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
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
“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
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.
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.
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
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.