Perfumer now 'complete' with twins christened
MANILA, Philippines -- Fragrance entrepreneur Joel Cruz, in his words, is unlike most dads -- his happiness as a father did not come as easily and as conventionally.
|Joel Cruz (left) turned emotional during the baptism of his children Prince Sean (right) and Princess Synne (not in photo) last Wednesday.
On September 4, the openly gay multi-millionaire perfumer finally welcomed to the world his twins, Prince Sean and Princess Synne, who were christened last Wednesday in the Philippines.
The two were born in Moscow, Russia, where they were conceived through in vitro fertilization and subsequently carried by a surrogate mother.
At the sidelines of the blessing of his newest home and the twins' baptism on Wednesday, Cruz was visibly elated by this latest milestone.
"Masasabi ko na kumpleto na ako. Sobrang saya ngayong Pasko. Dahil noon, ikaw ang palaging nagreregalo -- wala namang masama doon -- pero syempre minsan nakikita mo 'yung ibang pamilya, namamasko sila, hindi ko ma-experience 'yung ganoon, pero ngayon, may anak narin ako," he said.
For Cruz, the president and CEO of brands Aficionado Germany Perfume, Joel Cruz Signatures and AFSS-Aficionado Apparel, becoming a father is especially fulfilling.
Referring to his sexual orientation, Cruz said, "Sa tulad ko, ibang-iba 'yung pakiramdam, na kahit hindi ako straight na lalaki, na magkaroon ako ng anak. Iba 'yung pakiramdam, ang saya-saya mo na mahawakan mo 'yung anak mo."
"Kaya the moment na nahawakan ko 'yung mga anak ko, it's a totally different feeling, and I thank God for all these blessings," he added.
|Joel Cruz poses with his daughter Princess Synne.
According to Cruz, Prince Sean and Princess Synne's biological mother is a Russian national. He recalled he had been offered to choose among surrogacy volunteers based on his personal preference.
"Kung ano gusto mo -- gusto mo mataas na babae, gusto mong magandang-magandang babae, sobrang tangos na ilong. So 'yung mga wala sa 'kin... Hindi ako ganoon kataas, kaya ang kinuha ko, she's 5-foot-11. She looks like Julia Roberts (American actress)," Cruz said.
Undergoing surrogate motherhood and in vitro vertilization, according to Dr. Leo Olarte, vice-president of the Philippine Medical Association, "is a parental choice."
"However, the parties concerned should be covered by a binding contract which will protect the rights and claim to ownership of the offspring of such arrangements," he said.
Carrying his legacy
Now that he has children who will inherit his business, Cruz said he hopes that the twins will also carry on his advocacy to help the less privileged.
Cruz's charity work has been recognized by various organizations, most recently at the 10th Annual Gawad Amerika Awards in November, where he received the Gawad Amerika Award 2012 for Philanthropy.
"Ang talagang pinangako ko rin sa Panginoon sa taas -- marami akong advocacies na ginagawa -- 'yung pagtulong sa mga charitable institutions. 'Yun ang gusto ko sanang mapagpatuloy nila," Cruz said, referring to his children.
"Hindi lang basta magtrabaho at magmana, kundi matuto rin nilang mahalin ang mga kapwa nating Pilipino na naghihirap at kailangan talaga ng tulong, at buong kusa nilang gagawin 'yon," he said.