A major turning point in Carmina Villarroel's career was after she gave birth 20 years ago.
This happened in 2001.
At a time when she felt most uncertain about her showbiz career, she was tapped by ABS-CBN to play the leading lady of Diether Ocampo in the afternoon series Recuerdo de Amor.
In a PEPLive interview on January 26, 2021, Carmina recalls how the TV project in the Philippines came into place when she had just given birth abroad.
According to her, it was her manager, Dolor Guevarra, who called and asked her to come back right away.
Carmina recounts how their conversation went, “I was in the States, doon ko ipinanganak iyong kambal.
"‘Tapos naalala ko si Tita Dolor calling me up. ‘Mina, umuwi ka na dito, may dalawang shows na naghihintay sa iyo sa ABS.’
“‘Ha? Dalawang shows?’
“’Oo, mayroong teleseryeng naghihintay sa iyo kasama si Diether Ocampo. Umuwi ka na dito.’ Ganyan!”
A few weeks after giving birth, Carmina flew back home and returned to work.
She first resumed taping for the weekly horror series Oka Tokat, a show she had to leave when she got pregnant.
She relates, “Bumalik ako dito sa Pilipinas at tinuloy ko iyong Oka Tokat because, then, may Oka Tokat pa that time.
“Umalis lang ako just to give birth. Pagbalik ko, may Oka Tokat pa rin at iyon nga, binalik nila ako doon.
“’Tapos ginawa ko iyong Recuerdo de Amor.”
“NANGANAK BA SIYA?”
When she started doing Recuerdo de Amor, Carmina knew that people around her were asking: “Nanganak ba siya?”
She recounts, “Hindi ko makakalimutan iyon kasi first teleserye ko na mommy na ako na parang feeling ko, lahat ng tao, naano sa akin na, ‘Nanganak ba siya?’
“Di ba, kasi parang hindi ko naman dineny, hindi ko rin naman kinonfirm. Bumalik lang ako dito pero wala ako sinasabi na, ‘Hello, I have twins!’
“At the same time, hindi rin naman ako nagde-deny. Pero no one dared na, ‘Is it true that you gave birth in the States?’ So dedma iyong mga tao.
“So paano ko ba sasabihin sa kanila na although of course ABS knew then, hindi ko naman dine-deny iyon.
“So pagbalik ko siguro, nahihiya lang silang tanungin. So ako na iyong, ‘Opo, nanganak po ako ng twins, boy and girl.’ Ako na nagsabi.”
CARMINA tHANKFUL TO ABS-CBN
That makes Carmina grateful to the Kapamilya network, which continued to believe in her capacity to deliver lead roles even after becoming a mom to twins.
She recalls, “Doon ako talaga nagulat na parang wow! That’s why naman thankful ako, even if I’m with GMA now, thankful ako sa ABS.
"Kasi naniwala pa rin sila sa akin. They still got me and ang dami pa rin nilang shows na binigay nila sa akin.
“Kasi feeling ko even if you gave birth already, even if you’re a mom already, hindi naman siya dapat maging hindrance sa career mo.
"Unang-una, hindi naman ako 18 years old na kakailanganin ko pa ng love team.
“I was already 26 then, so parang feeling ko I’m just doing my thing, I just love my job.
“Sobrang love ko iyong industriya. Nakikita naman ng mga tao iyon.
“Kaya sinasabi kong thank you dahil binigyan niyo pa rin ako ng opportunity to act once again.”
Carmina transferred to GMA-7 in 2003, and became a Kapuso until 2011.
She returned to ABS-CBN in 2012, and became a Kapuso again in 2017.
Since then, she has been with GMA-7.
The mother of two is set to be seen in GMA-7’s afternoon drama series Babawiin Ko Ang Lahat starting this February 22, 2021.
This is Carmina’s first full-length kontrabida role in a Kapuso project.