Malcolm Sanchez: Being Dad |

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Malcolm Sanchez (CDN PHOTO/Jed Aries Yu)

THE LIFE of Malcolm Sanchez became an open book the moment he decided to enter politics.

Being one of the city councilors of Mandaue, he doesn’t mind telling his story over and over, even the one concerning his two daughters.

He had them before he met his wife Jessica, who wholeheartedly accepted his past.

On Thursday, we met Malcolm—in white barong and black slacks, his Mandaue City Hall “uniform”—in an interview for this Father’s Day Play! feature

“First time ni nga interview-hon ko nga ingon ani,” he said as we started, unaware of the surprises he was about to spill about his two daughters born out of the wedlock.

“Politics, sir. This information might be used against you,” we remind him, checking if it was okay to mention this colorful chapter of his single life.

Breaking into a smile, we found reassurance.

“I would not have it any other way. If someone asks me about my past, I would tell them my story, the same way I am telling you now. I am a proud father to my two daughters,” he quipped.

Aside from good looks (that made everyone’s head turn during the photoshoot at the Mandaue City Public Library) Malcolm also impressed us with his candor.

For him, nothing matters more than family—loving wife Jessica, and his two girls, Athena and Cheska.

Becoming a dad at a young age taught him the value of responsibility —here where hard work is compensated not with money, but with hugs and kisses.

Sure, there’s more than one way to be the best father. And for Malcolm, it means building a “home” for all four of them despite the unconventional family setup, and making sure that he will always be his daughters’ first love.

Being in public office exposes your private life to the people. Was there any hesitation to run? The fact that you had children
before marriage might be taken against you?

It was a challenge for me. Being a city councilor, as a public official, my life became an open book. This is something that happened in the past, something I can’t undo. I just had to tell myself that this won’t make me less of a person or a man.

What makes me proud is that even if my daughters were born out of wedlock, I have been a good father to them.

Malcolm with his wife Jessica and children Athena and Cheska

Dali ra jud ang pagka-amahan pero being a dad is different as it comes with it certain duties and responsibilities over the children. My daughters have made me a better person.

What did you feel when you became a father for the first time?

I was very young. She (the mother of his first-born) was only 17 and I was 19. Wa jud tos plano, but nagbunga jud siya.

So what was your reaction when you learned that you got your girlfriend pregnant?

Of course, I was confused, worried, and disappointed with myself. That was out of the plan. I really wanted to be a lawyer. I didn’t know how to handle the situation. Daghan ang nag-ingon nga ipakuha nalang na. Dili sad biya maayo kay gipadako tas atong parents nga sakto. I had to face the consequence. When I informed my parents, they were disappointed, as well as the parents of my girlfriend. We’re family friends, actually. I had to support my girlfriend until she gave birth and pagpa-dako sa bata. Pero unfortunately, wa lang jud mi nagkasinabot. But I was able to be with Athena, my first-born.

Your ex, is she married now?
Yes, married na pud siya with two kids. Athena right now is with the auntie, but I don’t have any problems with that.

How is your relationship with your eldest daughter?

She is now 13 years old. My relationship with the mother and her family is okey ra kaayo. The child is the first apo sa akong mama, pinangga kaayo sa family, both sides, sa mother and sa akoa.

How about your wife Jessica, how did you meet her?

I have to tell you that I have a second daughter with a different woman. (laughs) I know it’s kind of private, but I want to let this out to prove that I have nothing to hide. I’m proud to say that I am a responsible father. Pagkahitabo ato, though I learned from that first mistake murag binuang na jud kay I committed another one. So grabe ko ka down ato, I was really disappointed with myself. First year college nako adto., I was 23 or 24. Nakaingon jud ko nga bugo-a nako ato nga time. Nahitabo jud sa ikaduha.

What’s the name of your second child?

Her name is Cheska, and she’s nine years old.

Do you have kids with your wife?

In the four years we’ve been married, wala pa man jud. Pero wala namo gi-pressure among selves. What is important is akong mga daughters are being treated by my wife Jessica like they are her own.

How did you meet your wife?

Grabe jud ni among love story. Akong manghod nakabuntis pud. Close kaayo mi so iya kong gikuyog sa pagpangatubang sa mama. Nangutana ko nganong ako iyang dad-on, ingon siya kay nakasuway na daw kuno ko. (laughs). Mao to gikuyogan nako siya ug ang iyahang uyab kay naa man sad kuyog nga friend. So didto silang duha ug akong brother ila-ila. And then we were introduced, nagka-text-text sad mi until ni-open up ko sa akong kinabuhi just like I am telling you now.

Didto sad ko naka-appreciate niya kay I had two children with different mothers but still she accepted me. We started out as friends. She was Manila-based that time, but whenever she comes here, naga-date mi unya mangita man siyas akong mga bata ug iya kuyogon. I was really touched. I told her nga pasensyaan niya akong mga anak kay mga babaye baya and muagaw jud na sa attention. Pero maayo man og response akong mga anak niya.

Everytime manlakaw mi, kuyogon nako akong mga bata kay pinangga niya so para nako it’s time na pud siguro. If wala pako nagminyo kay basin napun-an pa tingalig ikatulo or ikaupat from different mothers. For me, it was time to settle down.

Aside for accepting your two daughters, what do you love best about your wife?

She is so intelligent, and very understanding to a point nga she has also helped me a lot, taught me about the so-called complications of life. She is three years older than me. With her nakaingon jud ko nga mao na jud ni.

How are you as a father?

