Manay Gina de Venecia: ‘She’s always G!’

PEOPLE - Joanne Rae M. Ramirez - The Philippine Star
Manay Gina de Venecia: �She�s always G!�
DSWD NCR Regional Director Atty. Michael Joseph J. Lorico, Catherine Taleno (Haven for Women), Pamela Manalo, Melba Solidum, Tessie Villarama, Alice Eduardo, Nikki Teodoro, Small Laude,Trina Biazon, Sen. Loren Legarda, Gina de Venecia, Rep. Lorna Silverio, Rep. Lani Mercado-Revilla, Rep. Christopher de Venecia, Kimi Cojuangco, Sandra Estrella.
Photos by Dexter Francis De Vera

I am told by millennials that “G!” means “game.”

And to Pangasinan Rep. Christopher “Toff” de Venecia, that is one of the standout qualities of his mother, Manay Georgina “Gina” de Venecia.

“At her age, she’s always ‘G!’ to try and learn new things and it constantly amazes me. She’s now on TikTok, by the way,” says Toff.

Rep. Christopher de Venecia, Nikki Teodoro, Alice Eduardo, Gina de Venecia, Former Speaker Jose de Venecia.
Photos by Dexter Francis De Vera

And “G” succinctly describes the gracious and generous Manay Gina, who recently marked her birthday with family and friends at The Haven for Women in Alabang. Though the roster of guests was star-studded, the honorees were the residents of The Haven for Women, The Haven for Children and Marillac Hills.

G- Force

“All moms are amazing but my mom on her own is a force like no other. Her love, kindness and thoughtfulness know no bounds. She has transformed her pain and sadness into service: building a home for battered women, for abandoned children, for the elderly and for mothers like herself that have lost their children,” says her eldest daughter Carissa Cruz-Evangelista, who quipped that she might need an entire column for all the good things she has to say about her mother.

“Mom is the person you want with you in your corner when the going gets tough. Sudden stroke? You can be sure she has meds in her bag to help you. You need candy? Check the magic bag with her.  Need advice? She will be practical and tell you the truth as it is. Need a friend or a sister? She will be with you all the way.”

Ambassador Cookie Féria and Pamela Manalo, wife of Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo turn over a donation to Manay Gina’s charities.

On her wellspring of energy and positive vibes, Manay Gina muses, “After my daughter KC passed away in 2004, I’ve realized that life is short and all we have is NOW. Thus, I wish to make a difference.”

“Any good we can do, we should do it now for we may never pass this way again. My goal is to make our world a better place to live in.”

Thus, there is no moment to spare for her.

Herself not spared of grief, especially with KC’s death 20 years ago, Manay Gina says, “Just keep on going, despite all the storms and difficulties we will encounter. We should do our best to be resilient.”

A giver

“Four things that make Mom ‘Mom,’” continues Toff, who is also a champion for creative arts in the Philippines. “1) She shops for everyone else but herself. Giving gifts is clearly her love language. 2) When we travel, even if it’s just for a week, she would pack two additional pieces of luggage to bring her rice cookers and condiments so she can cook Filipino food for the entire group. 3) It’s tricky to stay with her in the room when traveling because she’ll be blow-drying her hair at 6:30 a.m. even if we’re all still dead asleep. 4) At her age, she’s always G! I’m shookt!”

Gina is also a doting mother to her older children Carissa and Ipe Cruz, and her husband former Speaker Joe de Venecia’s children from his first (annulled) marriage. In fact, her full name G-E-O-R-G-I-N-A has the word “INA,” or mother. And that is what former Manay Gina is to a multitude. A mother.

Gina’s Assumption classmates: (Seated) Annie Gutierrez, Vivian Yuchengco, Tessie Sy-Coson; (standing) Ana Tabora, Jessie Medina, Kookie del Rosario, Cecille David.

Instead of celebrating her birthday, Feb. 15, in the usual way with a party, Manay Gina marked the milestone the following day by holding a gathering with charities and institutions that are “closest to my heart.”

These are The Haven for Women and The Haven for Children in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, which were built by the Congressional Spouses Foundation Inc. (CSFI) under her stewardship, as well as Marillac Hills for the abused young girls, which is and has been under her care and nurturing.

In lieu of birthday gifts, Manay Gina requested well-wishers to support the residents and workers of these institutions.

That is perhaps why she is Manay “G” — with “G” standing for all that is good and giving.



You may e-mail me at [email protected]. Follow me on Instagram @joanneraeramirez.

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