Kaninang hapon, isang masayang press conference para sa nalalapit na Valentine’s concert ang inihanda ng mga producers ng Martin Nievera + Pops Fernandez Twogether Again na ginanap sa West Avenue Suites sa Quezon City.
Pero hindi pa man nangangalahati ang nasimulang kwelang Question and Answer portion—with the k’wela part courtesy of course of Mr. Loudmouth himself, Martin Nievera—ay biglang nagseryoso si Pops at di napigilang umiyak.
Natanong kasi sina Pops at Martin kung genuine ba ng kanilang friendship ngayon at kung paano sila nakarating sa point na ito after years of animosity.
Mas mahaba na kasing maituturing ang panahon na hiwalay sila (more than 20 years), kumpara sa ipinagsama nila bilang mag-asawa (na 12 years lang)
Ani ni Pops, hindi naging madali ang lahat at dumaan din sila sa dahan-dahang proseso. Pero aniya, lately ay malaki ang naging kinalaman ng anak ni Martin kay Katrina Ojeda na si Santino sa lalong paglalapit nila ng kanyang ex-husband.
“S’yempre it took a long time... I wouldn’t pretend... and I don’t think I’m gonna be a normal human being if gano’n kadali diba? It took a while. But I think, like I said, time heals a lot of wounds. And kumbaga sa...when you see your life and you know that...for me kasi, I’m okay, I’m doing quite well. I’m blessed, of course, with my two boys. Parang nawala na talaga ’yong galit ko, diba? Kung anuman ’yon.”
Sa puntong ito, naki-sabat si Martin na nasa tabi ni Pops.
“I think when you saw...when you meet Santino, that’s when it all...” say ni Martin, referring to his13-year-old son with former partner Katrina Ojeda.
Hindi kailanman ikinaila ni Martin that Santino is “on the spectrum,” which, according to the website advancingmilestones.com, “usually refers to the specific set of behavioral and developmental problems and the challenges associated with autism spectrum disorder.”
“The other factor is, when I saw Santino...he’s such a sweet kid...” patuloy ni Pops. Sa puntong ito, gumaralgal bigla ang boses ni Pops, napatigil magsalita, at nangilid ang luha.
“It broke my heart, alam mo ’yon?” patuloy ni Pipay sabay tuluyan nang tumulo ang luha. “I think that totally changed my whole… ’yong pananaw ko talaga. So, I said, everything has to be okay.
“And I’m happy to say that for the very first time our Christmas... not quite normal yet, but somehow we made it normal, we made it work. I wanted the boys to be together, and they did it, and I think they had a great time.”
First time daw itong nangyari na nag-spend sila ng Christmas together at kasama pa si Katrina! Very modern family set up—bagay na tanggap na ng lahat ng involved.
Although aminado si Martin na between Pops and him, mas siya ang naging uncomfortable sa first try-out nilang mag-Pasko together.
“It was a great Christmas,” elaborate ni Martin. “I mean having all of them together, It wasn’t comfortable for me having both Pops and Katrina in the same table...”
“Yeah, but yeah I think we were comfortable. Hahaha!” singit ni Pops.
“I think everything was fine,” patuloy ni Martin. “It wasn’t very forced because the kids get along well. And Katrina made a big feast for us both, right?. So, it’s been a long time. I mean, you know, me and Katrina are not together anymore either. So, it’s the whole modern family concept just happened. It was magic, it was Christmas. That’s what Christmas is all about miracles and magic, of course, all the credit goes to Pops because if she doesn’t allow it, it’s a whole different ballgame, diba?”
Matapos noon ay patuloy na pinapurihan ni Martin si Pops for choosing “to cope” to make things work para sa ikasisiya ng lahat.
“It’s the woman really,” say ni Martin. “It’s the one who was left with all of this burden and so on that has to cope with these things or make a choice to cope with it or not.
“And she [Pops] made the choice to cope with it. So, for all the women out there, you talk about powerful women? She [Pops] should be on the poster girl. That’s Pops.”
Nagpasalamat si Pops sa mga sinabi ni Martin, but Pops made sure na hindi makaligtaang papurihan din si Katrina.
“Gano’n?,” birong hirit ni Pipay. “Thank you and of course I think same goes to Katrina. She also had difficult times. Both ways. So, mabuhay ang mga kababaihan!”
Incidentally, ang concert series nila Pops at Martin ay mangyayari this Valentine month—February 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20, and 21—sa The Theatre at Solaire.