Single mom Sunshine Cruz on raising 3 daughters
A plain housewife for many years, the star of the Kapamilya family drama Love Thy Woman has readily adjusted to being a full-fledged working woman
Photos courtesy of Sunshine Cruz
Single mom Sunshine Cruz on raising 3 daughters
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - September 8, 2020 - 12:00am

Since her marriage fell apart (in 2013), Sunshine Cruz has been acting as both mother and father to her three beautiful daughters Angelina, 18; Samantha, 16; and Francheska, 15. From plain housewife, Sunshine turned into a full-fledged working woman carefully balancing and dividing her time between home and showbiz with amazing success.

Up to now, seven years after she separated from Cesar Montano (their marriage was annulled in Sept. 2018), Sunshine hasn’t stopped working. She is in the cast of Love Thy Woman, a family drama about feuding factions within a Filipino-Chinese family (“fighting for love, justice and riches”) airing weekdays at 2:30 p.m. on Kapamilya Channel and Kapamilya Online Live leading to what is touted to be an “explosive ending” on Friday, Sept. 11. Stay tuned.

Sunshine (third from left) with the rest of the cast of ABS-CBN's Love Thy Woman, which is ending on Sept. 11, namely (from left) Karl Gabriel, Ruffa Gutierrez, Kim Chiu, Christopher de Leon, Yam Concepcion, Eula Valdez, Xian Lim and Zsa Zsa Padilla

Luckily, before her social-media accounts were hacked (hope already restored by this time), Sunshine had a free-wheeling virtual interview with Funfare.

Asked what the hard part of raising her daughters is, Sunshine candidly replied, “The hardest part of raising them alone is noong time na kailangan ko mag-work full time but I also have to be there for them. They had gotten used to my being with them at home all the time. My task as a plain housewife was to just take care of my family; 13 years of routine then suddenly everything changed. At first, hindi nila maintindihan why I had to leave and go home late or morning na.

“But thank God, my children are understanding and smart kids. I made them understand and be thankful kapag may opportunity for work si mommy kasi that’s what gives us food on the table. Naintindihan naman nila and sila pa ang No. 1 supporter ko kapag may projects ako.

Even if there are the SOP do’s and don’ts when the girls were small and now that they are grown-ups, Sunshine has never been the controlling type.

“We don’t hide secrets from each other, we always have to be honest. We share and discuss whatever bothers us. I always tell them walang magulang na ayaw mapabuti ang mga anak kaya if something bothers you, I am always here to help, protect and support them whatever issues or whatever worries them. They cannot go out of the house without my permission and I should always know the friends they hang out with. But I always remind them that school should always be their top priority. Napaka-importante para sa akin ang makatapos sila ng pag aaral.

Minus a patriarch, their home is ever sunshiny, full of girlish laughter.

With daughters Angelina, Samantha and Francheska: Showbiz is in their genes so it’s okay for mom to let them follow in her footsteps
Photos courtesy of Sunshine Cruz

“We are like barkadas most of the time. We joke around, naglalambingan at kulitan but when I need to be strict, they must listen and follow my rules. I am grateful that they are respectful children.”

At their age, the girls are attracting attention from boys who have crushes on them and vice-versa. It usually comes with the territory and what parents are alert about. Sunshine is no exception.

“Yes,” said Sunshine, “they have crushes. Kinikilig sila at mayroong mga may crush din sa kanila. They know their limitations when it comes to boys. As a mom, I am always praying and hoping that they will make the right decision when it comes to love and boys. Andito lang ako to guide them.

“I always tell them to learn from their mom’s mistakes. Hahahaha!!! I did not listen to my mom before kaya huwag gumaya sa pagkakamali ko. Don’t be in a hurry dahil mga bata pa kayo. Magtapos muna ng pag aaral at sana maghanap ng magandang trabaho. Darating ang oras para sa love. Sana makinig sila sakin. Always praying that they will choose whatever is best for them.”

Since showbiz is in their genes (remember, Sunshine is descended from the showbiz Cruz clan), she understands her daughters’ decision to follow in her footsteps. Showbiz can be, well, somewhat risky, especially if people don’t know how to handle it (the temptations and all).

How does Sunshine prepare (train) her daughters to deal with, for example, gossip?

“Honestly,” admitted Sunshine, “wala namang nakakatakas sa ganyan, especially fake news na masyadong personal. I’m 43 and I still get hurt or affected. I want to think my kids are stronger and smarter than me. Palagi kong pinagdarasal ang safety nila and to always protect their hearts and mind. And that they will always choose their battles even online.”

What lessons did Sunshine learn from her parents that she is applying in raising her own children?

“To always have an open communication with the kids, don’t be overly strict and always listen to what they have to say kapag may misunderstanding kami.” And she proceeded to describe them. “Angelina is very Sunshine Cruz, parang akong-ako. She would rather lock herself in a room, very introvert kaya madalas ma misinterpret na suplada pero ang totoo very shy siya. Samantha is pilya, malambing, funny and outgoing. Chesca is an artist (magaling mag-sketch), outspoken, very smart (palaging honor student) and she speaks her mind. All three are singers. Mahuhusay umawit.”

September has a special spot in Sunshine’s heart. It was in September two years ago when the petition for the annulment of her marriage was granted by the court and it was also in September four years ago when she met Macky Mathay, her current love. Isn’t she and Macky ready to settle down? Didn’t she develop a phobia for marriage?

Sunshine broke into a triumphant laughter.

“Next question, please! Hahahaha!!!

(E-mail reactions at rickylophilstar@gmail.com. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

SUNSHINE CRUZ
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