She is one of the most beautiful faces ever seen in Philippine cinema. At a tender age, she has excelled from the ranks of teenie booby girls and as they say, with room for advancement. She can dance, sing, act, what more can you ask for. sorry CARLO AQUINO SHE WILL NEVER BE YOURS! Young actress Angelica David Panganiban says she is the only daughter of Annabell Panganiban and a father she didn’t know by name. “Maybe I knew his name when I was a child but I’ve forgotten it now,” she says. She has no memories of her father either. “Only a picture,” she says. And she doesn’t miss him. “I never grew up with a father,” she adds. “Had I felt his presence then, I could have missed him today.”

In her childhood, Angelica had thought that her grandfather, Alfredo Panganiban, was her father, until her playmates set her aright. “I was playing in a playmate’s house and told the rest that my daddy was coming home soon with plenty of pasalubong (gifts).’ But they told me, ‘He’s not your daddy, he’s your lolo. You don’t have a daddy…’ I didn’t cry. It wasn’t an issue for me; I was too young then.”

The only time she wished her father was around, Angelica says, was two years ago, when she celebrated her debut. “He could have been my first dance,” she says wistfully. Her Lolo Alfredo graciously did the honor.

Amazingly, no one has yet come forward to claim paternity of this young actress who starred in such movies as “Antipolo Massacre,” her first film, “Separada” (where she won a Famas for Best Child Actress), and “Santa Santita.”All she knows about him, says Angelica, is that her parents had separated when she was two. He was crazy (baliw), her mother had told her.

It was no big deal, she recalls. In grade school, Angelica remembers having a group of friends called “barkadahang walang ama” (friends without fathers). “All my friends’ parents were separated. Their stories were worse than mine. One’s father was said to have been ran over by a train. Another said her mother chopped off her father’s head, and so on.”

Only recently did her mother started telling her the truth, but piecemeal. “My parents separated, he’s now settled in Guam and has another family.” That’s all she knows and that’s how far she’ll go answering any more queries about her family.

Aida Araojo of the private, non-sectarian St. Vincent School at West Avenue, Quezon City gave SIM access to the girl’s records. Angelica was born on November 4, 1986 in Caloocan City. Listed as her parents are Alfredo Panganiban, a taxi operator in Guam, and Melania Panganiban, a housewife. Angelica finished elementary school in 1999 at St. Vincent in Teacher’s Village, Quezon City, and her high school in 2003 at St. Vincent, West Avenue. The pretty lass was the Junior-Senior Prom Princess in 2002 and Miss Junior and Senior Prom in 2003.

She was a good student, recalls Luzviminda Pastores, Angelica’s teacher in Physical Education, Health Education, and Music, in third and fourth year. “She was very attentive, did her lessons, and participated actively in class discussions. She even sang once, complete with action, even when her voice was not that good. She was very responsible. She was usually absent twice a week, but when she came to class, she knew her lessons. Because she was balancing her show biz and class schedules, she was only an average student.”

Marite Modino, her third- and fourth-year Social Studies teacher, says. “She was very low-profile. Hindi mayabang. She came to class with her hair tied at the back, with no makeup on. Hindi maarte. (She wasn’t fussy). One time during their bivouac, I made her roll over the mud and she did.”

Angelica had plenty of suitors, even having an MU (mutual understanding) with another student during her senior year, but she didn’t make any trouble, her teachers recall. She also didn’t talk about her father. Modino says, “She says she never knew who her father was.”

Apparently, the girl is an exception to the usual profile of children who come from dysfunctional families. Says Dr. Laurie Ramiro, who teaches Behavioral Science and Psychology in UP, Manila: “In general, those coming from broken families find it hard to adjust to their own family life because of lack of a model. But there are exceptions. If there is a powerful male figure in the family, say, Angelica’s grandfather, the void can be filled up. The big factor is the surrogate parent. What’s important is not the (biological) parent per se, but the caretaker of the child.”

But being fatherless can have a negative impact, continues Ramiro. One manifestation of this, she says, is “the preference for older men as intimate partners. It’s like having a proxy (for the father).” In most cases, the affected child would have difficulty choosing a partner and would have a hard time maintaining a relationship. “There is always that fear that the husband would leave her too.”

So far, Angelica seems to have a “normal psychosexual development.” Her on and off sweetheart for the past five years, Carlo Aquino, is only a year older than her. He’s 20, she’s 19. Says Ramiro, “Naturally, Angelica would expect to feel love, affection, and emotional security from Carlo.”

“Carlo is the man that Angelica will spend the rest of her life with,” confidently declares Angelica’s classmate and friend Kevin Samson. “Their relationship is so strong that it can survive any storm.” That includes a painful split from Carlo two years back which had tongues wagging that when Angelica left for the US, her friend and showbiz colleague Camille Prats and Carlo had gotten romantic. Camille, some reports go, is now making peace with Angelica with her frequent phone calls.

“I like that,” says this star of the defunct TV shows, “Ang TV” and “Vietnam Rose.” “We will recover from that situation. We’ll just take it slowly.” Carlo has been forgiven and is back in her arms.

Angelica says that she’s drawn to Carlo’s expressive eyes and unpredictable nature. “I don’t know what’s going on inside his mind. He’s deep.” Emotionally, she’s attracted to him because he is “caring.”

Angelica, admittedly, is emotionally frail. She recalls how inconsolable she was when her relatives who used to live with her and her mother in a Commonwealth compound, all left for a better life in the United States. She was only 11, and felt deserted by family.

“I felt like I lost my world and that my life had no meaning and purpose. It was like somebody died in the family,” she recalls. “I cried every night.” She would later tell herself: “I will save a lot of money and get them all back here. I will give them jobs, a house.”

She was just dreaming then, Angelica says, but that dream may yet come true. Her uncle and his family, she reveals, will be coming home for good in the next four or five years. “They gave up on life in the US. I promised to give them work here and send their children to school.”

Angelica says she enjoys the various roles she has played in her show biz career: a ghost in “White Lady,” a superhero in “Ronin,” and a bombshell on the cover of Maxim Philippines’ maiden issue. But the bigger satisfaction, she says, comes from being “able to help my family,” a family that Angelica Panganiban—a woman with a mysterious past—wants to protect against the world.

She really is indeed an angel here on earth. I Believe!
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