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Venue: Araneta Coliseum
December 8, 2007 | Saturday at 8:00pm
Seat and Price:
Seat Location Price
Patron Platinum (101 & 103 rows A - E)
Reserved Seating) 5250
Patron VIP (101 & 103 rows F - J)
(Free Seating) 3150
Patron (Reserved Seating) 2100
Lower Box (Reserved Seating) 1575
Upper Box A (Reserved Seating) 788
Upper Box B (Free Seating) 525
Gen. Admission (Free Seating) 210
The Pops we never knew
September 29 2007 at 7:17 AM Copier (no login)
Thanks to Bahay Online for the bomber after bomber. So many stories we all can relate and lessons we need to learn.
THE POPS WE NEVER KNEW
> Interview by Jo-Ann Q. Maglipon
> Text by Anna Pingol
> Photos by David Hanson
> Maria Cielito Lukban Fernandez – Pops in show business, Pipay to her friends, and Mom to her sons Robin, 20, and Ram, 16 – was, in her own words, a "shy and overprotected" colegiala when showbiz knocked on her door. The year was 1982. That same year, she would meet her would-be husband, Martin Nievera.
> The two didn't seem fated for each other. To the soft-spoken daughter of the late action star Eddie Fernandez and the former actress Dulce Lukban, the dark-skinned, U.S.-reared son of balladeer Bert Nievera came across as "fresh and mayabang." Pops wasn't Martin's type, either, because he went for mestiza looks.
> But paired as co-hosts on the song-and-dance TV talk show Penthouse Live!, the experimental tandem of Martin Nievera and Pops Fernandez became one of the hottest love teams of the 1980s. And because they were both talented singers, they also became unbeatable ticket sellers on the concert scene, filling up all major performance venues, from college campuses to Ultra to the Araneta Coliseum, and inevitably earning the titles Concert King and Queen.
> The professional partnership soon turned personal. It wasn't long before Martin was telling the whole nation on TV that he was marrying his best friend. The announcement made Pops cry. Millions of kilig-to-the-bones fans cried along.
> In no time, they walked down the aisle, exchanged "I do's," and professed love for each other, "till death do us part."
> Alas, it didn't turn out to be a love that would last a lifetime.
> In mid-July this year, a very upset Pops Fernandez – normally retiring, introverted, and studiously proper, compared with her voluble husband -- was tearfully talking to the media, explaining her side on an issue that involved her sons and Katrina Ojeda, the woman who, Pops says, caused the breakup of her marriage to Martin.
> Starting from that issue, Pops -- in a sit-down interview with YES! magazine on July 26 in her home in Ayala, Alabang -- takes us on a nine-year journey of self-revelation, recalling the joys of falling in love and the bliss of motherhood, the pain of betrayal and self-denial, as well as the mixed emotions that come with accepting the truth and eventually letting go.
> Pops says she decided to open up to YES! T after she cried on TV last July and she got all sorts of reactions:
> "I didn't want it to be misinterpreted s another issue. Kasi for a while, I would hear: `Oh, my God, why is she still so upset? Maybe because she still loves him or she wants him back.' I don't. Believe me, it's not that."
> Quietly but firmly, she adds, "We're done with that whole thing na, especially with whatever is happening now."
> She is aware that this is a little unexpected. "For a long time, I wasn't talking. It's hard for me to talk because the private person that I am doesn't really share much. So, every time something happens, people always wonder, `Why does she react that way?'
> "I have answers, but I chose to remain quiet. And always, no one knew where I was coming from. They never really knew what the background of my story is."
> She provides her own personal introduction: "This is what happened and one has to learn from it. You know, a little girl fell in love – head over heels -- and, when certain things happened, didn't know what to do.. This is the story, although it hurts. I felt angry, and betrayed, and confused. You get out of it okay, and you find new hope in your life."
> THE M-WORD
> It has been nine years since Pops, now 40, and Martin, now 45, ended being real-life partners. Now, after almost a decade of separation, the two are at war again.
> The war broke out after reports reached Pops that Martin's current partner, Katrina Ojeda, had compared her sons, Robin and Ram, to monkeys. Pops prefers that we do not spell out the M-word, because it pains her that her sons might be teased about it in school, so, whenever possible, we will not.
> It seems that Katrina had used the M-word after Robin and Ram, during one of their visits to their father's one-room apartment, had jumped up and down on Martin's bed so hard that the bed broke in two.
> We remember hearing the story from Pops at a private dinner on June 23, just days after she came back home from her U.S. and Canada concert tour with Kuh Ledesma. Angry, but composed, Pops told us to keep the story off the record. And we did.
> Then on July 12, entertainment columnist Dolly Anne Carvajal came out with an on-the-record account.
> "It's sad that my bosom friend Pops Fernandez and her ex-hubby Martin Nievera are at odds with each other," Dolly Anne wrote. "It took a long time for their love to revert to friendship, but it looks like that friendship is about to crack. Trouble began when Martin's partner Katrina Ojeda called Robin and Ram monkeys… The incident happened years ago but Pipay learned about it only recently."
> Five days later, on July 17, Martin's answer came out in Dolly Anne's column.
> "What Pops is telling you happened nine years ago when I was living in a small apartment that was decorated by Katrina's sis," Martin was quoted as saying. "When I had my boys over, they were wrestling and jumping on my bed and broke it in half. When I called Katrina in NY, I told her the funny story. She, in turn, told the story to her friends this way: "Martin's kids broke his bed in half! They were jumping up and down like monkeys, so the bed broke."
> It was clear that Martin – who gave the same statement to entertainment editor Ricky Lo – was not denying that Katrina had called his kids by the M-word. Rather, he was claiming that Katrina was referring to the kids' behavior, not to the kids themselves.
> Katrina was using a figure of speech, Martin insisted, adding: "If Pops believes the person who told her this story and selects not to remember that we went through this nine years ago, then I'm sorry she was hurt by the words her informant told her."
> On Ju7ly 15, Martin spoke on TV's The Buzz via a live hookup from the Ayala Alabang Country Club, during the advance first birthday party for Santino, his son with Katrina. Martin said he was not prolonging his talk at the request of his eldest son, Robin. "It's time to listen to the voice of our children," Martin said. "We have to stop this."
> Katrina, sitting beside Martin in that live hookup, offered her apologies on air: "I've apologized to Robin and Ram for whatever words that were said." But those words "were taken out of context," she pointed out. "Martin knows and the boys know that I will not say anything that would hurt Martin and the boys… We'll always be a family and nothing will get in the way of that because we're one."
> Martin's last words on air that day were for Katrina" "I want to thank her in front of the whole world…She's been there from the very beginning, every problem I've ever had. Katrina's always been my pillar of strength, and now she's my new happiness with our baby, Santino, to join Robin and Ram as his kuyas. We're very, very happy, and we hope all these problems will be resolved so we can be…one big happy extended family."
> More hurt than convinced, Pops then appeared on The Buzz the following Sunday to give her side on the controversy.
> "I kept quiet for a while," she said, her voice breaking. "That's why I didn't want to say anything. Kaya lang, I talked to Robin, I said, "The stories that are coming out are not true. I did not know about this nine years ago! Nine years ago, ten years ago, eleven years ago, it doesn't matter… Believe me, I remember everything that has happened and that that has been said to me, but I have not said anything about it because ako lang ang masasaktan.'
> "Sabi niya, `Well, mom, if you feel you have to [talk]…'"
> Pops, in tears, went on:
> "As a mother, masakit pag makakarinig aka ng mga bagay-bagay na tungkol sa mga anak mo na hindi maganda. Paano ko pinaniwalaan ang mga narinig ko? Dahil hindi lang isang beses ko narinig iyon. And may I correct this, I only heard about it when I was in Las Vegas, and that was probably only two months ago.
> "Noong unang beses ko siyang narinig sa Vegas, nagalit ako, pero wala akong basis, kasi nga mga kaibigan din nina Martin ang pinagdaanan ng istorya.
> "Noong umuwi ako [sa Pilipinas], nakakuwentuhan ko `yong isang kaibigan ko. Sinabi niya, `Pops, alam mo narinig ko na `yan dati, e. At si Martin mismo ang nagkukuwento, dahil ito `yong panahon na hindi yata sila okey ni Katrina. Siguro sila pa yata ni Cutie [del Mar] or something.'
> "Sinabi [ni Martin] na gusto na niyang makipag-break kay Katrina dahil masasakit `yong sinasabi [ni Katrina] about our kids…
> "Doon ako nagalit. Doon ako talagang nasaktan. Ha? Alam nap ala ni Martin "yan? I'm very, very upset. I think I was crying kasi hindi ko mailabas ang anger ko."
> (Cutie del Mar is a former weather girl and one-time actress—she appeared in Starzan III :The Jungle Triangle – whose name started to be linked with Martin's in late 2002, after she was constantly seen in Martin's concerts with Martin's family. Martin never admitted to a romantic relationship, saying she was just a friend from way back.)
> On The Buzz last July 22, Pops expressed her wish for Martin:
> "I just wished that Martin is not anymore as impulsive and as short-tempered as he is because, at the end of the day, I never want to fight with you…
> "It's so hard to fight with you because you have this great talent for convincing people what our story is. I think it's also the reason why I remained quiet. Who wants to fight? I wanted to be your friend throughout this whole problem we had, kaya lang, di ba, usapan natin, when it comes to the kids, you and I are supposed to fix it? You're not supposed to fight with me because I'm fighting for our kids."
