Metro Style: Meet the hip and happening moms of Instagram–the Baby Barangay

The Baby Barangay moms and I absolutely love this Mother’s Day feature by Metro Style! We spent an entire day shooting this story, and we had the absolute best time. It was hilarious how we were all glammed up while doing the groceries (we really did shop after the shoot), but of course, we ended up loving it. The styling was on point, and we had an amazing time together (as we always do). Scroll down to see more photos and read the article about us. xo

Every story has its own humble beginning. Before becoming one of the most followed local vlogs dedicated to motherhood and family, Baby Barangay was first a WhatsApp support group—a safe space where five mothers talked about daily struggles and celebrated life’s little triumphs.

“It started with a random conversation I had with Kelly (Misa-Fernandez) while we were pregnant,” shares fashion stylist and blogger Bianca Santiago-Reinoso. “We created a chat group, and added Patty (Laurel-Filart), our buntis batchmate; Cat (Juan-Ledesma), who had just given birth then; and Nicole (Hernandez-de los Angeles).” Though the five of them have known each other for years through college, modeling, and editorial work, it was only when they became mothers that they started to form a special bond.

The charming alliteration “Baby Barangay” was coined when the five of them met up with their babies in tow. “We looked at our group and realized—wow! We’re a barangay!” Which is how a lasting friendship was born from a support group, becoming an extension of their own families. “Naturally, this transitioned to our kids going on playdates and becoming buddies too—even our husbands love hanging out with each other!” quips writer and blogger Patty Laurel-Filart.

Motherhood has a way of empowering women and bringing them together—and for this reason, Baby Barangay decided to create a relatable vlog to reach out to fellow moms. “When we put up the Baby Barangay show, we all agreed that we wanted to produce content that offered a natural glimpse into our lives, as well as helpful information that could enrich the lives of those watching,” shares Cat Juan-Ledesma. “Whether it’s basic life hacks, travel tips, or even favorite brand finds—there is always something to learn from our episodes.”

While it’s quite a challenge to juggle work, family, and blogging, the multi-hyphenate moms regularly stay connected. “I’m always in touch with the girls. Through iMessage, WhatsApp, Instagram—my husband thinks we’re crazy!,” says Bianca. Patty adds that though they all have busy schedules, they make it a point to make time for each other along with their kids and husbands. “When we’re complete, it really is the best time for our families.”

In this Metro.Style exclusive, get to know more about these Hip and Happening Moms of Instagram. This exclusive was shot at one of their favorite hangout places: the neighborhood grocery store! Hershey Neri

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In celebration of Mother’s Day, Metro.Style brings you Hip and Happening Moms, a three-part feature on stylish, influential, and multi-hyphenate moms who are active on social media. 

NICOLE HERNANDEZ-DE LOS ANGELES

“It was fun. It was scary. It was exciting. A lot of mixed emotions,” Nicole Hernandez-de los Angeles recalls the time she had her first son Alonzo. She admits that she felt intimidated, with lots of self-doubt, “[As a first-time mom], you don’t know about a lot of things. You don’t know about products, you don’t know what type of products to use—what’s safe, what’s non-toxic, or what won’t irritate your baby’s skin. It was a lot of trial and error.”

Breastfeeding, for one, was something she struggled with in the beginning. For six weeks, her baby couldn’t properly latch—“you can just imagine how painful that was each time I had to feed him, but I persisted because my mom was there to support and encourage me.”

After giving birth, she stayed with her mom for a month, to help her get into the groove of motherhood. Eventually, she was not only able to have more than enough milk supply (that she was even able to donate to other moms), she also became a changed woman in the process of going through this new journey.

Back when she was single, Nicole was the type who had her sight set on her goal. “I would have goal and time limit, timetable, projection. I was OC like that,” she shares. But motherhood taught her patience and flexibility. She says, “I learned to not be so hard on myself by not putting all these limitations, pressures, expectations, and goals… What I discovered about myself is that I have the inner strength to not give up.”

