Ten experiences that made us realize “wais ang among mama”

Julian Cirineo

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Ten experiences that made us realize “wais ang among mama”
Among gipangutana ang mga inahan unsaon nila pagsulit sa ilang mga gamit, ug mao ni ilang mga amazing nga tubag

Editor’s note: This content is sponsored by Surf and was produced by BrandRap, the sales and marketing arm of Rappler. No member of the news and editorial team participated in the production of this piece.

The roles our mothers play in our lives are vast and varied, and always significant. Some mothers show care by managing the household, others by being the foundation of our support system. They really are the ilaw ng tahanan (light of the house) in every sense of the phrase.

When I think of a Filipina mother, certain images come to mind: first is of course my own mother, and second, classic iconographies like Lumen from old Surf commercials.

Apart from knowing how to keep the family happy, inspired, and motivated, a mother is also oftentimes the one taking care of the home. And so, mothers have a keen eye when it comes to value. They know how to get more for less, and know which brands they can trust.

I didn’t remember it right away, but when I was talking to my mom about these old Lumen commercials, she told me “Surf tayo sa bahay ever since! (We’ve been using Surf ever since !)”, and soon all these memories about the brand came back. I do recall burying my face into freshly laundered sheets to enjoy the smell, and I also recall times when I would tell my classmates to smell my uniform just because.

Mom shared that it was really the smell of the detergent and exceptional wash output, and value for money that convinced her to stick to the brand. Surf’s delightful fragrances are something the entire household enjoyed.

I think small moments like these often go unnoticed, especially now that we’re all adults living our own lives. I do think it proves just how much a mother notices the things that make her family happy and content.

So I took this opportunity to ask friends and family around about what they think of their own mothers. I asked them about how their own moms have shown just how crafty, resourceful, and wais they are.

And before I share everyone’s answers, I’d like to take the first swing. 

Learning to live independently

I’ve already shared a lot about my own experiences above, but I just wanted to share one more thing. My siblings and I were privileged enough to have grown up with household help who would clean up after us, do the laundry, etc. But my mom made sure that we kids would also know how to take care of chores ourselves. I remember distinctly how she would take time to teach us how to cook simple food like eggs, how to wash dishes without wasting so much soap and water, and yes even wash our own laundry. There would be times when she would ask us to sort our own clothes, get a planggana (basin) and start using our hands to scrub everything. She also taught us how to use the washing machine, but I enjoyed handwashing more because I get to dip my feet in the water afterward.

This is what I would call a wais moment I really cherish because even though I don’t like doing chores, at least I know how to do them properly and efficiently without wasting so much time and energy, and without having to rely on others.

The hardworking, caring, and selfless superwoman who knew how to haggle

For the 29 years of my life that I was able to spend with my late mom, I gave her quite a lot of headaches,” Kriscel Santoyo admitted.

Kriscel said her mom lived a wonderful and purposeful life, and always taught her children to pray to God while taking care of their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs. She was also very meticulous and resourceful. “Whenever we would go to the grocery, she would compute which size of the product would be the cheapest option. For example, divide the cost per mL of sachets vs bottles. She would check if buying in bulk to save would be wise because we might end up with too much. But if we have the space for it in storage and we can use them before they expire, then we go for it.”

Her mom also frequented sales in malls, and would even set reminders so she can get the best deals. She would also say not to shy away from haggling, and haggle big. “Yung meme na intense tumawad ang mga nanay like from P1,000 to P100, totoo kay Mama ‘yun. (That meme where a mom haggles from P1,000 to P100, that applies to my mom).” 

Kriscel, who is now about to finish her MBA and get married too, said she is working hard because her mother’s love language was acts of service. “Gusto ko may ROI sila”. She also shared she will try to live up to her mom’s teachings. “I want to continue making her proud as she watches me from heaven get married to a wonderful man and build a home and family of my own.”

The empowered mother from Janiuay

Rey, who owns his own tile company now, looks back to growing up in Iloilo, learning from a mother who was proud of their heritage and always stood for what is right. Rey shared with us that he and his mother would always make it a point to call each other when they were apart, and she would always ask him how he is and pray together. “To show my love, I made it a point to visit her and dad at least once a month while they were still alive, often surprising them,” he said.

His mother, Rey says, would always provide them with quotations to inspire them during difficult situations, but would always make it a point to sprinkle some humor. “My mom and I were so deeply connected that whenever I would call her, she would often say, I was thinking of how you were, and you always call when I do that. And her telling me, I always pray for you and your family’s well-being.” Rey shares he was always practical in handling family resources, and had already practiced family planning even before it was known as such.

Finding value in the small things

Gio San Pedro, who runs a YouTube channel on tech and gaming, said that helping out his mom with her occasional tech problems as the designated “IT expert” of the family is a small act he is happy to do to show how much he loves his mother. “I think growing as a person worthy of that love is what would make her the happiest, so that’s my greatest personal project, and it’s still a work in progress, haha”.

