Gelli de Belen on superwomen, best thing about being a woman


For Gelli de Belen, the essence of being a superwoman is personified by no other than her late mother Susan Yap-de Belen. The actress, TV host and content creator explained to DAILY TRIBUNE in a recent event, “She gave birth to me. She brought us up. We are who we are because of her. She would be the super, superwoman for me.”

Gelli added, “Si Janice na rin sinasama ko (I’m also including Janice now),” referring to her older sister Janice de Belen. “Kasi iba naman si Janice (Because she is different). She has brought up her children in a single-parent household. She has five children.”

Janice, also an actress, was 18 when she had her first child Luigi Muhlach, now an accomplished chef and family man. Her four children with ex-husband John Estrada are also all grown up, with two daughters, Inah de Belen and Kaila Estrada, following in their footsteps in showbiz.

When Gelli was asked about the best thing about being a woman, still in line with the observance of National Women’s Month this March and the International Women’s Day celebrated on the eighth, she said it’s “having the opportunity to carry [a child] and give birth, but also have the option to lead a life separate from being a mother. It’s also being a woman of your own, standing on your own.”

Indeed, Gelli has successfully maintained her career in the entertainment industry while being a mom to her and her husband Ariel Rivera’s two sons Joaquin and Julio, now both in their 20s and based in Canada.

Admittedly, she’d have second thoughts in sending the children abroad to study if they had been girls. “Iba pag babae, mas kailangang bantayan (It’s different if you have daughters, they need to be looked after more). Of course, you also have to trust how you brought up your children. But it’s a tad easier [in our case] dahil lalaki sila (because they are boys).”

Gelli then talked about her return to TV hosting, via the public service program Si Manoy ang Ninong Ko, which airs every Sunday, 8 a.m., on GMA. The “Manoy” in the show’s title refers to Agri Party-list Rep. Wilbert T. Lee, who’s also called by that Pinoy honorific. He co-hosts the studio segment with Gelli, while Sherilyn Reyes-Tan and Patricia Tumulak go on separate trips to different parts of the country to send mostly financial aid to the needy.

Sinusuyod ang buong Pilipinas ’tapos humahanap ng mga taong maaaring matulungan. Hindi tulong na pang ngayon lang. Sinisiguro na tulong na maibibigay sa kanila is habang buhay (We thoroughly search the whole Philippines for people we can help. It’s not just temporary help. We make sure that we bring help than can last a lifetime),” Gelli said.

She added, “So as a host of a program like this, siyempre (of course) grateful ako for the opportunity. Hindi lang ’tong masayang-masaya. It’s hihimayin ang mga problema ng certain areas, ’ta’s aalamin kung paano sila matutulungan (It’s not just for fun. We get into the nitty-gritty of problems, then we figure out how we can help).

Humahanap kami ng tamang solusyon at dini-discuss namin ’yun ni Manoy with experts kung paano sila matutulungan (We find the right solution and Manoy and I discuss with experts how we can be of help.) And I’m just there to help them get to that decision. It’s something that I’m really proud of. After doing a few episodes, na-realize ko na there’s change, and I’m proud to be part of that.”