Tingting Cojuangco: A good mother is one who stays with her children
Ching M. Alano (The Philippine Star) - May 12, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - In the home of Peping and Tingting Cojuangco, mother is a word that’s pregnant with meaning. After all, there’s not just one mother in the house; there are five of them — Tingting and daughters Liaa, Pin, Mikee, and Maimai. Youngest daughter China, who is a chef, has found love in the kitchen. She is getting married soon to chef Gino Gonzalez.

Liaa is short for (hold your breath now) Luisita Immaculada Angeles Alexandra — Luisita after her paternal grandmother; Immaculada because her parents were married on Dec. 8, Feast of the Immaculate Conception; Angeles after her maternal grandmother; and Alexandra because she was born on the feast day of St. Alexander. Her graduation diploma at the University of Santo Tomas where she took up Medicine was delayed because they had to write down all her names.

“She was my most difficult delivery — she was 6.7 lbs. and I was only 99 lbs.,” Tingting recalls. “After her, I didn’t want to have children anymore. She was so big. With all of my children, I couldn’t carry my babies, I was bedridden for several months. Liaa was my first baby and I thought there was a stork because during my time, they never taught us sex education.”

Liaa is a pediatrician and married to investment banker Noel Bautista. They have two children — Alec and Martina.

Then there’s Pin, short for Josephine.

“My easiest delivery was Josephine,” Tingting begins to relate. “I was pregnant with Pin when Peping was running for reelection and the Ilocanos were saying, ‘Buenas ’yan kasi buntis ka.’ Peping won that tough election. We named her Josephine because was born on the Feast of St. Joseph. Her other name is Victoria because we were victorious.”

Pin is married to Jojo Guingona and they have three children — Ina who’s already going to law school, Piko, and Pablo. She says she helps in her dad’s office and is basically a mompreneur. “I have a piggery, I have a Shell station. I’m working on fixing our fishpond. But my first priority is being a housewife and mother.”

Middle child Mikee is married to former Pasig Representative Dodot Jaworski and they have three sons — Robbie, 13; Rafael, 11; Renzo, 5.

A champion equestrienne, Mikee still rides because she says it’s a workout for her and the horses, and this helps her stay fit. She also teaches young people how to ride. â€œAnd all my students are teenage girls so it’s like I have daughters. It’s a lot of fun for me having girls at work and sons at home,” Mikee gushes.

Of course, Mikee still has her advocacies like the World Wide Fund for Nature’s Earth Hour of which this down-to-earth mom is a spokesperson.

Maimai is short for Margarita Demetria. “When she was born, there was no doubt she was my junior,” Tingting exclaims. “But I was saying she was going to get really mad because Demetria is an old-fashioned name. But then her husband liked Demetria so they named their first baby Demetria Antonia.”

Maimai is married to Italian businessman Andrea Zini and they live in Florence with their four-year-old daughter Demy. She used to work with an accessories company but stopped to be a full-time mom. Now, she’s working on something in the digital world.

China was named Regina after the Blessed Mother. “Because after four children, Peping and I didn’t know what name to give our fifth child anymore,” Tingting says with a smile. “I made Maimai my junior because we thought that she was going to be our last baby.”

Were they disappointed they didn’t have a boy?

“No,” comes Tingting’s quick reply. “But oh, he would have been a gorgeous boy!”

China is currently teaching junior chefs. She confesses she’s always loved eating and cooking, especially for the family. “When it comes to food, my mom is simple but difficult. One of her favorites is asadong repolyo, that’s how simple she is,” China shares.

So, who’s the most mabait (kindest) of the Cojuangco daughters?

“Me!” the five sisters scream in unison. Then Liaa contests her sisters’ claim, “I have to be the most mabait because all four of you are mabait because of my example.”

And who’s the most hard-headed?

“None of them, because when they know or feel that I’m getting angry, they comply at once,” reveals Tingting.

When the girls were growing up, who was the disciplinarian at home?

“I think Peping is more of a disciplinarian,” says Tingting.

When the girls were being courted, was Tingting strict?

“No, I wanted to meet all the boys,” she says with a big smile.

“Mom was buying gifts for them for the holidays,” says Mikee.

“Peping ignored them,” Tingting recounts. “You can ask their husbands. They’d say, ‘Good morning, Sir’ and he’d be grumpy. He’d be just ‘Bruum.’”

And now that the four girls are moms themselves, what can Mom say about them?

“My God, they’re so strict!” says Tingting. “Liaa teaches her kids herself so I really pity the kids.” (Resounding laughter in the room.)

To which STAR columnist Girlie Rodis adds, “The two ates (Liaa and Pin) are so strict — I took the three younger ones out once, we stayed so late, and I got banned from the house.”


A good mother is someone who tries to stay as close to her children as much as she can. She showers them with affection, but she gets angry when they do something wrong.

A good daughter is  someone who is obedient, can understand when I need her or feel when I need her. She’ll be with me as a companion.