It’s refreshing to see the stunning, charming, but feisty Nicole—a popular commercial model and editorial favorite before she transitioned to married life—become a role model for something else today: motherhood. A full-time mom, social media star, and member of Baby Barangay, Nicole is the type of mother who is evidently cool. But when it comes to disciplining her two boys, Jaime Aloncito and Luisito Joaquin, she reveals she is more strict than her husband Jaime.

“I think I’m more of a disciplinarian. I’m strict but I’d like to think I’m a fun mom. I’m not an educator, but I love to play with my kids. I take them to all their activites, I join them, I run. I hope I am a cool mom,” she shares.—Grace Libero-Cruz

How do you define a “hip and happening” mom?

A diaper bag on one hand and a gin and tonic on the other—all kidding aside, a hip and happening mom to me is someone who is comfortable and confident in her own skin. She’s a woman who embraces her authenticity and celebrates the beauty of every mother’s unique journey through motherhood.

Describe your personal style.

I’m a mom to two very active little boys so I tend to gravitate towards clothes that are comfortable and can stretch from day to night. I like classic, simple, and nicely cut designs that I just mix up with a few prints and some statement pieces.

What is your style mantra?

If I feel good in it, I’m wearing it!!!

On Nicole: Top, Patty Ang; inner top, Distinqt; shorts, N21 from Distinqt; shoes, Charles & Keith; and earrings, Whim Ph

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PATTY LAUREL-FILART

“Motherhood humbles you,” shares Patty Laurel-Filart, writer, host, model, communications professor, and proud mother of two. In 2015, the lifestyle blogger opened up about the biggest struggle she faced as a first-time mom: breastfeeding. “Even if I can’t physically breastfeed, it’s still something I will always look at with the highest regard,” Patty wrote in her blog. “I will always encourage moms out there to breastfeed IF THEY CAN.”

After undergoing a surgery for breastfeeding-related complications, Patty remains strong, acting as an inspiration to thousands of mothers who can’t breastfeed. In her blog post, Patty emphasizes that people should support parents with this problem—after all, they know best how to love and care for their own children.

Patty is not new to the world of blogging—she is a veteran. After almost 13 years, the bubbly personality has close to 100,000 followers on Instagram. Equal parts quirky and witty, Patty gave birth to her second child just last month, yet she’s always on point with her chic, fab outfits.

To all moms who feel haggard sometimes, she encourages, “Your children think you’re beautiful.” But if you’ll ask Patty how she’s changed after having kids, she’ll emphasize, “Motherhood gives you a whole new identity. It’s gonna be chaotic, it’s gonna be messy, but it’s gonna be beautiful every day.”—Hershey Neri

How do you define a “hip and happening” mom?

By “hip” you mean HIPseat on the Baby Carrier, right? And what’s “happening” for me these days are endless nappy changes! Hahaha!

Describe your personal style.

The girls always tease me that I live in pastels—and I can’t deny it! I love my seafoam, powder blue, and blush! But as much as I find comfort in muted tones, I also enjoy playing with fun summer colors and bold prints.

What is your style mantra?

Whatever shape or season you’re in, it’s all about balance. Finding the right spot between function and your signature style is always key when you’re a mom!

On Patty: Dress, Patty Ang; shoes, Charles & Keith; and earrings, Whim Ph

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BIANCA SANTIAGO-REINOSO

“You know when they tell you that if something makes you happy, do it? For me, it’s fashion,” shares stylist, former Chalk magazine fashion editor and mother-of-two, Bianca Santiago-Reinoso.

“Motherhood is really a full-time job, you really have to love it, and you really have to be in it. Because of this, it helps to have ‘me-time’,” she says. For Bianca, doing anything fashion-related is her definition of relaxing. From sourcing clothes for a shoot and window shopping to see the latest trends, to staying updated on who’s walking the runway, she enjoys immersing herself in the magic and process of styling.

Bianca shares, “I love how fashion creates you. You can personalize it and you can even package yourself through it—fashion brings out a different feeling.” Bianca also shares that a reason why she ventured into styling is because she wants to help others bring out their confidence through their wardrobe. “I found my passion, and it doesn’t feel like work at all,” she says.

