It seemed that everyone in the Philippines whose cell phone number is listed in the contacts folder of Ruffa Gutierrez-Bektas got this text message on September 12, 2004:
"Proud parents, Yilmaz and Ruffa r proud 2 announce the birth of their 2nd little angel.... 12:17 pm @ Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. She was 5.3 lbs. and 17 inches w/ a normal delivery. We have 8 days to think of a name so we'll keep u posted."
The sender, none other than Ruffa herself, was obviously already up and bubbly after just a few hours of normal child delivery.
Three days later, she sent another text message saying that she and husband Yilmaz had already agreed on a name for their second daughter: Venizia "Venice" Loran Bektas.
One week after the second text message, YES! makes a long distance call to Ruffa in Beverly Hills, California, and she tells us more about her two angels, Lorîn and Venice.
"My God, para akong nag-alaga ng twins!" Ruffa shrieks, then lets out her patented laugh. "Sabi ko nga kay Yilmaz , 'Can I rest [from getting pregnant] for three years? Sabi niya, ‘okay I'll give you five years'. Kasi naman, 'di ba out of 24 months, 18 months, buntis ako! Nagsasawa na kong mag-shopping ng pang-maternity".
But Ruffa obviously never tires of talking about her little princesses.
"Si Lorîn, sabi ng pediatrician niya, she's tall for her age. Malaki siya for one-year old, kaya lang nagpapawis. Ito namang si Venice is so small and precious—she's only 5.6 pounds at two weeks old—lagi naman siyang giniginaw. Ang hirap nga kasi, centralized ang aircon dito sa condo. 'Pag malakas, bagay kay Lorîn kasi malamig. Kaso giniginaw naman si Venice. 'Pag humina pina-papawisan si Lorîn, okay naman for Venice, naloloka ako.
At the time of our call, Lorîn is running a slight fever. "Three days na siyang may lagnat." She's teething kasi. Kawawa nga, e. But she sleeps at two in the morning!
Nakikipagsabayan sa amin. She can say "Baba na". It means Dada or Daddy in Turkey. She can say mom na din and she listens na to commands. She does na mga flying kiss, close open, saka nagpa-pat-a-cake na siya, yong child's play? When she's older, were going to teach her four languages—Enlish, of course, Filipino, Turkish, and Spanish. Saka na siya mag-aral ng French, 'pag dalaga na siya."
As for Venice, she was scheduled for delivery on September 30, but came out unexpectedly three weeks ahead—coincidentally, on the third anniversary of the attack on the Twin Towers in New York!
"They always say that the second baby is always delivered earlier than expected, but mostly, one week or ten days before the due date. Pero ako three weeks early. Naloka ako! Did it have to be at 9/11?"
But all of Ruffa's misgivings about her daughter's date of birth melted away when she saw her baby, pink skinned and brown-haired, looking back at her large brown eyes.
"May nagsasabi, mini Lorin daw. Some say, ako ang kamukha. Others, si Yilmaz daw. I guess we'll all know when she's older. Sa ngayon, she's behaved. All she does is sleep and eat and sleep again."
Venice's dedication (the Islamic ceremony equivalent to the Christian baptism) may happen in Manila by February next year. "Para sabay na sa birthday ng Dad ko," Ruffa explains. Dad Eddie Gutierrez's birthday is on February 6. However, Ruffa is not sure yet if there will be a Bektas family homecoming to the Philippines this Christmas.
"Alam mo naman kami ni Yilmaz," she sighs. "Kahit magplano kami, last minute nagbabago pa. Kasi he's busy rin with his business,' tapos ako naman, dalawa na lagi itong bitbit ko. Plus, Yilmaz wants to go skiing in December. So, baka yon ang gawin namin. I don't know where yet, but that's what he wants."
Kasi naman for two summers, buntis ako," she laughs. "Wala na talaga kaming time na family na magkasamasama na nagbabakasyon talaga.
So, by summer, iimbitahan namin ni Yilmaz ang buong family ko, magbabakasyon kami kasama ang dalawa kong Prinsesa."