the most talked about concerns and issues in the world of parenting and get Rica to shed a bit of light on it.

Through our series, Rica has offered a fresh perspective on topics like forgiveness, financial support for parents, gender dynamics in families, and gentle parenting. No matter how heavy the topic, Rica approaches it with compassion, grace and empathy rather than judgment, which is a testament to how her faith has helped her navigate life's challenges and emerge stronger and more compassionate.

Rica said, "One of the greatest things you can do as a parent is [to accept] that your kids are born in a different time and for a different time."

PHOTO BYINSTAGRAM /BETTINNACARLOS.EDUARDO

Bettinna Carlos and Mikki Eduardo

“Sino ang tatay ko?”, may be the question single moms fear to hear. Bettinna Carlos, then a single mom to daughter Gummy answered gracefully, “One time, she asked the name. Then I said it. Kasi our tendency as single parents, iniisip na natin yung hanggang pagkikita na, eh. You just take it one step at a time."

Bettinna was a devoted single mom who openly shared their life--baking, homeschooling, sports and church activities--even their loving relationship with Yatch, their household help. To which Gummy said, “We had a happy childhood.” 

In 2020, Bettinna tied the knot with husband Mikki Eduardo. The night before their wedding, Mikki also proposed to Gummy, “He asked her if she will allow him to be her father and raise her up to the fear and knowledge of the Lord. To which she said YES! After all he is not just marrying me but her as well,” Bettina wrote in her Instagram.

'I am learning to live by essentials. It's the people and not the place that makes a house a home' -Bettinna Carlos Eduardo

She also reveals it was a prayer she had for her and Gummy. "I asked God to confirm that if Mikki really is His best for us that he would give Gummy a ring too. After all he is not just marrying me but her as well. God heard and heeded my prayer,” she said.

The family of two became three and moved to La Union. They love the probinsya life and the peace it brings, “I am learning to live by essentials. It's the people and not the place that makes a house a home," she said.

In February 2022, Bettinna shared that they lost their baby, “We were pregnant and then no more.” The same year, they shared that another baby is on the way, who Bettinna fondly calls ‘Ading’. She gave birth in December 2022, almost in time for the opening of Aginana Villas, their beautiful bed and breakfast situated in La Union.

Both Bettinna and Mikki show devotion to the family they're building: first with Bettinna and Gummy, then Mikki to Gummy, and now, the growing Eduardo family of four.

PHOTO BYINSTAGRAM /UNOEMILIO

Jake Ejercito

‘Family’ is slowly becoming a word that has different meanings for different people. A single dad or mom, having a loving relationship with their child is still a perfect definition of ‘family’.

Amid the issues his fatherhood brought, Jake Ejercito fought it off with his devotion to be the best father to her daughter, Ellie.

'You've only brought good things to my life and I promise to do the same to you a hundredfold' -Jake Ejercito to daughter Ellie

He also shared in his Instagram account, “You've only brought good things to my life and I promise to do the same to you a hundredfold. Know that everything has been and will always be for you. And that I will hold your hand the whole way through.”

Jake made sure to make up for lost time with Ellie and quickly captured the ‘Awwwws’ and ‘Ohhhhs’ of netizens as he shared their father-daughter journey.

Jake reached an amicable co-parenting setup with former partner Andi Eigenmann and never misses out on Ellie’s birthdays and special occasions. Even if it means flying to Siargao every now and then, and being ‘powerless’ over her, everything is fine with Jake as long as he gets to spend time with Ellie. Jake and Ellie went diving in Boracay last year, and also got to spend some time in Europe and then in Singapore.

Jake’s intentional devotion to be a father to Ellie and to build a family with her makes their story inspiring and heartwarming. 

PHOTO BYINSTAGRAM /LUCYTGOMEZ

Richard and Lucy Torres-Gomez

When talking about one of the most enduring couples in show business, it would be incomplete without mentioning Lucy Torres and Richard Gomez, who are set to celebrate their silver wedding anniversary in 2023. 

Both have consistently expressed admiration for each other throughout the years, and they attribute their strong relationship to their faith, which is also reflected in their parenting. 

Devotion is crucial in their parenting, and the couple guides their daughter, Juliana Gomez, by reminding her to align her decisions with God's teachings, whether it's in her career or love life.

'In a world where you can dream of this or that for your daughter, I say that I only want her to be the person that God designed her to be' -Lucy Torres-Gomez

Lucy beautifully put it in words once during Juliana's 18th birthday by sharing, "I say nga, in a world where you can dream of this or that for your daughter, I say that I only want her to be the person that God designed her to be."

And when talking about finding "the one" Lucy has this reminder to her daughter: ""Who you marry is the most important decision you make, the right partner can make you soar, the wrong one will clip your wings. This is not a decision you leave to chance, or fate. This has to be God-given, heaven-approved."

As parents, Lucy and Richard's devotion to their faith serves as an anchor for their family and inspires their daughter to follow a path that is in line with their values.

***

Profiles by Judy Santiago-Aladin, Angela Baylon, Riyalyn Grace Pasimio, Jocelyn Valle

Art by Stephanie Ocampo

Video Producer: Cherrie Julian

Video Editor: Rolando Pingco, Jr.

Social Media Strategy: Zen Arganda

Growth Lead: Mika Presillas

Produced and Edited by Ronna Capili Bonifacio

Publisher: Iza Santos-Cuyos

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