Luckily, her 5-year-old daughter Liana also loves fashion! As a way to bond and spend quality time together, the mother-daughter duo loves to play dress-up. “Sometimes, we even argue about clothes—because my daughter has her own style!” beams the proud mommy blogger. A tip for fellow moms who want to dress up their children: let them be part of the styling process! “Make them choose the pieces. What I do is I put out three clothes, and ask what they like among the three,” Bianca shares. “With this, they feel like they have the last say. Sometimes, they feel that dressing up is a chore, along with eating and taking a bath. So make it fun!”—Hershey Neri

How do you define a “hip and happening” mom? 

A hip and happening mom strives for a well-balanced life. She wears so many caps but she’s chill about it. She “moms” hard but loves herself really hard too! She takes care of herself emotionally, physically, spiritually, because she knows her loved ones need her strong and whole. She knows things will never be perfect and that’s so okay! There’s beauty in imperfection, that’s a hip and happening mom for me!

Describe your style.

Relaxed but still put together. Before, when I was younger, s’yempre when you’re an editor, you dress a lot more, you follow trends. But right now, comfort is key. I still wear heels, but I make sure it’s at a certain height na lang, because I know I have to run after my kids. I have to be practical. I still want to be put together.

What’s your style mantra?

Research about your body type. Find out what works for you, and from there, it’s gonna be easy to know what to shop for!

On Bianca: top, Massimo Dutti; blazer, Zara; shoes, Bianca’s own; and earrings, Whim Ph

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KELLY MISA-FERNANDEZ

“Everything you do now is for your son. You’re no longer the center of your universe,” the radiant Kelly Misa-Fernandez says, amazed by how much motherhood changes a woman, saying this statement not with even the slightest tone of regret in her voice. “Eto pala ’yung feeling. You have so much love in your heart. You want to give the world to your child. And it’s really true pala, [when you’re a mom] your mind is always about your child.” This overflowing love for her son is also the reason why she is still breastfeeding her 3-year-old baby. “It’s really for comfort these days. I do it for the bond,” she explains.

Kelly and her husband Carlo have been a couple for more than a decade, and are married for three years now. You think such a long time is already enough for them to know everything there is to know about each other, but no. When they became parents to Tristan, they’ve discovered that they—who, for years, had their lives primarily revolve around themselves and each other—are capable of being selfless.

Kelly admits that three years into parenthood, she and Carlo still can’t seem to squeeze in some quality time with each other. Nevertheless, it’s their choice to become hands-on parents. They don’t have a nanny, and are therefore in charge of all their kid’s needs—save for a few times when there are conflicts in their schedules or when they’re traveling, and they decide to hire a stay-out yaya.

What is pretty impressive with these two, though, is the fact that sans the couple time often needed to boost a relationship, parenthood has actually brought them closer. “We really depend on each other,” Kelly shares. A blogger, vlogger, TV host of travel show Trending With Kelly on ANC, and digital influencer, Kelly is one busy mom; and no matter how pretty and well put-together she looks on photos in her social media accounts, she shares that the juggling act needed to pull off a mother-wife-career woman role is indeed a “really hard” thing to do. But for Kelly, one secret for pulling it off is trusting her husband to do his daddy duties and communicating with him. “We really need to talk, because I need his help,” Kelly says.

Apart from her husband, Kelly is also happy to have fellow moms for friends, like the other members of Baby Barangay, whom she can always turn to for advice.

As the type of mom who loves documenting his child’s milestones and simple moments on Instagram knowing that kids grow up so fast, Kelly has this piece of advice for first-time moms: “If you take it one day at a time, you won’t get overwhelmed. It’s better that way. Just try to live in the moment. [That way] you remember more.”—Grace Libero-Cruz

How do you define a “hip and happening” mom?

Thank you for including me in this list. Seriously, it is not a conscious decision to be described as one, but I’m happy to be perceived as one nonetheless. I think each mom has her own cool way of doing things, and doing things her way (and not comparing herself to other moms) is ultimately what makes her cool! So just do you, momma!

