Dramatic actress Irma Idlawan reveals her heartaches as a mother of four

Award-winning actress Irma Idlawan returns to theater acting when she performs excerpts from A Portrait of the Artist As Filipino, a classic play of the late National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin, at the 6th Gawad Buhay Awards on June 6 at the CCP Little Theater.


Irma Adlawan has long been separated from her husband, actor-director Dennis Marasigan, and apparently has moved on from what she described as a "weird [marital] set-up."

(WRITER’S NOTE: Irma requested that her direct quotes about making her separation from husband Dennis Marasigan legal be deleted as they are "too controversial." She also wanted to protect the interest of her children—who, according to her, were "reacting to the max!" )

In the meantime, Dennis announced in a social media posting a possible directorial work for the 10th Virgin Labfest at the CCP in July 2014.

Irma commented, "Hindi ko nga alam kung ano’ng nangyayari sa kanya.

"Nag-uusap naman kami, e.

"Weird nga ang set-up, nakakapunta pa rin siya sa bahay.

"’Pag lumalabas kami, kasama pa rin siya.

"Kulang na lang sa amin, papel [separation documents].

Is she thinking of remarrying, perhaps, at an opportune time?

Irma laughed at the thought and quipped: "Wala naman akong balak nang mag-asawa!"

PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) had a rare interview with Irma on the set of the Cinemalaya 2014 (Directors’ Showcase) entry, The Janitor, last Thursday, May 22, in Kamuning, Quezon City.

She was the Best Actress winner last year for her role in the Cinemalaya (New Breed) entry, Transit.

In The Janitor, she plays the mother of the lead star Dennis Trillo.

BREEZY CAREER. Irma is a theater stalwart who is also visible on television and in the movies.

She said she gets help from her new manager, Ivy Vicencio, "Happy ako at suwerte din kay Ivy, na pumayag siyang tulungan ako after Gardo [Versoza, Ivy’s actor-talent and partner].

"She responds easily at nasasabihan ko siya, mga kaibigan naman sila, e."

Ivy acknowledged the compliment, "Nagpapasalamat ako kay Tita Irma sa pagtitiwala niya."

With her new manager, Irma inked the major support role in the The Janitor and a show contract for the upcoming GMA offering, My BFF, a family-oriented dramedy with gothic touches where she plays an interesting tomboy character.

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She is also set to perform at the 6th Gawad Buhay Awards on June 6 at the CCP Little Theater. She will do excerpts from A Portrait of the Artist As Filipino, where she portrays Candida, one of the Marasigan spinster sisters (with Liesl Batucan as Paula), in the classic play of the late National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin.

The vignette is in honor of the 90-year-old veteran theater luminary, Naty Crame Rogers, this year’s Natatanging Gawad Buhay Awards recipient.

STORMY FAMILY LIFE. Irma lives with her aging parents and a teenage son at the family residence in Kawit, Cavite.

She and Dennis have four children, the twins Mira and Ira, Mara Paula, and Ben, the youngest and only son.

"Wala na sila. Nag-alisan na, isa na lang ang naiwan sa akin, yung bunso," Irma said about her daughters’ "abandonment" of her.

"Gano’n naman talaga yata, e. That’s why they always tell you, when your children are still small, spend time with them.

"Because by the time they reach their age [of adulthood], you will not be able to spend time with them anymore…

"May sarili na talaga. They have their own lives to lead.

"So parang cherish and nourish, and enjoy the times that they’re with you."

Her daughter Ira is in her late 20s and a single mother with two children, Irma and Dennis’s adored grandchildren.

(WRITER’S NOTE: Again, two paragraphs—where Irma talked about the civil status of her daughter—were deleted because there’s already an ongoing court case.)

She further related that Ira and her children are renting a place,

"They’re trying as much as possible to be independent pero I’m helping out...

"For five years, I didn’t see her. I never knew what was happening with her."

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(WRITER’S NOTE: Eight paragraphs were again deleted because after giving it much thought, Irma—through her manager Ivy Vicencio—felt "really awful... for my children."


IRMA’S LAMENT. She finally learned about the plight of her daughter when Ira fled with her two children and sought a friend’s assistance.

WRITER’S NOTE: Again, five paragraphs were deleted after considering the request of Irma, who unwittingly did not realize the aftermath of her stamements. But this writer would like to underline that her quotes—all captured by my recorder—were used without any violation of trust and confidence.)

"Nung una, ayaw pa niyang ipasabi. Ang nagsabi sa akin, yung kapatid niya, si Mira.

"Ang sabi, ’Mama, si Ira... [may problema].’"

Irma sighed, "I know I’ve been very open to them, guided them.

"[But] they wanted to learn the hard way nga, e.

"Well, akala mo… you have done so much for them pero sa kanila, hindi pa rin, e."

THE BRIGHT SIDE. Meanwhile, the three other siblings, according to Irma, are okay as they have been properly brought up, educated and guided.

"That’s true, si Mira, she’s working well, ayaw niya sa showbiz, which is good, actually.

"Si Ben, nasa high school. Grade 9 [third year], wala pa naman siyang masyadong hilig.

"Minsan gusto, minsan ayaw."

Irma meant his bent for theater. He appeared once in the UP Faculty Center’s production of the Greek play, Medea, where she played the lead.

It was actually a thesis production for Ben’s sister Mara, a Theater Arts graduate.


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