Bantay Bata 163

DAWN ZULUETA: Of Motherhood and Being a Child Advocate

Althea Cahayag
April 24, 2015

Dawn Zulueta and her wonderful family, Congressman Anton Lagdameo with kids, Jacobo and Ayisha.

“We should take away the attention so much from ourselves and focus more on the world that is around us because it is the world that needs a lot of love and a lot of attention. This is the example that I want my children to grow up learning.”


This statement is not from your usual goody environmentalist or a known advocate. This testimony came from Dawn Zulueta, one of the most sought-after veteran actresses in showbiz and one of the few who possess regal and angelic face, adored by men and women alike.


In between takes for her upcoming movie in Star Cinema, Dawn welcomed guests from ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, Inc. to discuss about the upcoming Lola, Mommy and Me: A Fashion and Food Show on May 31 at Ruffles and Fairmont Hotel, Makati. This is one of the events to celebrate Bantay Bata’s 18th anniversary.


Dawn is one of the advisory board members of Bantay Bata 163 – a child protection agency that rescues abused kids and provides medical and legal assistance to children. Moreover, it also organizes feeding program in chosen communities and organizes workshops to strengthen family bond. Lola, Mommy and Me is a fund-raising event to continue the notable projects of Bantay Bata. Ultimately, it will be a Sunday afternoon filled with family-bonding and a showcase of health and wellness products. Lolas, mothers and daughters who support the advocacy will model the creations of esteemed designer Rajo Laurel. Dawn is one of them.


Even before she married second district Davao del Norte Congressman Anton Lagdameo, she would always find time to go to orphanages and home for the elderly. She delightfully shared how she got involved with Bantay Bata.


“I was really thrilled when I received a letter from Ms. Gina Lopez, inviting me to attend one of the meetings of the Bantay Bata board. From the meeting, I found out that I knew a lot of them. A lot of them were also friends of my husband. And we all seem to have the same ideas about how to improve the lives of children. So, I’m glad to be on board with them,” Dawn enthused.


She has always had fondness for children, especially right now that she is a mother of two wonderful kids, Jacobo and Ayisha.


Dawn graciously shared her experiences being a mother, her aspirations, her fashion sense and her experiences being part of Bantay Bata.


You are a very successful actress and at the same time you are also a mother. How do you balance these two duties?
• I really just balance my time and I manage it very well. I’ve learned how to say No when I just don’t have the time for it. When I know that I will end up sacrificing being with my children. So especially on weekends, I really make sure that I stay at home and work is really just weekdays. So I have work, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Sometimes, in between and I keep my Saturdays and Sundays free. That’s the only way I am able to balance everything.

What are you like as a Mom? Are you strict? Are you the nurturing type? Or parang barkada lang?
• I think that I am a mixture of the three. I am a disciplinarian but there’s also kookiness in me. I like to have fun. I am also nurturing. So I am strict when I need to but I also let go and have fun.


How has motherhood changed your life?
• I used to be very glum when I was a teenager, kind of pessimistic. But ever since I had my children, they’ve just given me so much reason to smile and so much reason to be grateful that I really make it an effort now to always stay positive. I also want my children to possess positive outlook in life while growing up because I think that’s what helps, especially when you need to face the world, when you need to spread the world that love, I think we should be agents of that.


What kind of Lola a Dawn Zulueta would be?
• Well, I haven’t looked that far yet. I’m 46 (laughs). Actually I’m already 46 and my children are so young. My boy is going to be 10, and my girl is going to be 6. So when you think about it, I will be well into my 60s and they’re just starting off. They’re just probably going to be graduating from college, starting a life. But as early as now, I’d like to think that I’m fun loving with them and hopefully, by the time I do have grandchildren, I will still be physically and mentally strong enough to enjoy them. (Laughs)


Can you name a woman / women who have made a great influence in your life?
• I think that would be my grandmother, my maternal grandmother. Unfortunately, I never got the chance to meet my paternal grandmother because she died while giving birth to my father. But I did grow up with my maternal grandmother so she’s one of the examples of women who have influenced my life, and the examples I guess she showed me, are that of the nurturing kind. She was a wonderful cook. She was a really good mother, a doting mother and a doting grandmother to us grandchildren. So her examples are the ones that I try to emulate especially now that I am raising my children. The other woman that I look up to is my mother. She offers a different take on life. My mother taught me how to be street smart. She taught me, not how to fear the world but to be wary. She told me just to go out there but at the same time, be careful. So I appreciate that my mother taught me that. So I have a mix of both. I have a mix of my grandmother who is the softer side and I have a mix also of my Mom’s influence which teaches me also, to always be alert, to be street smart.


How do you maintain your beauty and excellent figure? Any beauty secrets?
• I’m very diligent; I’m quite disciplined when it comes to my sleeping hours. The way I take care of myself, my hygiene, and my health. I make sure I have my yearly check-ups and I try as much as possible to do some physical exercise. That’s ballet usually for me. Other than that, I try to just live a healthy life, eat well, and to keep the balance. People ask me if I’m on a diet, if I do any of that stuff, No. I just enjoy everything but I do everything in moderation. And I always keep a very positive attitude.



What is Dawn Zulueta’s fashion style?
• I think my fashion style will be understated. I don’t like very loud designs. I like them mostly streamlined. That’s my fashion sense.


Women should always wear…

• A piece of jewelry because unlike men, we can be adorned (laughs) with such.


You will never wear ...
• I would never wear fully printed, animal printed outfits. (Laughs) It just looks, I’m sorry, it’s not me! Maybe one little piece, you know, but not fully in an animal print, no. (Laughs)


Has involvement with Bantay Bata made a difference in your life in any way?
• Absolutely. It has open doors for me and opportunities to still be able to help. It’s what I love to do. I love to look into children and their welfare. Medical health, their safety, protecting their innocence, putting roof over their heads, and feeding them. I think this is all very important and so I’ve been doing it before but now that I am with Bantay Bata, it just broadened that horizon.


Bantay Bata just turned 18 years old. Imagine her as a lady. If you would take her out for a movie, what kind of movie would you watch together? And why?
• I cannot seem to think of a movie but I do remember when I was younger, sometime in the 70s, there was this TV show and it was called Little House on the Prairie. It was a story about a family and this family had daughters. Little girls, teenagers. And I remember the family values of that show. I would take an 18 year old Bantay Bata lady to watch a show like that because I believe that these values should be inculcated in the youth we have today. We should be able to impart to our youth today, how to continue giving and continue looking out for these children who usually don’t have a voice and to protect them.


So you know how it is, when you were a teenager, you’re going through ups and downs so I always encourage young girls and even young boys to focus more on the world that is around them. You know, we all have problems, we all have our crosses to carry but usually it is much better when we look out for other people. It also takes the attention away from ourselves and then we realize that these little things we worry about, they’re really nothing compared to what other people are going through. And we will do much better for the world if we are out there, helping them, and looking out for them. So that’s what I would encourage a lot of our youth today.


Not only she sealed the 1991 FAMAS Awards winning Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress in the same year, Dawn Zulueta is also a strong-willed and passionate woman who chooses to use her power to make a difference through helping the children.


If you want to join Dawn in her advocacy, be a part of Lola, Mommy and Me on May 31. Contact Jennifer Damian or Lita Montifar at 4156625 or 4152272 local 3762, for inquiries.