Latest Stories

No monster-in-law

Bohemian mom talks about a son-in-law who didn’t hesitate to play ‘Mr. Mom’ during a family crisis


THE AUTHOR with son-in-law Sonny Angara

This morning, I got this insight as I watched  the Benguet tayao dance, where a couple dances in a circle to the beat of drums and gongs. The man raises his arms toward the heavens while the woman keeps her arms folded and low, as a bird protects her chicks.

I have felt this way toward my children during this campaign. It has been enriching and rewarding and there are times when it is challenging. I am proud when there are breakthroughs, but then I also feel the arrows thrown at him. I feel I must watch my son-in-law’s back until the finish line.

Only daughter

My only daughter Tootsy and Sonny Angara were married 10 years ago. When discussions on Sonny’s foray into politics were ongoing, the mothers said maybe not just yet. But when he made up his mind and my daughter agreed, I told myself I would be supportive of their pursuits.

We won that election and graduated from Congress. And we are now looking at the Senate.

This campaign has brought me on road trips covering hundreds of miles, across mountains, rolling hills, rice lands and various landscapes.

From Baguio, we took the road along the China Sea and around the Pacific Ocean and made our way to the mountain heartland and another body of water, the Chico River.

We have combed through markets and met people in high places and the streets. A group of us women, grandmothers, mothers and titas has been enlisted in support of the young, who dream of change and of a new way of doing things.

At this point, I no longer wish to take the lead. I agree with the vision of Sonny and his Team PNoy, and will lend all possible support.

That’s why I’m going all over northern Luzon to generate votes.

Sonny was born under the sign of the Rat, which is why we easily coexist, because I am one, too.

We have a rule in relating to each other: talo ang pikon.  We rib each other, with vague and not-so-vague insults and laugh about them. My latest joke is, you better be nice to me or I’m going to call a press con! And the few times there was miscommunication and tempers flared, he was quick to apologize.

When Sonny and Tootsy got engaged, friends joked me about “Meeting the Fockers,” a movie about conventional parents meeting their unconventional counterparts. Sonny’s parents were established in the mainstream, and Tootsy’s parents (meaning, my husband and I) lived sort of bohemian lifestyles.

Cool mom-in-law

I’ve learned it’s best to be a cool mom-in-law who would accept, welcome, and embrace the culture of the other side to the point of integrating, and finding shared values and interests like art. With their coming, the apo became the center of our universe and we stepped into the best shoes ever.

Sonny’s low-key style and protocol for him and the family have really warmed me.

First, he disdained the use of the No. 8 plate on his vehicles, a courtesy given to members of Congress. He said, “Why draw attention to us?” He won’t let family ride government-owned cars assigned for his official use. He prefers not to use his titles “congressman or representative” for unofficial stuff.

Twice, I feared for Sonny, wishing I could cast a protective net around him. First was when he was spokesperson for the prosecution during the Corona impeachment case; and second, when the President was drafting him to run for the Senate.

I worried that he might be a sacrificial lamb, as the bright ones are always targeted. When the RH bill was being debated, I agonized that he would not vote for it, but he did, and was I elated!



I am proud to say that, compared to his colleagues, Sonny has passed the most number of bills in Congress, landmark bills on education and the Magna Carta of Women. I have followed his work from a distance, perched on my mountain in Baguio, many times cheering silently. And when I see him at home or with family, I don’t talk shop, unless he does. I am aware a thinker needs a lot of space.

Up close, I have seen Sonny very protective of his family and their privacy. He has given my daughter the security of a family she didn’t have with her separated parents. He holds the family but doesn’t wield power.

He is secure and is supportive of my daughter’s career paths. He is a friend and is playful to the kids, but disciplines them with a soft hand. He is liberal in thought and deed. In crisis, he is cool as a cat.

When my daughter underwent a major neurosurgery to remove a tumor at the base of her brain after giving birth to their third child, he took the reins as Mr. Mom and was the rock of the family until the crisis blew over.

I know Sonny can be counted on, which is why I am on this long road trip. Like the Benguet lady I am dancing to the beat of the drums and the gongs and spreading my wings, I’m looking out for my young.

Baboo Mondoñedo is author of “Stepping Stones,” a collection of personal essays published by University of Santo Tomas Press.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Baboo Mondoñedo , Family , Lifestyle , Sonny Angara

  • Janinskie

    that’s very sweet to campaign with your son in law. in that situation you can see Angara has respect and good manners with her mother in law. that’s why I figure out the chemistry.

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Noli Yamsuan, Cardinal Sin’s ‘official’ photographer: ‘I could smell the aftershave lotion of the Pope’
  3. Palawan favorite getaway of show biz celebrities
  4. Fashionistas flock to designer’s wedding
  5. Joe de Venecia visits the Queen Mother of Cambodia
  6. President Quezon was born here–and so was Philippine surfing
  7. A tale of two Priscillas: my mother Prissy and Chona Recto Kasten
  8. This is not just a farm
  9. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  10. Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  3. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  4. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  5. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  6. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  7. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  8. This is not just a farm
  9. 12 other things you can do at Pico de Loro Cove
  10. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  4. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  5. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  6. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  7. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  8. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  9. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  10. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?


  • Obama, family cause a small stir at Easter service
  • Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  • Ancient enigmatic carvings in danger of disappearing
  • Tagle: Hope comes with warning on Easter
  • New plant to boost supply of clean energy
  • Sports

  • Goodbye MGM, Las Vegas for Pacquiao?
  • Rain or Shine drops Ginebra in big hole
  • Ateneo whips CSB; Davao debuts with win over FEU
  • PH pug Hipolito Banal decisions Colombian in Aiba
  • Former Pacquiao sparmate Porter keeps IBF title
  • Lifestyle

  • Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  • ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  • Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  • ‘Imports’ from London, and play of the year
  • Korean animation comes of age
  • Entertainment

  • Easter musings
  • Solenn in shorts
  • Unmerry mix of attention-calling moves on ‘Mini-Me’ TV tilts
  • Persistence pays off for The 1975
  • Special section in LA fest for Filipino films
  • Business

  • BDO seen keen on bidding for Cocobank
  • Bataan freeport investment pledges up 1,302%
  • Golden Week
  • Bourse to woo Cebu stock mart investors
  • Supper power
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Gigi’s home
  • Palace stonewalls on MRT inquiry
  • Couple of things too
  • There is plenty of water behind Wawa Dam
  • Triduum thoughts of a young boy
  • Global Nation

  • Search for Etihad passengers launched
  • Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
  • OFW died of Mers-CoV in Saudi Arabia, says family
  • Aquino, Obama to tackle US pivot to Asia during state visit