Alelee Andanar on power mom Imelda Aguilar

The third in a brood of four girls of the couple, (late) Mayor Vergel Aguilar and his wife, Imelda, incumbent mayor of Las Piñas, Alelee Andanar is an entrepreneur. She is the owner of Luxuri, which offers garments, accessories and leather items of international high-end brands.

In a recent visit of the Daily Tribune to Luxuri, we asked her about her relationship with her mother, an outstanding local government leader who was known to be the low-key wife of then incumbent Mayor Vergel. She would eventually take over from her husband and prove herself equally capable and loved by her constituency.

Of her relationship with her mom, Alelee shared, “We are close to each other. It’s like she’s my best friend.

“We’re compatible when it comes to eating and cooking. We also love to just spend time in the mall just hanging around. This was more frequent before the pandemic.”

A typical mother is how she describes the charming and friendly mayor. She attributes this “to her being a former teacher in Zapote Elementary School in Las Piñas. She was a patient teacher, according to her former pupils.

“At the same time, like most teachers, she could be very strict. One shouldn’t come home late at night. One should not forget to use the Tagalog courtesy words, po and opo. She kept reminding us that when we are invited by friends to dine out, we should control our appetite. And not to order expensive dishes.

“These were values that one learned at home from your parents and not anywhere else and not from just anyone.”

Not surprisingly, she had her share of “punishments for my occasional misdemeanors. Like when I wouldn’t obey her. She would pinch me under the table when we were misbehaving in front of other people. My mom hated it when we answered back.”

Just as in the past, Alelee, her sisters — April Neri, Aivee Teo and Ann Virgil — and their mom would bond by dining out, “but this time, we take turns treating ourselves.”

Every Sunday is when they hang around together in their mom’s house. “The whole morning till afternoon,” Alelee emphasizes. “We catch up on what we did the whole week.”

Meals in her mom’s home are a weekend treat to look forward to “because she is a natural cook. While she doesn’t cook anymore, she has shared her secret recipes with our family cook.”

Since, like her mom, she is married to a public official, we asked Alelee how she is with her husband, former Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar. “I am also very supportive of my husband,” she replied. “I think I got that from her. Parang (It’s like) you just want to be there all the time. Not naman meddle but I try to give him advice to make sure that everything is okay with his work and everything about his life. You try to look and then see if he is okay.”

No wonder that hers and her mom’s marriages turned out well and successful. Today, Alelee feels proud and grateful that she is the woman she is today “because my mom set a good example for us.”

Her message to mom?

“Thank you Mama Mel for being my constant inspiration, support and source of strength. I am grateful every day for all our days spent together. There is nothing more I want than to see you happy. We owe a lot of ourselves and our lives to you.”

And being such a sweet and caring mother too, Alelee has a message for her children, Alexa and Vince: “You have set your dreams and goals for yourselves, and there is nothing in this world that can make me more proud.”