Second of a series of lifestyle features on presidential candidates' wives/partners
MANILA, Philippines - Being "one with the universe" seems like an easy feat for Dunia Valenzuela delos Reyes, wife of "Ang Kapatiran" presidential bet JC Delos Reyes.
Dunia (pronounced as "Doon-ya") is far ahead than the average person when it comes to keeping a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
She is a yoga instructor at Jornada Yoga in Subic, an avid vegetarian, environmentally conscious and is as devoted to Catholic teachings as she is to Zen-like ideals.
Dunia was born in Nigeria to a Filipino engineer father and a Brazilian mother. Her family moved to Brazil when she was young and she lived there until she was 19.
She came to the Philippines in 1995 to study mass communication at St. Paul University of Quezon City. Two years later, she met her husband, then Olongapo City councilor JC Delos Reyes, on a blind date of sorts.
The fateful meeting between the couple was arranged by her future father-in-law, whom Dunia acted with in a school play.
The planned date was a success. JC and Dunia married months later. They have 3 young children aged 6 to 10 years old.
Dunia is no stranger to election campaigns. She was her husband's campaign manager in 2007 when JC ran for councilor of Olongapo City.
For the 2010 elections, "Ang Kapatiran" chose JC for a much higher post--the presidency. Dunia admitted in an interview with abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak that she met the news with hesitancy.
"I was like 'Whaaat?' Everyone I talked to thought he would run for mayor. I thought he would run for mayor," she said. "But in time, God gave me the grace to think that it's not what I want, it's what he wants. I still don't know what God's going to make happen, so I should just relax."
Though she enjoyed being campaign manager in 2007, this year she would rather support her husband's campaign within home turf by taking care of their children and "giving peace to [her] husband when he comes home."
As for the possibility of becoming First Lady, this self-described "simple housewife" says she has not thought of it.
However, if that kind of "blessing" comes her way, she says she will be compassionate and service-oriented, a value her yoga community prizes.
Here are Dunia Delos Reyes's answers to several lifestyle questions sent by abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak:
What makes your fashion style unique? Who is your stylist or fashion consultant?
I have no consultant. Fashion is not my obsession. I just dress depending on where I'm going and [what] my mood is. If the weather is gloomy, I try wearing red or happy colors to make it a brighter day for me. Mostly, I like comfortable clothing. Clothes that allow my body to move freely. More of cotton, less of the synthetic. Of course, if I needed [to] I'd wear a gown or a tube.
If a customs official were to open your hand bag right now, what would he or she find?
Hmmm... my planner or a book, my wallet, a kit with my lip gloss, propolis mosquito repellant, a eucalyptus roll-on that I use at my temple when I have headaches, nail clutter, nail file, a napkin (hehehe) and a few natural medication like Echinacea and a paracetamol.
Suppose your husband wins as president, which designer would you most likely approach for your Inaugural dress? Who is your favorite designer, if any?
No favorite yet. As I said, fashion is not something I make an effort to follow. I guess if he wins, there will be many wonderful people who will suggest different styles and I'll find what best suits me. I like long dresses and gypsy earrings.
What is your secret to staying well-groomed and beautiful?
Let me see, I wash my face with a non-soap facial wash. My facial creams are from Brazil, which my mom sends me. I'm a vegetarian, still eating fish, I avoid junk and fast food. No soft drinks either. That is enough to take care of my skin and my energy.
What are you hobbies or favorite sports?
Aside from yoga, I paint, I love to cook, I swim and do sports. I love Nia a neuro interactive action practice that allows my body to move freely, full of expression, without boundaries. It's a combination of dance arts, martial arts and healing arts.
What do you do after a stressful or hectic day? How do you relax?
Yes, going to Ton Ton's every 2 weeks for a foot massage is a treat for me. Also, getting a home body massage once in a while revives my senses. But mostly, what really refreshes me is the beach. I take the children to the beach or I just drop by the shore to dip my feet in and breathe the sea air. Also, taking time to pray and meditate lets me center myself, take things slow and see His (God's) ways more clearly.
During campaign sorties, what things can't you do without?
Sun block, water jug and cell phone.
What is your pet peeve?
I can cook all day or even clean the bathroom. But I really dislike washing the dishes. Funny, but it's true.
What are your tips for working moms who want to keep a well-balanced lifestyle?
First, in order to give the best of you--at work or at home-- you must work in keeping yourself healthy, balanced and happy within. But how? Everyone is different. No one is like the other, when we understand that we stop expecting so much from ourselves and we let go and begin living our role in life.
To have a balanced lifestyle for me is to understand our priorities in life. It's to know what comes first. If a mother is sickly, or she lacks energy because of obesity than how she can give her children the best of herself. You see, if your priority is yourself, the temple of the Holy Spirit, then you feel good, healthy and happy.
You'll be able to give back to your family, work and community--all that which is you, the reflection of the Spirit. Then without making too much effort, you find your balance.
When you want something done, how do you get your way?
Oh, I am very open to new ideas [and] suggestions. I don't always have to get it my way, unless I know by experience that it's the best decision. If I want something done, I just do it myself!
Do you consider yourself a good cook? What's your favorite dish?
Hmmm... my friends like my cooking and JC does too. I love good Japanese food and vegetarian dishes cooked with love! They are the best!
Describe your parenting style. Do you have tips for other parents?
I've always been hands on with the children, trying to teach them what my parents taught me: to live simply, love God's creations and do to others what you would have them do to you. I believe in giving the children valuable memories [through] family time together in outings and at church.
For me, let kids be kids. They need to grow slow and experience every stage as a learning process. I don't believe in pressuring them in school. I let them find their passion and soon we notice that one is more inclined to arts, the other science. Make your house a home, so they'll always want to come back!
What books have you read lately?
One of my companion books is Christian Teachings on the Practice of Prayer from the Early Church to the Present. It's an anthology edited by Lorraine Kisly. But a book you'll find in my bag now is "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Describe your typical workday. Has your husband's campaign for the presidency changed your lifestyle?
I wake up around 5:30 a.m., brew coffee, then I st down at the table. And while having a cup of coffee, I say my prayers and talk to God about the day which is about to begin. After, I prepare breakfast for the children. I also prepare their snacks for school and soon, I wake them up around 6:30 a.m.
I bring them to school and come home, call the store to check on the employees and make arrangements for the day, then I get ready for my morning private classes, which I teach 3 times a week. After class, I come home, prepare lunch for the kids, which I have to bring to school around 11:30.
Afternoons are mostly busy with errands [like paying] bills, trips to the store, grocery and dinner [which is] sometimes prepared by me or our house helper.
By 5:30, I pick up the kids in school. And if I have class, then by 6 p.m., I leave for the yoga center. Classes are up to 8 p.m.
Actually, the campaign changed our schedule in a way because now, JC is busy and I'm the one handling the business. (The Delos Reyeses have a brick business.) But it's not easy because it's new, so I have my hands full.
To what extent, would you say, do you influence your husband's decisions?
I state my opinion, which he listens to, but I give him the freedom to decide after my opinion has been discussed. Authority, though democratic, has only one head to choose the best course of action.
Report by Kristine Servando, abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak. Photo from Friendster.com.