Jing Monis, the A-Listers’ style icon of hair and makeup, was an 18-year-old marketing major doing events promotion on the side when he sired a boy.
The birth of a baby girl two years later forced Monis to accept grueling hair and makeup gigs set by a strict agent that took him on a dizzying swing from Hong Kong to Australia.
Monis used the weekends to escape to Manila, hurriedly buying a ticket on Friday night to fulfill his weekend daddy duties, then flying back to HK for commercial, catalogue and runway assignments.
Monis eventually formed his team at the Propaganda salon. All was working well until that day he remembers, when his son Antonio Miguel, now 24, was 8.
He suddenly threw up his arms in front of his Propaganda crew and announced it would be the last time he’d leave his children behind for work.
“I was tired of living out of a suitcase. I didn’t hire a driver. I would wake up early and drive my kids to school,” he said.
By then, he and the kids’ mother were living apart. Monis’ son lived with his parents while daughter Evan Marie, now 22, stayed with her mother.
Monis, however, was very strict about Sundays. He, the children and his parents had to be together for meals.
Sense of ‘diskarte’
To this day, Monis hardly accepts jobs on Sundays. Once the clock strikes noon, everyone must be at the dining table.
Monis wants his children to develop the sense of diskarte he learned the hard way.
“We didn’t have much. If I wanted money for gimmicks, my mother made me wash hair and sweep the floors of the salon she worked in,” he said.
Monis described his parenting style as a combo of the strict Catholic upbringing he got from paternal grandmother Pilar and the rigorous work ethic he learned in Hong Kong. This meant it’s not really more fun being Monis’ child.
Son Miguel had to sweep floors and earn minimum wage whenever he asked for beer money. And he had to sleep on a couch at the lobby of the condominium where he lives with dad if he violated his self-imposed curfew.
“I want them to experience how hard life is, not to struggle with poverty but to learn that money does not come easy. Pinababayaan kong mag-bus,” he said with a laugh.
The beneficiary of his largesse, however, is daughter Evan’s son, Iñigo Ezequiel. Monis said it is through his grandson that he makes up for all the time lost abroad.