MANILA -- After two failed relationships, one of which lasted two decades, 65-year-old Dionisia Pacquiao has learned a lesson or two when it comes to finding a lifetime partner.
The mother of Filipino boxing icon and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao confirmed on Wednesday that she has a boyfriend again, but said she is not taking the relationship seriously just yet.
Mommy D, as she is endearingly called in showbiz, explained that she has had her share of heartaches and is now more careful in picking a companion.
"Hindi ako nabigo sa pamumuhay. Kahit mahirap lang ako noon, marunong naman ako mag hanap-buhay. Pero sa pag-ibig, sa love life ko, palagi akong nabigo, eh. Nadaanan ko na ang kabiguan," she said.
Her current boyfriend Michael, for instance, plans to go overseas for work, which Mommy D said may not be the best setup to let the relationship grow.
Speaking with ABS-CBN News' Rean Hacosta, Mommy D shared some tips to those who are looking for a serious partner, including qualities to consider in the long term.
1. Love yourself first.
In finding love, Mommy D advised to leave some for yourself. Don't pour all your time and efforts on one person. Be sure to spend time on improving yourself physically and mentally.
"Kailangan ang puso natin, ang pagmamahal, ang pag-ibig, mag-iwan ka ng para sa iyo," she said. "Magtira ka ng para sa iyong katawan, para sa utak mo. Hindi mo ibuhos sa lalaki, hindi mo ibuhos sa boyfriend."
2. Consider if a potential partner is hardworking.
A man who is hardworking is husband material, according to Mommy D. This quality, she emphasized, is especially important when the time comes to settle down and build a family together.
"Ang hinahanap ko talaga ay mabait, respetado, mapagpakumbaba. Hinahanap ko sa lalaki, mataas din ang respeto niya sa akin at masipag. Pag masipag, may hanap-buhay!"
3. Take time to get to know him.
In the first few months of a relationship, your partner may be putting his best foot forward. Over a long period of time, he may start to show traits you otherwise would not be aware of. In Mommy D's case, a previous partner turned out to be a womanizer.
"Natural naman may boyfriend. Sa boyfriend mo, ingatan natin. Silipin mo kung ano siya, ano'ng klase. Hindi tulad ng nakaraan na maraming babae!" she said, laughing.
4. Don't make rash decisions.
While a suitor may impress you with grand gestures or declarations of love, be careful not to base big decisions on these. Don't commit easily, Mommy D warned.
"Huwag magpadalos-dalos sa lahat ng mga nanliligaw, kasi marami ba 'yang magsasabi na, 'Mahal taka,' pero binigkas lang sa labi," she said. "Hindi tayo makatungkad sa puso kung totoo ba, kung tunay na tunay."
5. Think long-term.
"Buti pag tumalon tayo sa dagat, matungkad natin kung gaano kalalim, pero ang isipan ng mga lalaki, hindi ko matungkad, eh. Takot na ako diyan. Nadaanan ko na ang mga kabiguan," Mommy D said.
It's one thing to commit, and another to put it to practice. According to Mommy D, a man can only prove his love and commitment to you once you get married or are living together. In deciding to take a relationship seriously, consider if you see it lasting for the rest of your life.
"Iyong pag-ibig, 'yung love, madaling bigkasin ng bibig, pero ang hirap paniwalaan, ang hirap patunayan," Mommy D said. "Mapapatunayan lang nila kung magsama na kayo habang buhay. Pero pag hindi pa kayo magsama habang buhay, hindi mapatunayan kung totoo ba."
Bonus: Pray to stay youthful.
Mommy D credits her faith for her youthful looks. She stressed that she had declined time and again to undergo cosmetic surgery, and yet has managed to stay "blooming," thanks to what she referred to as a gift from the Virgin Mary.
"Matagal naman na 'to," she said. "Ilang taon na na parang nag-blooming ako, dahil sa pagdasal ko. Ang ginawa ko lang, nagdasal ako everyday, every night, bago ako matulog. Pinagdasal ko, hiningi ko sa Mahal na Birhen."
"Sabi ko, 'Sana iyong mukha ko, ibigay mo sa akin tulad ng sa mukha mo. Bigyan mo ako ng katulad sa'yo na walang katandaan. Gawin mo ako na hindi matandan tingnan. Alam mo naman, palagi akong nabigo,'" she said, laughing.