Judy Ann Santos might well be among the drama queens in Philippine cinema and television. She started at the tender age of eight with bit roles in commercials and movies and tv shows until she became a big and bankable star.
Most of her projects, especially during her tender years, were tear-jerkers – Kaming Mga Ulila, Silang Mga Sisiw sa Lansangan, Mara Clara, etc. In fact, I remember having read years ago that when the director instructs her to cry in a certain scene, she would ask, “Direk, saan ko patutuluin ‘yong luha ko – sa gitna, kaliwa o kanan ng mata ko?” And that is why I was surprised to find out that she was a fellow-bungisngis during my one-on-one interview with her at the Financial Independence celebration of Sun Life.
Juday possesses an advanced skill in crying and acting out emotions effectively in dramatic scenes because she has a wealth of experience to draw from. In the vernacular, we say, “Malalim ang hugot niya!”
Judy Ann was born on May 11, 1978, the youngest among the three children of Manuel and Carol Santos. At the tender age of three, her parents separated and her mom had to take care of them as a single parent. At age six, she had to say goodbye to her mom who decided to work as an OFW in Canada for two years.
To help augment family income, she and older brother Jeffrey entered showbiz.
Her Childhood Money Memory
During my one-on-one interview with her, Juday had no qualms sharing her financially difficult childhood. She lived in Antipolo and rode the jeep to go to her location shoots but felt she was just playing. In fact, she narrated her experiences in a wacky and enthusiastic way, there was no room for pity at all, but just a lot of laughter.
“I started working when I was eight years old, earning P500, P1,000. Ang daming Chicklet na non ha! Pati sampalok na maasim at maanghang.” Then she narrated how the lead role in a commercial they were shooting accidentally kicked her cheek, “Pero okay lang kahit natadyakan ako ni Isabel Granada, siya yong sikat na sikat noon. Okay lang na nagmarka yong Mighty Kid rubber shoes nya sa mukha ko! Hindi ako umiyak.”
Instead of remembering the pain from that incident she said, “Yon ang naging motivation ko para makabili rin ako ng sarili kong Mighty Kid rubber shoes! Mga P800 yon noon. Doon ako nagsimulang mag-ipon.”
So she saved up for her own pair, “Every sueldo ko from my bit roles noon binibigyan ako ng konting pera pambili ng champoy o squash seeds na 100 grams. J Binibili namin ‘yon pag pumipila na kami sa jeep pauwi ng Antipolo. So para makaipon, hindi talaga ako bumili, e malaking bagay yon sa akin kasi paborito ko yon. Pero nag-sakripisyo ako. After two months nabili ko na yong sapatos. Nakaramdam ako ng feeling of accomplishment. Hindi ko nga agad isinuot, tinitigan ko muna tapos sabi ko sa sarili ko, ‘Good job, Juday!’”
It’s amazing how that one tadyak that left a mark on her cheek motivated her to delay gratification at a tender age in order to get something that she aspired for.
The challenge with her own kids
Admittedly, the adversity that she experienced as a child that motivated her to work hard is not present in her three children now who are living a much more comfortable life. When asked how they face that challenge of raising their kids, she said, “We give them choices, like if they want to buy this toy, they would have to sell some of their other toys. During my childhood, there was no need to explain, because we all knew that we were not rich so we had to make do with what we had. With our kids now, Ryan and I have to explain that yes, we may have this much, but we should not buy everything that we like. We also have to share.” (In 2010 Judy Ann Santos ranked no. 8 in a magazine’s 10 Most Charitable Celebrities, having supported Elsie Gaches, Touch a Heart Foundation, Ploning Foundation, etc.)
What’s her luho?
Judy Ann considers kitchen supplies as her luxury, “Kaldero na maganda, ref, even groceries.” It’s because she also loves to cook. In fact, she graduated with distinction from the Center for Asian Culinary Arts Studies under Chef Gene Gonzalez. She also took a crash course in International Cuisine in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and passed the National Culinary Certification from TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Authority).
She said she’s not into expensive bags and shoes, “Hindi ako mahilig sa expensive bags and shoes. Puede pa sa alahas. ‘Yon ang tinuro ng nanay ko sa akin. Alahas ‘yong puede mong maging kakampi pag nangailangan ka ng pera. ‘Yon ang nangyari sa amin. Noong umalis si Daddy, wala na kaming income, nagbenta na kami ng kung anu-ano. ‘Yong alahas ni Mommy ko talaga ang nakatulong sa amin, so ‘yon ang tumatak sa akin.”
Lesson from Juday
What impressed me most is her positive attitude towards her challenging childhood. Even if she had to work at a tender age, she does not seem to hold grudges about it. Her story reminds us about the fact that we are not born equal. We are born with different circumstances – different talents, parents, environment, opportunities. But instead of whining and complaining about it, she made the most of what she had. And look where she is now.
Salve Duplito once said, “There is no shame in being born poor. There is only shame in not doing anything about it.”
Malcolm X said, “Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality, justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it.”
I wish her story reminds us of that our financial freedom is our responsibility. Here’s a friendly reminder to everyone.
I hope you catch our FQ-wentuhan this noon because it’s still better to hear her stories straight from the horse’s mouth. Cheers to high FQ!
- Go to FQ Mom FB page to watch FQ-wentuhan with Judy Ann Santos today at noon.
- You may watch the other installments of this FQ-wentuhans series on FQ Mom FB Page.
- My son Martin and I will speak at the Investors Forum of SLAMCI (Sun Life Asset Management Company, Inc.) on July 18, 2017.
- Want to know your FQ Score. Take it today. Click link to take the test.
Rose Fres Fausto is a speaker and author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon (English and Filipino versions). Click this link to read samples – Books of FQ Mom Rose Fres Fausto. She is a Behavioral Economist, Certified Gallup Strengths Coach and the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards. Follow her on Facebook and You Tube as FQ Mom, and Twitter & Instagram as theFQMom.
ATTRIBUTIONS: Images from abscbnpr.com, AliExpress Mobile, box3livestock.com, Fashion PULIS, FreeIconsPNG, GMA Network, InstantCard, Kami.com.ph, Jobert Page, keywordsuggest.org, Mea in Bacolod, media.pinoy.com, MOTIVATION magazine, Nuffnang Philippines, Physical Activity Foundation, PinoyExchange, The Manila Times Online, thechicka.com, Viral Video Today, wn.com and World Laughter Tour put together to help deliver the message.