ONKATRINA: Beaded sheer
top and striped shorts, both
Juicy Couture. On Ela: Printed
orange jumpsuit, Tarte Tatin.
On Xevi: Printed light-blue
polo and gray pants, both
Gingersnaps. On Malia: Lightblue
printed overalls,Neck &
Neck.On Joey: Green floral
dress, Neck &Neck
What Katrina Tantoco-Lobregat learned from her kids–and her mom
Katrina Tantoco-Lobregat has several professional job titles, but the line of work that trumps them all is being a mother to her four children—nine-year-old Xevi, three-year-old Joey, 20-month-old Ela, and six-month-old Malia.
She describes Xevi as “the one with the softest, most compassionate, intuitive and empathic heart. To me, he is the epitome of unconditional love made real in a human being.”
Oldest daughter Joey is the family’s firecracker and rainbow child. “She is a lesson for me in staying true to myself with no apologies.”
Ela, who shares her mother’s dreamy eyes, is described as the coolest, least demanding, least attention starved of the bunch. “Through her, I learn to find humor in everything, on being present, and in not requiring external validation.”
As for the baby of the family, Malia has proven to be a trooper like her siblings in more ways than one. Charming everyone with her beautiful gray eyes and pleasant disposition, the littlest Lobregat belies her early struggles as a newborn.
“She was born with fluid in her lungs and confined in the NICU for close to a week,” admits Kat. “That week I was with her, I saw how hard she fought. To me, she is one tough cookie with a gentle exterior and the one who takes my breath away.”
Clearly, there’s no denying Kat is celebrating every minute of motherhood. “I feel really honored to have been chosen by my kids to be their mom. Alternatively, I’ve learned more from my kids than I think any of them have learned from me. Right now, they are my world outside of work, and there is very little time for anything else. They are my little gang, along with my husband Paolo. I’m happy to get some time in with my family, Paolo’s family, and some friends. To an extent, I feel like my life, despite being much more action-packed, is also much simpler now.”
As creative director for Men and Women’s Fashion of Rustan’s Department Store, Kat has much to look forward to as the iconic retail giant and her family’s longtime business continues to evolve. “This is a whole new method I am learning in the way art and science merge, where aesthetics and discipline are parallel, and the business strategy is fully immersed in delving deep into studying our customers’ desires, psyche, dreams, values and experiences,” she says.
Meanwhile, her involvement in marketing and developing projects for Sta. Elena Properties, Inc., allows her to work closely with founders and visionaries Bebo Quiros and her father Bienvenido “Rico” Tantoco Jr., in a venue that holds a special place in her heart. A breathtaking paradise with lush greens and a perennial breeze, the Sta. Elena Village in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, doesn’t just make a picture-perfect backdrop for a cover shoot, it’s an idyllic environment to raise kids. “I feel fortunate and thankful to be part of my dad’s brilliant vision to continue to create a haven that offers a natural yet modern sanctuary, a space with soul,” says Kat.
Despite wearing many hats, Kat remains the picture of pure bliss. Credit her centered state of being to 10 minutes of meditation daily, plus her knack for keeping her priorities straight.
“Paolo, our kids and our household are on the top of my list; my two jobs are a close second. Getting ‘me’ time is a bit of challenge, although I feel it is fundamental in ensuring I can fulfill all my roles. Right now, I am able to meditate well. That’s pretty much the only ‘me’ time I’m able to do as of late. At the moment, it is enough.”
Sounds like nothing ever fazes her, even after having four children. She’s certainly learned from the best: Her mom raised seven children.
“I used to be much more of a spontaneous, impulsive and free-spirited person in my youth. I feel I am still that person but, when the kids came, I knew I needed to practice more structure and discipline,” she says. “The latter I learned from my mom. She is Wonder Woman, our family’s Guardian Angel and a spiritual compass rolled into one.”
The family’s spiritual compass, in fact, is responsible for molding Kat’s mind-set when dealing with day-to-day challenges. “Depending on how tough they are, I seek help or someone to bounce feelings and thoughts off of and maybe to even set me straight. The next step is my go-to solution for most things—that’s quiet time, meditation, prayer, or any way to connect to God, Mama Mary, or family members who have gone too soon,” she explains.
“Then, there is the internal question: ‘What lesson do I need to learn here that is a pattern in my life or that I need to grow from?’ If there is a semblance of figuring that question out, I suppose, as my mom would say, you leave it up to God to allow Him to work His miracles and magic.”
Since embracing that perspective, this young mom considers every blessing and obstacle as an opportunity for growth. “Although some of the things I’ve said or done in the past make me cringe, I think mistakes are necessary for developing a deeper connection and relationship with the spiritual parts of oneself,” Kat notes. “I understand that there are still many lessons to learn along the way and I will continue to evolve. I feel grateful to have been blessed with what I feel are the best life coaches and mentors in my life.”