Phoemela Baranda on the joys of racing, co-managing a bar, and being her daughter's best friend

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Phoemela Baranda on the best part about raising her 15-year-old daughter Kim Nichole: “I enjoy being a sister, a mom, a dad, lahat to her. Kaya lang sometimes, I don't know... like the limitations for being a friend, sasabihin niya, ‘You're so strict’ and I'm like, ‘No I'm not.’”


Phoemela Baranda was in high spirits when she entertained the press during the launch of TRESemme Split Repair Range at Infinity Tower’s Desiderata Bar in Bonifacio Global City.

Not only has she landed another endorsement as TRESemme's Tresetter, together with Georgina Wilson, she is also part-owner of the Desiderata Bar.

Sporting the high ponytail look during the event, Phoem (pronounced “fem”), as she is fondly called, said the new watering hole is her latest venture along with boyfriend Anton Zamora and several other partners.

She has been hands-on with their promo blitz since the bar's soft opening, being in charge of public relations and marketing on top of co-owning the place.

ALL THINGS DESIRED. Phoem described Desiderata as the perfect place where people can “load up” before heading out to party.

She said, “We’re targeting the people who want to have dinner and drinks before going out to Valkyrie or Finders Keepers."

According to her, the bar’s name, Desiderata, was culled from one of Anton's favorite poems and "it means, all things desired. Everything here will be desired!"

Designed by Nix Alanon, the venue’s art deco and intimate feel made it the perfect place for events such as the launch of Phoem and Georgina as Tresetters.

Right now, the soft opening and operations of Desiderata Bar have been keeping the former TV host quite busy.

"I mean, yeah, I'm always helping, this one is also one of our babies now," she declared.

RACING. The former commercial model also disclosed that apart from helping Desiderata grow, her latest passion, car racing, has been giving her the adrenalin rush as well.

She added, “I'm also doing my Toyota racing, so it's really like random stuff that I'm very passionate about, because car racing is a different world for girls.

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“But I love it and I’m actually proving that girls can race just like the rest of the boys, or maybe even be better!"

Indeed, Phoem has proven time and again that she isn't just a pretty face on the tracks. Along with fellow celebrity Rhian Ramos, Phem has raced and held her own against ten showbiz and media personalities.

She has won a Celebrity Cup, bested other race car enthusiasts, and like Rhian, is proving they are definitely not just muses or track queens.

Motioncars.inquirer.net comments on Phoem and the new breed of race car drivers, “They’re bona fide serious racing competitors. And they are out there to look pretty while making their male counterparts eat dust. They are joining the bandwagon of bad-ass chicks who can hold themselves poised while at speed."

DAUGHTER KIM. As things seem to be going full-speed ahead for Phoem, how is she handling her family life these days?

Nearly two years ago, Phoem revealed her 15-year secret: Kim Nichole, the daughter she had out of wedlock. But the bigger secret was that even Kim did not know she was Phoem's daughter until she turned 11.

Phoem shared, "My daughter and I are doing well. She's so busy though."

Kim is finishing her fourth year in high school at the Colegio de San Agustin.

Phoem pointed out that communication with her daughter is important to her, "It’s always the best and strongest foundation talaga you should lay down with your relationship with your kids."

Now that her daughter is a blooming teener with a growing social circle, is she allowed to go out on dates?

"I allow her because it's part of growing up. She'll learn from it as long as she knows her boundaries.

"I always tell her to be confident about herself and, I think, she's pretty confident naman."

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Phoem, of course, meets the guys that Kim goes out with, "I do, I have to."

COOL MOM. She added that with her understanding of the changing times, she is quite the cool mom.

"Pero I'm a single mom so wala akong puwedeng gawin na bad cop or good cop, so ako pareho yun.

“I enjoy being a sister, a mom, a dad, lahat to her. Kaya lang, sometimes, I don't know…

"Like the limitations for being a friend, sasabihin niya, ‘You're so strict’ and I'm like, ‘No I'm not.’”

Personality-wise, Phoem is glad they have adjusted to each other.

She remarked, “We are so the same that we don't... kasi we don't talk that much, ‘di kami madaldal when we're together.

"So it's hard kasi we're both tahimik, so I'm also not masyadong makuwento when we're together.

“That we have to fix kasi we tend to be on the phone, watch TV...

"I'm so happy that at my age, I'm not that old for her, to be her barkada."

SCHOOL FIRST. Phoem gave birth to Kim when she was 18 and hid it from the world and even her closest family members.

She recalled, "I mean, I was so worried before because I'm a single mom and I hid her, those mga thoughts, na baka she might rebel or something.

“Apparently, she's super bait than what I expected so I'm very happy and I let her experience things now.

"I won't stop her from doing it and I'll support her."

She is adamant though about Kim staying in school.

Right after the big reveal of Phoem's secret, Kim ended up joining PBB: All In edition. But now, Phoem said Kim is prioritizing her studies.

She stressed, "School first kasi with her work, career, medyo nag-slow down na rin.

"We have to turn it down talaga like guestings because she needs to finish high school. Ayoko siyang mag-K12!"

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GLOBAL ASPIRATION. Phoemela has modeled, bagged magazine covers, acted and hosted as the entertainment anchor of ABS-CBN’s weekday flagship news broadcast of TV Patrol.

She's not done yet as she has vowed to continue aspiring for bigger things for herself.

"Actually, I still have a lot of things to do. Like, I want to do regional things…

"Georgina is my idol now, I wanna go out of the country.

“I started modeling abroad, regional, and then came back, stayed here.

"‘Di man lang ako maka-travel and all because of the schedules.

"And then, now, I wanna go global. I think that's the key word. Go global, go regional.

“For now I'm staying put here for business, trying to explore.

"I'm trying to open a modeling agency/talent agency. And explore everything."

The last part won't be too hard as she already experienced leading the Professional Models Association of the Philippines (PMAP) aside from landing her fair share of advertising campaigns.

Because of her experience hosting Extra! Extra!, a reality show on GMA-7 back in 2008, Phoem got her chance to explore the country’s top scenic spots.

Admittedly a summer person, she gushed, "It's always summer for me. I love going to the beach, so I think I'm going to Bali for Holy Week.

“I love Bali, but there are so many islands that I want to explore here in the Philippines."

WEDDING PLANS? Phoem has appeared in five Tagalog movies, four TV shows and even became a contestant in the Philippine version of Fear Factor.

She's done quite a bit and her family life with daughter Kim is falling into place. Does she have any plan of settling down?

"Yeah, of course I want to, but it will come on its own, or something. Parang na-stress ako bigla!" she jested.

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She added "I'm at the right age now and I'm ready because financial is always a problem, but I'm ready because Kim and I are okay na.

“I think with my past relationships, that was also my problem, that I wasn't able to, or can't continue the relationship na hindi pa kami okay with my daughter."

All is well now and Phoem is confident that Kim has no objection to her relationship with Anton.

She was thankful when she concluded, “They're good friends. I don't think naman it will be a problem because she's more like a sister talaga to me."

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