How married life has expedited ‘adulting’ for Sarah Geronimo
Does Sarah Geronimo prefer a baby girl when she and hubby Matteo Guidicelli finally decide to start raising kids of their own? Sarah’s answer to this question seemed to suggest so during our recent online chat with Viva’s prized possession.
It’s easy to glean insights into the 32-year-old Popstar Royalty’s closely guarded private world when you talk to her with her defenses down, thanks to the virtual platform that keeps any cordon sanitaire at bay.
This we pleasantly realized when we accepted an invitation from the no-frills, no-gimmicks PR team of Virtusio International handling the coveted virtual event for Manulife, one of the singer-actress’ carefully handpicked endorsements.
As a screen moppet, Sarah acted in episodes of “Penpen de Sarapen” and “Ang TV” even before she reached grade school age. Then, she appeared as one of the feisty kids in “Sarah … Ang Munting Prinsesa” at age 7 before she won the TV singing tilt “Star for a Night” at 14.
Knowing how she began working at a very young age, it was fascinating to see Sarah’s nurturing instinct instantly kick in when we asked her if she would encourage her future kids to pursue a career in the performing arts.
“Iniisip ko po lahat ’yan … araw-araw (laughs),” she admitted to Inquirer Entertainment. “Paano kaya kung nagkaroon na ako ng mga anak? How do I raise them well? Because as a parent, you’re responsible for molding their beliefs and helping shape character. How do I balance giving in to what they want but, at the same time, making sure that it is what’s best for them?
“Show biz may not be something I’d encourage them to pursue, but if ‘she’ decides what she wants to do and says to me, ‘Ma, gusto ko ring maging singer, dancer and actor,’ I will definitely support my kid.”
At this point, Sarah began talking about the fleeting nature of time and the opportunities she missed as a result of working at a very young age.
“Gusto kong unahin n’ya muna ang pag-aaral. Nakikita ko kasi minsan ang mga pamangkin ko, and I go, ‘Ay, matatanda na pala sila—20-plus na. They’ve all grown up, ang bilis ng panahon,’” Sarah, who’s the third of four siblings, mused. “Sandali lang ’yung time na mag-aaral ka. Then, after that, you can do whatever you want in life—mag-motocross, play the piano, whatever—sige, gawin mo. But it’s important to get a degree first.”
That’s why Sarah said it wasn’t hard for her to rally behind Manulife’s “enabling people to live every day better” edict. She explained, “Now that I’m married, unti-unti ko na kasing natututunan lahat—how to handle my finances, take care of my own money and invest it somewhere, with the help of my husband. We’re learning together and it’s a continuous learning process. Kasi, hindi dahil may edad ka na, alam mo na ang lahat.
“Married life has expedited ‘adulting’ for me. I had to learn how to handle a budget and decide where to invest my savings. Kasi ang mama ko is the kind of mother who would do everything for her kids para hindi na sila maistorbo. Ganun s’ya ka-loving sa mga anak nya.”
The lockdown was particularly crucial to Sarah’s learning curve. “Eto, buhay pa naman ako. I’m still sane (laughs),” she quipped when asked how the long lockdown played out for her. “Maraming struggles ang dinulot ng pandemic. To some, physically, but for many people, the difficulty was mental and emotional. That’s why I’m thankful that all my loved ones are OK. What we’re going through right now is a reminder that life is too short.
“I work from home most of the time these days, so na-enjoy ko ang pagkain lately. But I’m very lucky that my partner in life has a very active lifestyle, which helps keep my weight in check. Malaki ang influence n’ya sa akin to stay fit and eat healthy.”
She has also discovered exciting things about herself, Sarah disclosed. “There are many changes in my life … new discoveries about myself that make me go, ‘Ah, ganito pala ako.’ Like, I never thought I’d ever learn to cook my own food.”
Sarah’s special dishes include kare-kare (“The shortcut version, but it’s delicious,’ she pointed out) and pinakbet. “They say that baking is hard, pero kinakaya, even the precision of measured ingredients,” she added. “When I forget an ingredient, I just try again hanggang maka-tsamba. Then, I get even more encouraged to up the ante.”
Matt keeps Sarah company in her more “domesticated” endeavors. “As for baking, I started with bread,” she recalled. “Pero ‘yung isang bread na pinatikim ko kay Matt, naluwa pa n’ya sa tigas (laughs). So, inulit ko hanggang lasang tinapay na s’ya—from texture to taste. I also learned to make cakes and even Korean-style cream cheese in garlic bread—ang sarap! Never kong naisip na kakayanin kong mag-bake ng masarap na cake. At ako pa ang umuubos (laughs).”
