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Kakie Pangilinan at 19: Up close and personal

/ 12:20 AM August 15, 2020
Frankie Pangilinan

Frankie Pangilinan

People born with a silver spoon usually grow up to be spoiled brats who have a sense of entitlement. Frankie Pangilinan is an exception to that. The spunky daughter of Sharon Cuneta and Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan is extremely grounded.

Kakie (her nickname) refuses to be lulled into a false sense of complacency. She does not let the trappings of wealth turn into a trap. The young role model is not full of herself, so she has room in her life for other people and worthwhile causes.

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When I met her at the anniversary party of Regine Velasquez and Ogie Alcasid, Kakie wasn’t wearing anything flashy. Her simplicity makes her stand out. Kakie is not an attention-seeker. But there’s something about her that will make you sit up and listen. The 19-year-old scion is definitely a go-getter.

Kakie is feistily stepping out of her parents’ shadow to shine her own light.

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Here’s my chat with Kakie:

What’s the best and toughest part about being the daughter of Sharon and Kiko?

The best and worst have come to be all the same. The truth is, my privilege is something I have to live up to being worth, but it is likewise this that has educated me and allowed me to help make more consequential changes.

I know there might always be people who perceive me as well-off and, therefore, entitled. I understand that completely—in fact, I do my best to keep myself in check. It’s hard to grow up being watched and yet, from the peripheral. Sometimes, I feel confused as to why people seem to pay extra attention to what I say when, in fact, it’s nothing special.

Since you have such a charmed life, how do you manage not to live in a bubble?

I do live in a bubble, I think. I will never be able to experience what the masses go through every day. I will never be able to fully empathize with those who fight every single day, just to get to their next meal. Comparatively, then, I’ve never known hardship. But it is the awareness of this and my position in it which can allow me to utilize the advantages at my disposal for others.

Why is it important for Gen Z and millennials to speak up and be socially “woke”?

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We’re inheriting this world. While I don’t agree with many standards that have been established by the morally upright echelons of the internet culture, in recent years, there’s been a breakthrough in terms of accountability checks online. At the end of the day, it’s all about being better from moment to moment—it’s not about perfection, it can never be, and I do hope people realize that.

We shouldn’t allow condemnation, but we should foster mutual growth. Everybody makes mistakes, but the youth in this digital age has gained unparalleled access to information. There can no longer be excuses for being unaware or misinformed. We’re equipped with social platforms and a sort of technological savvy that previous generations don’t have. It makes our world a little smaller and a lot more knowable. We’re catalysts of essential change.

Would you venture into public service someday?

No (I’m sorry I laughed). Public service in itself is beautiful, but one needs strength and resilience for the darker politics that I don’t believe I have. I’m not brave enough for that. It’s messy and dirty and full of evil I’d like very much to stay away from. Besides, there are people far better-suited to public office. I feel a little too much, and think a little too deeply.

What would it take for a guy to make you interested in him?I laughed again. Thank you for phrasing it this way—it’s truly lovely to be asked what might interest me, as opposed to “why don’t you have a boyfriend?” I’m not sure if I’m looking for anything in particular at the moment, but I love speaking to truly passionate people. People who put in the work and commit to their ideologies.

Someone who was making me ligaw once told me that I was a lot to take, but that he could “handle it,” and that shaped a lot of my standards. I’m a romantic at heart, which not many people expect. I would rather I wasn’t “handled” or tolerated, I just wish to be loved, someday. Perhaps that’s vague, but I just adore that aspiration for something greater than oneself.

Tell us a bit about your new songs.

Coming soon. I’ve been going about the motions of building a sort of in-bedroom studio. I’ve saved up some money to buy all the necessary equipment. I’m venturing into more experimental sounds while finding what works best for me.

I’m incredibly excited, but Covid-19 has obviously made things quite tedious and a little bit scary. I love to study all sorts of music because I think that there’s a little bit you can learn from everywhere.

What makes you “kilig” and “bad trip”?

I love it when people read my stuff. My best friends don’t even read my stuff, but when strangers leave commentary on my novels online, it fills my heart with a renewed purpose. I do nothing but write all day, be it music, poetry or fiction. That makes me kilig because it’s my greatest passion. Other more superficial things that make me kilig are good books, race cars, good music.

A lot of things make me “bad trip” nowadays, but I guess, on an extremely shallow and personal level, I’m particularly upset with the nuances of social media. Now more than ever, with everybody restless and fearful and filled with indefinite uncertainty, tensions are high and people are especially feisty.

The digital layer’s perks far outweigh its drawbacks, but those drawbacks are still there. Everything about the discourse is valid, but not all of it is urgent. I wish for silence, every day.

What are some of the things that not too many people know about your mom?

She wraps books like an absolute boss. Give her good WiFi and a laptop and maybe a really good sansrival and she’s ready to take on whatever life throws at her. She gets extremely emotional, but that’s because her heart is so big. She likes interior design, pastel colors and pretty flowers. We watch all Formula One races together. And she’s the best cook in the house, though I like to think I’m a close second.

What love advice of your mom do you intend to follow?

I honestly don’t get much love advice from her because I’ve never really needed it. My first relationships were fickle and fleeting, and while I tell her everything (she’s my best friend), there’s a certain common trust there that likewise means my experiences are my own.

I’m 19 now. At my age, she had been married and had a kid. She’s strong and brave and always seems to be certain of what she wants. We’re very different in that regard.

What’s your personal mantra as you adapt to the new normal?

Keep going forward. Just march onwards. Time is such a construct, and it passes by so quickly. Love without limits. Be kind. I tend to be terrified of missing out on momentary joys, and I’ve always been terrified of growing up.

Homage to PH families, front-liners

“Magpakailanman” pays homage to Filipino families and front-liners in its episode at 8 p.m. tonight, called “Walang Iwanan: The Layug Family Story.” In the story, Rainier and Remy Layug live a happy life in America. They have four daughters working as nurses. Unfortunately, they come face-to-face with the unseen enemy when each one of them tests positive for Covid-19.

Topbilling the episode are Nonie and Shamaine Buencamino, who play Rainier and Remy, together with Rita Daniela as Lea, the couple’s youngest daughter.

Nonie, who’s in awe of the Layug’s resilience and bravery, said, “My heart goes out to the family. They put their life on the line. They stuck together and set pride aside.”

May their story serve as a “vaccine” of hope now that we need it the most.

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TAGS: Frankie Pangilinan, Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan, Sharon Cuneta
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