> In a subsequent interview on QTV 11's The Ricky Lo Exclusives, Pops came up with even more explosive quotes, elaborating on something that Martin had hinted at in the papers -- that their heated phone conversations about the M-word had ended up with him banging the phone on her.
> "Noong nag-usap kami sa telepono… Siguro hindi niya naintindihan na I was really, really hurting. I was really upset. Sinabayan na niya `yong galit ko. Minumura na niya ako—mas galit pa siya sa akin."
> Pops admitted that she herself had said one cussword. "But I took it back. `Martin, I'm so sorry…'cause if I said it, we're not gonna end the topic.' Noong nag-apologize na ako, minura na niya ako—katakot-takot na mura na. Hindi na ako nakasalita."
> Later, on the Ricky Lo show, Pops revealed that Martin, besides apologizing on TV, had sent her a text message apologizing on Katrina's behalf. But Pops was apparently not appeased by the apology.
> "Maski na nag-text kasi siya, do you have to lie about the story? He's making it seem nga like I'm only creating the story now. Why would I do that? Why will I think of a story that happened nine years ago and then all of a sudden, `Hey, let me make this big.' Come on!
> "I don't appreciate it [that he's] twisting the story and lying about it, and then he says, `I'm sorry'…They both claim kasi that it's a joke and that I knew about it nine years ago…. Nine years ago, I experienced more painful things, but they had nothing to do with the kids."
> Again, she stressed: "Hindi ko naman siya inaaway. But we both made a deal that when it comes to the kids, we're gonna fix things together. But ang ending nga, he was more interested in finding out who told me rather than, `Okay, Pops, calm down, let me deal with it.' And, hey, did he have to hang up? Okey na nga 'yong sigawan. Sige, sigawan—para mailabas natin mga galit natin. Pero to hang up? How can we fix that?"
> She also volunteered that Martin is the type who'd rather send her text messages than actually talk to her.
> "I'd really rather talk to Martin, I'd really confront the problem than hide. Kasi, for me, if you really wanna clear the issue, stop texting me. `Cause he knows I'm not gonna text back. It's so hard to text back, e… Naano mo lang ang emotions mo, `tapos ang dami-dami mo nang nasasabi.
> "Then, if I'm the one calling, he doesn't answer the phone,. If he wants to scream at me, then scream at me. At least, let's come to an ending, not hang up. Maybe he's not brave enough to finish any discussion with me."
> In the July 26 interview with YES1, Pops reiterates her point:
> "According to Martin the incident was already nine years ago.. But it's really only two years ago, from the story I gathered in the States.
> "Any which way, that's a long time of calling my kids that. And that's a long-running joke for her. Parang feeling ko, `Oh my God, yon ba talaga ang tawag diyan sa mga anak ko? `Cause, hey, nine years is so far away from two years ago.
> "And the one who told me said she actually announced it" "The m—are coming!"
> Looking us in the eye, her tone even, Pops says, "So, `yon lang naman. I think I wouldn't have said anything if my kids were not involved… If Martin didn't twist the story, I don't even think I'd say anything anymore."
THE POPS WE NEVER KNEW (2 of 5)
Re: The Pops we never knew September 29 2007, 7:18 AM
THE POPS WE NEVER KNEW (2 of 5)
The interview with YES! becomes an occasion for Pops Fernandez to go back in time and recall a childhood tinged, like the present, with pain.
Although schooled in the expensive International School, Pops didn’t exactly live a very comfortable life. She was just turning three years old when her father got into trouble with the law. Eventually, Eddie Fernandez was convicted of homicide in the killing of a prominent scion, and he spent more than 10 years behind bars.
“When my dad was sent to prison, we totally lost everything,” Pops recalls. “I think naubos ‘yong pera namin for the case. There was nothing left. I remember, as a kid, there was a time we would only share one can of sardines.”
Dulce Lukban took over the role of breadwinner, and not just for her own children. “My mom was the breadwinner also of her family,” she says. There was another family that stayed with her us -- her brother’s new family. So, sobrang dami namin. But we were so happy. But that was really a tough, tough childhood.”
Being the panganay and a girl at that, Pops was brought up the old-fashioned way. “I wasn’t allowed to go to parties,” she laughs at the memory. “Even when I was in school, it was very rare that I attended parties.”
Showbiz turned her life around.
“When you are an overprotected young girl who only knew about school, and then all of a sudden you’re exposed to a very colorful kind of a job—parang it was so exciting for me. This was my biggest dream ever--- to be in front of the camera. So, parang, ‘Oh, wow, how fun. I get to meet all these people, I get to do what I pictured myself doing overt since I was a kid.’”
And things went really fast, both career-wise and on the home front.
“I got into so quickly. I recorded a song and then I think, a few months after, my dad was released [from prison]. So, that was big news. It was another big story in my life. And it was something I also didn’t expect because, as a little girl, I was convinced my dad was gonna be in prison for the rest of his life. Then all of a sudden, oh, wow, I get to see my dad and be with my dad.”
The big news ended up getting the showbiz newbie big media attention.
“I think it was an accident, but at the same time, it was timed perfectly. I was, all of a sudden, connected to a big story. Obviously, my dad was very much Eddie Fernandez. So, everything happened so fast. I started doing movies.”
Her first shot at the big screen was the dramatic film Pag-Ibig Pa, with her first love-team partner, Rowell Santiago. That was followed by the teenybopper flick Just Say You Love Me, also with Rowell. Both movies were shown in 1982, and both were mild hits.
That same year, 1982, she started doing various hosting chores for TV, including becoming the Wednesday Girl for the hit afternoon variety show on what was then PTV-4, Patok na Patok, hosted by Ariel Ureta and directed by Fritz Ynfante.
“I would do that right after school,”: she recalls. “I’d rush, and I’d be the Thought-for-the-Day Girl -- I just read either thoughts, or verses, or poems, or Bible verses. I also did Jumbo Jackpot of Kuya Ike [Lozada]. I’d do it, like, once a month. ‘Tapos, si Kuya Germs [German Moreno] would get me as regular guest sa GMA Supershow.”
It was during one of her TV stints, on Jumbo Jackpot, that she first met a “slang-slang kind of guy” named Martin Nievera, who aspired to be a singer like his father, Bert Nievera.
Pops first impression of Martin was not entirely positive.
“He was already,” she chuckles at the recollection, “the likot person that he is, the confident person that he is—in a good way, of course. Even if he doesn’t know you, he’s talking to you. And he was very aggressive. He reminded me of a lot of Americans in school who were way overconfident. Ang feeling ko, ‘My God, this guy is so fresh. He’s trying to be so American.’ Siyempre, hindi ko na-get na he really grew up in the States, ‘no?”
And then, along came Penthouse Live!, the Channel 7 show directed by Fritz Ynfante who was also directing Patok na Patok.
“Penthouse was then hosted by Merce Henares,” Pops recalls. “They were looking for an English-speaking young guy, and Martin fit the part. Fritz approached me and said, ‘Hey, I want you to co-host with him. I think you’re gonna be a perfect co-host.’”
Pops remembers declining and thinking that the show was way too formal and mature for a teenager like her.
“I used to watch it as a little girl. And I loved Merce when she was hosting it. She was one of my idols – she’s so galing and, wow, she’s so poised. I super liked her. But when it was offered to me, I said, ‘I don’t think I can do that. I don’t think I’m confident enough to carry myself in that aspect. Okey lang ‘yong fun, pa-cute, casual shows. But this one was, like, way out of my league.”
Moreover, she didn’t really want to work with “that Martin” fellow.
But her mother had already given Fritz her nod. So Pops came up with a scheme that she thought would end her Penthouse stint right away.
“I thought I’d just be the I.S. girl that I am,” she laughs. “Which is, when you throw something at me, I’d have a real sarcastic feedback. The funny thing is, the other co-host was Katrina Ponce Enrile -- another Katrina,” she chuckles at this, then adds, “Can you believe that? Anyway, there were two lady co-hosts. It was her and then me. So, parang it was such an easy task, and whatever things I said and did, I knew that after the show, Tito Fritz would say, ’My God, what did you do? You’re so horrible!’ And I’d never guest again.”
But that was not to be the case.
“After the show, they were so ecstatic. ‘Oh my God, it’s like Donny & Marie. It’s perfect!’”
(Donny & Marie, hosted by the brother-and-sister duo of Donny and Marie Osmond, was one of the top-rated American TV variety shows in the late 1970s.)
Pops recalls being teary-eyed in frustration. She got even more teary-eyed when Fritz asked to extend her Penthouse stint and her mom said yes again.
“I told myself, ‘That wasn’t supposed to happen.’”
But she did the show anyway, Sunday after Sunday, until she realized she was already the regular co-host.
Fritz Ynfante, the extravaganza director who also moonlights as an actor, has vivid memories of those colorful years with Pops and Martin.
“Si Martin – he was very good, he was extraordinary, he was witty, he was charming. He talks a lot. That’s why he’s a big mouth! Good wit—I liked his wit. And he had no qualms.
