Business-savvy hot mamaBy Bayani San Diego Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Former Viva Hot Babe Andrea del Rosario is the first to admit that her life has been turned upside down.
She disappeared from the scene for a while—to give birth and take care of daughter Bea, now two years old.
She acknowledges that Bea changed her life in many ways.
Soon after delivery, Andrea was told by doctors that the newborn was suffering from jejunal atresia—a condition where one of the three portions of the infant’s small intestine was tied around one of the arteries of the colon, causing a blockage.
“Bea went under the knife four times,” she recalls. “She spent months in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.”
It broke her heart to see her baby’s tiny body go through so much.
“I didn’t dwell on the problem, though,” Andrea relates. “Otherwise, I couldn’t function.”
She reminded herself that she had to remain strong. In a roundabout way, it was her daughter who kept her afloat. “Her smile kept me going,” Andrea now says with a smile.
Two years later, Bea is fully recovered. The grateful mom has filled her condo unit with the baby’s photographs, taken on weekend trips to the beach.
“Bea is a water baby; she loves the ocean,” mom exclaims. That is just perfect because Andrea is renovating her late dad’s beach home in Calatagan, Batangas.
“Bea adores animals and is very sociable, too,” Andrea says. “She loves being surrounded by people. She’s a happy baby.”
These days, Andrea often goes on medical missions and other charity projects—to share her blessings, she says—going around the countryside with five friends who are doctors.
She is preparing 200 bags of notebooks, pencils and other supplies for needy children in Batangas as thanksgiving for Bea’s recovery.
She apologizes for the “mess” at her home. Toys are strewn all over as well.
In a corner near the dining area, a playhouse has been set up. Andrea explains: “I wanted my own bahay-bahayan when I was a child. We lived in Tagaytay and we had a small playhouse made of plywood. When I saw this playhouse in a mall, I immediately bought it for Bea.”
It’s pretty obvious that the kid rules this space. “She’s my boss,” mom says, “and I don’t mind at all.”
She’s the first to admit that motherhood has made her grow up pronto. “You really become selfless after giving birth,” Andrea confesses. “Before, when I was still single, my life was just about me, me, me.”
Now, her entire world revolves around Bea. “She gives me so much happiness. I don’t want to say that motherhood is challenging because it’s also fun.”
Since Bea has special dietary requirements, mom has become a fussy chef as well. “There’s no milk, no ice cream in the ref. Bea cannot eat dairy products. Now, I follow her special diet, too— protein-rich, a little rice, no fried food.”
Thriving food business
Apart from mommy duties, Andrea juggles a burgeoning business venture (the restaurant chain Longganisa Sorpresa), show biz and school work these days.
She recently made a show biz comeback via the hit soap opera “Munting Heredera” on GMA 7. In a month or so, she will graduate with a Masters in Entrepreneurship at the Ateneo de Manila University. “I wanted to improve myself,” she explains. “It had been a while since I was last in school.”
She studied Fine Arts major in Advertising at St. Scholastica’s College while being part of ABS-CBN’s Star Magic Batch 3, with Piolo Pascual, Paolo Contis and Kaye Abad, among
others. “I was into the arts, painting and photography, then,” she recalls.
Two years ago, while shedding baby weight, Andrea kept busy at the same time. “Before going into business with friends, I consulted Jay Bernardo, a professor from AIM (Asian Institute of Management),” she recounts. Her mentor encouraged her to enroll in the two-year master’s degree program at Ateneo.
The student-mom admits, “It was nothing like what I studied in college. It was a huge challenge, looking at financial reports, income statements and balance sheets.”
Whenever the going gets tough in the city, she escapes to her Batangas getaway for “sporty” weekends. “Our biggest thrill there is coming up with the best snacks,” she says. “One time, I saw a farmer selling Japanese corn by the road. I whipped up mais con hielo for my family.”
Since she’s now a restaurateur, she has learned to cook and bake, too. “When my daughter is older, we will make cupcakes together.” Food has become a passion. she relates, “Our resto has a unique concept. We serve the best longganisas from all over the country—from Lucban to Carcar, from Baguio to Cagayan de Oro.”
Andrea and partners sourced the country’s best vinegar varieties as well—Iloko, from the north, Paombong from Bulacan, Sinamak from Iloilo, Tuba from Batangas, Pinakurat from Iligan and Kaong from Cavite.
“My mom supplies the Kapeng Barako (native coffee) in the store, too,” she says. “A balikbayan saw our vinegar bottles and asked if we could export.”
The concept for the resto hit her while she was traveling in Spain. “Each city had its own specialty sausages in tapas restos. That’s how I came up with the idea.” Longganisa Sorpresa now has three outlets—in Mandaluyong, Pasig and SM North Edsa.
She has always been business-minded, Andrea says. “I just never had the chance to nurture that side of me since I was into the arts.”
She maintains her city home in San Juan because of work, but Batangas remains to be her refuge. “I really get to relax in Batangas,” she gushes. “Nothing beats nature-tripping— lounging by the sea, watching my daughter run in the sand.”
Ever-enterprising, she has another business venture in the works. Her big dream is to turn the beach house into a resort for expats and local tourists.
Her dad’s beach house stands beside Ronco Beach Resort, her uncle Wilfredo del Rosario’s place. “I hope to develop my dad’s property,” she muses. “That’s the long-term goal. It stands on a cliff, overlooking the ocean.” In the meantime, she enjoys it with her family. “Out there, we enjoy life to the fullest.”
For her city residence, she endeavors to recreate a piece of Batangas and capture the mood of rustic simplicity.
“I wanted a modern Asian look,” she says, “eclectic, tropical. I scattered seashells all over the condo to remind me of the beach house.”
She also displayed lots of wooden décor and furniture to imbue the place with a warm, cozy feel. “Wood makes me feel close to nature,” she says.
She turned to interior designer Ria Malig for professional advice. “Ria did the interiors of my restaurants. She is also the decorator of Dingdong Dantes.”
Ria totally understood Andrea’s vision for the place.
“An old condo unit was done all in white—I think I overdid it. So I wanted to incorporate more earth colors this time, with a little glass and metal. I still have white floors, though. White flooring makes the place look bigger.”
She got the dining set from a local mall, the sofa set from a nearby store. She found the Thai Buddha bust at the store Kish.
While in Indonesia, she snapped up stone tiles and decorative pieces. “I installed some of the stone slates in our Batangas beach house, along with the gate lamps and sconces.”
The bejeweled carabao décor was crafted by a friend, artist Ricky Yabut. The wooden wheel is another find on the road, in Santa Rosa, Laguna. She says she’s a big fan of antique tables and cabinets, “anything that’s made of wood.”
In Ikea Hong Kong, she fell in love with a metal chair. “I hand-carried it back home,” she says, laughing. She found an interesting piece, the outdoor sofa now in the Calatagan house, at a furniture expo held at the SMX Mall of Asia. It was made by a Cebu-based company.
Although she loves the beach house, she concedes that condo living has its perks. “Security is number one on the list. When I go abroad, I just turn off the electricity, lock up and not worry at all. Maintenance is not a problem. It’s very convenient.”
Still, she’s a country girl at heart, and she’s sad that most kids today lead sedentary lives. “I grew up in Tagaytay,” she says. “My siblings and I took care of pigs and rabbits. We climbed trees. I want Bea to experience those same things that I took for granted as a kid.”
photos courtesy of Andrea del Rosario
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