Josh and Bimby are undoubtedly two of the most popular kids in showbiz.
Josh would usually have a ready smile for the camera, while Bimby would sometimes plead, "Ayoko ng picture!"
The two brothers are very different from each other—one is very pleasant and quite subdued, the other is both cheery and candid.
And so, their famous mom Kris Aquino encourages "bonding and togetherness."
At the launch of her latest endorsement—the Fiesta spaghetti—the Kapamilya host-actress relates, "Kasi si Josh, gustong mag-Ipad na lang. E, si Bimby gusto mag-swimming. So sinasabi ko, 'Kuya, you have to entertain your baby brother because when mom is not here, your baby brother is gonna take care of you so be good to him now.'"
And what's the older brother's reaction? Laughing, Kris says, "Si Josh naman, tayo, 'Sige na nga.' Parang pilit lang, 'Ito namang nanay ko sayang-saya akong mag-Ipad dito pinapatayo ako para mag-swim...'"
JOSH'S INTERESTS. Her son with Phillip Salvador recently finished his elementary education at the Multiple Intelligences School.
She beams, "With everything, with all the difficulties sa learning, the fact na ang dami niyang na-a-achieve, it's a testament to his perseverance."
The eldest of the Queen of Talk is into music and baking. "Kapag Gumagawa siya ng brownies, moist talaga, nakaka-impress," the proud mom says.
Kris adds, "Sa music kasi, nag-perform na siya...Kahit yung mga complicated, kaya na niya. I have no musical skills whatsoever, hindi ko nga alam kung saan nanggaling, pero kasi...as in, ang galing!"
Josh's successes wouldn't have been possible without the love and support of the people around him. Kris cites the "patience and dedication" of his teachers.
Continuing her story, "I have to give credit to Yaya A [Ana], who has been there since birth, so hindi na siya kinasal talaga, oo...At talagang nagwawala [si Josh]. Talagang love na parang as a second mom talaga.
"'Tapos siguro, credit din to Josh himself kasi he perseveres talaga, nagtiyaga din naman siya. Talaga! Kasi tinuro sa [kanya] yung piano, nag-start 'yan na color-coded [piano teaching method], e, until he learned. 'Tapos ngayon, ang galing...parang Chappell [Jim, American smooth jazz pianist]."
The 16-year-old son of Kris will study under Maestro Ryan Cayabyab, who will train him to become a "musical director."
BIMBY'S LIKES AND DISLIKES. Meanwhile, the younger son goes to Brent International School. Kris tells the editors and reporters that she's limiting the showbiz-related activities of Bimby "pag may school."
James Yap Jr., just like his dad, is into sports. "He plays soccer and he swims," but, he finds basketball "boring."
Laughing, Kris reveals that her outspoken son tells that to his dad, who is a four-time Most Valuable Player of PBA (Philippine Basketball Association).
And what does Bimby like?
The three-year-old celebrity kid supposedly told his mom, "Mama, I like fighting."
Kris says Bimby's pronouncement surprised her. "Gusto daw niya maging ultimate fighter, so sabi ko, hindi naman yun puwede gawin ni Mama at ni Papa." Nonetheless, she won't deprive him of what he wants. In fact, for the toddler's fourth birthday on April 19, her gift to Bimby will be—a toy gun!
"Ayoko na lang sinasabi kasi sasabihin ng magulang, 'Itong si Kris naman na 'to, baril ang nireregalo...E, wala akong magagawa kasi lahat naman ng...So sinabi naman ni Boy [Abunda], 'You should be happy he likes guns.'
"Sinabi rin ni James na walang masama doon na yun ang gusto cos it means na lalaking-lalaki talaga. Not that there's anything wrong with being gay, but of course, I want to encourage his manhood. [So], okay, go go sa baril!"
LIFE LESSONS. Despite her busy schedule, the youngest daughter of former President Cory Aquino+ sees to it that she finds time for long conversations with her sons.
One of the things she constantly she teaches is the "concept of sharing."
"Mahirap pang ituro ngayon," she begins. "But he [Bimby] knows it, gets naman niya yun, and alam niya na...I always tell him na pag nagagalit yun, sinasabi na 'I'm so sad because you're working.' But I always tell him, 'Kaya kumportable ang buhay natin kasi nagwo-work, pero importante that you give back. Hindi puwedeng kuha ka lang nang kuha 'tapos wala kang tinutulungan.'
"Pero I think it's by example, di ba? Kung makita niya na hindi suwapang ang nanay niya at marunong mag-ano...hindi lang gumawa ng charity pero siguro yung talagang desire na mapaganda ang buhay ng maraming tao by example, gagawin niya yun."
Kris doesn't spank, but does a lot of explaining. In Bimby's case, she always tells him to appreciate his parents' respective jobs.
"Dapat ini-explain mo pag mali. 'Tapos siya [Bimby], ayaw niya talagang na-sa-sad ako. May times kasi, nagkatampuhan kaming dalawa kasi sabi niya, 'I don't like to go to your show so matagal the taping.' Sabi ko, 'Okay.' 'Tapos sa tatay niya, sasabihan naman niya na, 'I don't like basketball, it's so boring.' Masyadong outspoken kaya sinabi ko, 'Bimby, no, if there's no show, we won't have this house, and if Papa has no basketball, hindi kayo makakapag-Time Zone.' Parang tinuturo ko sa kanya, sana mahalin naman niya yung trabaho namin."
Without a doubt, Bimby is her mini-me. And early on, she teaches him to be mindful of what he says.
There was one instance they were watching TV. "Medyo natakot ako kasi I wanted to change the channel kasi gusto kong manood ng news, nanonood siya ng Cartoon Network. Nung pinapa-change ko, sabi ba naman sa akin. 'Mama, I don't like that, it's so stupid.' Nakakaloka ang napupulot!
"Nung conference with teachers, nagtanong ako, sabi kasi he's so tall he played with the kids na Grade 1, Grade 2, so siyempre, mas advanced sila kung anu-anong mga napupulot.
"'Tapos ngayon alam na niya not to say that, dapat lang talaga ini-explain mo na, 'Bimby, my feelings were hurt.'"
Most importantly, she reminds her youngest to be humble.
The President's sister shares, "We have long conversations na, e. So sinasabi ko sa kanya, forever sinasabi ko sa kanya na 'Uy, kapag nine years old ka na, hindi na ganito buhay mo.' Kasi parang inaapak ko sa lupa talaga na parang I don't want him to feel...kasi kapag nanonood siya ng news, nakita niya si Tito Noy, [sasabihin niya] 'My tito's a President.' 'Tapos I always say, 'Only until 2016.'
"Yung parang ayokong ma-feel niya na you're so special...Actually, that's why I really love his school kasi may sense of normalcy talaga dun. Nararamdaman niya na he's just one of the kids, and because the kids are all either half Pinoy or mostly foreign, and kids are kids, di ba, so yun..."
It's not easy being a mom and a working woman at the same time. But Kris feels lucky that she's enjoying the best of both worlds. Each day, her best reward is, "Kahit na bagong gising ako, sinasabihan ako nito ng, 'Mama, you're beautiful.'"
And she can afford to lose all...except her boys.
"Ako, I always say, kung mamamatay lang din naman ako, gusto ko kasama yung mga anak ko. Ayokong ako nabuhay, sila namatay. 'Wag na! Okay na yung lahat kaming sabay-sabay," Kris says.