“We were not rating. My producer told me, ‘Let’s make it youngish.’ And I thought about him. But I was told, ‘But he’s not too handsome.’ When he was twenty, he was a dark little boy who could speak American, act English. He was atrebido and a darling guy. And I said, ‘He’s young and he’s Bert’s son, it was already a plus factor for him.’”
Needless to say, the irrepressible Fritz got his way.
“We had to promote him well because he was not into any showbiz party. But he was picking up, especially with college and high-school girls. In schools we were already getting a crowd for him, because they liked his wit, his lack of sophistication, and yet he could be charming.”
When the need for a female co-host arose, Fritz recalls telling his producer: “We cannot just put anybody and then regret it. Let’s not sign anybody. Let’s put any girl that we want and see how it works. Once I see the chemistry, that’s when we sign her on a permanent basis.”
“So we had, like Katrina Ponce-Enrile, Jackielou Blanco, several society girls, pretty girls. And to make the very long story short, Pops came into my life.”
He tested her.
“I’m willing to give a chance to anyone until I find the chemistry,” says Fritz. “And even though Martin was very, very partial to mestizas, I put Pops in. I knew Martin would never like this girl -- she’s dark, she needed total overhauling. But I liked the way she talks, I liked her guts, she had a lot of spunk, and I said, ‘I can mold this girl.’
“After two Sundays, we were getting calls, we were getting audience comments. But then Martin calls me and said. ‘Tito Fritz, she’s too dark, she’s not very pretty, let’s get somebody prettier and mestiza.’”
Instead, Fritz kept asking Pops to come back every week.
“Because I could already see the chemistry, the magic that I wanted,,” the veteran director explains. “And it was not because of the romance, or love, or infatuation…It was more of the fencing. Emceeing is like fencing -- you thrust and I parry. So it has to be totally incompatible, because then there is fire, because then they will try to outdo each other. That is the chemistry. That is the magic that I saw between Pops and Martin.”
LOVE WALKS IN
The chemistry and the magic were strictly for TV. Off-camera, Martin was smitten with another singer-actress, Jackielou Blanco, Pilita Corrales’s daughter, who would end up marrying actor Ricky Davao.
“He was very much in love with Jackie then,” Pops recalls. “And I knew that ‘cause Martin is the exact opposite of me—he loves to make kuwento, which I really appreciated because this guy is so fun to be with. Wow, how can anybody be so open? And I’d just listen, you know. So I knew they were so madly in love with each other.”
Pops, for her part, was going out at that time with Randy Santiago, brother of her movie love-team partner, Rowell.. But the romance with Randy was more of a phone relationship than an actual going-out-on-dates sort of thing.
“I can count on one hand the times I hung out with him,” she laughs. “I wasn’t allowed to go out. My mom’s very strict. Randy would just call after every gig that he would have.”
By the time they were gunning for their fourth year as Penthouse Live! Hosts, Pops hand Martin had developed a level of closeness. “The team worked so well that we had lot of shows together,” she recalls. “He would guest me in his concerts. And what would you do backstage? Talk.”
Pops was thus one of the first to know when the Martin-and-Jackielou romance started to fall apart. And Pops’s own relationship with Randy was destined not to prosper.
“So, I guess, I don’t know, call I it that word --- you’re vulnerable,” she sighs. “You’re so young, and here’s this guy, and you’re constantly together, and you kinda know him so well, and he kinda knows me so well… He also was like a shoulder to cry on back then. I felt that time that he understood where I was coming from, and I really didn’t have enough friends to be able share my woes.
“It almost came to a point when we practically wake up early in our separate houses and then the first person we see is each other because we have an early call time somewhere here, or we have to fly together, or drive together to a certain town or province. We’re constantly together, and I think that’s what happened.”
What happened was love coming from the most unexpected places.
“It happened in one of the tapings for Penthouse, when we were out of town. We were in Anilao [Batangas], if I’m not mistaken. So, it’s different again when you’re out of town. It’s a beautiful scene. We were on a yacht taping, and all of a sudden, he was telling me, ‘Hey, I think I kinda feel something different about you,’ and so on.”
Pops admits now she was by then also falling for him. He was no longer with Jackielou, she was no longer with Randy, and that made Pops think: “Hey, maybe it’s our turn.”
Fritz sees this point in the life of Martin and Pops -- and of the show—as the peak.
“Penthouse flew na,” the flamboyant director says. “We were hitting the Forbes Park crowd, we were hitting the Tondo crowd, without even trying to please either. And when they fell in love, that was when the show was really, really at its summit. Because people were curious. ‘Is it true? Why didn’t Martin kiss her good night at the end of the show during the fade-out? Why was Pops cold? Why did she cry when Martin was singing?’”
The next thing Pops knew, Martin was already proposing marriage.
“When I did my Rizal Stadium show, I was devastated because hindi siya matuloy-tuloy, because inulan. I was super depressed. And I was crying after the unfinished concert. I was crying in the house where there was a cast party. That was when he actually proposed to me. That was on a December. The next December, we were supposed to get married.”
The actual wedding happened on June 28, 1986, six months before the original December 1986 plan. Why the rush?
Pops smiles, “Cause then I found out that I was already pregnant.”
WEDDING BELLS, WEDDING BLUES
The very first person that Pops and Martin talked to about the wedding was her father, Eddie Fernandez. “I remembered we were in the recording studio and you know, we told him we’re gonna get married. And he was so happy.”
Pops says she didn’t know how to break the news to her mother: “I was so scared of my mom. I didn’t know how she would handle it.” But Pops was also too scared to tell her dad about her pregnancy. So she didn’t.
“He didn’t know that part until we set a meeting with my mom. My dad, the whole time, he was like, you know, ‘Pabayaan na natin sila, they’re in love.’ And, of course, my mom kinda had to ask that question. And that was the only time he also found out. Shocked siya because we kinda left the story hanging for a while.”
Because of the pregnancy, everyone agreed to set the wedding at an earlier date.
Back then, there were rumors about a shotgun wedding. She denied it then, and she denies it now. All she knew at that time was, she was in love with the man who loved her.
“I was so young and in love, and I was willing to continue the pregnancy, even if I felt that we were both not ready—or if he was not ready. But he asked me any way to continue to marry him. This was what we wanted to do anyway. This was it! All I wanted after the showbiz thing was to finally end up with someone I love. And this was my first love, my first everything.
“I’ve never felt so in love that I could actually argue with my mom. And defy some of her mga don’t go-here and don’t-do-that. I was strong enough to stand up for what I actually felt for the man I loved.”
On their first night as a married couple, Pops was too happy to feel bothered about something that troubles her mind now. Martin began to show a side of him that she hadn’t known before.
“Para sa akin kasi, we’re official, yes, finally it’s the right thing to do. And we can finally do it without hiding and being guilty,” Pops says about husband-wife intimacies with some frankness. “Then he said, ‘Hey, why are you so excited? You have so many years to come.’”
She goes on, “So, not knowing any better, I said to myself, ‘Oh, my God, have I been too aggressive?’ I didn’t see it as anything. Parang for me it’s , like, tomorrow’s another day. Hey, now that’ we’re married, yeah, it can be any time, you know what I mean?
“So, from the very first night alone, I kinda got the idea na maybe I shouldn’t ask, or it shouldn’t come from me, if ever, you know?”
Back then, she wasn’t hurt or suspicious or alarmed. She was just puzzled. “I was too in heaven to see the disappointments.” But the time came when the disappointments became frequent.
“The first few years were very difficult,” she says now. “Very, very difficult. To this day, I really don’t know what was happening then. I never bothered asking.”
The public regarded them as an ideal couple, but the reality was something else.
“There were a lot of fights. And when it was explained to me, I kinda had to accept the explanation. It’s like…’Well, maybe it’s the adjusting, because you know, you guys got married at such a young age and maybe it’s only now that he’s realizing that he’s not single anymore. And he can’t do all the single things.’”
Martin and Pops were already living in their conjugal home in Ayala Alabang Village, where they were among the first residents. She was pregnant, and was thus often home alone, in a house that had yet to have a telephone line. This was a time when the cellphone had yet to be invented, and what there was, was the pager, a mechanism through which you could send messages, but replying could only be done via a landline.
“I would find a way to page him or call him. And he would be, like, telling me, ‘Hey, I’m gonna be home anyway tonight. Why do you have to be checking on me?’ Parang feeling ko, maybe I’m too much, maybe I’m such an excited young wife, you know?
Things had become very different. It was kinda difficult to understand. Before, we were super constantly together, and we were constantly calling up each other, and we don’t sleep unless he gets to talk to me so we can say good night, you know, that whole sweet scene?
“And then all of a sudden it was, like, oh, I’m way too much, or he doesn’t want me to check on him? So maybe he is realizing or he’s still adjusting to the whole married-life setup.”
At one point, she was making excuses for him. “Baka he’s feeling tied down…” she sighs. Trust me, I gave all the excuses just so I’d understand that whole phase. It was really a rough start for us.”
Pops knew that Martin knew it, too—that they needed to work on their young marriage in order to save it. She was only too happy to hear Martin saying: “I want this to work. I want this family to work.”
Martin’s parents, Bert Nievera and former society editor Conchita Razon, were then based in Hawaii, and one morning Martin gets the idea to uproot his family and join them.
