Be careful with my mom | Inquirer Entertainment

Be careful with my mom

/ 11:40 PM May 11, 2013

An Indian woman carries one of her children and holds the other by the hand as they beg for alms on a road, ahead of Mother’s Day in Bhubaneswar, India, Saturday, May 11, 2013. AP/Biswaranjan Rout

Mothers have a very special place in Philippine show business. There’s this love-hate thing for Mommies Dearest that makes them—to both fans and keen observers—likable, laughable, even entertaining, though occasionally infuriating.

In an industry where everybody wants to feel like family—Kapuso, Kapamilya, Kapatid—the Mother Figure is deemed a beacon of light or pillar of strength, if not the very voice of God. Smiling her benevolent smile and exuding a boundless capacity for compassion, she watches over her children. Consider the maternal icons we continue to celebrate in the long history of Pinoy show biz. These women feed and nurture the clan, discipline the children and, when necessary, scream, “Off with his head!”


Strong fixation


Filipinos have such a strong fixation for mother figures, that we cannot discuss Philippine pop culture without mentioning Doña Sisang, Manay Ichu,  Mother Lily, Dear Ate Charo, Tita Malou and other demigodesses. But far more interesting are the real mothers who used to lurk backstage but who have emerged to carve a distinct niche. The stereotype of Nanay, guardian and meddling manager who confounds everyone within a 10-mile radius, has been around since Lino Brocka’s 1971 film, “Stardoom.”

Recent scandals have seen mothers getting more press than their celebrity children. Apparently, media members have discovered that these women’s kalukisan make better copies than the transparent shenanigans of starlets jump-starting their careers with scandals.

More amusing

Let’s face it: Feisty biz moms are more amusing than virgin debutantes swooning over screen partners, or publicity-hungry starlets who hog headlines with new cosmetic enhancements. The moms are more down-to-earth, too, and more original.

When that spitfire Visayan Mama wields her glass shards-studded vocabulary against those who dare cross her brood, all that the rest of mankind can do is shut up (then reach for a painkiller, watch and wait). You either love her or hate her. Many people may be dismayed about her dismal failure at subtlety but, what the heck, right?  This Mama protects her clan like a lioness would her cubs.  She would not let anyone, except herself, mock or chide her family. In layman’s language, this is “fierce.”

Some other show biz mamas are notorious for being control freaks and, literally, also freaks in control.  These mamas think kids stop growing at age 8. So, even when the children have reached 18, 28 or even 38, the mamas keep them reined in.


What privacy?

The more curious might ask, “Why exercise so much control over these kids who work very, very hard?” This is called “striking while the iron is hot.” An industry bigwig once commented, “There is no one harder to deal with than a manager who also happens to be the mother.”

Which leads us to moms who go ballistic when things don’t go their way. Once upon a time, family problems were resolved by elders; solutions were arrived at in private.

Times have changed. In this YouTube age, when anyone can have his shot at 15 minutes of fame or become a global sensation in three days, privacy is so last century.

Everything has become interactive, including washing dirty linen in public. This is all done in the name of truth, honor and I-must-be-seen-and-heard conviction.

Reality TV

But although this is the 21st century,  we still have biz moms bawling in public, true to the tradition of “Reyna ng Vicks,” the 1950s radio drama show that tackled tales of heartbreak.

Now it’s called reality TV, the kind that validates the existence of the Kardashians, the Osbournes and other families that milk their private anguish for a worldwide audience. It’s also called entertainment.

What is there to say about show biz moms who are sucked into this cesspool? Filipinos are certainly talking about these mothers and their woes. In our inability to discriminate private issues from public amusement, we have shattered the very thin wall that stands between propriety and publicity.


In some spooky way, thus, show biz moms are redefining motherhood. It is scary.

Many observers will agree that one has to be made of very strong stuff (perhaps sport the skin of an armadillo) to withstand the avalanche of public opinion. But these are not everyday mothers, not in the way they think and deal with their children and the public.

They keep us amused with their antics, yes. Yet why is it that, at a certain point, we just wish they would stop and leave their kids, especially the adults, alone. They should go back to the kitchen and make a sandwich, bake a cake or fry maruya—whatever it takes to restore equilibrium in the Universe.

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But try telling that to our own mothers. Leaving kids alone is simply not in mommies’ DNA.

TAGS: Cheer factor, Entertainment, Jose Javier Reyes, Mothers, Showbiz moms

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