More than the striking features, Pilita Corrales and Janine Gutierrez share a legacy of love for family, work, and fashion
For Janine Gutierrez, “Mamita” has always loomed large in life. Mamita, of course, is Pilita Corrales, Asia’s Queen of Songs who at 77 years old shows no signs of stopping.
Of course, an entertainer as consummate as Pilita inevitably leaves an indelible mark in the public consciousness, but for the young actress, before she even got to learn of her grandmother’s storied career and impact on Filipino music, Mamita’s love and generosity have always been her refuge. “She’s easygoing and super chill,” Janine says, looking over at her grandmother. “She’s definitely funnier than I am. And she’s very maalaga, always making sure everyone around her is having a good time and being taken care of.”
Like her grandmother
It’s a quality Pilita recognizes in her granddaughter as well. Especially as Janine is the eldest among her siblings, the matriarch remarks on how well the 27-year-old takes on the responsibility. “The kids remained very close and loving, especially after their parents separated,” she reflects. “I’m not the type to dictate to them, ‘Do this, do that,’ but Janine would always ask me, ‘Mamita, can I do this?’ She understood early on when her parents had separated. I’ve always been the family breadwinner, so I love that she’s close to the family and how loving she is with her brother and sisters.”
Physically, the two are also quite alike. “I look a lot like my dad, and he’s like the male version of Mamita,” Janine says with a laugh. “I’ve done shoots where the concept was the fashion from the ‘60s and the ‘70s, and when I put the photos side by side with lola’s from the same eras, there really are a lot of similarities. It’s cute.”
The two women normally bond on Sundays, with a troop of Pilita’s grandchildren—and the accompanying girl and boy friends—visiting her at home. They’d spend time looking through the fabulous gowns, shoes, and accessories in her closet, and ask her to re-tell her colorful stories about performing in Las Vegas and meeting The Beatles. “Those talks usually last for four hours,” Janine says.
“But lately, with her Sunday tapings, this young lady hasn’t been able to join us,” Pilita adds, jokingly chiding her granddaughter. “In the beginning, when she was new to showbiz, I advised her on signing a contract for only two or three years with GMA 7 so she could try something else later on. She asks for my opinion about these things because I always like to ask her what’s going on with work. And I always remind her of being professional. We can wait [on set], but we can’t be late—that’s very important.”
As for Janine’s personal life, though, there’s the usual inter-generational reticence to discuss matters of romance. “Well, she’s met the people who’ve been in my life,” Janine admits. “When Mamita has something to say, she’ll tell it through jokes so as not to hurt my feelings or to avoid pressuring me. She’s wise, but she doesn’t talk to me in an intimidating way.”
“But I don’t know who is making ligaw to her now,” Pilita adds. “I always see them at church. What’s his name again? He lives in—“ Before she could say more, she gets alerted by her granddaughter and her assistants. “Oh, I’m not supposed to say? Haha! I thought everyone already knew, because people tell me may nanliligaw kay Janine. Siyempre kailangang i-diskarte ko muna!”
Shared beauty and charm
Despite the 50-year-gap between the two—and their respective packed schedules—the closeness is very evident. More than the high cheekbones, the arched brows, and the pillow-like lips, Janine and Pilita share a charm and a youthful spirit that make it easy to see why being in show business is in the family blood. “Mamita is beautiful and charming because she loves her work and everyone around her,” Janine says. “When people around her are having fun and are comfortable—that extends to the people who watch her live or on TV—then she’s happy. She’s so generous in how she puts everyone else first.”
As for Pilita, she’s always been her granddaughter’s biggest fan. “Whenever Janine smiles, people are drawn to her. It’s her smile and her inner character that make her truly beautiful.”
Janine: “I’m into skincare right now. In high school, I never put sunblock or anything on, and I remember Mamita telling me frequently how important it was to take care of my skin; I realized that only when I got older. I like Kiehl’s and I recently tried La Mer. I like taking the time to figure out what’s best for my skin, because there’s no one thing that works for everyone.”
“My go-to makeup trick is to apply mascara. If you have bright eyes, it really lightens up your aura. Oh, and a good lipstick!”
“If I had to give a beauty product to Mamita, it’d be nail polish. I’ve seen all the possible nail polish colors on her, from blue to gold to glittery ones. It’s sort of her signature.”
Pilita: “People compliment me on my skin. My secret? I don’t use soap on my face. It’s too drying! Also, no sun. Don’t go under the sun without protection. “
“After taking a shower, use body oil. Did I tell you that, Janine? Use Neutrogena Body Oil. Just oil the body every day—better if twice a day and before going to sleep.”
“I used to use Max Factor, and now, I use Nichido cream before putting makeup on; I use the green-toned cream instead of the white one. Before, I used Kokuryu and Ever Bilena. Actually, I use whatever brand, local or not, as long as it’s not liquid because I have oily skin.”
Who takes longer when shopping?
Janine: “I’m the type who’d think over something I like for a while. I go around first, then when I still can’t forget about that item, I go back for it. Mamita works fast, just choosing stuff simply by looking at them. I guess it’s because she knows her style well and what she likes.”
Who spends more?
Pilita: “I really love to shop so I’m sure I spend more. If every day, I could, I would. I used to take the kids shopping all the time; now, Janine has to take me shopping. I like the stuff at SM Woman. If I need toys and gifts, SM has it all. If you want something special, you can always find it there.”