“We just woke up, and Martin goes, ‘You know what, I wanna surprise my parents, let’s go to Hawaii.’ So, we all went to Hawaii with our little Robin. Martin wanted to try it out there.
“So, of course, I fully accepted the whole thing. I’m so willing talaga. I mean, you know, ‘Come, let’s do whatever you wanna end up doing. If it’s Hawaii, then let’s be in Hawaii! Because I wasn’t also happy na with the relationship. I don’t know if we both wanted the same thing. I remember being so excited for the marriage. And parang he was still in the adjustment period.”
To her surprise, after they moved to Hawaii, things did change for the better.
“He got a gig. I think we would be there for three to four months straight, hanggang sa we even built a house in Hawaii, thinking that we would really end up there.”
Pops, who was already doing well as a recording artist in the Philippines, gave up her own career so that she and Martin could work things out.
Then, one day in 1988, Martin got a call from his half-brother, Luigi Tabuena, saying that there was an offer for Martin to do a TV show in Manila. She recalls Luigi advising Martin to accept it: “Nothing to lose. If it doesn’t work, you can always go back to Hawaii.’”
But the late-night talk show named Martin After Dark (M.A.D.) clicked.
It was goodbye, Hawaii.
THE POPS WE NEVER KNEW (3 of 5)
Re: The Pops we never knew September 29 2007, 7:19 AM
THE POPS WE NEVER KNEW (3 of 5)
ON THE ROCKS
Back in Manila, Pops resumed her life as a regular wife and mother, until she picked up her singing and hosting career years later, this time for ABS-CBN’s Sunday musical show, A.S.A.P., where she and Martin would be co-hosts.
“I started getting busy again,” she says. “We felt, hey, you know, if it’s an opportunity for us to earn a little bit more, why not? And of course, the concerts of the Martin-Pops tandem never stopped. We would still tour together.”
Things were going fine until she noted signs of restlessness in Martin once more. But Pops didn’t see the restlessness as something that could threaten their marriage. After Hawaii, she thought they were truly stronger.
“I guess when you’ve been married for such a long time, I don’t know, you kinda take things in stride,” she rationalizes. Then adds: “not naman take for granted. But ‘cause you know each other so well, parang you’re so settled after a while. Your love is not any less, but it’s just that, hey, I know you so well, so if you’re a little upset now, later okey ka na or something like that. So, maybe we thought we were communicating. But we weren’t.”
She realizes now that she was making excuses for him, again.
“Maybe there were a lot of things bothering him. I thought we were okay, but maybe hew as bothered about a lot of things, and I didn’t know about it.
Pops couldn’t pinpoint the problem.
“I felt there was something wrong with us. All of a sudden, he was constantly asking permission to be out with the boys -- and he never did that. So, ako naman, ‘Okay…’ He had his basketball friends kasi. But parang he was weird. Maybe he wanted to experience something. And I would be bothered, but I’d say, ‘Why not? He’d really go out anyway.’”
It was at around this time that Pops started receiving pager messages from anonymous senders, all saying one thing: Martin was “seeing another woman.”
She decided to bring up the matter with Martin.
“And then he’d say, ‘I don’t know, I have lots of friends.’ Every time I’d bring it up, siyempre galit pa siya.”
One day, the problem suddenly had a name: Katrina. Again, she confronted him.
“And he’d say, ‘You know, when we go out, I’m sure there’s a Katrina there. I don’t really know. Come on!’”
Troubled but unsure, Pops actually felt guilty about her behavior. “Parang, oo nga ano, I don’t trust my husband.”
But then, the anonymous pager messages became more insistent. At the same time, concerned friends kept asking if she was okay. “Ako naman, not knowing anything, ‘Yeah, of course! It’s just that I think we’re going through something. I don’t know what it is.’”
Apparently, what she didn’t know was already a staple topic within her own circle.
“Everybody was talking about it, they just couldn’t tell me,” she now shakes her head at the memory. “Actually, when I found out, they’d been going out for, like, a year already. They were seen in places na. There were [newspaper] articles about it na.”
Thinking about it now, she wishes someone had told her outright back then.
“It would still be a major-league pain. I would think it’s the same thing I felt when I found out anyway a year after. But then I wouldn’t have felt as stupid and as lost and as unknowing. Alam mo ‘yon?”
Pops later managed to put together the pieces of the Martin and Katrina Ojeda back story.
“They met in a bar. A good friend of ours -- well, more of a good friend of Martin – introduced Martin to her. I guess Martin was also going through something… I guess he was again testing his manhood after almost the ninth year of marriage. And there it was. He took her home, and I guess he never stopped taking her home after that. That’s what it was.”
Still, Pops remained in denial.
“After one year of them kinda seeing each other, meron akong mga moments na, I would catch him… but I was so in denial. I think it never occurred to me that he could fool around. I can take it if people called me stupid, but that’s what it was.”
Now that she is reliving those years, Pops can’t help but think that their not-too-normal setup in bed those days may also have contributed to Martin’s cooling off. She admits that on their eighth year of marriage, she was afflicted with a bad case of urinary tract infection, which directly affected marital consummation.
“I don’t know how to say this in a very nice way, in a clinical way, “ she says with an embarrassed laugh. “Every time there was contact, it would occur, you know, even if I had medication. So, me, I get so scared na every time there is, the next day I would have an attack. But I thought he kinda understood. He never complained about it. I don’t remember him really making such a big deal about it. So, I didn’t think there was a problem there. I really thought he kinda understood that situation.
But that is getting ahead of the story.
Pops recalls one particularly painful incident at Christmastime.
“We flew to the States, the whole family. His sister lives on the East Coast, and we all celebrated Christmas there. We all stayed in the sister’s house. And there he was making paalam to go to New York City, because he had to meet up with some friends of his that had something to do with his career.
“So, I was emoting to him—I remembered this ‘cause I was crying --- ‘Martin, there’s something wrong, and I don’t know what’s going on. Usually, when we take trips, we’re the happiest and we’re with the whole family, we’re with the kids…’
“Anyway, we were all in the basement. We were all in one house, so everybody is so siksikan. We had one room, which was connected to our bathroom.”
She goes on, “I was about to go inside the banyo. He was on the phone, and he kept saying, ‘I love you. I really missed you.’”
She is certain this is what her husband was saying to the person on the other line.
“You know, I froze. It’s like in a movie. You don’t know what to say, you don’t know what to do. I was, like, ‘Who is he saying I love you to? My kids are here…’
“And again, I didn’t think it was another girl. But then again, who could it be? And then, when I turned around, my brother was beside me -- ‘cause my family was also there -- and he was, like, ‘Ate, are you okay?’ ‘Cause he heard it too. I said [to my brother], ‘It’s fine…’
“Then I opened the door and I asked Martin, ‘Who are you talking to?’”
Martin had an answer. “He was referring to his pamangkin who wasn’t there yet. And I said, ‘You’re that sweet?’
“ ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah… Look, we got cut off. Let me call.’”
“And he called his sister. ‘Can you please tell her that I was talking to you guys?’”
Pops, confused and stunned, decided to believe him anyway.
“But for the first time I knew there was something wrong,” she now says. “But I still couldn’t imagine that it was another girl --- and who was this girl?”
Moreover, she failed to persuade Martin not to leave for New York.
“He said goodbye, he did his thing, he was gone for three days. And then there was a blizzard, and we were stuck there in the house. It was my most miserable Christmas.”
And there were many more incidents.
“I don’t remember anymore the chronological order of the whole thing. Once when I came home, dito sa [Alabang] house, my maid came up to me, and she was saying that Martin’s PA [personal assistant] came to the house because they picked up something, which I knew about, kaya lang they were with somebody else.”
“And sabi ko, ‘Who’s that girl?’
“ ‘Ma’am, hindi ko po kakilala.’
“And apparently, this person went all the way upstairs. So, I said, ‘Why did she go all the way upstairs? Why didn’t you stop her?’
“ ‘Ma’am, pinipigilan ko o, kaya lang ho, sinamahan nga noong PA ni sir. Wala na ho akong nagawa.’
“I asked Mart later who his PA was with.
“I guess a friend.”
“ ‘So, why did they have to check out the rooms? It’s very private. They’re welcome in the house, but I don’t think it’s right for them to check out the rooms, especially when we’re not here.’
“And he’s, like, ‘I don’t know. How should I know!’
“So, again he’s upset.”
Remembering yet another incident, Pops goes on:
“There was another kuwento pa prior to that. I had a very concerned helper, and I think she was also sending me feelers na my husband was fooling around. There was a letter that the helper read that came from her [the other woman]. It was a letter that [the other woman] wrote.
“It was all about their relationship and how much they love each other, and all that stuff. I never got the chance to read the letter myself, but I did ask Martin about the letter, and he was again very upset. He denied it.”
Instead for digging for the truth, she fired her helper. “I thought she was causing us trouble,” she says regretfully. “And again, I was in denial. I was so in denial.”
Later, adding up all the pieces, Pops became certain that it was Katrina who had gone upstairs, and that it was also Katrina who had sent the letter that the helper read.
Pops remained resolved that she and Martin could fix whatever was wrong with their marriage.
One time, when Martin was scheduled to go to Singapore with his brother for a golf tournament, Pops decided to talk to him. She remembers telling him: “ ‘Mart, I really don’t know what’s happening to us, but I really wanna make sure that we fix it. I’m not happy. You’re different. I don’t know what it is. And you’re going to tell me what it is.’