He described his mother as a hardworking and resourceful person, sharing that she came from a poor family who really had to make ends meet. She taught them how to find value even in things they would rather throw away, even in things like paper bags and peanut butter jars. She would also save banana peels to use as fertilizer for their garden. “She balances our tendency to readily dispose [of items] by having a repurposing mindset.”

“Mama does everything with us in mind, and it’s pretty hard to enumerate anything if you have to choose from everything. I guess that’s how I know she loves us, her love is literally unquantifiable,” Gio added.

Thinking twice before each purchase

Ysa shares that her mother is someone who isn’t afraid to express herself, but shows her love not by being touchy or malambing (affectionate) in her own ways. “For example, being thoughtful and caring. I show her my love by doing the same to her.”

The best lesson she learned from her mom is in being frugal and thoughtful about money and her purchases. Her mom believes that you shouldn’t spend so much money on things you don’t really need. Ysa takes this to heart a lot, and would always think twice before buying something for herself.

The three-day rule

“My mom is your typical Filipino mom. She’s caring, a constant worrier, conservative, traditional, religious, and everything else you would expect from a mother,” wrote Pauline. “Perhaps the biggest difference, though, is she’s also established a friendship with us. So we can comfortably joke around with each other (sometimes too much) without going out of line.” 

Pauline added that she and her mom are affectionate and vocal with each other, and would openly express how much they love each other with cuddles on the side. And one thing she learned from her mother is to be practical with money.

“Even now when I buy things she always asks me if I need it. She also taught me the three-day rule: If I want something, I’ll wait for three more days to see how much I really want it. If I still want it by then, it will be a well-deserved purchase.”

Being independent and working for what you want

Khamille loves that her mom is fun and outgoing, and joked that sometimes she can be the more serious one between the two of them. She also shared that her mom is a very supportive person, and backs them up in whatever choices they make in life even though they can be unconventional at times. Her mom also often goes the extra mile for her children, and Khamille said they appreciate her a lot, so she tries to give back as much and as soon as she can.

One of the most important things she learned from her mom is to not depend on anyone else when it comes to money and that whenever they wanted something, they had to work hard for it because that way, it would all be worth it in the end.

Always ask first

“My mother made sure to raise all of us well by providing all the support we needed and opportunities to grow. She is kind, considerate, and loving. She can be strict at times, but she always has our best interest in mind,” shared Arik. He adds that his mother is always the practical one in their household, and never spoiled him and his siblings.

She taught them to always ask permission first or if it’s okay to buy something – a habit that they continue to do even now that they’re all grown up. “We’d still ask ourselves if we need something, or at least if it is okay to have it, before buying something.”

The one thing he always makes sure to buy though is food as pasalubong (gift) for them to all enjoy together. “Preparing food is my mother’s love language. In turn, whenever I am out, I take something home for her—a cup of coffee, a box of cookies, or some snacks for her to enjoy. I guess, food as a love language is something that runs in our family.”

Quality over quantity

Meg describes her mother as a people person who is very attentive and is always ready to lend others a helping hand. Acts of service is her mom’s primary love language, something that she also picked up herself. As a result, they both show love to their family by being there for anything that others would need. “She always makes it a point to look for new dishes to cook while I always make sure to do all the driving around whenever she needs anything.”

Meg shared that what she learned from her mother when it comes to spending is choosing quality over quantity. “You don’t need five versions of the same thing”.

Living within your means

Shawynn and her sister awarded their mom as the “most friendly neighbor of the year, and the best in budgeting and pag-tipid (saving)”. Shawynn shared that they didn’t grow up rich, but her mother always made sure that they had enough to get by. Her secret is to track all expenses in a diary, and budget according to how much was available on hand.

Shawynn’s sister also added that this is something she learned from their mother and carries on this value to this day especially now that she is raising a family of her own.

Getting more for less

In many ways, all these experiences demonstrate how mothers always value the happiness of their families while balancing expenses and managing the household at the same time. These are values that Surf, as a brand, takes to heart. With the purpose of unleashing mom’s wais-ness to uplift the family, Surf aims to enable every Filipina mom in delivering smart solutions to laundry and life challenges, by providing the wais means to make an aspiration a reality. 

The Surf Active Clean range is the embodiment of its purpose. This new formulation is designed to provide you with a wash output as good as an expensive laundry detergent, but for only half the price of P5.50 SRP. Pariha ka maayo, pero dili pariha ka mahal. Wais!

Check out Surf’s offerings and deals at, or visit –

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Hayaang dalhin kayo ng halimuyak ng Surf fragrances mula sa bigat ng gawaing pambahay papunta sa isang kagalak-galak na lugar. Sa Surf, 'di lang lilinis at puputi at nilabhan, magiging kaaya-aya at napakabango pa nito! ‘Yan ang nagagawa ng friendship ni Mommy at ng Surf, ang #1 wais laundry brand in the Philippines!