It’s challenging, but I make sure to spend quality time with them. Gipakita nako nga wala koy gipalabi. That makes me proud—that they treat each other as sisters and I have instilled values in them nga family is really important.

Who among your two daughters is more like you?

When it comes to physical features, it would be Athena, my eldest. Pero sa attitude, si Cheska. She is like me—the way she talks, ug rugged kaayo. Athena is the silent type, while Cheska is boyish and tough.

With the kind of setup you have with your kids, what’s the biggest challenge you have encountered so far?

It’s making them understand that my wife Jessica will be their mother, letting them accept that my wife is and will be the only woman that I’ll be with for the rest of my life. Athena was reluctant at first, but after two years, she accepted it. Meanwhile, Cheska practically grew up with Jessica so there was no problem. Both my daughters know their biological mothers.

The biggest challenge is how to make my wife be part of their lives.

How do you discipline your kids?

I am not that strict, but I am stressing the value of honesty kay I really hate every time nga mamakak. I know when they’re telling a lie kay they have a hard time explaining. As a father, sometimes I use force but with limitations. But with my wife, she is more vocal lang. I learned that using force, as punishment is not good so I have decided to give them the cold shoulder treatment nalang, not talk to them when they do something wrong. From there, they will feel that I’m mad and they will find ways to either say sorry or own up to their mistakes.

What is your rules on gadgets?

Every weekend, they are allowed to use their gadgets but not on school days maybe for only an hour. With Cheska, I ask her to stay away from her phone and just spend time with me. Athena is in second year high school while Cheska is in grade four.

What’s your typical day like?

I usually wake up around 5:30 a.m. even if I don’ set my alarm clock. We have been living without househelp for a month now, so my daily routine includes the cooking rice. I also do some laundry.

I make sure that before 8 a.m. I leave the house for work at Cebu Doctors University, where I teach political science.

In the afternoon, I sometimes visit the office, or the construction site of our ancestral house. I do supervising sad didto. Then I go to the gym and work out since I have my own gym. After that, I visit my water refilling station to check. I also fetch my wife from work when she doesn’t bring her car.

That’s my daily routine. At night if there are activities sa city, muadto ko.

 

How do you make your wife is secure in the relationship?

There was a time nga strict kaayo siya nako. Our marriage was on the rocks when I ran for office. She didn’t expect that it comes with nights-out during campaigns. When I did the campaign trail, there were supporters hugging me and taking pictures. But now she understands as long as I ask permission prior to lakaw and answer my phone immediately if manawag siya.

You finished third year in Law school. Do you have plans of pursuing it again?

Yes, if there’s an opportunity. But then I would have to give up one job, either my teaching job at CDU or my responsibilities as a city councilor. That would be hard.

You mentioned about financial problems getting in the way of your Law studies. Tell us more.

My dream was to become a lawyer which is why naningkamot ko nga maka graduate kog political science. At the end of the day, I pitied my family. We are 10 siblings, and I’m the fourth. At that time, nagkadungan namis college and I didn’t want to put a burden on my mother kay siya man lang usa.

My father died when I was 14. Our mother sent us to private universities, University of San Carlos and Cebu Doctors. I already graduated political science naman, my four years was done. I was then taking up Law with her support, so I backed out because I wanted to work for my own family na.

But I only finished third year. Pag-second semester didto nako ni-undang kay I won as barangay councilor na at that time.

I also took a job as a salesman. There was this time nga nag deliver mi sa pier, naa ko’y exam and diha ko ilawom sa van nagtuon, init kaayo, ala-una. I had to give up something and I chose to give that up. I also studied Dentistry but only finished second year because it was too costly and my younger siblings were about to enter college. It would be hard for my mother. That is when I decided to shift to political science, nakita nako ang difference, sa tuition fee pa lang daan.

How did your mother send you to school on her own?

We have a meat stall sulod sa merkado. But we also have a property near the market, so we sold a lot of things back then—charcoal, ice blocks, tanan na. My father was an engineer but he stopped working to focus on business and molded us to become who we are now. Wa ko nagbasol namaligya ko sa una, that is why most of us nakuha ang pagka negosyante.

I’m also thankful that my dad left properties to support us in school. Kay kung wala pa to, maglisud jud mi pag-ayo.

You lost your father to what?

My father loved to drink every night and we couldn’t control him. He died at the young age of 45 due to heart attack and liver complications. Though pala-inom siya none of my siblings became like him, maybe occassional drinking lang.

What’s your fondest memory of your father?

I think he played favoritism. Of all the siblings, I would say he was most proud of me. Every time he played tennis, he would always brag about me to his friends—nga liwat kaayo ko niya.

In what way are you like your father in raising children?

My father was different. He wasn’t the type who would bond with his kids. He would eat on his own. He did not go out with us. That is something that we were deprived of. I used to envy families who went to church together because we would only go with our mom. Murag ma-emotional ta ani da …

With that, I always make sure that weekends are spent with family. I’m getting my eldest daughter from her aunt’s house for us to eat together, go malling or outing. I don’t want to deprive my children of my time the way my father did sa amoa. Though I am a really busy person I make sure every weekend is for the four of us.

What is the greatest lesson you can give to your kids?

Di man jud sa kanunay naa ta sa ilang kilid but I want to instill in them the value of honesty and help them to become independent and strong women in the future.

And the best thing about being a father?

The challenges. They change you and mold you to become a better person. The responsibilities of a father do not end when they are out of their mother’s womb. It’s a lifetime commitment. You will be forever a father. At the end of the day, fatherhood is a responsibility, a fun and gratifying role.



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