“And he said, ‘Yes, yes, we’re fixing it.’ ”
As events would have it, while Martin was in Singapore and Pops was eagerly awaiting his return, someone finally decided to tell Pops about Katrina.
“Someone very dear to me had to sit me down and really tell me straight to my face na: ‘Your husband’s fooling around. He’s been going out with this Katrina girl, who is now in New York. She’s been studying in New York. That’s why when you were in New York, he probably left you for couple of days. And it’s been going on for almost a year now. I’m telling you this because I’m so naaawa na with you, because you’re the only one who does not know.’ ”
Pops was dumbfounded.
“When I got to my car, that’s when I was screaming, screaming my head off, crying… I couldn’t believe it, and now, parang everything was falling into place. No wonder he kept making paalam for New York, no wonder he was always on the phone, no wonder I heard that thing in the bathroom, no wonder he’s so different now, no wonder I got those messages, no wonder my friends were constantly asking me if we were okay.”
Back home, still in disbelief, she called up the friend who had leveled with her, to ask what she had earlier not been able to ask.
“I said, ‘Oh my, God, I can’t believe everything you told me.’
She’s , like, ‘I didn’t know how to tell you, that’s why I kept asking you , but you never told me anything.’
“And I had to fight with her. But later, I kinda understood. How can you deliver such a horrible message?”
That was when her bouts of depression started.
“I was a goner. Alam mo ‘yong tulala? I couldn’t sleep. I took something to make me sleep, and I still couldn’t sleep. I was trying to reach Martin – who was still probably on the plane. I couldn’t reach him. When I finally talked to him, on the phone, I said, ‘You better tell me the truth. What is happening? I know everything!’ ”
And right there, on the phone, he dropped the bomb. Pops says Martin said flatly: “Yes, it’s true.”
Finally, the rumors were confirmed. But for Pops, the confession was traumatic.
“I don’t remember what happened in the conversation. Basta I was so upset. I said, ‘You better come home now and fix this!’ ”
And fix it, he did. He apologized profusely; she forgave him wholeheartedly.
Now, Pops says of that moment, “I think that was my biggest mistake – I forgave him right away.”
Why did I do that? I didn’t know any better. Plus, he said he was gonna break up with her. And I think that was the most important thing. That’s what I wanted to hear, because I didn’t want a broken family., That was a promise I made to myself! And I said, ‘How will I know if you’re really gonna break up with her? Come on.’
“He called up [Katrina in New York]. And I told Martin, ‘You tell her, you tell her it’s over.’ ”
The next moments were strange, even in recall. “And then, there I was, I was actually talking to Katrina! And she goes: ‘I’m so sorry for all the pain and the trouble I caused your family. It’s never gonna happen again. It’s over.’
Pops manages to tell Katrina: “Are you sure it’s over? You better make sure it’s over!”
And for a while, Pops believe it was really over, and that she succeeded in keeping her promise to herself: she had kept her family whole.
“I had to hang on and hold on to those words, because this is the family I wanna keep.”
But soon the truth was staring her in the face again.
“I think Martin wasn’t ready to end it,” she says today. “And I just forced him to end everything. I think that’s what it was. I really caught him, and I don’t think he wanted to be caught, and I don’t think he wanted to end it.”
Thinking about it now, she speculates: “I don’t know if it was a setup. I don’t know if they just both panicked because they didn’t know what I was about to do. They didn’t know how angry I was. So, I guess, for them that was their initial reaction, na ‘Come on, let’s really end it.’ ”
One or two weeks after that phone call to Katrina, Pops remembers Ricky Lo coming out with a newspaper item saying Pops and Martin had gone their separate ways.
I think we had to do a whole show for M.A.D. discussing that we were not separated. I didn’t lie. We were not separated. But I was crying that day because I knew there was trouble in my marriage. And I denied the whole thing, and that was hard to do. That was the hardest thing to do.”
In that M.A.D. episode, she was waiting for Martin, not just to deny that there was trouble in their union, but to actually say he still loved his wife. The words never came.
“Right after the show, I said: ‘The least you could have done to make it just a little more believable was to say you still love me, which you didn’t do.’ ”
THE POPS WE NEVER KNEW (4 of 5)
THE POPS WE NEVER KNEW (4 of 5)
THE WORST FIVE DAYS
Three more turbulent years went by . Pops fought on—not only because she was scared of losing her family, but, she admits, because she was still so in love with the man who was fast becoming a stranger to her. But she was clinging to a lie. Worse, she was now blaming herself for her marital problems.
She pushed herself to find to the solutions to those problems.
“Madami nang lumalabas [sa diyaryo] na kesyo hindi ako marunong magluto, burara daw ako, hindi ko daw inaayos ‘yong mggamit niya, I’m a nagger…. I used to hear all of that, and I was, like, ‘Oh, my God, if I were all of these, how come I never heard it from him?’
“Yes, I didn’t know how to cook, but I didn’t think it bothered him because he never asked me to cook. So , when I thought that was the problem, I started trying to cook just to fix everything. She, he would say, ‘It’s too late. You’re trying to be Mary Poppins, to fix everything in one day?””
Nothing she did seemed to work. “In other words, whatever it was, in his mind it was too late. But [for me], better now than never, di ba, because this is what we want, right? We wanna fix everything.”
She thinks to add: : “I was not a nagger, that’s for sure.”
If she did become one, it was after she found about about Katrina.
“Siyempre after, I was really kulit na. Kumbaga, I was forever checking na on him. Forever finding out where he was gonna be. But I wasn’t a nag enough to stop him from doing things he was not supposed to do.”
Pops began to feel that Martin was coming to a clear decision – and he would be choosing Katrina over her. It was hell.
“I was crying and I was praying. He even talked to Robin, saying, ‘I’m sorry that sometimes things happen…’ And I was, like, ‘Oh, my God, this is really going to happen. We’re gonna part ways. He’s gonna disappear.’ He didn’t come home that night.”
The next day, Martin came back to announce his decision.
“Early in the morning, he entered the room, and he goes, ‘You know, I was driving around, and I was really praying the whole night. I really thought things over. I was driving around, called up my family… and now I know, I wanna keep the family.’ ”
Pops felt utter relief. “I was, like, “Thank you, Lord.” I said, ‘It’s great. What happened?’ And he said, ‘I realized that this is the family that I have, and I have to keep it.’
But her relief was short-lived ---a little too short-lived.
“He said, ‘I only have one request…’
“And I said, ‘Yeah. Whatever. I don’t care. I just want you back! I just wanna save everything!’
“ And he’s , like, ‘Okay, give me five days in New York, just for me to say goodbye properly [to Katrina].
“And I was, like, ‘Why? Call again.. Here’s the phone. Call again and say goodbye properly.’
“And he’s, like, ‘No, no, no… You don’t understand. You know, we have this special thing you’ll just never understand. And we made a promise that if something like this will happen, we will do it this way. We will do it properly.’”
Pops gave in, justifying her decision in hermind. “That’s only for five more days, but I will have him for the rest of life! And hey, that’s what he also said. So I was, like. ‘What’s five days? I can handle five days.’”
Plus, she was becoming more hopeful because Martin said he wanted, after New York, to meet her and the kids in Hawaii for a short visit. And, as Pops mentions at least twice, they all loved Hawaii.
“Martin said, ‘We’ll spend a couple of days there, and then we go home together—like one big happy family.’
“But, wow, that was the worst five days of my life! First, I have to travel with my twoboys, and I was in so much pain, and I know exactly where he is.”
She heaves a sigh, “Five days… Then I realized, it can really be just one day, di ba? Why five days? What I didn’t realize pa, the fifth day was our wedding anniversary.”
On the fifth day, Martin called her up.
“He said, ‘I’m leaving New York now.’
“I asked, ‘So, how was everything?’
“ ‘What do you expect?’
“ ‘It’s over, right?’
“ ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah…’
“ ‘So, are you coming home now?’
“ ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah…’
Finally, she thought, it was all over. She gave a prayer of thanks.
After coming back from those five days in New York, Martin was a changed man.
“He was grumpy, he was grouchy,” Pops looks back. “And he was still not as sweet. Not the same as he used to be, you know…Again, he had done something that he wasn’t ready for or was against his will. Napilitan lang.”
As for Pops herself: “I was going crazy.”
Then one day, Martin said he was having a show in Guam. And she recalls him telling her that, right after the show, he was going to Hawaii to “find himself.”
She insisted on going along.
“When I heard Hawaii, I said, ‘That’s our favorite place, we love that place! Why don’t I go with you so that we can have, like, another honeymoon, you know. And maybe we can try to work things out again…’
“’No, no, no. I really just wanna be by myself. I have a lot of things to think about, you know. Life is not just about you, Pops! I also have a lot of other problems aside from whatever is happening.’”
She didn’t insist anymore. Instead, she decided she’d surprise him by showing up in Guam. But she didn’t get the pleasant response she expected. “He totally freaked out,” she recalls.
Martin was in his hotel room when she arrived. Pops was made to wait for him in the lobby, and she waited for an hour.
“I was, like, ‘Why can’t I go up?’ And I was told he was getting ready because there was, like, a cast party. And I just had to wait. So, I waited. When he came down, he goes, ‘What the heck are you doing here?’
