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Ina Raymundo on landing her big break in 'Sabado Nights' and getting better with age

By Jaileen Jimeno Published Oct 11, 2023 5:47 pm Updated Oct 12, 2023 8:29 am

Ina Raymundo did not get the final nod for the San Miguel Beer commercial. She remembers auditioning for the role—turn to this camera and smile, turn here, look at the camera, smile. The decision-makers chose a younger girl whom she describes as “really beautiful.”  

When the ad was being shot, Raymundo was having fun with friends in one of the bars in Antipolo, the kind that offered a panoramic view of Metro Manila.   

But the chosen girl was also shy. It was this shyness that turned the tide for Raymundo, who received the call at two in the morning, while she was still at the same bar.   

She went home and was asleep by 3 a.m. But she had to wake up a mere two hours later, to be on location by the 7 a.m. call time.    

“I was tired,” recalls Raymundo. During the shoot, her manager saw how well put together the ad was. “My manager said, ‘This is good for you.’”  

The ad had all the good elements: rock music by Rizal Underground; a red sports car; “crush ng bayan” Paolo Abrera; and Raymundo in a black body-hugging blouse and black riding pants, sporting a white-gold necklace. Directed by top-tier ad man Raul Jorolan, the commercial was a visual and audile feast.  

It was shot in January 1995. On March 18, 1995, the San Miguel Beer commercial called “Sabado Nights” hit the airwaves.   

“We were screaming at the TV at home,” Raymundo says. “It helped me a lot. It really hastened my steps toward being known.”  

It was a big hit. “Sabado Night” became a catchphrase.  

Oddly, despite being fully clothed and doing nothing except to smile and signal for beer, Rina Marie Padilla Raymundo became a sexy icon at age 19. 

And now that Sabado Nights is close to being three decades old, Raymundo is still seen as a sexy woman, an image she accepts but does not take too seriously.  

While Sabado Nights aged and endured as a classic ad, Raymundo was busy with her life: She starred in movies, got married at 27, raised five children, maintained a home, and took on modeling and acting assignments.  

On redefining self-measurement

Welcoming the PhilSTAR L!fe team into her home in Makati, Raymundo explains she's not affected by the view that she, as an envoy of what was sexy in her youth, must remain so. She is a few months shy from turning 48 and is now an ambassador of good health and sensible living.  

“My measurements are not perfect,” she says. “They’re healthy measurements. I don’t feel pressured. What I do comes from me wanting to be healthy.” 

Ina Raymundo welcomes the PhilSTAR L!fe team into her Makati house

But age has a painful way of creeping up on people, and she has not been exempt: “I do feel my age; I have aches and pains. My joints are now complaining.” 

She blames this on working out so aggressively when she was younger. Raymundo only began exercising in 2000, after giving birth to her first child. She was alarmed when, even as she was engaged to be married, she found herself crying a lot and feeling empty.   

“It was like there was a dark cloud over me,” she recalls.   

The post-partum depression was kept at bay after her husband, Canadian-Ukrainian businessman Brian Poturnak, urged her to work out. Poturnak, seven years older than Raymundo, remains a workout fiend even now at 54.   

“My first workout, my speed was three kilometers per hour,” Raymundo says. “He was making fun of me. He said it looked like I was recovering from a surgery.”   

Ina Raymundo with her husband Brian Poturnak

She worked out incessantly. These days, she still works out five to six times a week, but she routinely changes her programs. She is now into Pilates and Zumba. The approach has helped keep body aches at bay.  

“I put an effort for me to feel the way I do,” says Ramundo. “I just want to feel good about myself. I want to be healthy and not feel out of breath when I go up the stairs. I love it when my clothes fit comfortably.”  

And like most women her age whose reproductive phase is on the wane, she recognizes the mental and physical dents it makes on her usual self. She battles these with exercise and by eating healthy—cooking her own food, eating a lot of vegetables, and swearing off processed food. She's not a big fan of eating out, either, wary of the unknown amount of sugar and salt in restaurant food.  

On her sources of happiness

Raymundo admits to three luxuries: skin care, junk food, and jewelry.   

For skincare, she swears by Ulthera or ultrasound therapy, a non-invasive procedure that encourages collagen production. She began caring for her skin at age 25 and regularly uses products that she shares with her daughters. This is probably why she remains wrinkle-free at her age.   

She tempers her restraint by throwing out her rules. Two days a week, she eats her favorite food: chocolates and chips, but still in moderation. She admits to feeling fat and bloated during those days but chooses “not to write an essay” or post about it. 

“It’s not the focal point,” she says. “Just enjoy. It’s about taking care of yourself. Balance it with enjoying your life.”  

Ina Raymundo is turning 48 in December.

She loves jewelry, but buys them in installments. “One year to pay,” Raymundo says, “and I will give these to my daughters.”   

She says her happiness is anchored on several things: faith, family, good friends, work, and working out. “These make me feel good and happy,” she explains. 

She is fearful of anything that requires surgery and injections, but does not rule out surgical intervention down the line.

“There’s always the possibility,” Raymundo concedes. “I don’t want to be neurotic when it comes to aging. When I think too much about aging, it will age me.”  

Her outlook is also tempered by her desire to set a good example. Aside from a son, she has four daughters whose body image may be affected by her decision to resort to surgery to stay young-looking.  

“It starts with having four daughters,” Raymundo declares. “They keep me grounded.”  

Ina Raymundo with her five children.

But then, she has always been happy and grounded, even as a child. Her family was not well off. She stayed with her grandmother at age four and rejoined her family when she started modeling at age 16. 

“I’ve always been content and grateful,” she says. “That child-like nature na kahit maliit na bagay nae-excite ka, hindi dapat mawala. Don’t overthink things.”   

On her career journey

Her career got its start when she was 14. Two of her friends competed in FilHair Asia, the biggest hairstyling and makeup competition in the country. With her as model, they won in the bridal makeup category.   

Fueled by that win, she begged an uncle, who worked at an ad agency, to help her land projects. She got a contract at a modeling agency. Her first commercial assignment was to be part of the crowd.   

“I wasn’t even seen!” she says with a laugh. 

That small role paid big. After taxes, she got P3,600, a hefty paycheck in 1992. She treated her parents and siblings, and then spent P1,000 on her favorite sin: imported chocolates and chips.  

Three years later, she landed the Sabado Nights role, her 17th ad gig. This time around, she was more sensible: She gave her family cash.   

"I put an effort for me to feel the way I do. I just want to feel good about myself," says Ina Raymundo.

An honor student in elementary and high school, Raymundo quit college to focus on her career. At that time, she was in her second year at the University of Santo Tomas, aiming to major in Communication Arts to work behind the camera, in commercials.

Looking back at what she has achieved so far, Raymundo says she has accomplished what she wanted when she started working: to help improve the lives of her parents and her siblings.  

Her marriage, now entering its 21st year, remains strong. Her children are all in school and doing well. Her family life is scandal-free.  

Indeed, Raymundo’s achievements are a good topic on any given “Sabado Night.