Known as the child wonder of the Philippines, Niño Muhlach is now a dad to teenage-boy Alessadro and five-year-old Alonzo, his carbon copy in terms of looks.
When PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) met Niño and Alonzo, they were about to launch their third McDonald's commercial in celebration of Fathers' Day, with the hashtag #likepapa.
Alonzo pointed out that he and his dad really look alikes.
His father agreed, "'Di mo talaga maitago!"
The child star added he also wants to be like his dad, who has no qualms about letting Alonzo follow the path he took.
Niño explained, "Wala talaga akong naging tramautic experience, wala akong naging bad experience.
"I've seen parents na sasabihin nila, 'Direk, ayaw po bang umiyak? Sandali lang po.'
“Hihilahin nila yung anak nila, [pipilitin], 'Umiyak ka!'
“Ako, never ko na-experience yun kaya alam ko ano yung papasukan niya."
ALONZO'S ACTING STYLE. But Niño swants Alonzo to grow up his own man, stressing their similarities should stop at their physical resemblance and gestures.
Niño articulated, "I want him to have his own style, just let him be.
"Alam naman siguro ng mga directors niya yung paano siya i-motivate."
About coaching Alonzo on how to deliver his lines for a commercial, TV show or movie, Niño professed a hands-off attitude.
"Yung acting dapat natural lang, natural lang natututo siya. Ayaw ko maging eksakto duplicate ko siya.
"Kapag tinuruan ko siya nang tinuruan, magiging eksaktong duplicate ko yung acting niya nung bata ako."
SURPASSING DAD? Niño held that Alonzo had understood his dad was a child wonder.
He related, "Nakikita niya, nanonood siya ng mga movies ko sa bahay."
That the day may come Alonzo will surpass his popularity as a child wonder, Niño has an interesting reason why he is not worried, "Ayaw ko na ma-compare lang siya nang ma-compare sa akin."
On the contrary, he will be the proudest of dad if Alonzo achieves more than he did.
And it starts now, “I think he has his own style, gusto ko magkaroon siya ng sarili niyang path kasi kapag kinu-compare sa akin, 'tapos mamaya... it's not nice, e."
As it stands, the number of movies that Niño made as a child star is kilometric long. Alonzo is just starting.
Niño reminded, "Hindi na ganoon karami ang pelikula ngayon e, hindi katulad dati.
“I don't think it's possible for him to surpass what I did sa movies.
"Pero in his own way, I think mas magaling siya sa akin. Makulit lang.
"No child star can do that again, yung ginawa ko nung bata ako kasi 'di na ganoon karami pelikula ngayon.
“Sa bagay na iyon, gusto ko magkaroon siya ng sarili niyang path and direction on TV, kasi ngayon TV na talaga labanan, hindi na pelikula."
DEJA VU. Niño allowed feeling a sense of deja vu each time Alonzo would do things Niño did when he was a child, "Kahit yung ibang tao nade-deja vu sa kanya, e.
“The first time yung ginaya niya yung tawa ko sa Kuwatog, grabe ang feeling ko.
"Lahat ng buhok ko sa katawan tumayo! It was really unforgettable."
Does Niño see Alonzo as his successor of sorts then?
"Ayaw ko sabihin na ganoon, siguro dapat ibang tao magsabi niyan, hindi ako, marami naman kasi ibang magaling.
“I will always say na si Ryzza [Mae Dizon], she's very good. 'Pag nagtrabaho siya, talagang sobrang natuwa ako kay Ryzza."
THE SUMMON. To date, Alonzo has done both TV and film work. It was on a TV show called Bet On Your Baby hosted by Judy Ann Santos that the young Muhlach was discovered.
Niño recalled, "Comment nila agad na kamukhang-kamukha ko siya. After that, wala naman akong balak na ipasok siya.
“'Tapos, yung PBB [Pinoy Big Brother] kinuha siya.
"They got five kids to enter the PBB house for five hours a day for one week.
“'Tapos, siya yung naging outstanding doon, so after that, doon na nagsimula."
Alonzo's entry into showbiz happened both naturally and with a little nudge from everyone surrounding him, said Niño.
Besides, Alonzo it seems has natural ability to make himself noticed.
At the McDonald's presscon, Alonzo simply snapped out of his grumpy mood (he had just come from school, it was traffic and he was tired) and made everyone merry with his energy and innocent antics.
But when his attention was called by his dad, Alonzo promptly obeyed.
Nino said discipline has been instilled in Alonzo early on.
He asked his son, "What do I do when I get mad?"
Alonzo meekly answered, ''Make me palo!"
Niño added, "What do I say, where do I make palo lang?"
Alonzo looked at him, "Sa hands lang, 'Give me your hands.'"
Niño added "Pinapalo ko siya sa kamay pero hanggang ganoon lang.
“Actually, minsan 'di na kami umaabot sa palo kasi pagsabi ko pa lang na, 'Give me your hands,' umiiyak na siya at magsu-sorry."
GUIDELINES. Niño shared that he and his wife Abby Tupaz have set boundaries as far as allowing Alonzo to enter showbiz.
"Pinag-usapan namin kung ano mga limits namin, kung ano yung gusto namin mangyari, at saka yung mga hindi kami papayag.
“That's why I also got Tita Aster [Amoyo] as his manager in Viva.
“Nanay-nanayan ko siya, so I know that safe siya sa kamay ni Tita Aster, 'di siya magde-decide ng ikakasama niya," Niño said.
Among the non-negotiables is Alonzo's school schedules.
And like any dad, Niño dreams of Alonzo finishing school, "Number one dream ko 'yan.
“And kung showbiz siya, siyempre priority pa rin pag-aaral.
"I hope he achieves his dreams, siguro lahat naman ng magulang 'yan ang gusto natin sa anak natin."
Alonzo piped in, "I want to grow up and become a helper. When someone is sick, I will help. So kapag nag-rest na siya, good na siya, 'di na siya sick..."
Isn't he an endearing boy?