Heart Evangelista is "Tita Heart" to her stepkids Quino and Chesi Escudero.
She may not be their mother, but the GMA-7 actress believes she has a responsibility to guide them through life.
The challenge lies in making sure she does not overstep in her role as Tita Heart.
Heart tells PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) and other Summit Media titles during a Zoom interview on October 19, 2020: "Actually, it's very, very hard. It's so hard, to be honest, because you cannot. I mean, for me, I cannot be strict or else they'll end up hating me.
"But how can you also make sure that they're getting the proper guidance? So, it's very, very hard for me.
"But, I guess, I'm lucky my approach with them is 'we're friends.'"
Having a friendship with Quino and Chesi has helped Heart communicate with them openly. This comes in handy when she needs to discipline them.
"So, when I do get upset about [things like] 'You have to focus on your teacher.' 'You're playing games while you're studying online. It's not good.’ Mga ganyan. I would say it.
"And they're used to seeing me also when I'm working, how I want things. So, it's not like sila lang pinapagalitan ko.
"But honestly, it's very hard and confusing at times.
"But what's nice is that they're also very close to my team who lives with me in the house. We're like a barkada. It’s the same how I treat everyone, I guess. Doon ko na lang dinadaan.
"That's so important."
Watching Quino and Chesi grow up
Heart met Quino and Chesi when they were four years old.
This 2020, the twins turned 13 and Heart appreciates that she has been able to form a bond with them through the years.
She says in the Zoom interview, "Well, you know, they just entered their teenage years, so I'm glad that we were able to have a good relationship.
"Because now, I can see that the moment they turned 13, there was a shift of how they are as a person. They're a bit more distant, they’re a bit more ganyan.
"So, naloloko ko sila, 'Oh, why are you so quiet today?' Ginaganoon ko. If not, it would be awkward... You don’t want to be invasive, but you have to be a bit 'What are you doing? What are you texting?' Or else you don't know.
"So, I'm so glad I was able to spend all the days, every day with them.
"Even when I was working, they saw what I do. They understand me. I understand them. I felt that that was really crucial before they became teenagers...
"I'm glad that I was able to establish that relationship with them before they entered the stage."
Quino and Chesi are the kids of Chiz Escudero with his first wife, Christine Elizabeth Flores.
Chiz and Heart got married in 2015.