“’I said, ‘I wanted to surprise you. This is what we loved to do before, remember?’ --‘cause we really always surprised each other before – and I said, ‘I was just trying to bring back all the things that we used to do, para lang I can bring back whatever it was that we used to o have.’
“He totally didn’t appreciate it.”
Moreover, he decided there would be no more Hawaii trip after Guam.
“I said, ‘Why not? I already have my ticket. We should go.’ ”
Pops now mimics Martin’s cold tone: “ ‘What the hell for: We’re already here! We might as well honeymoon here.’
The two ended up having a long and dramatic argument.
“I was, like, ‘What are you doing? I thought it was over? You’re gonna meet up with her, right?’ Of course, he totally denied it.”
In Guam, Pops also found traces of Katrina’s lingering presence in their lives.
“I was in the balcony [of our room] and I saw a lot of torn receipts. I didn’t know what they were -- I guess gifts that I was not meant to see, because it was like a whole bundle right outside the balcony.. And I got shoes that didn’t fit me. That one is a little petty, I don’t know. But he never makes mistakes when it comes to my size.”
On their way home to Manila, another bomb. She had mustered enough guts to tell Martin:
“Mart, can you please tell Katrina to stop telling her friends na you only married me because I got pregnant and your brother forced you to marry me because then the whole Philippines will be upset if you didn’t marry me?”
She recalls his response. “He said nothing at first. And then I looked at him -- I’m getting nervous now – and I was like, ‘Well?’ ”
“And then, if I remember correctly, he goes: ‘But it’s true.’
“And then he looked away, and he slept.”
Pops wanted to die at that moment.
“If I knew how to open the door of the plane and everybody else would not die, only me, I would have done it. I said, ‘What! That’s not how it seemed like when we were together and when we were getting married.! What happened there? So, your brother forced you?’
“So now I kinda got the picture. I was slowly accepting that, maybe, he really didn’t love me. Maybe it was Just one of those things, because we were a love team and constantly together… It was very hard to swallow.”
A LOVER’S DIARY
Now that she can tell her story with less pain, she suddenly begins remembering events vividly. She remembers the time when the A.S.A.P. cast was planning a trip to Hawaii for fun. Along with her and Martin, the trip would have included Dayanara Torres and Aga Muhlach, Ariel Rivera and Gelli de Belen.
“We thought, hey, it would be fun, partners-partners. So we got tickets.”
Then something just hit her. Following a hunch, she did something she’d never done before. “Siguro mga two or three days before the trip, I checked his stuff,” she reveals now. She was looking for a small notebook that she always saw Martin writing notes in.
“Always ‘yan,” she explained. “Every time there’s something, write siya. I wondered what he was always writing about and why he was always writing? So now, the unsure, very paranoid, insecure wife that I was, started looking for stuff.”
She found what she wanted to find—and immediately wished she had not.
“It almost game me a heart attack. ‘Cause it was like a… It’s all about… should I be saying this? It was all about things they actually did in L.A. Where they met, from the time they saw each other, from the time he picked her up at the airport, to the time they went to wherever this place is… How he cooked for her… It was like a diary.”
When the A.S.A.P. group was on its way to Hawaii, Pops was already miserable.
There was more to come—more painful and more blatant.
“There was a time na nabuking ko na naman siya, so when he came home we were both screaming at each other. And I said, ‘I really can’t believe it. You’re still calling her, I caught you!’
“And he goes: ‘Pops, I fell in love with this girl. Don’t you get it? I fell in love!’
“And so I said, ‘What happens to me? What about me?’
“ ‘Well, you’re my wife.’ ”
She remembers just crying night after night after that.
“I couldn’t take it anymore, and he said, ‘Why are you making arte again?”
“I said, ‘Because I don’t get it. Why are you still with me if you’re not happy being with me? You know, you’re not fooling me. It hurts more, you know. I’d rather you really tell me what you want.’
“And he’s, like, ‘Well, you should be happy! I chose to be with you!’”
Today, she can only say, “It came to a point that it was really that horrible.”
At one point, the chronology of which she is not certain, Martin pulled another stunt. He said he was going to Germany with an all-star basketball group that included Christopher de Leon, Cesar Montano, and Willie Revillame.
“And eto na naman ako, I was so trying hard: “Can I go with you?’
“ ‘No, it’s only for the boys.’
“ ‘I’m not naman going with you guys when you play. Let’s just meet up at night or something.’
“Pinipilit ko na lang palagi ‘yong sarili ko.
“And he’s, like, ‘I’m the only guy who’s gonna bring a wife. ‘Kakahiya.’
“So, this is, like, months before the trip. Then, parang sinasabi niya, May 12 – parang that’s when the game is—siguro a week before he left, he was telling me, ‘You know what, I think the groups is divided into two. Some are leaving earlier, and some are leaving the next day or after.’ Something like that.
“So, ako naman, parang, ‘Okay, why give me that information?’
“ ‘Wala lang. I’m just telling you. Baka you wanna know.’
“So, ako naman, I super appreciated it. On the day he left, we just said bye, and I went back to sleep. When I woke up, I called up a friend of mine, and I said: ‘Martin is gonna be gone for a week. I’m gonna be alone for a week. We should probably go out and meet up with the other girls…’
“ ‘Sabi niya, ‘Where did he go?’
“ ‘Oh, that basketball tour thing…’
“And she’s, like, ‘Ano ka ba? Next Friday pa ‘yon.’
“And I said, ‘Me mga nauna talaga…’
“And she’s, like, ‘Huh? Are you sure? ‘Cause I think everybody’s gonna leave on Friday.’
“Then it dawned on me. ‘Oh, my God, naisahan na naman ako.’
True enough she found out that Martin was making a side trip to New York before flying to Germany. “Because it was her [Katrina’s] graduation. I think he made a promise that he was gonna be there.
Once again, Pops was devastated.
“I remember I was literally on the floor, crying, because for the nth time I didn’t see it happening, and it happened again! And in my mind, ‘How brave can he get to actually risk that? It’s a big school. I’m sure there are a lot of other Filipinos there.’ I couldn’t believe it!”
Somehow, she managed to get Katrina’s father’s number, and mustering her bravura she called him up.
“I said, ‘Did you u know that my husband is on his way to see your daughter? How can you let that happen!’
“And he’s, like, ‘That’s impossible, because my wife is there! So, that’s never gonna happen.’
This father also gave it to her.
“He told me, ‘E, bakit hindi mo mapigilan ang asawa mo!’
“****, iyak na naman ako nang iyak, ‘Oh, my God, what’s happening?’
“I was so pissed that I sent Martin a letter the minute he arrived in New York. It was a letter saying na, ‘If you decide to step in New York, don’t ever come back.’ Something like that. Of course, he stayed there for how many days.
She didn’t want to see Martin’s face after the trip to Germany. So, when he came home, she didn’t allow him to set foot in the conjugal home.
“Nadiyaryo pa ‘yon, e. And in the news I was the bad one. Kasi parang I was kicking him out.”
At some point, Martin was summoned by Katrina’s upset mother, who wanted the papers to stop calling her daughter names – which included a five letter W-word and a four-letter S-word.
The mother asked for a meeting with Martin’s family. Pops actually included herself in that meeting. In her mind, she wanted to say that the media’s name-calling was the result of their daughter’s going out with a very famous and very much-married man who happened to be her husband.
Still, when Pops came face to face with the mother of her husband’s mistress, she was all nerves. But her nervousness made Pops feisty. During the family council, with Martin beside her, and Katrina’s mother in front of her, she asked Martin about the status of his relationship with Katrina.
“He said, that day they were officially not together anymore. And I said, ‘Just this morning?’
“Oh, my God, how many times was this gonna happen? They kept saying they were not together anymore! I was really kinda tired…
“ ‘Mart, you know, you gotta speak up. What’s really happening? Are you guys gonna end it or what? I just wanna know, what is it? Where do you want me?’
“Because I wasn’t happy anymore. We were just constantly fighting, and I was constantly, constantly catching him.”
The mother then spoke in behalf of her daughter in New York. “She said, ‘I talked na to my daughter, and she said they’re really not together anymore.’”
Still upset, Pops fired back. “I told the mom, ‘I heard that before. That’s the first thing your daughter told me, you know, when I got the chance to talk to her on the phone.’”
Then she turned on Martin. “I said, ‘Martin, you decide, because I’m really tired. I’ve just had it, because how many times are you gonna slap it in front of my face na you can’t let go of this girl? Am I supposed to live with that? ‘”
Again, Martin requested that he be given a chance to talk to Katrina.
“So, I let them, and they were talking for, like, an hour and a half on the phone.”
Pops and Martin ended up going home that day. And they were back together again. But at that point, Pops had become resolute: this was going to be the last time she would ask him to drop Katrina.
“I was very humiliated na, e , “ she makes the point. “I couldn’t imagine myself facing the mom—but I did! -- for my family’s sake again.
“And then again, napahiya din ako, because parang he didn’t treat me the way I expected him to treat me as a wife in front of the mother. Na parang, again, napilit lang siya and wala siyang choice. It wasn’t, like, ‘No, I really wanna be with my family. I really love this woman. She’s my wife. I’m really sorry.’
