UNLIKE other love stories with fairy tale endings, Calvin Abueva and Sam Javalera’s relationship has more ups and downs than a Pinoy telenovela.
Just last year, the couple split up for the nth time at a tumultuous moment in Abueva's PBA career and, worse, figured in a very public spat where wife alleged domestic abuse.
That same year, Sam and Calvin found a way to put everything behind them and reconcile, welcoming 2020 as one happy family of seven.
Sam couldn't help but get emotional as he looked back on the roller-coaster of emotions she had to endure in the early stages of their relationship. While Abueva was enjoying success in his PBA career, only a few knew about the domestic turmoil that turned out to be the price of fame for 'The Beast.'
“Prior pa sa domestic violence issue, sobrang gulo namin, nandyan ‘yung fame and money, masyadong overwhelmed si Calvin," Sam tells SPIN Life. "Dati, may pagka-[notorious] talaga siya even at home, lahat ng gawain sa bahay at sa mga anak namin, ako lahat, parang mag-isa lang ako.
“Pero ngayon ko lang naramdaman ‘yung moment na may asawa pala ako.”
That is getting ahead of the story. Before the reconciliation, Abueva went through a rough patch both in his professional and personal life that saw him figure in a couple of high-profile fights that prompted the PBA to ban him indefinitely.
In September, Sam gave birth to their fifth child. Later that month, their second oldest had to be rushed to the hospital in the dead of night.
“July kami naghiwalay, buntis ako non, tapos September ako nanganak. Same month, sinugod ko sa hospital ‘yung second eldest kong anak, hating-gabi, 12 a.m.," says Sam, piecing together the details.
"Pagdating ng mga around 3 a.m., nagulat ako na nandon siya sa hospital, [dumating si Calvin]. ‘Yun ang first time ulit naming magkita since naghiwalay kami."
She continued: “’Nung pagkakita ko sa kanya, hindi ko alam ano dapat kong maramdaman talaga. Pero nakita ko itsura niya, sobrang payat, parang napabayaan ‘yung sarili, so tinanong ko siya, ‘Anong nangyari bro’?
"Hiwalay kami that time pero asawa ko siya. Tapos, bigla na lang siyang umiyak. Sabi niya na gusto lang naman niya na maging intact ‘yung family namin.”
Sam says she couldn't believe the changes she was seeing from Calvin in the first few months of their reconciliation.
“Hindi talaga ako makapaniwala, parang sa loob ko, I doubt na nagbago talaga siya. Pero okay na siya, mabait siya, malaking improvement talaga, and hindi ko sinasabi pero na-a-appreciate ko ‘yon nang sobra,” she said.
Sam says the 'new Calvin' went through a total transformation.
“Sa nine years namin sa relationship, puro ako give sa kanya, kaya ngayon napapansin ko kahit ‘yung simpleng utos ko na paki-abot ‘yung ganto, tapos sumunod siya, progress na ‘yon for me and malaking bagay sa akin yon,” she says.
“At ito pa, ngayon, ‘pag may training siya before sa Phoenix, siya na nag-aayos ng gamit niya tapos may nakahanda pang breakfast para sa akin pag-gising ko. Sabi ko, 'Aba, nagbago na pala talaga.'”
Mrs. Abueva also happily reports that Calvin is very hands-on when it comes to raising their five boys, even if he struggles to speak their language.
“’Yung mga anak ko kasi, English-speaking, so si Calvin, nakikita mo talaga na kahit nahihirapan siya, tina-try niya ‘yung best niya to explain what he needs to explain sa mga bata,” she says.
“Dahil gusto niya maging street-wise sila, may ginagawa siyang parenting, na nagdi-distribute siya ng kanya-kanya nilang chores sa bahay.”
It took a while before Calvin became the husband and father she dreamed him to be, but Sam wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s determined to leave the past behind and start afresh, fingers crossed.
Dati pakiramdam ko, ako ang both mother and father, pero ngayon, nandito na siya, partners na kami. Hindi ko inexpect na kaya niya palang magbago talaga,” she says.
“Hopefully, keep it up lang. Despite sa nangyari sa amin dati, thankful pa rin ako na nandyan siya and wala pa rin akong ibang pipiliin kundi siya – kung papipiliin ako ng taong kasama para pagdaanan lahat ‘yon, siya pa rin ang pipiliin ko.”
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