Mar Roxas and Korina Sanchez have been open about the birthing story of Pepe and Pilar, who are now gaining admirers on social media.
The twins were conceived via in vitro fertilization, and were born through surrogacy. But immediately after they were delivered, husband and wife Mar and Korina brought them home and began taking care of them.
"It was surreal. Parang totoo ba ito? Manika ba? Totoong tao, 'no?," says Korina about meeting her babies for the first time in the U.S.
"Cute ba? Cute? Uy, cute! Improvement of the race," she recalls in jest.
Korina leaves it to other people to decide who between her and Mar are the twins' lookalike.
"Alam mo, pinauubaya ko na iyan sa tumitingin. Siyempre, yung part ni Mar, sasabihin, ako ang kamukha. Tahimik na lang ako, e, ako ang kamukha.
"As they grow older, magbabago pa naman ang mukha, di ba?"
Between the two of them, it was Mar who was more emotional upon seeing the twins for the first time.
"A, si Mar, talagang naluha. Mababaw talaga ang luha niya. Noong kasal namin, siya ang umiiyak," Korina laughed.
"Alam niyo naman ako, amazona. So ano ko, I don't know, there's something about motherhood that makes you like amazona. Parang ganun, e. Agad pumasok sa akin, 'Kaya ko 'to.'"
She adds, "Hindi ako mushy mom."
Meanwhile, she has fears, too, just like most moms.
"May mga ganun and then I asked other mothers, 'Weird ba ako? Negative ba ako? Bakit ganun ang iniisip ko?' Post-partum, e, hindi naman ako ang talagang nanganak.
"Pero, apparently it’s normal, whether you're the one who carried or not, the pain are the same. Motherhood is the same. And motherhood is not defined whether you carried the baby or not.
"It probably doesn’t matter whether ampon iyan o dugo mo o hindi.
"Motherhood is about the bond and the care between you and the child. The child knows who he or she her mother is. It's the love and the inspiration while growing-up."
Korina will be celebrating her first Mother's Day this Sunday, May 12, and it will be her first time to receive flowers.
"Mother's Day, ako lang yata ang namamahagi ng mga bulalak, ngayon, ako naman. May costumes na ang mga anak ko."
Did she enjoy shopping for the twins?
"Sa Pittsburgh, medyo nalumpo ako ron. Pang-shopping ko na lang, pinambili ko pa ng gatas."
Breast milk is expensive in the U.S.
"Ang mahal! But I insist that the babies will have breast milk. Napapraning ako sa sakit."
But it's harder to look for breast milk here in the Philippines.
She resumes, "Imagine, tatlong buwan na, araw-araw kang nanglilimos. Pini-pressure ako ng mga nurse ko, 'Ma’am, may gatas pa po ba tayo? Saan ako kukuha ng gatas ngayon?'
"You can’t buy. Like in Quezon City General Hospital, ganito lang ka-konti. So, ayoko namang kumuha sa hospital dahil dino-donate iyan para sa mga premature.
"Ayoko namang makiagaw ro'n."
So, she turned to her personal network.
"I have friends or the daughters of my barkada na may mga baby riyan or mga barkada nila, may viber group sila ng mga mothers."
She recalls, "May matrix ako. 'Ay, kailan ko huling nahingan 'to?' Matagal na, magre-request ako ulit. Kumakatok po."
She plans to give Pepe and Pilar breast milk until they are two years old.
"If I can, let's see,” she says.
So far, she has not run short on breast milk supply. At present, one of her staff members are breastfeeding mommies.
"Ang nurse ko, may baby na maliit. Nagpa-pump siya para sa akin. At ang sekretarya ko, manganganak na. Ngayon pa lang, sustentado na siya malunggay sa akin.
"So, talagang pump pa more," she remarks.
Joking, she adds, "Hindi ko na kinakagalitan. Kahit may problema sa trabaho, nakangiti pa rin ako."