By Maryo Labad
They met more than a decade ago when both were on top of their respective careers. She was one of the hottest members of Viva Hot Babes, while he, a multi-awarded race car driver. They fell in love, but after a year, they got separated and never to see each other again. Today, thirteen years later, their paths crossed anew. But this time, with one goal in mind. Although both are single parents, but they have remained single.
For years she kept mum about her personal life and shunned from talking about any showbiz plan. Today, Andrea del Rosario, one of the pioneer members of the Hot Babes, is back. And this time with a definite vision. Although she was not totally out of the limelight, but with her imminent return, she has a mouthful to say. And the big news is that she’s joining the political race in next year’s election as vice mayor in her hometown, Kalatagan (Batangas).
“After I gave birth and I was confronted with the health condition of my daughter, all my priorities have changed,” shared the 30-something mom. “I have realized how hard it was for a single parent to raise a baby who was sick. I told my self, how much more for people who are less fortunate and who are in dire need of help, how will they survive? Then, during that time, a friend of mine offered me to run in our town as councilor. But I was reluctant because of my daughter’s condition. But at the back of my mind, I really want to serve my kababayan because nothing is happening in our town.”
While her daughter was under medical care, Andrea didn’t just sit down and did nothing. Instead, she studied the political landscape of her town. Only to find out that for the longest time, the current administration in her place has not done anything substantial moves to alleviate the lives of the majority who are poor.
“I was just wondering because we have nice resorts in our town and some of the rich and famous people here in the metropolis own vast properties and nice resorts in our town. And yet, our local government is not doing anything to capitalize on this,” explained Andrea, who is a graduate in Advertising at St. Scholastica’s College. In addition to her academic credential, she took a masteral course in Entrepreneurship at the Ateneo de Manila University. She’s still completing the program.
Launched as part of Star Circle 3 (along with Piolo Pascual, Carlo Agassi, Paolo Contis, etc.), Andrea attained fame when she joined the sexy sing-and-dance belles in 2003. For years the group was the toss of showbizlandia. And as one of the most popular pioneer members of the batch, she was considered to succeed and stay long in the business, especially after her launching film, Lupe.
For a couple of years she was busy doing shows with her group, promoting and recording a couple of dance albums, and appearing in some soap operas. Suddenly, Andrea left the country and took a much-needed vacation in the U.S. Then a rumor spread out that she was having an affair with a Hollywood action star, Vin Diesel. Although that alleged tryst was short-lived because she decided to come home and pursue her acting career.
After the group was disbanded a couple of years later, it was an imperative effort for Andrea to reassess her future in the industry. But fate dictated otherwise. She fell in love with a politician. Kept the affair secret, until she got pregnant. She gave birth to a baby girl who had a medical condition. Fortunately, that frail and sickly baby girl survived, and she’s in kinder 2. Her name is Bea. And part of that experience, Andrea’s mindset has level up.
After deep contemplation and months of reassessing her priorities, Andrea finally gave in to the call of serving her people. Her friend and running mate for mayor, Ms. Leny Pantoja, was able to convince her that she will be the best choice to run for the position. And if ever she win, she wanted to devote, as part of her mission, to help the sickly children and the elderly. In fact, for the past couple of years, she’s been distributing goods to more than 5,000 senior citizens of the 25 barangays in her town. And she was just an ordinary citizen then and had no plans yet of running. Her platform includes strengthening tourism and mount a yearly festival to attract more tourists, and create more jobs and livelihood programs.
As a neophyte politician, Andrea is aware that she will get a lot of bashings and negative reactions and comments. Quickly, she said she’s ready. And completely unbaffled.
“My life is an open book, and I have nothing to hide,” she shared. “The only thing my critics could take against me is my being a sexy star. That’s fine. It’s a past and I have no regret. It is just a job. I didn’t join this political battle unprepared. I may be a sexy star before but I’m no dumb. I have a college diploma and I’m taking my masteral now.” She’s running under the Nationalista Party (NP).
Meanwhile, Andrea’s long-lost friend, Renan Ponce Morales, joined us for lunch. A race car driver from Nueva Ecija, he is the first Asian Ferrari Challenge Cup champion in 2005-2006, and a World Champion in 2006 held in Europe. When he first met Andrea in Subic, he admitted he was immediately charmed by her beauty. Like a true gentleman, he introduced himself and that’s how the friendship started.
To cut the story short, they became lovers. But after more than a year of being together, they parted ways due to some personal differences. Since then the former sweethearts never saw nor talked with each other again. But fate has its own mending ways. Through a common friend (Ms. Leny Pantoja), their paths crossed again.
“Andrea’s running mate is a good family friend of ours,” shared the 35-year old champ. “It was her idea that we should meet again. Because I was so excited to see her, I booked for the best place where we can have nice dinner and spend time together. Of course, there was still the spark when I saw her again. I guess it was a start of a new beginning for us.”
Aside from patching things up, Renan believed that they have forgotten the past and ready to move on. He also claimed that there was a more meaningful reason for the reconnection. Since both of them are now more mature and responsible, their reunion is based on a much higher vision, that is to serve. Just like Andrea, he is also running in next year’s election, but only as a councilor in his hometown of San Antonio (Nueva Ecija).
Although it is his first time to seek an electoral post, Renan said that politics is not new to him. Former film director, Kaka Balagtas is his uncle and now the vice mayor in his town. It somehow encouraged him to run to help more people.
“Actually I can always help others even without running,” he claimed. “But it gives you more leverage to help more because you are there and you have a direct grasp of what is really happening in your area. In that way, you can easily respond to the people’s needs.”
In his past interviews, Renan admitted that he got into the circuit to overcome a drug and alcohol addiction. And he was right in doing so. He was only a nineteen when he got hooked into racing. He won seven national championships and competed and traveled around the world, representing the country in those tournaments, and won most of them.
Renan raced professionally for twelve years. But in 2011, he retired and helped run the family business. This was the time when his mom got sick. For years he managed their family business (which includes a pharmaceutical company, a brokerage corporation, an STL and many more), while his mom was under medical treatment. Now that the family business is doing good and stable, he decided to try politics. He will be running as an independent candidate.
On the lighter side, Renan didn’t confine himself inside the four walls of his corporate world. When he is not busy attending meetings, he’s a volunteer worker in his town, like involving himself into jail ministry as a preacher, and help facilitate in the drug addiction rehabilitation program, especially the youth. That’s why his main three programs if given the chance to serve is sports development, the youth and the senior citizens. Even if he’s not elected yet, he initiated the Libreng Sakay every Sunday to all senior citizens taking the public vehicle within the town’s boundary. And to reach more people of his advocacies, he will be producing a portion of the show Trip Na Trip hosted by Kat de Castro. He claimed that politics is a long term goal for him.
With their renewed closeness in the midst of a volatile political milieu, they hope that they can work together in attaining their earnest desire so they can indeed serve the less-privileged individuals who are truly in dire need of help.