What Ruffa learned from Mom Annabelle
From the White Plains home of her parents, Eddie Gutierrez and Annabelle Rama, Ruffa still looks pretty even when unmade-up during a Zoom interview. ‘The pandemic is giving me a chance to spend real quality time with my kids,’ she says. ‘We have many things to do together. We cook, we swim and we play with the dogs.’
What Ruffa learned from Mom Annabelle
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - October 28, 2020 - 12:00am

Until she was locked in for several days to shoot The House Arrest of Us, a digital series movie starring KathNiel (Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla), Ruffa Gutierrez was happily locked down at their White Plains home in Quezon City) with her daughters Lorin, 17, and Venice, 16.

“As a single parent working hard to give my daughters the best education and the best things in life,” admitted Ruffa during an exclusive Zoom interview Thursday night last week, “I was always out and hardly had quality time with them. But during this ECQ (Extended Community Quarantine), the girls and I are having a grand time enjoying ourselves. I’m learning how to cook and so does Lorin, while Venice is learning how to bake. We are always busy doing something. We would swim together and play with the dogs. You know what I realized during this pandemic? That I’d always been racing with time to do something, until the pandemic made me stop.”

Lorin is graduating from high school and, according to Ruffa, Lorin wants to study abroad.

“I told her, ‘You have to study self-defense first at mag-Bible study ka,’ so she will be attending a group for mentoring so that when she goes abroad buo na siya, buo na ang core values niya at hindi na siya ma-i-influence ng ibang mga bata. Instead, she will be the one who will influence them to be good, to do good.”

Mother and daughters have become so close that sometimes Lorin would tell Ruffa, “Mom, you’ve become so clingy.’ Kasi naman, every now and then I would knock at their room and say, ‘Hey, girls, come down. Let’s play!’ I guess I’m just enjoying myself kasi kami-kami lang naman ang magkakasama sa house and I’m relishing every moment with them. Now they are teenagers and before you know it, grown-up na sila at mayroon na silang sariling mundo.

And soon, it won’t be mommy but the boys who will come knocking on the girls’ door. So what does Ruffa teach (remind) her girls about boys?

“You know,” she mused, “I’m grateful that my daughters are homebodies. Bihira sila lumabas ng bahay. And if ever they do, I make sure that I know the friends they are going out with. I always advise them, if and when, to choose very carefully. They should choose somebody who is God-fearing, with strong family values, and who treats his parents and siblings well. At pinaka-importante, dapat mabait. I tell them that the boys should visit them at home and if they are scared to face me it means that they are not sincere,” and she gasped before breaking into laughter, “oh my God, I’m starting to sound like my mom, hahaha!”

In the next breath, she confessed, “Now that I am a mother myself, I appreciate the way my mom has raised me. I guess that it was her way lang kasi na medyo...well, matapang! Inaaway niya lahat ng lumiligaw sa akin, hahahaha!!! But you know, I’m thankful. If not, baka napariwara na ako. So the guys who were not serious with me, natatakot sila and they ran away!

Baka ganoon ang magiging attitude ko kina Lorin at Venice. The guys might say, is it worth it na ligawan ko sila na may nanay na mataray, may lola na mataray at may tatay na matapang? So if they are not serious, never mind. Best friends na lang sila.”

Looking back, what does Ruffa consider her biggest mistake in life and how did she correct it? (O, di ba, very Miss Universe ang question. Right, Venus Raj?)

“Probably not choosing well when it came to love, when it came to following my heart. But I have no regrets because every relationship has taught me something and I wouldn’t have Lorin and Venice if it wasn’t my relationship with their father.” (Referring to her ex-husband Yilmaz Bektas who is said to have found a new love in the person of a former Miss Universe, but not sure if they are still going strong).

“So I would like to thank Yilmaz for following me around for three years before we got married. I would like to thank him because I have my forever loves, Lorin and Venice, who are my treasures in life.”

Although estranged (they separated under not-so-pleasant circumstances), Ruffa and Yilmaz are in touch.

“Once in a while, he would call, we would talk. Like last June 24, he greeted me on my birthday. His last call was on Sept. 11 when he greeted Venice on her birthday. He’s always expressing a desire to see the kids but he’s not taking any steps naman to keep his promise, puro lang ‘I wanna see them; I miss them. When they see me, all the pain will go away.’ Ganyan lang.”

They can’t agree where to meet. Yilmaz wants it in Istanbul, Turkey, and Ruffa insists that it should be in the US. Or Yilmaz can come to the Philippines “where he is welcome anytime. Besides,” added Ruffa, “I feel safe here.”

Ruffa had a simple celebration on her birthday, with only her parents, Annabelle Rama and Eddie Gutierrez, and her siblings.

Photos courtesy of Ruffa Gutierrez

“I wanted it that way. I wasn’t in the mood to celebrate because it was at the height of the pandemic. Everything was so uncertain, especially after the closure of ABS-CBN. There was no reason to celebrate. When times turn to normal, hopefully, I will see my friends and hug them. I miss them so much! These days, we can talk only on the phone or text-text na lang. When times are safe, I would like to laugh with them again, personally, and travel anywhere in the world.”

These days, Ruffa’s world is limited to the lock-in set of the Star Cinema series in which she plays Kathryn’s mom, a former beauty queen who owns a chain of beauty salons.

Asked why she agreed to do a mother role, Ruffa said, “Why not? It’s a good project, shot like a movie.” (The House Arrest of Us has been streaming on KTX and iWant at 7 p.m. since last Saturday, Oct. 24). “Why would I say no to such an amazing series? It’s an honor and a pleasure to work with the superstars of this generation.”

Besides, Daniel is her inaanak who has announced that he would get married before he turned 30 (he’s 25).

Is Ruffa ready to serve as ninang? “Sure!,” she said, adding in jest, “pero baka maunahan pa siya ng mommy niya, si Karla (Estrada) who is my good friend? She’s celebrating her birthday in Boracay and I am going.” (Karla is going steady with with a non-showbiz guy said to own an auto detailing shop.)

If and when, what would be her “godmotherly” advice to Daniel and Kathryn?

‘Now that I am a mother myself,’ confesses Ruffa Gutierrez (shown with daughters Lorin, 17; and Venice, 16), ‘I start to appreciate the way my mom has raised me...especially where the boys were concerned’

“They should put God at the center of their relationship, enjoy each other in marital bless, travel the world. They are such an ideal couple who have known each other since they were young. And they are each other’s first love. A very cute couple!”

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

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