RELATIONSHIPS

FORGING STRONGER BONDS
For a family separated by distance, technology plays a vital role in sustaining relationships and shared dreams.

 

 

It is never easy to navigate the challenges of being a blended family, especially in the face of physical distance. But for 28-year-old Bretzy Grace Pitogo, nothing can get in the way of love and understanding.

 

An early childhood care and development specialist working in a government agency, Bretzy does not shy away from the fact that she and her two siblings, 23-year-old Ryza Faith and 13-year-old Red, have different birth fathers.

 

“My real father left us when I was just a baby,” Bretzy shared. “My mother decided to work in Japan and met my sister’s father there, but fate was cruel to them and they had to part ways eventually as well.”

 

After several years, her stepfather, Edgar Sabando, a welder in Turkmenistan, came along and stepped in to be the father they all have in common.

 

“He wholeheartedly accepted us as his own children and married my mother despite our peculiar circumstances,” Bretzy said. At first, she did not warm up to the idea that her mother, Pilar Sabando, was marrying again.

 

WHEN LOVE KNOCKS

 

Mommy Pilar, the single mother who was making ends meet as a beauty consultant at major department stores and engaging in buy-and-sell, eventually introduced her cute half-Japanese toddler to Edgar as stepdad.

 

Turning 50 years old this year, Mommy Pilar knew it was God talking to her and fulfilling her heart’s desires when she said “yes” to love again 13 years ago.

 

“You won’t even tell they came from different dads. They look so alike and resemble either me or my husband,” she said of her children. “But we are very open about this and are never ashamed of who we are.”

 

CONNECTED BY HEART

 

In early 2016, Mommy Pilar’s health issues led the family to arrive at the big decision to move from the fast-paced, urban Makati to a quiet provincial life in Alfonso, Cavite. In a humble two-unit apartment, the newly-designated housewife stays with the seventh-grader Red, while Edgar works in the Middle East and the two sisters remain in Manila to build their respective careers.

 

The decision was three years in the making, with each family member making individual adjustments: the mommy pining for her daughters, who in return commute for at least five hours each way to get home every weekend.

 

Mommy loves the fresh air in her new home, as well as its close proximity to the church and the friends she has made in the small community. “Renting this property instead of coming home to Iloilo, my home province, is a decision I’ve made to keep our family together,” she said.

 

A STRONG “GLUE”

 

Indeed, Mommy Pilar is the glue that keeps the family bond stronger despite the physical distance that separates them, said Bretzy.

 

The goal is to stay connected with each other amid the physical separation, and technology makes this possible. Their Globe home broadband subscription enables Mommy Pilar to call Daddy Edgar overseas three times a day and video chats with him whenever time permits. She gets connected to her daughters over Facebook Messenger almost every day to check on how their days went by.

 

Despite the distance, Mommy Pilar never felt lacking in affection and assurance. “My husband would tell me about his meals and say ‘I love you’ in the morning, afternoon, and at night. I would take pictures of dishes I cook and send it in return,” she shared.

 

Her daughters would be treated with home cooking, and would occasionally be asked to convince Red—who likes playing basketball and hanging out with his friends—to sleep early and finish his errands at home.

 

“Over Messenger, Mama sends me pictures of dishes she cooks, and I come home on weekends with DVDs for our movie marathons and bonding sessions over karaoke,” said Bretzy, a Globe postpaid customer for five years. Despite her busy schedule, Bretzy makes it a point to text, call, and even go online to catch up with her Mommy Pilar and the rest of her siblings.

 

Bretzy will soon take a teaching licensure exam and is excited to make wedding plans with her fiancé, while Mommy Pilar is setting her sights on putting up a small restaurant business. Daddy Edgar is now saving up for the venture that he will ultimately manage with Ryza, who currently works at a dim sum place in San Juan.

 

Bretzy will soon take a teaching licensure exam and is excited to make wedding plans with her fiancé, while Mommy Pilar is setting her sights on putting up a small restaurant business. Daddy Edgar is now saving up for the venture that he will ultimately manage with Ryza, who currently works at a dim sum place in San Juan.

 

Life, after all, has taught the family that bridging the gap not only means getting physically and digitally connected, but opening one’s heart to what is still possible, like a new lease in life and love.

 

This is published for our Annual Report with prior consent by our Globe customer.