The 51-year-old Kapamilya songstress is now based in Silverdale, Washington with her husband Gary Gotidoc and their three kids: Dylan, 12, Sabriya, 15, and Gavin, 26.
Gavin, Gary's son from his previous marriage, has grown close to Jaya, whom he dearly calls "Nanay" or "Nay."
Jaya feels grateful that her family is with her in the U.S., but the singer admits that she misses so many things in the Philippines.
"Alam mo, bilang isang Pilipino, ngayon ko lang talagang na-prove, bilang ito na yung edad ko, 51 na ako, I really treasure yung ating kultura," Jaya told PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in an exclusive interview via Teams last October 15, 2021, Friday.
The Cornerstone talent continued, "The way we treat one another, the food that we eat, unique! Yun ang nami-miss ko. Yung po at opo, yung beso, yung warmth.
"Talagang minsan, iba talaga dito. Lalo na nung nagkaroon ng pandemic."
Above all these, what Jaya misses the most is her friends and performing onstage.
"I think, mostly, I miss my friends, yung Tawag ng Tanghalan, yung pupunta ka sa studio, siyempre nagsu-swab. Hindi ko na-miss yung swab kasi madalas naming gawin iyan.
"Pero I think, I miss mostly yung entertainment, yung punta ka sa gig, kakanta ka an hour, an hour and a half."
The Abbott Freestyle Libre ambassador added, "Nagpapasaya ka ng mga tao and at the same time, napapasaya mo yung sarili mo and your spirit.
"My spirit goes up when I sing kasi iyan talaga yung feeling ko, purpose ko na. I’ve been doing it for 30 plus years, at most 40 [years].
"Pero alam ko na in time, magbubukas ang lahat. It might not be normal."
JAYA'S NEW LIFE IN THE U.S.
Jaya told PEP.ph that she and her family have adjusted to their new life in the U.S. The former Tawag ng Tanghalan "hurado" said it didn't take long since the U.S. is almost back to normal amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The only major adjustment they had to consider was the weather.
Jaya shared, "Life here is pretty normal na. Kakalipat lang naming dito sa U.S. nung July. Basically it’s all about adjusting. The weather has changed.
"So from summer, fall na kami dito. So you could see all these trees having these fiery red and orange leaves falling over the place, so napakasaya.
"My kids are in school. They’re experiencing regular public school here so masaya lahat. Although, medyo meron pa ring kaunting adjustments pero everything is okay, sa awa ng Diyos."
As for her kids, Jaya said Sabriya and Gavin are slowly adjusting to their new school.
She said, "Ang adjustment ko lang siguro is yung sa mga bata, kasi they have to go to a regular school so I became the driver or my husband, si Gary.
"So we wake up early at 6 a.m. to make sure na gising na yung ulirat ko. I’d take them to school and then later, marami na kaming nagagawa. We go to the gym, kung anu-ano na.
"The adjustment, siguro and mahirap lang talaga yung weather. Malamig, biglang iinit, biglang lalamig, so nandiyan pa kami sa mode na iyan. But everything else, parang easy to handle lang naman."
BACK TO WORK
Jaya has also started going back to performing onstage.
She revealed, "Dito kasi, may gigs na kami. I just did my last show sa New York, sa Carnegie [Hall]. I sang one song sa Carnegie Hall and another sa isang ano naman, para siyang entertainment club. Nakakatuwa, ang saya-saya nung gig."
The "Wala Na Bang Pag-ibig?" singer added, "Dito, bukas na halos lahat, pero siyempre ingat pa rin lahat ng tao. Pero siyempre, I do miss the Filipino audience, my friends."
Jaya couldn't imagine herself doing office work as a nine-to-five job and she's glad to still be able to do what she loves the most: performing.
She explained, "Hindi naman talaga iyan yung nagging trabaho ko noon. So I think, with God’s grace, I’m still able to have some bookings. I’m actually booked until February and meron nang mangilan-ngilan around May."
Aside from her usual gigs, she also started serving at a Christian church at their place, where she gets to sing worship songs.
Jaya related, "In terms of opportunities, I am now serving in a church, at GracePoint Church. It’s a Christian Church and I’m part of the worship team.
"Nakita nila na parang yun [performing worship songs] yung okay gawin. I think God is going to be using me in this platform."
Aside from performing, Jaya is also considering the idea of starting up a business in Silverdale.
She said, "Pag may opportunity rin siguro sa business, puwede rin, e. Marami pang puwede gawin dito. Although right now, it’s a bit chaotic worldwide, so hindi ko alam.
"I’m just letting God lead the way. Lahat naman ng plano natin, kapag hindi natin binigay sa kanya, fail! Epic fail!
"So I’m just letting Him deal with me in this season kung anong meron."
Jaya later added, "Tignan natin kung magkaroon ako ng business. Baka magtinda na lang ako ng mga kakanin, charot."
For now, she is focused on getting more performing gigs.
She affirmed, "Alam ko talaga yung kanta, marami pa iyan. Kasi ang daming sabik talaga dito. Ang daming gustong makinig.
"Alam mo, ang daming concerts dito, nakakaloka! Kahit maliitan lang, puno. Kasi yung mga tao nakakulong. Ilang buwan silang nakakulong, so yun yung…
"Ang akin, I’m just going to be out there, try ko mag-perform, magpaligaya ng tao, whether maliit or malaking venue, wala sa akin yun.
"Ang sa akin, makabalik ako dun sa stage where I really truly feel that I belong."