Child stars pay tribute to their fabulous fathers
Niño Muhlach, the child superstar of the 1970s and ’80s, was raised by his parents, Alex and Rebecca, to be kind to people—especially to fans. Now 44 years old, Tinseltown’s former Child Wonder, who began acting at age 3 in 1974’s “Lulubog, Lilitaw sa Ilalim ng Tulay,” is also teaching his son Alonzo the importance of good manners and a healthy relationship with his growing admirers in the acting biz.
Niño’s 6-year-old “mini-me” is just as precocious and quip-ready—after all, the apple doesn’t really fall far from the tree.
When we asked Alonzo what he wanted for his dad on Father’s Day, he had a ready answer, “I want to give my papa an instant diet machine, so he can be fit like me.”
Alonzo wants his dad to lose weight to optimize their bonding moments together—which include physical activities: “Papa takes me everywhere—to playgrounds or children’s parks. We play, watch movies and buy toys.”
The child star enjoyed watching a video of his dad playing an elf in 1979’s “Kuwatog” (his favorite among Niño’s movies), so you can imagine how thrilled Alonzo was when he was tapped to portray an elf in the fantaserye, “Inday Bote,” last year.
Does his dad scold him?
Alonzo replied, “He spanks me on my palm when I do something really bad. He says, ‘Give me your hand.’ I cry, then I say sorry. But I know he only does it because he loves me.”
Zaijian Jaranilla, acclaimed for playing Santino in the feel-good TV series “May Bukas Pa,” also gets constant reminders from his dad, Zenon Louise, to keep his feet on the ground. “He wants me to remain down to earth,” he said.
Zaijian, now 14, has remained close to his father. He cherishes the time they spend with each other: “After a commitment, we pig out, kahit kaming dalawa lang (even if it’s just the two of us),” he shared. “We love watching movies, especially ‘Captain America: Civil War’ and the ‘Avengers’ series.”
For Father’s Day, he wants to give his dad another car. Zaijian explained, “We only have one. It’s a necessity because it’s hard to shuttle between tapings without your own transportation.”
For her part, Xyriel Manabat wants to give her dad, Michael John, a family picture to “always remind him of our happy moments together as a family.”
Xyriel, 12, endeared herself to viewers by playing the whip-smart and pint-size incarnation of Coney Reyes in the popular “100 Days to Heaven” series.
She said she listens to her dad’s advice and takes it to heart: “He reminds me to pray before I sleep, help others, obey his and my mom’s orders, not to be arrogant, to be nice to people, and focus on my studies.”
How does Xyriel bond with her father? “We go to church twice a week. At home, we kid around and tickle each other!” she beamed.
For his part, Marco Masa (“Nathaniel”) calls his dad Antonio his “playmate.” The 8-year-old child actor shared, “We go biking—that’s how we spend our time together.”
He may be busy with his acting gigs, but Marco also puts a premium on his studies. He said, “My dad always tells me that the only gift he wants from me is to finish my studies, regardless of how busy I get as an actor. He says it’s important to always be good and stay humble.”
Like Marco, Lyca Gairanod loves to go biking with her dad, Hilario. She said he isn’t interested in material things, so she’ll just demonstrate her “love and respect” for her self-effacing elder on Father’s Day.
The 11-year-old first grand champion of “The Voice Kids” said she’s guided by her dad’s wisdom: “He tells me to be happy with what I have, to stay the way I am and not be proud, regardless of how successful I become,” she said in Filipino.
Chuchay Jung, John Lloyd Cruz’s scene-stealing diminutive neighbor in the movie “Just the 3 of Us,” loves dining out, watching ghost plays and going to the coffee shop with her dad and mom.
For Father’s Day, the Philippine-grown Korean moppet has reserved her kisses for her father, Chul Hwan.
Chuchay said, “I’ll give my dad a lot of kisses—he says they’re his favorite gift. He told me that my kisses give him energy!”
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