Sunshine Cruz and her daughters open up about how their relationships with one another are like at home
After separating from her ex-husband, Sunshine Cruz wanted something different for her daughters. She didn’t want a household filled with arguments, wrongful accusations, and mistrust. She felt that her daughters had gone through enough especially when they found proof of her ex’s infidelity. Finally, in 2013, she left her husband and started a whole new life for her and her three daughters. Currently a celebrity single mom of three, Sunshine has been taking steps to create a nurturing home for her three daughters: Angelina, Sam, and Chesca.
Being a single mother to three girls
For Angelina, Sam, and Chesca, they have always admired and loved their mom for everything she is and does. They know that she has struggled for them and still continues to support them in any way she can. Whether they want to go into showbiz or not, the girls know that no matter what their mom will always find a way to be there for them, in a way she knows best.
“What I love about my mom is that she’s like our friend. She’s easy to joke around with and we can tell her anything,” Chesca says. “Like, she still disciplines us when we get too much. But we always end up making up after. Even if takes a few days, she’ll want us to be friends again and we usually hug it out.”
Sam on the other hand admires her mother’s strength. “What I love about my mom is that she’s a fighter,” Sam explains. “She doesn’t back down especially when people are criticizing us or bullying us on social media. We know that she will always have our backs. For her, if there’s something’s wrong, you have to speak up!”
And for Angelina, she loves how her mom isn’t afraid of judgment. “If she needs to give us tough love, she’ll do that,” Angelina says. “She’s not afraid to teach us very important things and to tell us that she cares. She’s not afraid to show us how she feels.” Whether it’s about life, love, or anything important, Angelina knows that her mom is always there to be a willing ear, to offer sound advice, and to support her.
With Sunshine as the constant force in their lives, the three sisters also know that they can count on each other.
A tale of three sisters
Sisters have an interesting relationship that can range from being frenemies to becoming partners-in-crime. As the eldest, Angelina is often seen as the calmer one and the one the younger sisters can always go to for advice if mom isn’t around. Sam’s the bouncy and energetic one and someone who Angelina says can “match anyone’s weirdness.” And finally, Chesca appears to be a balance between the two sisters despite being the youngest. The sisters love doing a lot of things as a trio, but what tops the list are singing and doing Tiktoks.
“Chesca and I can sometimes merge to become one person. I love that we both have the same humor and taste in music. Sometimes, we even spend time writing songs together,” exclaims Sam. “For Ate Buching [Angelina’s nickname from childhood that stuck], I love that I can count on her to listen to me and give me good advice. And I know she’s always right because I’ve seen it happen especially when she doesn’t like the vibes a person is emitting.”
Angelina on the other hand loves Sam for being so easygoing. “What I love most about her is how you can really joke around with her and when you’re with her, the vibe is really light. You can be yourself around her. For Chesca, she’s the one person I know I can chill with the most because we share the same hobbies and we enjoy hanging out together doing whatever.”
When asked about her two sisters, Chesca offers a different side to Angelina and confirms that she and Sam have the same interests, since Sam and her only have a one-year difference. “Ate Buching is never afraid to show affection. She calls me up to her room and we watch movies or read books together, we also love to cuddle together,” Chesca says. “She’s a very affectionate ate.”
It’s an achievement for any mom to see that all her three daughters are getting along and not trying to pull each other’s hairs. So, good job to Sunshine for raising them to be so tight-knit!
When asked what the secret is to their amazing family dynamic, Sunshine mentioned two things: respect and open communication. “We should always have open lines of communication and respect for one another, especially since we are all girls. It can get emotional at times. I always tell them that if they have any problems, especially concerning boys – they can come to me,” says Sunshine.
While most girls would find it weird talking to their moms about boys, Angelina, Sam, and Chesca don’t. They find comfort in opening up to their mother about those things, even gushing about who their crushes are. But what amuses Sunshine more is how quickly her daughters’ crushes change so quickly.
“They would always tell me about their crushes. But they keep changing them, parang flavor of the month! Like whenever they say someone new, I’m like, “Who’s this new person now?” laughs Sunshine. In a way, she is relieved because this means her daughters are not taking boys seriously yet.
While crushes are still a thing for her young daughters, she is fully aware that the time will come when they will start thinking about getting into serious relationships. Especially since both Angelina and Sam are in the showbiz industry, there’s bound to be at least one young man around who might catch their fancy. However, Sunshine has made it clear to her daughters that their studies should always come first.
“I told them before that maybe when they’re 18, then maybe,” Sunshine recalls her advice to them about boys. “But that doesn’t mean that the moment they become 18, they have to get a boyfriend. And so far, it’s been working well,” she then laughs, “I mean, my daughter [Angelina] is 20 years old and she’s still single.”
Behind the scenes
Sunshine, Angelina, Sam and Chesca are no strangers to the social media spotlight. They pique people’s curiosity and it’s not difficult to see why. Aside from being blessed with good looks, they are so fun to watch.
Sunshine and her girls confessed that the one guilty pleasure that they enjoy bonding over is watching slasher horror movies together. “We often watch them in mom’s room and then exchange places every now and then while watching and screaming. Like two of us on the bed, another one on the cushion. We scare each other and always end up laughing,” Sam explains. “If we’re not watching horror movies, we also bond over food. We love to eat.”
Sunshine knows that even though they have many good and happy times together, there will always be times that her tres marias will disagree on something. When asked if they fight, Sunshine says that they do bicker every now and then. Regarding what they fight about, Sunshine summarizes it one simple statement: “Why did you borrow this!? I haven’t worn it yet!”
“I already told them to put their initials and labels on their clothes once they get it,” sighs Sunshine while giggling about it with her three daughters. “Yet, they still manage to end up wearing each other’s clothes without knowing that the one who bought it hasn’t worn it yet! Especially Chesca, she always somehow manages to get the clothes of her sisters. Naku, one thing they are all guilty of is wearing my clothes, sometimes without asking for permission,” she adds. How many moms and daughters can relate to this dilemma, right?
But despite the banter and small arguments, Sunshine and her daughters know that they would rather argue with each other over anyone else in the world.
Raising empowered and strong women
Because of generational differences, mothers and daughters are usually the first to butt heads. They argue about some traditional inconsistencies or have arguments about how things were back then and how they are now. For Sunshine and her daughters, it’s not always a bed of roses. As a mother and the head of their household, Sunshine always made sure to prioritize her daughters’ needs over their wants; to cultivate a safe space where everyone is free to respectfully express themselves and honest conversations are encouraged, instead of suppressed.
Over the years after her separation, Sunshine has created a warm environment in her home where all three of her girls can realize their worth and recognize what real love and support ought to be like.
Words KEVYN GOHU
Photography FLOYD JHOCSON
Art Direction NICOLE ALMERO & PATTY SACAY
Styling PAUL SESE
Make-up for Sunshine and Angelina MURIEL PEREZ
Make-up for Samantha and Francheska TAMARA PINEDA of NARS PH
Hair JOSEPH FANTONE & DESIRE DESPI of COLORBAR PH
Sittings Editor MARGA MEDRANO TUPAZ
Shot on location at SHANGRI-LA AT THE FORT