Over the weekend, a photo of a smiling Robin Padilla and his wife Mariel Rodriguez-Padilla inside the Ninoy Aquino International Airport greeted his half-a-million followers on Instagram.
It was the day husband and wife carefully planned for and agreed upon. The day Rodriguez—who has had a couple of miscarriages since they wed in 2010, and now a delicate pregnancy—would fly to the US to be with her own family to give birth.
It will be remembered that when the Padillas announced the gender of their baby early this month, they also revealed they decided on a US birth to ensure that advance technology is readily available in case anything untoward were to happen to mother and daughter.
The only catch in this setup is that Padilla may not be beside his US citizen wife when their long awaited bundle of joy finally arrives.
“I am still waiting for the approval of my visa,” he acknowledged in a press conference two days prior to his wife’s departure on Friday.
Life imitating art, Padilla’s situation is almost straight out of his 2005 movie La Visa Loca, where he played a taxi driver desperate for a US visa but unfortunately denied all the time.
In reality, one of the most popular and successful actors in the business is unusually uncertain of obtaining visas to other countries because of his conviction for the possession of illegal firearms in 1994. Stripped of his civil rights, he has had to undergo lengthier and more complicated procedures when applying for travel permits, since his release from prison in 1998.
“I hope the friendly people of the US Embassy can hear me now. Mabait po ako, kita nyo lapis ang dala ko [I’m a good person, and I only have a pencil in my possession],” he teased with a chuckle, referring to his new advocacy, Black Pencil Revolution with MoneyGram, which was launched during this interview.
Should he be granted the visa in time for his wife’s delivery, Padilla said they might stay a couple of months in that country until their baby is strong enough for a long haul flight.
Like a first-time dad
Asked what other plans he has for his mother and child post birth.
“I have so many plans for her [their daughter Isabella]. I missed my chance to really be with my other children but this time, I will make sure that I’ll be there for my daughter all the way,” Padilla excitedly shared.
His absence during the formative years of his children with ex-wife Liezl Sicangco, coupled with being witness to Rodriguez’ difficult pregnancy led the soon-to-be-dad again appreciate his former partner’s parenting efforts.
“I told my ex that I have come to value her sacrifices for my children all the more today. She’s so strong—she was able to fulfill both the role of a mother and father to them,” the former “Bad Boy of Philippine Cinema” shared.
Padilla’s almost two-decade marriage to Sicangco led to a divorce in 2010. They have four children, namely, Kylie, Queenie, Zhen-zhen and Ali.
As Padilla tries to prepare himself for the eventuality that he may not be able to be with his wife for the birth of Isabella—and two more months or so afterward—he is planning to devote his time on a meaning diversion via his advocacies.
Discussing his latest collaboration with MoneyGram—a global money transfer and payment services company—Padilla described the Black Pencil Project as an independent civilian volunteer organization that assists select schools from far-flung area in the country.
A component of the project is the “School-in-A-Box Program,” which in turn will provide complete study packs, teacher’s kits and relevant learning resource materials for marginalized children from indigenous communities.
“I truly believe in education as an advocacy. I highly encourage the local government to put in extra efforts in education. That’s because, I believe we are experiencing all these problems in our country because we lack a concrete educational system. Our neighboring progressive countries had left us behind,” he firmly stated.