Even when there are challenges to hurdle, Sarah says she appreciates the kind of life she has.
“Mas ginaganahan ako sa buhay, mas masarap bumangon sa umaga. Before all this, I used to get up at 11 a.m. Now, I wake up at 5:30 or 6 a.m. to bake. ’Pag sinipag ako, I run with my husband. O, ’di ba (laughs)?
“I’ve also learned not to take things for granted. I’m thankful for the gift of life and the opportunities that come my way, kasi we tend to think na, ‘OK lang, nandyan lang naman ’yang mga ’yan.’
“But you look at things differently when you see people you know lose jobs at hirap na hirap sa buhay. You become even more grateful for what you have … more contented kung anong meron ka, regardless of the trials that come. The coronavirus has connected all of us in a lot of ways.”
Our Q&A with Sarah:
You’ve been working since you were a kid. At which point in your life did you realize you needed to take care of your own money?
Recently lang po, bago ako nag-asawa … late na ’no (laughs)? Kasi nga, I grew up na very dependent sa aking parents, kasi grabe mag-alaga ang aking mama at daddy. A few days ago, we were just discussing the plans my mom availed, and I said, “Wow, grabe ang pag-secure n’ya sa pamilya ko at sa aking mga kapatid!”
To be honest, now that I’m building my own family, medyo naka-panic mode po ako (laughs). Kasi, ngayon ko lang nalalaman lahat about the importance of investing … that it’s wise to put your money in property, etc.
What have you come to love about yourself over the course of the quarantine?
One positive trait that I noticed about myself is that if I’m determined to do something, I get it done. Kasi dati, sobra akong takot na gawin ang mga bagay na hindi ako familiar.
Now, I’m no longer afraid to fail and learn from my mistakes. New endeavors and new things used to intimidate me. Masyado akong pinangungunahan ng negativity—I’d tell myself, “Ay, that’s too difficult!” But if you’re passionate about something, your mindset also becomes positive. You realize na kaya mo pala.
What did you find most difficult to deal with during the lockdown, and how did you overcome it?
It was most difficult talaga mentally, kasi nakulong tayo. I worried about my job. “Paano na ’to? Anong mangyayari sa career ko?” But I was more affected by the uncertainty of it all. It was a constant battle in my mind … Paano kung may mangyari sa akin? You can’t take care of people if you’re sick. Ang nakatulong lang talaga sa akin was my faith in God. Now more than ever, we realize na kailangan nating kumapit sa faith … lalo na ’pag naririnig mong palapit ng palapit na ang virus sa ‘yo at sa mga mahal mo sa buhay, or mas dumarami ang nai-infect.
You feel more vulnerable when you hear na may kakilala ka, o kaibigan, o kamag-anak na nagkasakit. That was my struggle, mentally and emotionally.
Is it harder or easier to have a partner to help you make difficult decisions?
It wasn’t easy, at first, because I got overwhelmed by the responsibility. But I realized that the people around me—my husband Matt, my manager Boss Vic del Rosario Jr. (of Viva)—are there too support me in whatever decision I make. So, napapadali lahat.
The lockdown in March sort of “forced” you and Matt to really get to know each other better after you got married in February. What were the biggest adjustments that you had to make over the course of that period?
I’m still in the process of adjusting … kahit hanggang ngayon (laughs). I keep reminding myself that I’m no longer single … that my priorities in life are different from what they used to be. On top of that list now is my husband—’yan ang reality ng pag-aasawa. There are pros and cons, but we had to learn to adjust to each other. At the same time, it also intensified our bond as husband and wife.
The lockdown has brought back simplicity in all our lives, hindi ’yung palagi na lang tayong on the go or on our gadgets. We tend to neglect our families when we’re so busy.
As your generation’s biggest star, you’ve also demonstrated your enviable ability as a dancer. Do you teach Matt how to dance or sing?
‘Yung totoo po, ha? It’s the other way around. He’s the one who teaches me how to dance. Kung pwede ko lang i-share sa inyo some clips to prove that… May signature moves si Matt, eh (laughs). Feeling ko kasi, hindi lang n’ya ini-embrace na kaya din n’yang magsayaw, because he has a background in theater. At magaling na singer ang asawa ko—mas magaling pa s’ya kaysa sa akin.
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