Dingdong Dantes is one proud dad.
Even before Baby Letizia was born, she already had endorsement offers; before turning one, she already shot a commercial and graced the cover of YES! magazine.
This writer told him, Baby Letizia might even surpass the popularity of her parents.
Smiling, the Kapuso Primetime King told PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in an interview held on April 27, "Siguro kung paano ako nagulat sa front page na si Leni [Robredo] ay number one na [sa vice presidential survey], ganundin ang gulat ko nang mag-cover ang anak ko sa magazine."
At the Grace Park Restaurant in One Rockwell, Makati, he related how Zia became a cover girl.
"Nag-usap naman kami, plinano namin ni Marian na maging intimate at very solemn yung baptism kaya family lang talaga.
“And since meron naman kaming magandang relationship ng YES! magazine, they asked for a few photos, so nagbigay kami ng konti at may nasama akong isang solo.
“Ni-request din nila na solo at sabi nila, baka puwede kaming ilagay sa cover, kami, kaming tatlo.”
But it turned out, YES! picked Zia's solo photo for the cover.
He and wife Marian Rivera were surprised.
But, “Siyempre, times ten ang kasiyahan at pagiging proud dahil siyempre, anak mo yung nandun, di ba?
“Maganda naman ang pag-document nila ng istorya.
“Sinundan lang din naman nila ang aming social media post. Kung ano yung gusto naming ilabas pero nanatiling private pa rin kung ano yung dapat na private.
“Maganda and we’re happy sa feature."
HANDS-ON DAD. At five months, her firstborn can already roll over from her tummy to back.
Dingdong related, “Dumadapa na, mabilis na siyang dumapa.
“Gumagapang na nang konti at yung pakikipag-communicate niya, mas nagiging klaro.
“Pa-cute nang pa-cute araw-araw. Everyday, may something na bago."
And parenting has been shared task between him and Marian.
Whenever his wife is at work, he personally bathes Zia.
“Oo naman, di ba? Dapat lahat naman."
But he has yet to learn more about being a father?
“Fulfilled? Siyempre hindi pa, marami pang chapters.
“Marami pa sigurong ma-e-encounter na challenges.
“Pero ang mahalaga, ini-enjoy mo each step of the way.
“Sobrang memorable yung paglaki niya, na nandun ka talaga sa tabi niya 100 percent.”
Marian raves about him as a dad, how about him, how would he describe his wife as a mom?
“Wala na akong hihilingin pa sa kanyang ginagawa ngayon bilang mommy.
“Kasi kung klaro yung nakikita ko, siya ay sobrang laki ng difference mula noong wala kaming baby.
“I mean, gradual yung progress.
“Makikita mo kung paano kami noong magsimula, noong magka-baby, talagang nagsi-shift din siya bilang napakabuting ina."
STAGE DAD. He was there at the shoot for Zia's first TV commercial.
“Nandun ako, stage father ako.
“Siyempre alalay, di ba?
“Ano naman, yung mga producer, sumusunod sila sa DOLE na hanggang four hours lang puwede ang ganitong klaseng edad, yung sanggol.”
But he and Marian have agreed that as soon as Zia can already talk, their daughter will be asked to decide on whether she would want to star in a commercial or not.
"Pero siguro may edad din ‘yan na kailangang tanungin namin siya.
“Hindi naman pupuwedeng kami ang magde-decide. Kailangan pipiliin din namin.
“At saka hindi rin naman kailangang palaging ganun ang activity niya especially now na malaking bagay rin kasi na may privacy rin siya sa kanyang paglaki.
“Kailangang choice niya rin kung gusto niya o ayaw niya."
Do they have prerequisites to choosing the product or brand she will endorse?
“Well, ang mahalaga kasi sa kahit anong produkto namin magmula noon na ine-endorso, number one, kailangan ay pinaniniwalaan namin.
“Sobrang kung hindi namin ginagamit, kapag sinubukan namin, magugustuhan namin at puwede kaming magsalita about it.”
At press time, Dingdong is busy with his volunteer work for the campaign of vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo.
After the elections, he will start working on two movies and his TV series with GMA.