Beyond the surname they all share, Ruffa Gutierrez, Sarah Lahbati-Gutierrez, and Alexa Uichico-Gutierrez are connected by the incredible experiences of motherhood, strong sisterly bond, and admirable family values.
“Mothers know best,” as the timeless adage says. And as the challenging role of motherhood entails an endless list of lessons learned only by firsthand experience, the comfort of having your own mom group is most welcome. With it, a vast collection of wisdom that is shared with those who need it. For the large Gutierrez clan, the women need not look far.
“We don’t live together. But when we are together, it comes naturally. We talk about anything and everything. It’s always fun. There’s always something to talk about, right?” Alexa says, smiling at Ruffa and Sarah. Throughout the shoot, the undeniable connection is evident: the chats during breaks, the infectious laughter, and the energy they share with another. Ruffa affirms, recalling their first trip together. They call each other “sestras,” a term Sarah picked up from Orphan Black, which is Slavic for “sister.”
The sanctity of Sundays
Sundays are reserved for family gatherings where the ladies see each other. And while homeschooling isn’t a topic Ruffa shares with the others, she brings the much-needed dose of fun to the table. when I come into the picture, it’s all chismisan and tawanan, because I don’t homeschool. “Because my kids are big na, right? So we just have a lot of fun and catching up, and “Talaga, ate?!” because I come and I bring all the news,” Ruffa says, with a telling smile. And the girls (and all else in the room) erupt in laughter.
Kidding aside, Ruffa shares the importance of these family gatherings, stressing how the months-long quarantine has given the Gutierrezes some free time to check up on each other.“I’m actually really happy that this pandemic brought us together every Sunday. Because prior to that, our schedules are also busy: the family’s shooting, pictorials, the kids… So it’s really hard to put us all together. But now, we really made it a point to keep Sundays free whether it’s lunch or dinner,” she explains.
Modern Gutierrez parenting
While the privileges of the celebrity lifestyle have afforded them a comfortable life, the three Gutierrezes share that they prefer keeping their kids grounded, enforcing discipline, and encouraging their family values. Sarah explains, “I feel like we’re modern parents. We want our kids to be independent. But we also don’t want them to be spoiled brats.” And while they have very different experiences—Ruffa has two teen girls, Alexa has two young girls, and Sarah has two young boys, their styles are very similar—creating the balance between the roles of the good cop and the bad cop at home.
As a single parent, the weight of being both mother and father for her children lies on Ruffa. She explains, “I have to be the good cop and bad cop. You have to be right in the middle. I don’t spoil my kids: I only give them gifts on special occasions like birthdays, Christmas, or if they did well in school. Or we’re on a trip together. So I think for Sarah and Alexa, it’s also quite different because they have husbands to help them out.”
All home for the holidays
This yuletide season, the entire clan will be together to celebrate Christmas on the 24th. Sarah tells us that the tradition is that 24th is reserved for the Gutierrezes and the 25th is when they go to their sides of the family. “Everybody feels special on the 24th in our house, whoever is invited, whoever is going, even the helpers and staff. The 24th is all about being grateful for the people around you,” elaborates Alexa. “Giving back to the people who’ve helped us for how many years. In the Gutierrez family, we really make sure that we take good care of them and show them that we really appreciate them.”
Ruffa reflects on the pandemic-era Christmas, “You know, in spite of everything that happened this year, all the craziness… I believe that we’re still thankful, we’re still grateful that we have work. We’re alive. We’re all healthy, in spite of all of the challenges that happened in 2020. So we will be celebrating more of like a Thanksgiving, no matter how simple. Not extravagant or grand, but we’ll have that on December 24.”
Grateful, no matter what
To Ruffa’s point, there has been a lot to be grateful for. And regardless of the year’s lows, there are undeniable highs that need acknowledgment. And this Christmas is but a stark reminder of the blessings that life brings. Sarah shares, “My advice would be to set aside whatever problems that’s going on or whatever thoughts that bugging your mind and just focus on family focus on having a soulful meal as a family and being grateful about everything else, rather than focusing on the negative things.”
Adding to the conversation, Ruffa advises prayer as well. “I think prayer, and thanking God for all of the blessings that we’ve received this year is important. Like I said, you know, it’s been a crazy year, so just thank Him for the gift of life. That’s the most important.” Alexa lets us in on her personal traditions, “What I usually do is, I write down the things that I’m grateful for every year. You should do it when the year ends. When you write it down, there’s just so many things to be grateful for: from the small things to the big things.”
Portraits of a Gutierrez mom
If there is anything incredibly astounding in seeing this group of united women, it is seeing that palpable connection brought about by a common experience—from the hardships of childbirth to the complexities of rearing their children, to relearning how to enjoy time for themselves when they can afford it. One forgets the popular surname, and through the individual conversations and their intimate chatter, more than the pictures in the magazines and the faces in the movies, you see family-centric individuals: moms, sisters, and women who just want nothing but the best for their families. In this case, they just happen to be Gutierrezes—remarkably strong and exceptionally beautiful in their own ways.
Do you like The Gutierrez Sisters? We like them too! Check out our other articles here:
Slowing It Down With Sarah Lahbati
No Other Way But Together
Ruffa Gutierrez’ Motherly Love: Passing Womanly Strength and Courage to The Next Generation
Christmas Shopping Made Easy with Metrobank Credit Card’s PayNow Service
Photography by Miguel Abesamis
Sittings Editor Marga Medrano-Tupaz
Art direction by Ferdi Salvador
Assisted by Patty Sacay
Words by Pipo Gonzales
Shoot coordination by Lianne Castro
Makeup by Mac Igarta for Ruffa, Anthea Bueno for Sarah and Tamara Pineda (NARS) for Alexa
Hair by Archie Gilbero for Ruffa, Charlie Manapat for Sarah and Alexa
Styling by Danae Dipon
Assisted by Mara de Guzman