In less than a week, Andi Manzano is going to be Mrs. GP Reyes.
Andy will walk down the aisle at a church in Baguio City on November 12.
But unlike any bride-to-be, with only days to go before her wedding, she appeared to be neither nervous nor excited.
“No pre-wedding jitters?” asked PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in a one-on-one interview with her, Tuesday night, November 5.
Her eyes sparkling, she answered, “I just want things to fall into place.”
Four months ago she couldn’t even focus on the wedding preparations because her mom was diagnosed in July with cervical cancer.
TEST. In her Facebook post dated October 7, the former MTV VJ wrote, “I remember her telling me in a restaurant and when she did, I couldn't cry as much as I could.
“I couldn't break down in front of her. I couldn't.
“It was my time to be strong for her. It was my time to be there for her as she has been by my side in everything.
“If you guys don't know, we are five in the family. I'm the eldest and not only did I have to be strong for her, but I had to be strong for everyone.”
Thankfully, in September, the doctors declared her mom—Andi's “best friend, strength, and inspiration”—free of cancer.
But at the bridal shower sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline Philippines, Andi still couldn’t hold her tears back when she recounted her mom’s ordeal.
By way of easing the pain of that memory, she reaches out to people who are going through the same crisis she hurdled:
“You know what, all I can say is really pray.
“Sometimes, it will really test you. I mean how strong you are.
“You just have to be strong even if you don't know how to be. It will teach you that…”
The radio jock also encouraged the families and friends of cancer victims to "open up to other people" even if it’s "hard."
Andi said her mom is okay now: “Now, yes, she's okay. So now, I'm a little bit, you know…if I were to go through it again, I'd say, 'You know, just talk to people about it.'
"It's good to talk to people about it, and open up, you know, [about] what's happening in your life, your loved-one's life.
"It's so hard."
ADVOCACY. Andi recently agreed to become the ambassador of X Means Love campaign, which aims to raise awareness about "second most common cancer among women worldwide."
She told PEP how the patrtnership came about.
“While my mom was going through everything, they [GSK and Healthway Medical] called me.
“They said, 'You wanna do a cervical cancer campaign?'
"You know what, it's actually perfect coz I've been looking for something that I was passionate about, something that I can actually…
"I know how people feel, I know what people went through, so I wanted to do, I wanted to share my experience so people won't go through it also or maybe I could be of help even if they've been through it, they know what to do somehow."
WEDDING. Going back to her big day, Andi related how her mom’s “battle” affected her preparations?
“I was basically halfway through preparing. I had my suppliers and everything, but you know, when it came to the details, but when it came to what I wanted, I didn't know coz usually, my mom was helping me.
"I was treated like a baby girl.
"So that time, I had to be my mom and it was difficult because it's just now that I'm cramming again.”
It was only "a month ago" when she regained her momentum.
Smiling, Andi remembered telling herself, “Hey, my mom's okay na. I can focus on what I have to do.”
THE GROOM. She met GP Reyes—part-owner of Republiq, Privé and Opus, among other establishments—on Facebook last December 17, 2010.
Three years later, she made the announcement, also through the popular social networking site, that she’s “going to marry the man of her dreams and the love of her life.”
Her wedding theme, she described, is "rustic romantic."
How will the change in status affect her job?
"He's not naman gonna stop me. Maybe I'm gonna grow a little bit as I have naman. I guess I've been in radio for a long time.
"So I grew up on radio. Parang somehow, the people that actually follow me also follow my life, so it's entertaining how everything is falling into place."
Any advice to women who are about to tie the knot?
She said, laughing, "Don't fight your fiancé."