Habang iniinterbyu ni Boy Abunda si Dominique Cojuangco sa mismong 18th birthday party nito noong Sabado, February 24, nandoon ang mga magulang niya na sina Tonyboy Cojuangco at Gretchen Barretto na pinapanood ang kanilang unica hija.
Sa kalagitnaan ng panayam ni Boy kay Dominique para sa The Buzz, tumabi si Gretchen sa anak at dalawa na silang kinausap ng TV host. Habang si Tonyboy ay nakatingin lang sa kanyang mag-ina.
Sabi ni Boy kay Gretchen, ang debut ng anak Dominique ay masasabing bahagi ng kanyang “journey.” Sa mga oras na yun, ano ang naiisip ng aktres?
Sagot ni Gretchen, “Ang unang nasa isip ko talaga, parang kailan lang, when we were doing Show and Tell [defunct GMA-7 talk show]. Buntis ako noon.
“I was about three, four months. I was very afraid and so much has happened.
“She’s now a big girl, she’s eighteen, and I’m presenting her to you.
“I’m really excited for her.
“Life is just about to start and I don’t fear anymore.
“Unlike noon, natatakot ako kapag may intriga, kapag may nagba-bash. Baka masaktan.
“I know that she’s strong enough to really face the world and conquer the world.
“Of course, she still has me and her dad.”
Pinuri naman ni Boy sina Gretchen at Tonyboy sa pagpapalaki sa kanilang anak.
Sabi naman ng aktres, “I couldn’t have done it alone.
"Honestly, I’m just really thankful that Tony’s there, ninety percent si Tony ‘yan.”
RESPONSIBLE DAUGHTER. Nang magsabi si Dominique na mag-aaral na ito sa ibang bansa ngayong taon, ano ang naging reaksiyon ni Gretchen?
“Siyempre, ayaw mong pakawalan. Mahirap pakawalan ang anak mo.
“You know, most of the time, Boy, kasama ko siya.
“Tony would take her to office. She’s always with us.
“But with how we raised her, alam ko na puwede kong pakawalan.”
Pagmamalaki pa ni Gretchen, “Responsable siyang bata. Not because anak ko siya.
“Responsable siyang bata. Kaya niya, kakayanin niya.
“Alam ninyo kung saan ako bilib kay Dominique?
“Other children, pinag-uusapan nila, ‘Can we go to the bar? Can we party?’ Puro ganoon.
"Kapag si Dominique ang kausap ko, tatanungin ko, ‘I’m gonna do homework. Mom, I have lot of work to do.’
“And she’s eager to earn her own money and be independent financially.
“And I think that’s the trait that she got from her father and from me.”
Tinanong naman ni Boy si Dominique kung saan nanggagaling yung kagustuhan nito na kumita na ng sarili niyang pera.
Sagot ng debutante, “I think they worked so hard and I wanna work for myself too.”
Sabi naman ni Gretchen,“Kita? Proud ako dun.
“Alam naman natin na ang mundo natin... hindi ito mangyayari, hindi ito magugutom.
“Alam kong masipag siya. Alam kong magtatrabaho siya. At wala siyang ikahihiya.”
Dagdag pa ng aktres, “You know, for eighteen years, itinago ko siya, di ba, Boy? Paminsan-minsan, makikita mo nasa magazine siya.
“Di ba, may mga intrigang lumalabas about her, about me, about our family?
“Ang daming lumalabas na hiwalay kami ni Tony or whatever, pinuprotektahan ko siya.
“Pero ngayon, because kaya ko ‘tong pakawalan, kayang-kaya na.”
THE DEBUT PARTY. Ideya raw mismo ni Dominique ang lahat ng detalye sa kanyang debut party. Pero ilang percent ang hinayaan niyang “makialam” ang kanyang ina?
Nakangiting sabi ni Dominique, “Oh, my goodness, I’ve allowed her to pick one thing—and that is the orchestra…”
Sabi naman ni Gretchen, “Sabi ko, Boy, hindi ako nag-debut.
“I never had a birthday party noong bata ako. I would work.
“At ang talagang pangarap ng isang batang babae is to have a debut.
“Sabi ko, ‘Dom, pagbigyan mo na ako.’
“Yung lang naman yun. Pagbigyan na ako!
“At sabi ko, ‘Give that to your dad… that experience na meron siyang debutante.’”
LETTER FOR DOMINIQUE. Hindi man humarap sa camera si Tonyboy para magpa-interbyu, may ginawa naman siyang liham para kay Dominique na binasa ni Boy.
Habang binabasa ni Boy ang liham, hindi napigilan nina Dominique at Gretchen ang maluha; pati si Tonyboy na panaka-naka ay ipinapakita sa camera.
Ito ang liham ni Tonyboy para kay Dominique:
My Dearest Dominique,
Birthdays always serve as milestones. The first time I held you in my arms, I swore that I would always be there for you to the best of my ability.
In your first birthday, Mama transformed the warehouse into a recreational park. Treats with rides, food booths, and inevitable clown.
This heavily made-up character gave you much a scare. I whisked you away and kept whispering to you, ‘Don’t worry, My Baby, Dada is here.
The years have come and gone, the birthdays, too.
My baby is now a lady.
I happily let you go with the thought that you’re now a grown-up.
But as always, Dada is here.
I’m especially happy that you have learned the value of a relationship with our father Abba.
I passed this valuable life lesson to you as you enjoy your debut.
Don’t worry, My Baby, Dada, Mama and the Father are here for you.
And we all love you.
Happy 18th… Enjoy.
Sabi naman ni Dominique nang hingan ng kanyang mensahe:
“You know, I can’t say thank you enough. I feel so blessed every day.
“And they’re both have love to never be forgotten. And I’m thanking them for that.
“For teaching me that life shouldn’t be so serious and to have that positive attitude about everything.”