‘Second life?’: Museum visitor who resembles Ambeth Ocampo’s mom shares thoughts

January 29, 2024 - 11:54 AM
Veronica Balayo
Veronica Balayo posing with a foto-óleo of Belen Ocampo in these screengrabs she posted on TikTok and shared by the Pilipino Star Ngayon Digital on Facebook (verniece/TikTok via psngayondigital/Facebook)

National Museum visitor Veronica Balayo admitted to wondering if she was leading a “second life” when she saw a foto-óleo of a woman whom she resembled.

In a report of Pilipino Star Ngayon, the visitor from Davao City said that it was her first time to visit the museum in Manila.

She said that she and her companions “were just casually looking and appreciating all the artworks” when she came upon the art piece featuring Belen Ocampo, the mother of public historian Ambeth Ocampo.

“Actually, [joke joke] ko lang talaga ‘yun na parang ako, but after seeing the photo, sinabi ko sa officemate ko, bakit parang ako?! Sabi nila, [oo nga] and then ‘yun na, nag-picture ako together with the photo without even knowing kung sino ‘yun,” Balayo told the Pilipino Star Ngayon Digital.

“Kumbaga, sa dami namang art pieces sa Museum, doon pa ako napadpad. I think it was an immediate reaction, like, very quick realization na parang, hawig ko siya and after that, I can’t stop looking at our photo,” she added.

Balayo further said that seeing the artwork made her wonder if she was living a “second life.”

“I feel so honored that they are calling that — it’s like, reincarnation, because Belen Ocampo is such a fine woman,” she continued.

“After reading all the details about her, seeing the posts of Mr. Ambeth’s mom, I was really fascinated and hoping I would have a bright future and a happy life just like [his] Mom Belen Ocampo,” Balayo said.

The visitor posted pictures of her in the museum with the artwork on TikTok and wrote, “Am I her reincarnation?”

She also shared a live photo as further proof that she was not joking.

@verniece Replying to @Ming ming TV ♬ You dont know me – ellery

Ambeth said that the art piece that Balayo took a picture of was a foto-óleo of his mother from the 1950s.

Here are more pictures of Belen from Ambeth:

Belen passed away in 2003, according to Ambeth.

The historian said his mother died 12 days after she turned 70 years old.

In one of his columns on the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Ambeth described his mother as a “green thumb” and a “pack rat,” with him inheriting the latter trait.

“Her cabinets and drawers were filled with all sorts of stuff—everything memorable or relevant to her but junk to everyone else,” he wrote on Jan. 17, 2013.

The historian also recalled how they would always be “encouraged and threatened” by his mother to excel in school because they “had better grades than she.”