Carmina Villarroel and Zoren Legaspi's kids Mavy and Cassy Legaspi are now 20 years old.
But in Carmina's eyes, the twins are still her "babies."
She wishes, too, to keep her kids in the house for as long as possible.
"Kung puwede huwag na lang. Puwede bang huwag na lang?" the Sarap 'Di Ba host tells PEP.ph during her PEP Live interview on January 26, 2021.
There was a time when Cassy asked if she could try living on her own, and Carmina refused.
Cassy related this to PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) during an exclusive interview in November 2020: "Sabi ko gusto ko mag-independent living, pero siyempre nagalit parents ko.
"Nagalit si Mommy, 'No, no. You stay in the house. I'll miss you so much.'
"'Tapos sabi ni Tatay, 'Okay.' Sabi ko, 'Huh? Okay?' 'Oo, diyan ka. Kapitbahay.'
"Ano ba iyan? I live alone nga, pero kapitbahay kami. Oh my gosh.
"Sabi ko, 'Huh? Why? Gusto ko somewhere a little bit far.' 'Hindi, diyan ka.'"
Carmina and Zoren had even suggested that, as a compromise, they buy two houses that are interconnected.
Carmina now tells PEP.ph that when Cassy does leave the house eventually, she hopes her daughter will follow in the footsteps of Kapamilya actress Toni Gonzaga, who only left her parents' home after marriage.
The mother of two continues: "Lagi ko nga sinasabi, 'Puwedeng maging Toni Gonzaga ka na hindi naman nag-move out, pero kinasal naman sa tamang edad.'
"Parang, 'Sana ganoon na lang, please!' Sana lang naman. Sana lang.
"Hindi ko pa pinag-iisipan iyan, kaya I'll just cross the bridge when I get there.
"Hindi pa ako makakasalita. Baka naman after ilang, ilang, ilang years, e, mag-iba desisyon ko.
"Ay basta Cassandra, hindi puwede! Babies ko pa kayo. You and Maverick. No!"
carmina's thoughts on independent living
Carmina knows she has to let go of Cassy and Mavy sooner or later, but she can't bring herself to fully entertain the thought yet.
"Hindi ko kaya, hindi ko kaya... huwag muna. Huwag muna. They're still young.
"Hindi ko naman sila dini-discourage. I'm just telling my kids na it's hard to be on your own kasi unang-una, you have to pay for everything.
"You have to pay for the rent, unless you get your own house and pay for it. Pero kung magre-rent ka, iisipin mo iyong rent mo, Meralco, tubig, suweldo mo sa driver mo, suweldo mo sa mga kasambahay mo.
"Basically, lahat ng ginagawa ko ay gagawin niyo. Sabi nila, 'Okay, no thanks. I'll just stay in the house.'
"They're not yet ready. They're only 20."
The actress-host also points out that Mavy and Cassy have their own place at home, which can serve as their private space.
"Sabi ko naman na, 'Dito naman you have your own rooms at nagagawa naman iyong mga gusto niyo.'
"Of course, there are certain rules in the house na you have to abide and after all, we are your parents. We know what's best for you.
"But, you know, eventually when they're older—not in the near future! I know naman that they will get to that na maybe someday they would want to move out.
"Pero siguro iyong pagmo-move out lang nila, diyan lang sa kapitbahay namin. Baka doon lang sila, doon lang ako papayag!"
As much as possible, Carmina wants to be near her kids at all times.
"Parang kailangan na yata namin bumili ng compound para magkakatabi lang kami doon. Di ba, at least meron pa rin silang privacy trying to live on their own, but you know, I'm just there sa kabilang bakod."
Number one house rule: meal time is family time
One of the rules that Cassy and Mavy have to abide by while they live at home with their parents is that meal time is always reserved for the family.
Carmina relates, "I always tell them, rule ko dito sa bahay, when we have to eat, we have to be together. Like lunch, dinner kailangan magkakasama kami kumakain.
"And that's the time that we talk about life, about what's happening in the world, about what's happening in our country. Basta doon kami nag-uusap.
"And doon sa pag-uusap namin, ang dami naming realizations. Para na kami nag-o-open forum na free-flowing lang na, 'O, kayo guys, what are your learnings?' Iyong ganoon."
Quarantine has made meal times more sacred for the Legaspis, especially now that Carmina, Zoren, and Cassy are taking turns working in lock-in shoots.
"Lagi ko sinasabi na, iyon nga, that they appreciate iyong mga times na being together because not all families are together.
"Kasi meron ibang mga OFW na hindi makauwi or iyong iba may mga sakit, iyong iba may mga frontliners, so kami we are just thankful that we are together.
"Iyon lang kami, iyon lang ginagawa namin. May kanya-kanya kaming mga work, may kanya-kanya kami mga kuwarto, pero during meal times, doon kami nagkikita-kita, doon kami nag-uusap.
"And then we work out here in the house and then we would just watch movies, Netflix, or K-dramas. So iyon, inaaliw lang talaga namin sarili namin and we would just play with our dogs."
Carmina is happy to say that they have grown stronger and closer as family.
"Okay na okay kami. We're all right. Ine-enjoy namin iyong time namin here together.
"Siguro nga sabi ni God na noong 2020, 'O, mag super bonding kayo to death kasi latter part ng 2020 hanggang sa mag-2021, magla-lock-in na kayo. Magkakahiwa-hiwalay kayo.'
"Nagkaroon talaga kami ng bonding together… Mas naging super bonded na kami."