Carol Araullo: A Streetwise Mom
BY GUIA ABAD AND ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO
"She's a doctor, iba nga lang ang ginagamot niya" (she just cures a different disease). This was always the answer of Atom Araullo whenever he was asked by his childhood friends what his mother does.
Dr. Carol Pagaduan-Araullo is the mother of Sandra, a tri-athlete and physics instructor at the University of the Philippines (UP); and Atom, a TV sportscaster. They say she is a caring and thoughtful mother and wants only the best for her children.
But aside from being a mother, she is also an activist. She is involved in numerous cause-oriented groups. She is the chairperson of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan or New Patriotic Alliance), global vice chair of the International League of Peoples' Struggle (ILPS), co-convenor of the Gloria Stepdown Movement (GSM), and the Movement of Concerned Citizens for Civil liberties (MCCCL), to name a few.
Growing up, Atom always knew that what his mother was doing was different from what ordinary mothers do. "I always recognized that it was something that entails sacrifice and love of country," he says. "I know that she is always doing something significant."
"I was always proud because of that, although when I was just growing up I didn't understand it that deeply," he adds.
Atom describes his mother as strong-willed. "Hindi siya takot mag-assert ng isang bagay" (She's not afraid to assert), says Atom.
He acknowledges that his mother has the reputation for being masungit (crabby). But there's a softer side to her, he says.
"She has a tender heart, especially for the family and for comrades," Atom says. "Masayahin din siya" (She could also be jovial). She is also thoughtful, he shares.
Atom revealed that sometimes his mother would just surprise them by asking about the latest in pop culture or show business.
"She likes to watch movies," he also says. "When she watches movies she would get so drawn into the story that she talks to the characters as if they could hear her."
She also loves pets, Atom says. Right now, he shares, his mother has four cats and a number of birds.
Being an activist sometimes makes her absent-minded, he reveals. "She is always thinking about a lot of things," he points out.
But Dr. Araullo, Atom says, is a wise mother who taught them many important things about life. She taught her children the basic values of living a simple life, he says. She also encouraged them to stand up for their rights and offer their talents for others.
"She taught us that whatever decisions you make in life," he says, "the guiding principle should always be `For whom is it?' She also taught us the virtue of dedication."
Atom himself became an activist when he was in college, and remains an activist. That was what made him fully understand what his mother is doing, he says.
His becoming an activist was not borne out of pressure from his mother, he says. "She allowed me and my sister to discover activism on our own," he shares.
It was his own decision to become involved, but it is with the inspiration of his mother that he continues to be passionate.
He still remembers a rally in 2003 when, as the emcee, he had to introduce his mother as the next speaker. That was the demonstration of about 10,000 people against the visit of U.S. President George W. Bush.
"It was actually amusing," he says when asked how he felt about that. "It was like being in the same office with your mother and being in the same job as well. It seldom happens that sons and mothers have anything in common with each other." Bulatlat
Related link: Streetwise