Coney Reyes on the perils & pleasures of single parenting
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo () - March 10, 2004 - 12:00am
"Did you know that 20 years ago, nine out of 10 Filipino children looked up to their parents as role models?" asked Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan. "Today, only four out of 10 kids admire their moms and dads."

Sad, isn’t it?

According to Maricel, kids turn more to movie stars and sports stars as role models. Bad news for parents, isn’t it?

In an effort to "re-inspire" children to appreciate and admire their parents more and better, Maricel and husband Anthony Pangilinan have spearheaded the Philippine Parenting Convention first held in 2002 and will be held again on March 13 and 14 (Saturday and Sunday) at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel, in cooperation with Goldilocks, PLDT, Alaska Milk, Aboitiz, Manila Pearl Furniture and Café Lupe.

One of the resource speakers is Coney Reyes who, everybody will agree, has been exemplary in her role as single parent for 20 years now, instilling in her children Christian values. Coney separated from (the late) Larry Mumar in 1984 (their marriage was eventually annulled). She has two children by Larry, L.A. (25, who married Macy Mendoza in September last year) and Carla (who’s taking up Communication Arts at St. Paul College), and Vico (14, by Vic Sotto, a 9th grader at Brent International).

"L.A. is now a pastor," volunteered Coney who has been preaching the Bible herself as member of the Victory Christian Fellowship. "Both he and Macy were ‘pure and holy’ when they got married – I mean, virgin. Macy, also from Poveda and Ateneo like L.A., is also a Christian. And so is Vico."

So what are the perils of being a single parent?

"You know," Coney started, "it’s really difficult to raise your children alone. You can get into a self-pity mode; you’re bound to, especially when you see a complete family and your problems never seem to end. But that was in the early part. How long did it take me to overcome that period? A few years later – when I surrendered my life to The Lord in 1990. It was my surrender that helped me a great deal."

Coney joined the Victory Christian Fellowship where she began building relationships with fellow members (with whom she can exchange words of advice and wisdom, and "counseling") and introducing her children to role models. She also attended seminars on raising small children and teenage children. "Raising kids and raising teenagers are two different things," she stressed.

People almost always expect children of broken homes to be wayward. But not in the case of Coney’s children. "It’s not true," L.A. said in his testimony. "We never went astray at all."

Besides introducing God to her children, Coney likewise set herself as an example by getting away from her "sin" (referring to her affair with Vic Sotto).

"What would my children say if I didn’t correct that ‘sin’? I couldn’t tell them not to do this and not to do that because they could always say, ‘Look at you! What are you doing?’ I really had to make a lot of sacrifices and be obedient to The Lord. My children and I are like barkada. We talk a lot, I encourage them to speak their minds.

"But even if I treat them as friends, I never let them overlook the fact that I’m still their mom. Iba ’yung authoritarian from being an authority figure. God has put you there as a parent to your children, you are responsible for your children up to a certain age. Once they are adults, they are responsible for themselves. You just have to be rest assured that if you train your children in the way of The Lord, they will never depart from it."

The pleasures (rewards) are overwhelming.

"You know," said Coney, "I’m so happy to see my children obeying The Lord, fulfilling their dreams and pursuing the right direction. Carla has always been a consistent awardee in her film projects in school and in elocution. Vico is doing well in his studies and is an usher in our church, while L.A. is pastoring at VCF. We have a lot of fun together. We discuss all kinds of issues, from the political to the personal."

Several years ago, Coney was diagnosed with throat cancer and that proved to be the most trying period of her life.

"I would find myself crying," recalled Coney who has been healed. "I said, ‘Lord, I love my children but I know that You love them more.’ I wasn’t worried about myself but about my children. I asked The Lord to please take care of them."

Three of the many values Coney has instilled in her children are, 1) fear of The Lord, 2) respect for authority, and 3) being responsible.

"By fear of The Lord, I mean obedience to Him. Takot sa Diyos in awe and reverence. Parang, ‘Wow, God, You’re awesome!’ You know, if you obey God, blessings will follow, if you disobey God, be ready for the consequences.

"By respect for authority, I means acknowledging and respecting the authority that God has put over your life, including respect for other people.

"By being responsible, I mean being responsible for your actions and for everything that you do, and what you are supposed to do."

In a way, added Coney, she’s bringing up her children the same way she was brought up by her parents, Hermann Nubla and Noemi Reyes, both dead, whom Coney described as "thoughtful, sweet and loving."

"The only difference," she clarified, "is that during our time, young people were raised na takot sa parents; now, the takot is still there but you also encourage your children to be open with you."

Now a Golden Girl, Coney doesn’t discount the possibility of getting married again.

"I am, yes, open," admitted Coney, "but I am not looking for it. By ‘open,’ I mean I’m open to the plans of The Lord for my life. He knows what’s best for me. If God wants me to get married again, maybe He will send me the right guy. But right now, I’m so happy and contented with my life that marriage is not among my plans."

Bliss in solitude. Loveless but not lonely. Single but, ehem, satisfied.

"You can be a single parent and live a full life."

(Note: Those interested in the Philippine Parenting Convention may call any of these numbers – 435-4281, 435-4301 or 920-0537. Or e-mail inquiries at inquiries@theparent or log on to
ABS says sorry
ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. and the Special Projects Division which produced the Himig Handog Love Songs finals night, held last Friday, March 5, would like to extend their heartfelt apologies for the unintentional mis-credit of the composers’ names during the all-star tribute to the country’s most noted love song songwriters, which followed the presentation of the competition’s 10 finalists.

The corrected credits for that production number should be: Beautiful Girl, Can We Just Stop and Talk A While, Please Be Careful with My Heart and Refrain by Jose Mari Chan; Hahanapin Ko, music by Jose Mari Chan and lyrics by Jimmy Santiago; Say That You Love Me and Tell Me by Louie Ocampo and Alan Ayque; Ikaw by Louie Ocampo and George Canseco; Narito ang Puso Ko by Myra Meriales and Gary Valenciano; Sana Maulit Muli by Gary Valenciano and Angeli Pangilinan Valenciano.

The success of Himig Handog Love Songs finals night would not have been possible without the presence of the most respected composers in the industry, namely Jose Mari Chan, Louie Ocampo, Gary Valenciano and George Canseco.

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