Apart from giving birth to her daughter last May, Jolina Magdangalcelebrated another milestone this year: the actress turned 40 last November 6, 2018 and her doting husband, Mark Escueta, surprised her with a grand party the day after.
In an interview with Pep.ph, Jolina shares that Mark was already cooking up his own surprise for the big day when he was approached by Jolina’s manager Perry Lansigan and Jhaiho, one of Jolina’s biggest fans since way back. They started planning for the surprise as early as January.
Mark’s excuse was that the family would have dinner in Okada Manila with Mark’s balikbayan aunt, which suddenly turned into a staycation because Mark’s aunt booked a spare room.
Jolina thought it was “perfect timing talaga,” but what the mom of two didn’t know was that there was something bigger in store for her.
Jolina admits that while she thought of organizing a party because it was a milestone year, she feared that no one would attend.
“Hindi ko talaga naiisip na mag-party kasi natatakot ako [na] baka walang pumunta. Hindi ko alam paano ko iga-gather dahil ‘yung iba hindi ko na nakakausap, hindi ko alam kung may time pa sila, and hindi ko alam [kung] paano ko sasabihin na, ‘Uy, mag-party naman tayo,’” she revealed in her thank-you speech.
It’s why she’s glad that it was her husband who prepared the party for her. “Ma-emosyunal akong talaga kapag mga ganyan,” she tells Pep.ph.
The party was attended by some of her closest friends and workmates in the industry, including her former on-screen partner, Marvin Agustin, Magandang Buhayco-hosts, Melai Cantiverosand Karla Estrada, and long-time friends Nikki Valdez, Sunshine Dizon, andAngelika dela Cruz.
With such a big turnout, Jolina is more confident now about having a big party when she turns 50. “Mula ngayon na 40 [na] ako, talagang ire-reconnect ko na ‘yung sarili ko doon sa mga friends,” she said in her speech, before thanking all those who took the time to spend it with her on her big day.
“Thank you sa pagmamahal kasi dito napapatunayan talaga kung sino ‘yung mga totoong kaibigan at saka sino ‘yung mga toong nagmamahal sa’yo,” she adds.
Mark surprising Jolina surely brought the feels, but it’s not surprising since the rock star has proven time and again just how much he loves his wife.
While she was pregnant with their daughter, Vika Anaya, Mark shared a beautiful photo of Jolina’s baby bump and praised her for being strong throughout a challenging pregnancy. (Jolina suffered on-and-off spotting in the early weeks and gestational diabetes in the third trimester.) He also made a promise that he and their eldest, Pele, would be in charge of taking care of Vika while Jolina recovers from her C-section.
Jolina admits her first thought when she saw the surprise party was not about her — it was about Mark and how she’ll be able to top the surprise he made for her. “Hindi ko naisip na espesyal ako ngayon pero iniisip ko, paano ko siya gagantihan ng surprise,” she tells pep.ph. “Sa mag-asawa ba, ganun talaga?”
On her Instagram, before finding out about the party, Jolina posted a thank-you to her family, especially to her husband, saying it was Mark who made her feel fulfilled at 40.
“Alam ko na marami pa tayong challenges na haharapin sa buhay, pero lagi akong babalik na dahil sa’yo lagging puno ang puso ko ng kaligayahan. Makakaya ko at natin ang lahat.”
During her speech, Jolina mentioned the words “midlife crisis.” When asked by reporters, she admitted that at her age, she has begun asking, “Important pa ba ako?”
“Mula nang magkaanak ako, parang huminto na dun ang edad ko. Sabi ko nga, kapag pala tumutungtong ka ng 40, puwedeng hindi ka na lang nag-e-expect,” she tells pep.ph. “Parang wala lang, wala na ‘kong gusto.”
She also admits that there would be times when she would feel sad, or feel body pains that came with aging. But as these bursts of emotions come and go, Jolina finds strength in her family.
On the day of her birthday, she chose to have a simple lunch with Mark and their kids, and spend the rest of the day with the people who gave her “unconditional love.”
“I was reminded that life is too short to worry too much. Dapat ‘wag ako pumayag na kainin ako ng worries. Dapat lagi tayong happy. At wala nang mas sasaya pa sa yakap ng dalawa kong anak at ng asawa ko,” she writes. “As long as napapasaya, naaalagaan, at minamahal ko sila, wala nang makakasakit sakin na iba.”