PANG-MMK o Magpakailanman ang buhay ng beauty queen-actress, interior designer at entrepreneur na si Alma Concepcion. Her life also deserves na gawing isang libro na balak niyang gawin isa sa mga araw na ito.
Tatlong taong gulang pa lamang noon si Alma nang magkaroon siya ng sakit ng alopecia areata (hair loss) at walang taon naman siya nang ma-discover na meron siyang epilepsy. She was 16 nang siya’y magka-anorexia. All these ay nakuha niya when she was still a child and in her teens. She also admits to us that she and her three other siblings were battered children at hiwalay ang kanilang mga magulang.
Dahil maganda, matangkad at matalino, Alma was convinced to join the 1994 Bb. Pilipinas beauty pageant when she was 17 at nanalo siyang Bb. Pilipinas-International but failed to bring home the Miss International crown held in Mie Prefectural Sun Arena, Japan nung September 4, 1994. Ang Miss International crown ay nakuha ni Christina Lekka ng Greece at first Miss International win ng nasabing bansa.
Pagkatapos ng kanyang isang taong reign as Bb. Pilipinas-International, at age 18 ay pinasok na niya ang showbiz sa tulong ng dati niyang manager, former magazine editor at professor na si Ces Evangelista.
At 21, naranasan ni Alma ang pinakamatinding trial sa kanyang buhay nang siya’y mahulihan ng drugs at makulong sa Guam, USA. Nasa loob pa umano siya ng kulungan ay doon niya nagkaroon ng realization na may isa siyang nag-neglect sa kanyang buhay, ang Diyos.
“Siyempre, I was young and carefree, sikat at may pera, nagkaroon ako ng ilang kaibigan na hindi naging magandang impluwensiya sa buhay ko. I was with the wrong people. I was touched by the Lord,” kumpisal nya.
“When I got out of prison (in Guam) at nakauwi na ng Pilipinas, alam ko na ang mga dapat kong baguhin at ayusin sa buhay ko. I started a new life,” patuloy niya.
At age 23, Alma gave birth to her son, Cobie (now 19) courtesy of her boyfriend then, ang businessman na si Dodie Puno.
Si Cobie ay nagtapos ng elementary at high school sa Ateneo de Manila University. Nung isang taon, he left for San Francisco, California to take up Business Administration sa Hult University but while studying at the said university, he applied and took exams at Fordham University in New York, USA and got accepted. He moved to Fordham University mid this year.
Fordham University is one of the oldest and one of the most prestigious universities in New York and in the world kung saan nagtapos ang maraming mga kilalang personalidad tulad ni US President Donald Trump, ang actor-magician na si David Copperfield, ang kilalang novelist-author writer na si Mary Higgins, ang actor na si Robert Sean Leonard, ang popular fashion model na si Amanda Hearst, ang VJ-actor at film producer na si Hilarie Burton, ang model-actress na si Amanda Seyfried, ang veteran Hollywood actor na si Denzel Washington, ang screen writer and TV director na si Alan Alda, ang model-actor na si Hunter Tylo at marami pang iba.
Alma cried when her son got accepted sa Fordham University. Although she is not in good terms with the father of her son na si Dodie Puno, she is thankful to him na hindi ito nagpapabaya sa education ng anak. Nagkaroon ng gap sina Alma at Dodie nang mag-rant si Alma sa kanyang social media account in 2015 dahil sa pagpapabaya ng suporta ng negosyante (sa loob ng walong buwan) sa kanilang anak. Cobie was 14 years old then.
Cobie has a good relationship with his biological father at sa side ng ama.
Umaasa si Alma na gawing pre-law ni Cobie ang Business Administration but she does not want to impose on her son who comes home for a summer and Christmas vacation.
“I thank God na lumaking matino, mabait, respectful at matalino ang anak ko,” say ng proud mom.
“Cobie is not only my son, he’s my best friend,” ani Alma.
“Lumaki ang anak ko na nasaksihan niya lahat ang struggles ko. He was only five years old nang makaranas ako ng anxiety attacks and depression which lasted to two years but I only started taking medication when I was already 30 years old at na-overcome ko ito when I was already 32,” pag-amin pa ni Alma who was recently crowned as the very first Ms. Grand Universe besting 15 other candidates from different countries. The coronation night was held at the Tanghalang Pasigueno in Pasig City last September 26, 2019.
Living alone with her younger sibling na si Albert na isang international flight attendant and one helper, Alma is busy sa kanyang pagiging isang interior designer, entrepreneur at actress.
Nasa high school pa lamang si Cobie sa Ateneo nang bumalik siya sa kanyang pag-aaral ng Interior Design sa University of the Philippines at sabay silang grumadweyt (one week apart).
Hindi rin akalain ni Alma na pagkatapos ng 25 years ay babalikan niya ang pageantry nang siya’y sumali at manalo sa kauna-unahang Ms. and Mrs. Grand Universe beauty competition. Ang Ms. Grand Universe ay para sa mga single moms from 25-45 years old.
Prior to the competition, medyo mataba si Alma at ginawa niya itong motivation to lose weight. She went back to the gym, watched her diet and other regimen to achieve her present look and weight.
“It paid off naman and I feel good about it,” patuloy niya.
Alma is not closing her doors to fall in love again and looking forward to have a family of her own, although meron na siyang Cobie.
“I go out on dates pero wala pang special someone,” nakangiti niyang pahayag.
“But one thing good about it now, I’m happy and at peace with myself,” pagtatapos niya.
Ngayon, focus muna si Alma sa kanyang business bilang isa sa mga dealers ng Beautederm (ni Rhea Ramos Anicoche-Tan) kung saan isa rin siya sa mga celebrity endorsers. Ang kanyang store ay matatagpuan along Xavierville Avenue in Quezon City. She is also into online business.