Hers is a story similar to those in the pages of a fairy tale book. She was a teen idol and a beauty queen, who evolved to become a glamorous executive that promotes physical perfection of Asian women.
She is Mutya Crisostomo, daughter of Tony Ferrer and Alice Crisostomo.
Success seemed to be her birthright. After all, her mother was the 1970 Mutya ng Pilipinas, while her dad was at one time, the most popular male star of Philippine cinema.
At 14 however, Mutya realized that success was something she had to work for. Her parents separated after 18 years of marriage, leaving her and brother Falcon the products of a broken home.
Because of hurt ego, Alice tried to be independent. As a result, she and Mutya had to work to support their new “family.” “Malaki ang hirap ni Mutya sa amin,” she admits. “Siya ang nagpa-aral sa kanilang magkapatid. At 14, she was the family’s breadwinner. Ako naman ang kanyang mother, secretary, manager, driver, lahat na.”
Having been born in a family of filmmakers, Mutya decided to help her family, the only way she knew – via show business. Thanks to her fine lineage, she was an instant star, first at GMA-7’s “That’s Entertainment” and later, as a contract star of Viva Films.
She belonged to the first batch of “That’s Entertainment” stars who became the idols of the ’80s: Jean Garcia, Ana Abiera, Nadia Montenegro, Sheryl Cruz, Lotlot de Leon, Tina Paner, Donita Rose and Manilyn Reynes. “Pero ‘di niya pinabayaan ang pag-aaral,” Alice adds. “After her classes, takbo kami sa “That’s…”
In the process, Mutya became a role model to other stars who did not let go of their studies despite hectic showbiz commitments. “Yung mga teachers, sabi nila Jennifer (Sevilla), ginagawa daw example si Mutya nung mga professors sa UST. ‘Di nagpapabaya sa studies.” Under Viva Films, Mutya did “Wolly Bolly,” “Row 4: Baliktorians” (1993), “Apoy sa Puso” (1992), “Ngayon at Kailanman” (1992), “Tag-araw, Tag-ulan” (1992), “Wooly Booly 2: Ang Titser Kong Alien” (1990), “Valentina” (1989), “Rock-a-Bye Baby: Tatlo ang Daddy” (1988), among others.
“Matagal din siya sa showbiz, almost six years din. She quit when she was 20,” Alice continues.
Mutya’s exit from showbiz marked the beginning of her new conquest, as a beauty queen. “Nung bata pa siya, lagi niyang pinaglalaruan ang aking crown. Gusto niya talaga,” says Alice.
Her fairy mother came in the form of Reneé Salud, who prodded her to join Mutya ng Pilipinas. Luckily, just like her mom who won the title 20 years before, Mutya was proclaimed as Mutya ng Pilipinas 1990. Two years later, she was crowned as second runner-up in the 1992 Miss Asia Pacific contest.
After achieving her childhood fantasy, Mutya was ripe to put her education to good use. And as a Mass Communication graduate with Marketing major, she was a shoo-in for any major position in a corporate world. “She used to be the Brand Manager of Ponds here.
Now, she heads the global team of Ponds, Unilever in Singapore,” says her proud mom. And as Mutya piled success after success, she kept her feet on the ground, knowing that her priority was her family, including his estranged father. “When Tony had a heart attack, April of last year, si Mutya ang nag-asikaso ng lahat. She even solicited the needed blood from her officemates. That made Tony very happy.”
Mutya also enjoys harmonious relationship with her half-sister, Maricel Laxa. “Maricel is two years older than Mutya,” says Alice. “When I married Tony, he did not say that he has another daughter. When Mutya was in Grade One, lagi siyang nagkaka-tonsil dahil sa kabibili ng ice cream, kaya ‘di ko binibigyan ng pera. Tapos, nagka-tonsil na naman. Kaya pala, binibigyan ni Maricel ng pera. Doon ko nalaman na magkapatid sila. Sabi ni Mutya sa akin: Mommy, may pinsan ako sa school. Laxa ang apelyido.”
To this day, Maricel and Mutya remain very, very close, and so are Alice and Imelda Ilanan, Maricel’s mother.
December of 2008, Mutya met her prince in Greenbelt. He is Genesis “Jinggoy” Buensuceso, a metal sculpturist based in New York. He is a native of Bataan, who had a successful one-man exhibit in Manhattan and was featured in The New York Times. “Mutya saw his artworks. That time, inaayos niya yung condo niya sa Singapore. Magpapagawa sana siya, kaya nakipag-appointment kay Jinggoy,” says Alice. “There was something about Jinggoy that was completely good. Even at their very first meeting, their chemistry was palpable. Nag-usap sila, nakalimutan na nila yung time. Nakalimutan na nila na kasama kami.”
“One time, she told me: Siguro ito na hinihintay ko, Mommy. Ipagdasal mo nga ako. Kasi, nagdadasal siya for the right man eh.” So, at 30-something, Mutya found her prince. Sept. 9, last year, Mutya and Jinggoy exchanged “I dos” at the Botanic Gardens in Singapore with only the closest family members and friends in attendance.
As the 21st-century embodiment of a successful woman, Mutya lives true to her name as the muse of her parents, her husband, and all the girls who choose to do good. (E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org )