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Ian Veneracion at 45: Aging not something to dread, but to embrace

By: - Reporter
/ 12:30 AM March 22, 2020
Ian Veneracion

Proud to be called a “tito”

The first time Ian Veneracion was called “tito” by someone unrelated to him was on the set of a television show. And he must admit that he was a little taken aback.

“Anong ‘tito?’ I retorted to that person. In denial?” he jested at a recent press conference for “Kilabotitos”—his two-night concert with Ogie Alcasid that has been indefinitely postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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But no offense taken, seriously, he stressed. After all, it was something he himself practiced back when he was just starting out in show biz.

“It’s something I grew up doing here in the business. Even if you don’t know someone personally, you automatically refer to him or her as ‘tito’ or ‘tita’ if he or she is already of a certain age … especially if you’re working with them for the first time. It’s a sign of respect. That’s what my seniors taught me before,” he related.

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Ian Veneracion

Ian Veneracion

Besides, gone are the days, he believes, when the word tito conjured up images of a naughty ladies man. “That’s not so cool anymore. Now, you’re proud of your tito who’s a good family man with good values, and treats women properly,” he pointed out. “The peg is different now.”

He doesn’t look a day over 45. And he doesn’t feel like it either. It only dawned on him that he’s, indeed, starting to get old when he woke up one morning and saw that grey strands of hair had been sprouting from his face, and that his vision was no longer what it’s used to.

“When I noticed those, I was like, ‘Oops!’ That’s when I realized that I wasn’t getting any younger. My eyesight was another sign. It used to be 20-20, which you need to have when you’re studying how to fly an aircraft. Now I need to wear glasses, especially when I have to read something far from me,” said Ian, who’s a licensed private pilot.

But aging isn’t something to dread, he said—it’s something to be embraced.

“Growing old is a part of life. I don’t have a problem with it. I actually look forward to it… We can’t go at great lengths to stay young. We can’t pretend to be 28 our whole lives,” he said. “We can only hope to age gracefully and not fight it. Let’s hope that we remain healthy, physically and mentally.”

While acting is his bread and butter, Ian hopes to take on music-related projects as much as he can, because it gives him a different kind of satisfaction.

“I’m comfortable in front of the camera—it’s mechanical, it doesn’t judge you, it’s just a machine. I have always looked at it that way. But performing in front of an audience is different because you know they’re judging you, every single person out there is trying to observe you,” said Ian, who’s a skilled guitar player.

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But if done well, doing live gigs, he added, provides instant gratification.

“You can actually feel their (audiences’) vibe and excitement, and that fuels you even more. That’s what I have learned to enjoy. When you do a film, it gets shown months after and only then will you get a feedback,” Ian said. “But such things are instant when you’re onstage. You see their rea­c­­­tion when you do something aw­k­­ward­ or say some­­th­ing­ funny.”

“I love the the ad­re­­naline rush,” he added.

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