The best lesson I taught my daughters was  how to be respectful of others, how to be considerate. Respectful in the sense that they kiss their aunties, which has extended to other “aunts.” Say good morning, good afternoon. And carry my heavy load, they never let me carry anything heavy.

The best lesson my daughters have taught me is  a whole lot. I’ll give you their individual tasks. Let’s start with the eldest Liaa. Whatever she says, if I’m not around, goes, that’s the pecking order. We rely on her for our health needs because she’s a pediatrician. We’re the oldest babies she takes care of.

With Pin, if you want airline tickets, if you want anything done, if you want doctors, restaurants, catering, food, you go to Pin. She’s good at organizing.

Mikee is more outgoing in the sense that she’s got her projects for children, charity, and building homes.

Maimai is the type who must accomplish something immediately. When she wants something done, she’s steadfast about it. That’s one thing I observed about her because she lives so far away. If you want quality clothes, quality makeup and shoes, you go to Maimai because she’s got the luxury of living in Italy. If you want somebody who’s such a perfectionist about ordering clothes — if there’s a thread missing or a thread coming out, she returns the clothes to the store. Everything has to be perfect with Maimai.

If you want anything that has to do with food, go to China. If I want chocolates and biscuits, gummy bears and chewing gums, that’s China.

I am proud of Liaa because of the lesson she taught me through her husband Noel. Because he loves to fix the house and he does everything for Liaa when it has to do with the house. The best lesson Liaa taught me is that she wants to take care of children, she wants to be a doctor, but the house is her husband’s. I am proud of her because she’s a doctor and she takes care of other children.

I am proud of Pin because  I learned from her what a good sense of humor her husband has and how patient he is. Jojo Guingona has a great sense of humor that makes Pin laugh. So I realized oh, Pin does have a sense of humor after all.

I am proud of Mikee because she and her husband Dodot get along well and when Dodot wants to get into politics, she agrees. She’s very supportive of a patient husband. Mikee is so scheduled. She says the right things in Tagalog. Magaling mag Tagalog ’yan kasi her Theology was Tagalog, her Philosophy was Tagalog at Ateneo. So she can explain in Tagalog what I can’t.

I am proud of Maimai because she has great patience on an impatient husband. Her husband is so meticulous and always in a hurry. And Maimai is quite organized, but she’s learned to be a little bit faster, eat faster because she’s the slowest eater in the family; it takes her so long to do anything. But with her husband who’s impatient, she’s learned how to rush. I am myself very impatient and I can do like five things at the same time.

I am proud of Maimai because she can live so far and cope. I get terribly lonely. Maybe she does get lonely. Yes, I miss her very much, she’s growing more mature without me.

I am proud of China because she’s a very kind person. They’re all kind. But I can never track her down at night, she’s working in this restaurant. I’m very proud of her because she does something I don’t do: Cook. I tried cooking steak and butter cookies once, and I never tried again.


A good mother is someone who is always present for her family.

A good daughter is one who is respectful and honest with her thoughts and feelings.

The best lesson my mother taught me is perseverance and generosity.

The best lesson my mother has learned from me is to not be interested in politics.

I am proud of my mother because she works very hard to achieve her goals. And she puts her whole heart and soul in her job.


A good mother is always there for her children despite her busy schedule.

A good daughter is obedient/trusting of mothers.

The best lesson my mother has taught me is perseverance, hard work, dedication.

The best lesson my mother has learned from me is I don’t know, maybe none.

I am proud of my mother because she is an achiever, determined to go for her goals.


A good mother is one who can help give her child strong roots and values, and also wings to spread, fly and soar … who is supportive … who is both a parent and a friend.

A good daughter is one who can bring pride, honor, and love to her parents and family (including spouse and kids), country and God.

The best lesson my mother has taught me is  that everything we decide to do deserves our best and these are all learning opportunities that can be wonderful adventures.

The best lesson my mother has learned from me is to wear jeans! Haha!

I am proud of my mother because she is a strong, intelligent, driven, and compassionate woman to whom nothing is impossible when done with the purest of intentions.


A good mother is someone who is also a best friend and at the same time, a true source of guidance.

A good daughter is me! It’s  important to always respect your parents. They may not know everything, but they surely know more than us young ones. Experience is the best teacher.

The best lesson my mother has taught me is being supportive towards a loved one is life-changing. My mom is the most supportive person in the world.

The best lesson my mother has learned from me is space, calmness. That we are all different.

I am proud of my mother because she is a fighter. She perseveres. And is constantly striving to be a better mother, student, and person. Working hard brings solid results, and never give up.


A good mother is one who can juggle many responsibilities yet still has time for family. One who communicates well and is able to guide and give good roots to her child.

A good daughter is one who respects parents, has and practices morals and values, fear of the Lord.

The best lesson my mother has taught me is to strive hard and to keep my feet on the ground.

The best lesson my mother has learned from me is to be level-headed.

I am proud of my mother because she is a fighter. She is strong, persistent, and never gives up. She is career- and family-oriented. She has unconditional love for her family and her country.

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