You wouldn't call her manang. No, not at all. Brapanese model and Daniel Matsunaga's sister Vanessa–now a mom–still ravishes. She might have lied low from all that high fashion shoots and coquettish bikini editorials. As a first-time mom, Mrs. Sunga now allots most of her time at home and squeezes a slice of it as a bizwoman. But still she captivates with that warm smile and her being soft-spoken. She has also maintained that beautiful bod that has graced billboards, magazines, and TV commercials here and abroad. With the patience and positive attitude she has wielded back in her modeling days, she is now more equipped than ever to face the challenges of her new job called motherhood.
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What for you is a Mod Mom?
"A modern mom is someone that can do so many things we don't want to do sometimes. It's true! I see myself nowadays everything that you do before with both hands now only done with one hand, because I'm holding the baby in one and can't use the other hand. But you know, I'm just joking, but a modern mom is someone that can work. They can be productive. They can be a good wife and be successful in everything. Like in my case, I have to handle the business. I feel that in my career I have to maintain my body. I have to be home with my kid. I have to feed her. I have to make sure she's getting the right nutrition. Nowadays, there's no such thing as one thing at a time for moms to do. Modern mom knows how to do everything and still be great at it."
What kind of stuff about your mom life do you usually share online?
"I usually share the love and the companionship. Sometimes they want me to share an experience, but I tend to keep a lot for myself also to keep a little privacy in her life. So, in the future she can choose if she wants to make that public or not. But I tend to share the good moments, the laughing moments and you know how the press are with little things. Of course, she has her own account, too. It's not public but it's on my page. I like to share the love and affection between mother and child."
What’s the most touching comment from strangers you’ve received on social media?
"People are really kind to children. That's what I notice. You know. Social media is such a weapon. I would say that, like, a lot of people use it for the wrong things and you know. Sometimes, since they have no face they can just say whatever they want. So, you see a lot of bullying in that. But when it comes to children, I see that they are very kind. The nicest thing, because there is not really this one particular thing they like, but they notice all of the good things. People say things like 'oh, she's so cute.' Oh, my gosh. I love that! You know, the fact that people love kids and they love mothers too. I love that! I like that a lot."
What do you think is the worst stereotype people have of moms?
"There are so many, actually. Like, some say you have to just be the mom and stay at home, 'They're only good moms if they in home'. Or some think you're only a good mom if you do certain things for your children that way, or you know, you have to look a certain way. Anything that is very judgmental I don't appreciate. You know, like how people would judge single moms a lot? I don't like that thing, that's very hard for them. I have my husband. My husband is very hands on so I can only imagine doing the job that we did together by myself, that's something that I cannot even start thinking about. That's really hard. So to all the single moms out there, you guys have done an amazing job. I know how hard they have [to work] to provide for your children."
How do you use social media in your own advocacies?
"I love to share little things that actually work for my life in terms of nutrition. I think it's very important to get that into a lifestyle. It's not like a diet. I don't like following diets. It's not like I'll only have a glass of beer or more of this, but it's more about changing your habits. So that's one of my advocacies. And of course, how do I show that? When I write about it, I write about my experiences and you know, whatever, writing about my life. I like to share it to people. Also, animal cruelty is very close to my heart. I don't know if it's because of culture or lack of information, but you know, people tend to do bad things not only to animals but to children and so on. So, it's something that I'm very vocal about in my social media."
Who’s your role model and why?
"My mom is my role model. She's always been. She's always gonna be. She's a super mom. She’s wonderful for everything she does. She taught me how to cook. She taught me how to have manners and bring integrity in everything that I do…all my values. You know, the thing that I might make choices based on a good education that my mom and my dad gave to me. Also, while I didn't know so much about Jessica Alba, I knew she’s also an entrepreneur. And she has this company, the Honest company. And I really like that. Because [in] everything, she looks into every perspective of the business. She made sure that people are getting good products; products that won't harm the environment. And that's a cause of mine."
Best beauty tip?
"I think, if you learn to appreciate the things that come along, you feel better about yourself and you understand your place in the world better. And of course love who you are. I think there's no secret to it. Like, if you love who you are, if you feel, you're going to feel beautiful. And you're going to treat people better. I think, well, I pray a lot and I'm very close to God. And I think He's the main source of my happiness. For beauty, blush. Everybody looks better if they're a little bit like flushed because blush revives the face."
What’s your most recommended diet?
"I eat a lot of veggies and organic food. As much as possible, I try to get organic food. It's more pricey, but it pays off in the long run. I think that's what it is. So yeah I guess that's the secret that I've been living. Sugar, of course, the pounds. You don't like sugar. Everybody knows it keeps going there and everything but I try not to eat so much. I don't want to say it, but like, I can live eating dessert (laughs). You don't have to be a genius to know what's good and what's bad for you. Your body gives responses so as long as you pay attention. If you start getting slow, you know it's hard for you to get up in the morning like, there's probably really wrong with your diet. So, we have to start listening."
What’s your favorite workout?
"I found CrossFit. I love CrossFit. I was so scared to even start trying. And then the day that I tried, I was like, oh my god I love this. Because there's no routine, but at the same time, you're working from everything your entire body. And they have goals. It's a competitive thing. It's fun, it's fun. Even of course, I can't compete with those guys. They've been there forever. But I give it a shot. You know [what] I mean? (laughs)"
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Produced by The @ABSCBNLifestyle Team (Katrina Angco, Julia Arenas, Duey Guison, Angela Sy, Mels Timan, & Barry Viloria) | Cinematography Jana Jimenez with Toby and Gio Vibar | Photographs by Vyn Radovan | Makeup by Geraldine Carlos for @RevlonPH | Hair by Renen Bautista and Eddie Mar Cabiltes for @LOrealProPH | Styling by Patrick Pleno
Shot on location at: Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila (CCP Complex Roxas Blvd, Pasay City)
Special Thanks to: Mau De Leon of @MercatorModels| Yasmine Hidalgo and Margot S. Calimot of @SofitelManila | Janlee Dungca of @CastroPRPH | Paula Punla