Before emerging as the winner of TV5’s reality show The Amazing Race Philippines with teammate LJ Moreno, CJ Jaravata had the chance to open up at a press conference held December 12.
The winners were proclaimed on December 15.
As part of the top three teams, CJ Jaravata and the remaining contestants were asked what they would do with the two-million-peso prize money should they succeed in the final leg of the race.
The 30-year-old model turned actress CJ said that part of the prize money would be spent to support her child.
Unknown to most of the press members, CJ is a single parent. She told her story in a post-presscon proper interview.
CJ revealed that she is a mother to 15-year-old Phoebe. CJ got pregnant with her around 15 years ago.
“Kasi po I had her at a very, very young [age]. Siguro high school pa lang… After nun, I learned my lesson na talaga. Na-trauma din ako.
“Akala ko end of my life [na],” recalled CJ. She was not even sure if she was 14 turning 15 at the time...."
CJ told her story calmly, without hesitation, “Kaya nga marami akong pinanghuhugutan, e. Sa acting, iyak agad.”
Back during her taping days in her last soap, TV5’s Felina: Ang Prinsesa ng mga Pusa, she was often told by director Argel Joseph, “Ang bilis mo umiyak.”
The actress also portrayed supporting roles in several Star Cinema films: When Love Begins, A Very Special Love, You Changed My Life and Babe I Love You.
FROM "ATE" TO MOMMY. CJ said her parents took care of her during her pregnancy and beyond. As years passed, her daughter Phoebe grew up thinking that CJ was her sister.
“Since it happened very early we all didn’t know how to handle her. I didn’t know, my parents didn’t know.”
“My daughter, she thought I was her sister. Kasi ang tawag niya sa akin "Ate" for the longest time.
“Huli na. Kumbaga … nung of [right] age na ako, parang slowly namin nasabi na ako naman talaga yung Mommy.
“But all of us didn’t know how to handle it.”
Phoebe was supported by CJ’s parents. In effect, while her parents were raising CJ, they were raising Phoebe, too. Thus, the mother-and-daughter reality turned into a sibling relationship.
CJ mentioned during the interview that this was not the first time she revealed her situation to the press. The actress started talking about it since her last soap with TV5, Felina.
Asked why she chose to open up now, the actress, who is single at the moment, reasoned, “Because I’m of age.”
STILL "SISTERS". CJ relayed how people find it hard to believe that she has a 15-year-old kid. For one thing, the actress does not look one bit like a 30-year-old. Her youthful demeanor adds to this impression.
Since telling her daughter the truth that she is her biological mother, their relationship has not changed, said the actress.
“It’s always been [like] sisters... Pag magkasama kami, nobody will believe.”
Yet the set up they have lived with almost all their lives has led to complications. “It’s also hard for me na for the longest time feeling ko damaged din yung bata.
“As of now, I believe na-damage ko yung bata one way or another. Kasi, okay, Ate mo naging Mommy mo.”
She added, “Naging introvert yung bata. I can’t blame myself and my parents. We all didn’t know what to do. Ang aga, e. High school!
“Up to now, we’re still working it out.”
CJ comforts her daughter by telling her how much people around her love her just the same.
Her parents, actually Phoebe’s grandparents, still act as parents to her daughter.
“Pag parents ang kailangan, Mommy at Daddy ko ang nandiyan.”
“I moved back in the house. Parents ko pa rin yung nagpapalaki…kasi ako, nagsarili ako, e.”
HOW CJ LIVED HER LIFE. It was her mother who pushed CJ to live her life. She encouraged her then pregnant teenage daughter, “Sige. Ituloy mo yung career mo, kung ano yung gusto mo… Gawin mo na lang kung ano gusto mo.”
Encouraged by her mother to pursue her dreams, CJ got into modeling, acting, and even finished college.
She related, “Tinuloy ko talaga yung buhay ko. Kasi that’s what my Mom wanted me to do.
“For the longest time, nag-model ako, nag-artista ako dito, although tinapos ko yung pag-aaral ko,” said the De La Salle University graduate who earned a degree in International Studies.
CJ is taking up Dentistry, a second degree that she is bent on finishing.
“Nag-aral uli ako, nag-dedentistry ako kasi yung mga tita ko mga dentists. Pero hindi pa ako tapos kasi mahal ko talaga ang entertainment.
She pointed out, “Hindi naman siya hectic, isa’t kalahating taon na lang… Hindi rin ako nagmamadali. Kumabaga, kung natapos ko ito, bonus na lang.
“I’m still modeling, marami po akong commercials. Marami po akong ginagawa.”
As for her lovelife, CJ said she entertains suitors, too: “Mga non-showbiz… Nag-eentertain lang. Kasi nga, I guess traumatized din ako sa mga nangyari. Parang I have to pick the right one. Ever since, sobrang careful na ako.”
Does she still want to get married? CJ said she has not given up. “May balak naman. Pag nakahanap ako ng worth it.”
BONDING WITH PHOEBE. CJ plans to talk to her child about teenage pregnancy, in the near future.
“I’m planning to do [it] very soon because she’s also a teenager now. So, kailangan.”
Does she manage to find time for her daughter despite her hectic schedule?
CJ replied, “We get to bond. Pero parang sisters lang talaga. Kasi ang parents ko ang parents pa rin niya. Ang standing parents niya up to now are my parents. I’m just her biological mother. Ang complicated.”
The actress further said that she and her daughter are opposites. “She’s introvert. Ako super extrovert.”
Their only similarity, said CJ, is that Phoebe is musically inclined. “I sing, she sings also.”
DAUGHTER’S DAD. CJ mentioned that her daughter’s father, a man older than CJ, does not share financially in raising Phoebe.
According to the actress, the father is a good-for-nothing, jobless person: "Walang kakuwenta-kuwenta. In-a-ask ko na for support, wala.
"Mayaman naman yung pamilya. May mga tao talagang ganun. Walang sense of responsibility. Di mo naman mapipilit sa tao yun, e."
She also said of the guy’s parents, "Ayaw nila suportahan [yung bata] kasi gusto nila yung anak nila ang kumita at magtrabaho. Eh hindi siya nagtatrabaho!"
CJ’s life experience has taught her to be responsible for the consequences of her actions.
"Pag may responsibilidad ka, wala kang choice," she said firmly.