“it didn’t come out that way. So I told myself: ‘How many times can you catch a person, and how many times does a person really have to spell it out in front of your face na ‘I’m just being with you because I have to be?’ So, ako, another one, and I don’t think I can handle it anymore.”
Somehow, the marriage went on for another year. She was still giving him a chance. She was still keeping her promise to herself. “I didn’t have to say it na. I kept saying kasi, ‘This is the last, this is the last,’ but he just continues and continues. Even he probably didn’t believe me.”
But Pops was fast becoming a veteran in the game of marital hide-and-seek.
“Now I knew how to check pager messages. I started checking his, and there was one Christmas I think she came home, and again I kinda read the messages that they t were seeing each other, they were meeting each other in this condo.”
Somehow, she was becoming numb. She left the messages alone.
“I could take that. Believe it or not. Parang, what else is new? I even knew -- kunwari we were in a golf game – I’d check his messages, then I knew that the message was ‘Call me.’ And I was, like, ‘How can he call, I was there and we were playing golf?’ ”
There was one pager message, however, that so stunned Pops it became a defining moment. This was, she believes, soon after Katrina left for New York.
“The message came from, it said there, mom or mommy. The message said: ‘Our angel just left na. Is there something that you would want to send her?’ ”
She pauses in her storytelling to take a deep breath. “Is this the mom I just talked to about a year ago, who said that Martin and her daughter were not together anymore? Is this the mom who said she also didn’t want anybody who is married for her daughter? And I said, ‘Oh, my God, have they all been fooling me?’ ”
That is when she said to herself, “I really don’t think it’s right anymore. Parang it was just a joke, and the joke was on me! Parang everybody knew – and everybody was into it! And everybody was protecting that whole relationship. And I was the only one that was an outcast. I was kinda forcing myself in.”
That same night, she confronted Martin one more time. She told him: “Mart, I’m really tired. I don’t think you’re lying to me, because I really know what’s going on. I think you’re lying to yourself. So, I don’t know whatever it is you’re looking for and what you want, but I think you’ve kinda decided. “
Martin’s response was to demand to know: “Who told you this? Who told you again? Yeah, I wanna know!”
She sighs: “I couldn’t give a name because no one told me. I saw it with my own eyes. It came from a message.”
THE POPS WE NEVER KNEW (5 Of 5)
THE POPS WE NEVER KNEW (5 Of 5)
A FINAL GOODBYE
The whole cycle took all of three years. By the end of the third painful year, Pops finally got the message. She asked him to leave.
“And that was the time he kept saying I never gave him a chance!” Pops recalls. “Because after that, he announced it pa, he admitted something on A.S.A.P. Then he left for the States. And I said, ‘Why do you have to go to the States? So, you’re gonna be nearer to her? You wanna fix it, then you stay here.’
“And he said he wanted to find his smile.
“And I said, ‘You know, if I ever find out that you’re in the States and you’re together and you see her, I cannot possibly ever, ever believe you anymore… I said, ‘You can look for your smile here. Somewhere in the Philippines, I don’t care where.’”
True enough, Martin met up with Katrina in the States. When he came back to the Philippines, Pops confronted him for the nth time.
“He’s, like, ‘Yeah! Don’t you get it? We’re best friends!’
“And I was, like, ‘So, if we ever get back together again, I have to live with the fact that she’s your best friend?’”
Pops says this incident was not exactly the first time she had asked him to leave.
“Siguro mga third time na ‘yon. ‘Cause usually, after one week, he’s always back. So, maybe he just thought, ‘Oh, my God, she’s in one of her moods again… I’m gonna be back anyway after one week.’
“So, I don’t think he really imagined how serious it was because I never really told him how I really found out and what I really knew back then.”
This last time, she never asked him back anymore.
“He would come to the house. L He’d say, ‘I wanna fix it with you.’ It was always like that. He would come in and out of the house. I said, ‘I’m gonna go crazy. I don’t think I can handle surprises that way.’ So, I actually asked for the annulment.”
What ensued was another major verbal fight.
“We had one major, major, major argument. It wasn’t nice at all. And it made me nga decide na, you know, I believe it’s better off if we leave and we give each other our freedom, because it was becoming scary.”
Pops studiously keeps from elaborating on this fight. But she says it was then that she closed all her doors forever. She was not thinking about anything more by then except finding her self again.
“It was really trying to gain all the confidence and the self-esteem that I totally didn’t have anymore. And then, I told myself, I gotta keep working, even though I’m not prepared. Kumbaga, I’m not armed to do it right now, but I have to. I guess we started doing our own thing.”
Martin did not contest the annulment, filed by Pops in March 1999. The court granted the annulment in October 2000.
WHAT’S THAT AGAIN?
Even after all that’s transpired, Pops isn’t laying all the blame on Martin. She knows she has her share of faults and owns up to her failures as a wife.
“I know I also didn’t handle it well. I didn’t know how to handle anything that serious kasi. I never had a boyfriend before Martin. Maybe he’s right. Maybe I didn’t take care of him the way he wanted me to. But then again, my mom raised me on her own, so I didn’t know what’s it’s like for a wife to take care of her husband.
“But if I had a lot of weaknesses in the relationship, sana he explained it to me na, “This is what I want from you.’ I really thought everything that I was doing was just right, and perfect, and we were great.”
As Pops sees it now, she and Martin -- two stars known for being articulate—ended up unable to articulate what they freally felt and wanted.
“I though t we were communicating. Hindi pala.”
It wasn’t easy becoming friends again. It took Pos and Martin two years to arrive at some level of cool-headedness and to decide, for the sake of Robin and Ram, to reopen communication lines. For the sake of their loyal fans, they also got back together, at least onstage, to perform.
And all this time, Pops is aware how Martin, despite Katrina’s more constant and more stable presence in his life, keeps telling the world how he still loves Pops despite their separation. It’s not something that makes her jump for joy—which is an understatement.
“All his shows, even in the States, I would hear how he is professing his love for me. It upsets me every time Martin throws those famous ‘Pops-never-gave-me-a-chance’ lines. I can’t understand it. I can’t grasp it. And it’s so hard for me to actually believe in those words because of what were said to me before. Because it was actually told to me, ‘You’re not the one’ – straight to my face. And that happened not just once, not just twice…
“People always tell me, ‘Pops, ang tigas-tigas mo naman. Ano ka ba naman? Ikaw kasi, ayaw mong balikan!’ Parang I feel I’m always questioned and being blamed for not going back or taking Martin back. And I always tell him, ‘Three years is not a long enough chance for you, Mart?’
“I don’t know. What am I supposed to say for another ten years? I wasn’t the same. I was hating myself because I was not myself.
“I was called a lot of not-so-great things. I’ve experienced and seen from my own eyes a lot of things that actually made me see na he‘s not happy with me. What do I do?”
Worse, Pops believes her boys, Robin and Ram, get the same line from their dad.
“They probably only know that, ‘Mom doesn’t want me back, and I really want her and I really love her, but she doesn’t want me back.’ So, it’s me again! I’m the one to blame,” she shrugs.
“I guess he just expected me to take all the blows. I don’t know. That’s how I read it.”
At the time of this YES! Interview, Pops admits that she hasn’t told her boys yet the full details of the separation. On TV, she says: “At that time, masyado pa silang bata.” But clearly, she’s thinking about telling them now.
“Para lang siguro hindi sila masyadong nagtataka. O baka meron din silang mga kuwestiyon-kuwestiyon, o baka kasi akalain nila at naririnig lang nila kasi their mom was so hard and she didn’t want to give him a chance. I think they deserve also to know the reasons behind the whole separation.”
Pops is well aware that she will get flak for speaking up, for bringing up the past, for telling her woes, for naming her pains, for narrating a story no one has ever heard.
But she feels that now is the right time to finally find her voice. After all, it’s always easier to talk when there’s no longer a lump in your throat, or when your eyes are no longer blinded with tears.
She feels she owes it to herself to clear her name, to clarify issues that simply won’t die, and to speak her side of the truth the way she sees it.
Pops is open to the possibility that Martin will also say his piece, and says even now she’s prepared for that.
“I’m so sure he will come up with his own version,” says Pops, almost with a smile. “But I know what I know. And I don’t forget anything that’s traumatic in my life, all the painful things. And I definitely remember all these because these are the things that almost made me want to die.”
“I cannot possibly make up a great story like this because I’m not that good. I don’t have that great an imagination. I’m not as poetic, obviously. So I only know what I know, and I only know what has happened.
“Maybe I didn’t say it in the right chronological order, but that is what happened. It would probably take a long time for all of those traumatic experiences and moments to leave my system.”
She is simply hoping that people will read her right this time. She says she isn’t being bitter. She says she wants nothing from this except understanding.
“At the end of the day, I have my sons na alam mong maski hindi mo natupad ‘yong mga gusto mong mangyari sa buhay mo at sa pamilya mo, they remind you na may nagawa kang tama.
“As for Martin, if he finds his happiness as he said he did, then this has all been worthwhile. At least, may magandang kinapuntahan ‘yong mga pain na pinagdaanan naming ng mga anak ko.”
She smiles again.
“I’m okay. I have not been for a long time, but my life is okay now. I like my life now. I like it the way it is. For the longest time, I didn’t know how to trust again, or hope again. But I’m there now.”