Describe your personal style.

My personal style is all about comfort these days. I need to be able to move and run after my toddler so anything that will allow me to do that: t-shirts, jeans, sneakers, backpacks. I try to incorporate a bit of style by wearing a nice clean palette and adding accessories. But more or less, it’s a low maintenance mommy look for me.

What’s your style mantra?
If it fits nicely and it’s comfortable, I’m wearing it.

On Kelly: top, Zara; pants, Massimo Dutti; earrings, Aldo; and shoes, Naturalizer

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CAT JUAN-LEDESMA

This former model and magazine beauty editor is well known now as a blogger, vlogger, host of Industree.TV’s online show called The Parent Files, co-founder of social media movement TryLocalPH, and member of mommy squad Baby Barangay. Aside from being an inspirational career woman, the beautiful Cat is a loving wife to husband Carlo and a doting—and, as she confessed, quite a worrywart—mom to 5-year-old son Fin and 3-year-old daughter Nara.

With a peek on her personal life via her curated Instagram feed, it’s amazing how she seems to take it all in stride. How does she do it all? “I don’t do it all,” Cat quickly replies, matter-of-factly. Like most moms, work-life balance is a constant struggle for her, but she’s thankful that her job actually allows her to craft her daily schedule in a way that would give her more time to be with her husband and kids.

Cat shares how her days are usually spent: “I leave the house at 8:30 am. I usually finish at 2 or 3 pm. The way it’s done is I see the kids for breakfast then I go off to work then they go to school, and then they get home at about 1 pm then they sleep for siesta.” By the time her kids wake up, she should already be at home to play with them and tend to their needs.

“I knew that I’m not the type of mom who can be a stay-at-home mom. There’s really nothing wrong with it but my personal drive needed this sense of fulfillment, and I’ve always said that, that’s one of my mottos in life: ‘you can be a stay-at-home mom or you can be a working mom—neither option is wrong, as long as you’re a happy mom.’ Which of those directions will make you happy? That’s what your kids are gonna see,” Cat shares.

One key inspiring message that Cat sends through her The Parent Files show is that there is never a formula for parenthood. Cat says, “I’ve learned that no parenting journey is completely the same. No kid is completely the same. There is no one right answer on how to raise children and it’s really about finding what works for you, what works for your lifestyle, and your own beliefs.”

Despite being a busy working mom, she deserves credit for never forgetting to give herself some me-time weekly. She goes on HIIT (high-intensity interval training) classes twice a week with her girl friends. Come weekends, aside from doing different bonding activities with her kids, she and her husband are also getting into the habit of hiking. Talk about work-life balance!

How do you define a “hip and happening” mom?

A hip and happening mom to me is someone comfortable in her own style, who isn’t afraid to go against the grain if that’s what feels right for her.

Describe your personal style.

My personal style could be best be described as neutrals with a splash of bohemian. You will rarely find me in stilletos.

What is your style mantra?

My style mantra is no matter the trend, dress for your body type and in clothes that feel right for you. Your entire look can change with just how comfortable you feel in your items. There is also absolutely no shame in repeating an outfit over and over again. A capsule wardrobe will help the planet and slow down fast fashion trends.

On Cat: top, Stradivarius; skirt, Walk of Shame from Distinqt; earrings, Whim Ph; and shoes, Cat’s own

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Produced by Hershey Neri, Grace Libero-Cruz, Kate Paras-Santiago, and Judy Arias

Written by Hershey Neri and Grace Libero-Cruz

Photographs by Rxandy Capinpin

Styling by Bianca Sevilla

Makeup by Angie Cruz for Makeup For Ever Philippines (Bianca, Kelly and Cat) and Sari Campos for Make Up For Ever Philippines (Nicole and Patty)

Hair by Jenifer Pascual and Susan Carbonilla of Triple Luck Brow & Nail Salon

Special thanks to Pinky Angodung and MItzi Abrera of Landers

Shot on location at Landers Alabang

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