MANILA – Not a lot of people know about the life story of actress Isabel Rivas, which is certainly one for the books.
Speaking with PEP, Rivas opened up about her childhood and how she ended up being adopted by her aunt when she was just two days old.
"Nang ipinanganak ako, ako 'yung pampalubag-loob dahil anak siya nang anak. Ayaw na siyang tulungan ng mga kapatid niya. Ang sabi ng kapatid niya, ‘Ito na lang ang tulong na gagawin ko sa 'yo. Kapag babae ‘yang nasa tiyan mo, ibigay mo sa akin, palalakihin ko.' So, walang choice ang biological mother ko,” she said.
Rivas said she is one of her mother’s four biological kids. One of them already passed away, while the other one in America. Her other sibling is Dennis Roldan, who is the father of Marco and Michele Gumabao.
Although her aunt legally adopted her, Rivas said she knew from the beginning who her biological mom was.
"All my life, alam ko na siya ang tunay na nanay ko dahil pumupunta siya at saka ang mga kapatid ko sa Zambales kapag holiday, Christmas season, summer vacation. Alam ko na kapatid ko sila, alam ko na mommy ko siya. 'Mommy' ang tawag ko sa kanya at 'Mama' ang tawag ko sa adoptive mother ko,” she said.
Despite being given away, Rivas said she was able to forgive her mother before she passed in 2009.
"I used to talk about my adoption like it’s the wound na nagpatibay sa akin. Pero bago siya namatay noong 2009, lumuhod siya sa akin, humingi siya ng tawad sa akin. Hindi raw niya akalain na ganoon ang magiging epekto ng mga nangyari sa akin,” she said.
"There was a time na nagrebelde ako, teenager years ko. Pero nung mabuntis naman ako, hindi niya ako pinabayaan. Doon pa lang, na-restore na ang relationship namin, pero hindi fully," she added.
At the end of the day, Rivas said she is grateful for her adoptive family.
"My adoptive Chinese aunts were very Godly, relihiyoso. We lived a block away from the Cathedral church kaya I grew up praying for every step I made. I made so many mistakes but held on to sanity in spite of the chaos in our family. Our saving grace is that we prayed for our dreams, and God brought me here where I am," she said.