MANILA— Four months after she left the Philippines, Jaya has found her footing in the United States.
Celebrating Thanksgiving Day, the Queen of Soul said she has is grateful for the new blessings to her family, now based in picturesque Silverdale, Kitsap in Washington state.
“At the height of the pandemic, we made this decision. I said to myself then, wow ano ang gagawin ko dito?” Jaya told ABS-CBN News, recalling her inner struggle before she left the Philippines last July 10.
“But God showed me a different path and perspective!”
“Waley talaga ako regret! ” she said laughing.“ "They say faith is blind but I went by it. So I trust in Jesus, definitely this is the best decision I’ve ever made!”
It also helped that Jaya lived in the US in her younger years. Though this time around, she has new challenges and health issues.
As a homemaker, Jaya is portraying her best role so far to husband Gary Gotidoc and their kids Sab and Dylan, and stepson Gavin.
“The boss (Gary) is doing very well. He does a lot of tattoos on the side while he’s on standby for his new job at the Department of Defense,” she related.
“Dylan is with his school’s football team while Sab serves in church and is also with her high school band. Gavin just got married and we’re only awaiting his wife Athena to move to the US from the Philippines.”
“God, husband and children those are my priorities! Magkamatayan na, huwag lang silang mawala sa paligid ko,“ she stressed.
“I will do almost everything for family. So we’re very tight and bonded- 'yan ang nangyari dito!
Diagnosed with diabetes in 2007, Jaya has also coped well in the US managing her sugar levels through a CGM ( continuous glucose monitoring) sensor.
“Diabetes is not a death sentence,” she said, showing her freestyle gadget which stuck in her upper arm.“
"It can be managed by right diet, exercise and proper monitoring. In my case this CGM has freed me from painful daily finger pricking.”
As an added activity, Jaya has also enrolled in a gym.
“I have more freedom now to manage my condition because it can go away if I want it but slowly and surely I am getting there by being more aware of my glucose level.”
In the process of her transformation, Jaya has also shed some aspects of celebrity life that once dictated her. “ I cannot rely on people, I can only rely on God. He will not fail, forsake or leave me. That’s why, circle of friends ko nag-shrink, “ she said matter-of-factly.
“Dati kasi, easy-go-lucky ako sa trabaho, ngayon I am tougher on myself in the sense na kung ayaw ko gawin, di ko gagawin!“ she explained.
“Nabe-burn ako sa mga tao na mahirap pakisamahan. E di ba lagi kasi sa trabaho natin makisama ka!”
“But there comes a point that you have to stick to those who would give us the same— 'yung reciprocation that cannot be one-sided. I’ve relinquished that aspect, bitaw na, kung di kailangan sa buhay, tanggalin na!”
Jaya is just thankful that in the process of overhauling her life, she has regained herself and her worth on her own terms. "I learned to be ‘me’ now! Ako na para sa akin, kailangan ibigay 'yung para sa akin naman!“ she said.
The good news is that Jaya will go on singing. Eventually, when the pandemic eases and more opportunities are open, Jaya wants to return to the Philippines for special shows.
“Nothing like the Philippines!” she quipped .
Jaya has just finished shows in New York and California for Filipino-American communities, plus another show is coming up this December in Texas and in another state by January 2022.
“Hindi naman mawawala singing, work has been good, may mga salo!“ she enthused. “Kailangan din natin 'yan, if not kakalawangin!”