Partners Paolo Contis and LJ Reyes have been over the moon since welcoming Summer, their one-month old daughter, into their lives on January 4, 2019.
Based on their social media posts, the two take turns in taking care of their baby girl.
"Agawan kami! Sobrang agawan kami," Paolo admitted. "Kapag madaling-araw na tulog ang bata—sa amin natutulog, e—kukunin ko iyan sa co-sleeper. Mga alas-dos nang madaling-araw... agawan talaga."
Paolo Contis is not a first-time dad to a baby daughter. His kids with ex-wife Lian Paz, Xonia and Xalene, are both girls.
Is it different this time around?
"Well, sabi ko nga, mas aware lang siguro ang tao because of social media. Sabi nga namin there’s no difference noong time na si Aki was with her. When I was with her, pareho kaming very hands-on.
"Mas nakikita lang ngayon kasi somehow, mas nakikita. Somehow it's a social responsibility."
Aki is Ethan Akio, LJ Reyes's son by ex-boyfriend Paulo Avelino.
Paolo said some netizens even questioned their decision not to immediately show Summer's face to the public.
"More than a month kung mapapansin niyo," he said.
"Sabi namin hangga’t maaari kami muna. But eventually, we have to. Kasi, may mga taong nagtatanong na, 'Bakit kaya ayaw? Siguro pangit!'
"Anong pangit?! Nakakaloka kayo, ayaw lang ipakita, pangit agad?! Puwes, pahiyain sila," he joked.
Paolo thinks Summer looks more like LJ.
MISSING HIS OLDER DAUGHTERS
It has been almost two years since Paolo last saw his older daughters Xonia and Xalene, who are now based in Cebu with their mother.
Paolo said he prays that they will see each other again one day, and for them to meet their baby sister.
"I pray that day will come," he said.
"Sino ba may ayaw no'n? Sino ba ang may ayaw na lahat, peaceful. Hindi na tayo bata. Marami tayong ginawang hindi tama before, as we grow older, we just want a quiet life, we just want everything in place, regardless of all the mistakes o anumang nangyari nung nakaraan.
"Ako, it made me who I am now."
He added, "I cannot wish for anything more but to have a quiet life and live harmoniously with everyone involved."
When Summer was born, did he also recall feeling the same way when he first met his two older daughters?
"Nandoon yun," he said.
"Palaging may nagtatanong, ano ang gusto mo, girl or boy? Lahat sila, boy, kasi raw meron na akong dalawang girls. Pero sabi ko, ako, may konting feeling ako na gusto ko ng girl dahil nami-miss ko rin ang dalawang girls ko.
"Pero gusto ko ng boy dahil gusto ko na may magdala ng apelyido ko. Pero it didn't matter kung ano. I’m just excited to have a new baby in my life. It brought a different meaning.
"It brought a different joy sa amin ni LJ. It’s a different phase sa relasyon namin, it made us closer."
What has changed when he became a dad again?
"Wala, the love is the same, you take care of your kids, of course. Hands-on. In-love na in-love ako sa mga anak ko. With Summer now, super. May mga oras na nakatitig lang ako kay Summer."
When asked for a message for Xonia and Xalene, Paolo answered, "No, I believe that the day will come that I will be able to say my piece. But not to the public, just to them.
"Kasi, kung meron man kailangang eksplanasyon sa mga nangyari, I have to tell it to them. Kasi, nadamay sila, e. They just have to know that I never stopped loving them regardless of what happened.
"And hopefully one day, I will be able to talk to them properly and explain myself."
WAITING FOR THE RIGHT TIME
To outsiders, it seems the only thing missing from Paolo and LJ's modern family set-up is getting married. Paolo and Lian are still in the process of having their marriage annulled. The two separated in 2012.
Paolo said, "Again, after all the legal things that we have to finish, I would love that day na mangyari.
"Yung lawyers nandiyan to fix it. I trust the justice system, we're all waiting. I’m sure, yung kabilang panig ganun din. Lahat kami naghihintay lang din para lahat kami makapag-move-on na."
Paolo said he is sure that LJ is the woman he wants to marry once he is free again to do so.
We asked Paolo if LJ has shown signs of getting impatient.
"Meron na," he revealed.
"Siguro siya dapat ang tanungin niyo but if there's one thing about LJ, she’s very patient. To begin with, noong nagsimula naman ang relasyon, aware siya ro'n.
"But, at the same time, she also knows and assured siya sa fact na without it, kung wala akong [sabit], siya ang gusto ko, siya ang mahal ko. Yun lang talaga... but blessed kami kay Summer."
He added, "Of course, it’s not the proper timing or the proper chronological order, ika nga. Pero, blessing si Summer sa amin at walang ibang paraan para i-describe si Summer kung hindi blessing."
PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) caught up with Paolo at the press conference for Hiram na Anak at GMA Network Center on Monday, February 18.