Matindi talaga ang galit ni Pops. Mana siya sa tatay niya, matindi rin ang galit nun. Kaya nga siya nakulong dahil mainitin ang ulo.
baakit naman? i mean very patient nga ni pops, haba ng pisi for that big mouth, i understand her more now
i'm one of those 'hoping'
i would love to have a copy of her book too
Sep. 22nd, 2007 at 11:08 AM
Yesterday I picked up the latest Yes! magazine at Watson's.
We were almost late for a dinner party because I simply couldn't put it down.
Unbelievable the hell Pops went through, the deception, the lies. I can't believe even the other woman's parents were involved in the secrecy of it.
I know what it's like to be cheated on, so when I read stories like this, I'll take the side of the girl.
Please buy Yes! magazine and read Pops' horror story on how Martin cheated on her and how she found out. It is the saddest, goriest horror story and the best dish I've read in a long time (hehe).
Pops should write a book. I would buy it.
Martin'as side is also presented in a separate article, but after what Pops said, I'm not buying it.
The Pops we never knew September 29 2007, 7:23 AM
Photo captions from THE Yes! Article
1. When she’s asked if she still sees herself getting back together with Martin, Pops Fernandez’s face immediately drops, probably amazed that we can even ask that question.
“Did you see my face? Can you just describe it? Oh, my gosh! With the addition of the baby (Santino, Martin’s son with Katrina Ojeda), I don’t think that that’s ever gonna be possible. Plus, I’m happy with my life now. I like it. And like he said, he’s happy with his life now.”
(Photo taken in Pops’s living room, July 2007)
2. A few years after their marriage was annulled, Pops and Martin worked together again as a twosome, performing together in concerts abroad. Their fans still wanted them to get back together as a romantic couple. She recalls asking him once: “If we get back together, can you promise me that you’re gonna be faithful and that there is no more Katrina around?”
“And he goes, ‘Well, I can’t lie to you anymore. So, I can’t promise you that.’ And he said pa, ‘Why, the other guys who are gonna be with you, they’re not also gonna be faithful to you. No guys are faithful.’ And I said, ‘I think I’m still gonna take my chance.’
(Photo taken near Pops’s pool area, March 2002.)
3. “He loves his career,” Pops says of Martin. “And I think, in a away, he’s kinda blaming me because he had other dreams for himself. And that’s probably where all this I-only-married-you-because-you-got-pregnant thing was coming from. So, I was like, it’s as if I’m the only one who is so madly, madly, in love? I didn’t get that. I was too happy then to see that.”
4. Pops says that her mom, Dulce Lukban, stood by her throughout all of her martial (sic) woes. And her mom assured her: “At the end of the day, I know you’re strong enough, and you can take care of your kids even on your own. I was able to do it. I was able to raise you guys, and you guys turned out very well.”
5. Pops recalls that Martin, at one point in their marriage, was actually pushing her to “go and look for someone else.”
“That was so freaky,” she recalls, laughing now. “And I don’t know if he’ll remember that. And then, I’m like, ‘Huh? Why would I do that?’
“ ‘Oh, para, you know, so that you’ll be sure.’
“ ‘Sure of what?’
“I didn’t understand that whole thing,” she says now. “Maybe it was his way of trying to tell me to go find a life so I don’t bug him anymore? Or maybe he was also catching me – that if I did find someone, it’d give him enough grounds to say, ‘Oh, see, you did it.’
“Anyway, I asked again, ‘Why do you have to say that?’ And he said: ‘You’ll never know, you might find the right one for you.’ And I was, ‘Hello, we’re sooo married.’ ”
6. After Martin’s relationship with Katrina Ojeda (above, right) was finally out in the open, Dulce Lukban gave her son-in-law a dressing-down, Pops says. “They spoke, oh my God! My mom talked to him, and I think he was warned of what was going to happen if ever he pursued the relationship. So all these stumbles and problems that we’re having—kumbaga he was forewarned.”
7. Pops has only the nicest words for Martin’s family: “I thought during that time they were very supportive. I can never say anything bad about Martin’s family – especially back then – because they were really, really trying to help fix the marriage also. Almost to a point na nagselos na si Martin because he was saying na, ‘You’re my family, you’re supposed to be with me.’ ”
8. Pops says it took her a long time to recover from the final separation. Performing on her own became an ordeal. “I was so used to the ‘Martin and Pops’ setup. It kind of made me feel also that I wasn’t great anyway.”
It was her two boys, Robin and Ram, who got her going. “That’s why I always say that my kids are my heroes,” she smiles. “If I didn’t have them, I would’ve just believed everything thrown at me. But since I knew I had to make it work for them, I had to start from the beginning, even though I knew it was difficult.”
9. The Concert Queen recalls telling Martin – when they were still on speaking terms, before their latest verbal tussle last July -- that he should make time for his boys because they needed him.
“I super get it. My kids needed him. I always tell Martin, ‘The boys obviously want a different conversation with you, something that probably they are too dyahe to talk to me about. Kumbaga, there are things that they will be more comfortable with me, and there are things that they will be more comfortable with you.’ ”
10. A serious Pops says she hopes her opening up about her past marital troubles can help others: “I just want people, women especially, who are going through the same things I’ve gone through, na maka-relate and hopefully pick up some lessons din, na although things can be tiring and things are not going their way, there’s hope pa pala. If you’re a woman who is weak, I want you to learn from my story.”
11. “I’ve said this before, and I’m not gonna lie,” Pops says when asked if she can categorically say that she no longer loves Martin. “Even if I’m super pikon na with him, at the end of the day, it’s har to not --maybe the word is not love –be concerned. I am very concerned for him, and I do care for him. Maybe it’s because of the connection that we have, it’s the bond that we still have because we have our kids.”
12. Pops – here at the sixth-anniversary party of YES!, in 2006 -- recalls an incident that she thinks should have warned her about what was in store for her marriage.
“I was doing a lot of commercials then. And Christmas was coming up, his birthday was coming up. And I said, ‘I’m gonna surprise him, I’m gonna buy him a Benz.’ Because we always outdid each other’s gifts before. We loved surprises. And I couldn’t think of anything else but a car – his favorite car. So, with whatever earnings I had, I got him my supposedly best gift.”
Instead of saying thank you, Martin demanded an explanation: “Why did you buy me this? So that you can tell everybody that you make more money than me?”
Pops tells the rest of the story: “I said, ‘I wanted to give you the best gift ever. It’s the best one I can think of, and it’s okay because, you know, I’ve been so blessed and there are projects…’
“And, he’s, like, ‘No, you just want everybody to know that you’re doing much, much better than me!’
“I said, ‘Does it matter? I’m giving it to you. It doesn’t matter.’ ”
Martin, Pops recalls, sold the Mercedes Benz a month later and bought a Ford Expedition instead.
13. The current man in Pops’s life, after Brad Turvey and Troy Montero, is actor Jomari Yllana, whose past relationships include Aiko Melendez and Ara Mina.
“Trust me, I don’t go for attached men,” Pops says. “I only go for single men. “ That explains why she’s ruling out any reconciliation with Martin. “He’s attached. That doesn’t thrill me at all. It doesn’t excite me whatsoever. Maybe for some women, it’s exciting. For me, it’s not.”
14. To women who can’t seem to find Mr. Right, Pops has this to say: “If you think it’s going to work, try to hold on. Make sure you’re compatible. That’s very difficult. If you’re happy and there’s a reason to be together, I think it’s better. You don’t want to keep jumping and jumping from one relationship to another.”
Send instant messages to your online friends http://uk.messenger.yahoo.com
MGA KASAMBAHAY,THESE MATERIALS ARE ALL THE HARD WORK OF A HEAVEN SENT SUPPORTER OF POPS. IT'S ORIGINALLY POSTED ON POPS YAHOO GROUP.
FORGIVE ME MS. A.T. FOR NOT ASKING FOR YOUR PERMISSION. I JUST WANT TO WARN THE WOMEN WHO'S IN THE SAME HELLISH SITUATION.
Pops Fernandez duet with jay R in the song Sometimes When We Touch in a concert in Portland, OR on October 7th, 2007.
Added: October 27, 2007
Jay R duet with Pops Fernandez in Bakit Ngayon Ka Lang in a concert in Portland, OR on October 7th, 2007.
Added: October 20, 2007
makapanuod din sa nov 17
watch out for POPS in kdond
love this song http://youtube.com/watch?v=oQ5iO-y2cnY
All The Love You Need - Pops Fernandez
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Music & Lyrics by: Jimmy Borja
Label: Star Records
Music & Lyrics by: Jimmy Borja
Label: Star Records
Mell T. Navarro
Friday, November 2, 2007
.... sa nalalapit na 21st Star Awards for Television ng Philippine Movie Press Club (PMPC) sa November 18, 2007, Linggo ng gabi, sa Henry Lee Irwin Theatre ng Ateneo University, Loyola Heights, Quezon City. ....
Samantala, kumpirmado na ring hosts ng 21st Star Awards for Television sina Lorna Tolentino, Pops Fernandez, Ara Mina, at Boy Abunda. Trivia hosts naman sina Dingdong Dantes at Luis Manzano. Ito ay mula sa direksiyon ni Arlene Tolibas, at produksiyon ng Star View Productions ni Ms Josephine Saba. ....