After 28 years, Dingdong Dantes starts another ‘chapter’ with GMA 7

After 28 years, Dingdong Dantes starts another ‘chapter’ with GMA

By: - Reporter
/ 12:30 AM May 13, 2024



Stepping onstage at his recent contract renewal with GMA had Dingdong Dantes reminiscing his early days with the Kapuso network—his home for nearly three decades.

All of a sudden, he was 16 again, dancing for the very first time in front of the cameras in “That’s Entertainment.”


“My 28 years with GMA include my first two as a dancer. I technically don’t count those two, but those years are very important, because that was when I got my start with GMA,” he told the Inquirer in a recent group interview with other broadsheets, shortly after the event. “It was such a memorable moment for me.”


Present at the signing were GMA executives, led by chair lawyer Felipe L. Gozon, president and chief executive officer Gilberto R. Duavit Jr, executive vice president and chief financial officer Felipe S. Yalong, and senior vice president for entertainment Lilybeth G. Rasonable. Representing Dingdong was PPL Entertainment president Perry Lansigan.

READ: Dingdong Dantes credits GMA for helping him fulfill his dreams

“I found myself looking back. I was just 16 at the time, and I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do in life. But because I had this feeling of excitement while performing onstage, I thought that this was what I wanted to do forever,” added Dingdong, who used to be part of the group Abztract Dancers.

Now 43, Dingdong is GMA’s most prized actor. The network has been a witness to many of his career milestones, from top-rated “teleserye” and high-profile hosting jobs to box-office movies. “True enough,” he said, “I have proven to myself that this truly is my dream job.”

Did you see yourself staying this long with GMA?

Now, I see opportunities like these as chapters. Clearly, the story of me as a dancer was an important chapter in my life when I was just starting. And then came new chapters—television shows, movies, hosting and even personal life.


You might as well sign a lifetime contract. [Contracts] may be technical things, but they’re needed for these kinds of engagements. But in principle, it was all clear to me once I stepped onstage [during the signing] … I was confident and knew that this was going to be my home. I have dedicated more than half of my life here. Aside from what I have invested physically and emotionally. I poured everything I knew into it.

I’m just happy that they’re still renewing that engagement with me. I’m grateful that they’re still opening doors to new and more platforms for whatever I can offer.

Did you ever entertain thoughts of transferring to another network?

I don’t remember things reaching that point. But I have a good working relationship with GMA. It’s very clear. I’m a collaborator and a talent. At the same time, I appreciate that they’re genuinely concerned and interested in my personal and career growth, like how they let me do movies with other producers and networks. They’re lenient. Wherever I can grow, they allow that. They see the value in doing that.

What’s in store for you in the coming months?

“Family Feud” will continue every night. “Amazing Earth” will still be there. I’m excited about “The Voice Kids.” I’m excited for the teleseryes I might do and movie collaborations with GMA Pictures. I’m happy that we have more platforms now, so there are more opportunities for us to create content.

Your love team with your wife, Marian Rivera, enjoyed a recent resurgence because of the film “Rewind” (now the highest-grossing local film). Did you ever expect that something like that would happen again at this point in your lives and careers?

It was something I never imagined, really. As I’ve said before, everything happens in cycles. One project is a new cycle. A contract is another cycle. And I think “Rewind” opened a new chapter for us. At a time when we didn’t think we would still be able to work together on the big screen, we got that kind of response with our comeback.

A lot of love teams have since followed after yours. But here you are, still going strong and drawing audiences.

I’m grateful because I know these things don’t come often. In fact, I don’t think that kind of formula will ever come again. I’m just happy I was able to do this with my wife in this lifetime. And I’m excited for those who still get to experience this in the future, maybe the younger generation of artists. They can even surpass that. Ultimately, the whole industry will benefit.

Outside show biz, you’re also busy with other endeavors like being a businessman and a Navy reservist, and taking part in industry organizations like Aktor and the Mowelfund.

All of us, at a certain point, will think about how to serve our community in our own ways. Some do it by doing their jobs well. If you’re a nurse, you do it by being the best nurse you can be; if you’re a delivery rider, the best delivery rider that you can be.

There are others who want to go beyond that. The community I belong to, which is the entertainment industry, is important to me. It has had a big impact on my life. Acting is my profession and I’m proud to be an actor. So, whatever I can give back to the community, with what time I have, I will do it

It’s important to support such causes. We get to be there for each other as a community. We get to help each other when there are challenges. We can organize and be there for each other when the need arises. Doing these projects can help enrich us.

How do you balance everything?

What’s important is that everything—my priorities and time—revolve around and are centered on my family. I have to devote time to them. And if I know that I have enough quality time for them, I know that I can dedicate myself to other things, other endeavors.

Speaking of quality time, how was your recent trip to the United States with the family?

When we were taking care of the paperwork, the passports and all, I realized that it was our first time to go out as a family with no other agenda. Usually, I squeeze it in between official work. But now, it was just us.

The kids are older now and it’s fun because they’re at an age to really appreciate traveling. They just played, ran around and became closer as siblings. We really bonded together. I loved the experience.

How do you feel about the kids joining show biz?

Marian and I don’t really discuss it. What we do, purposefully, is support our children’s interests. Zia is into sports and music. She’s inclined to the arts. So, whatever she chooses later on in life, we will just support. It’s her decision. We’re just there to guide our kids, especially in the early stages of their development.

We just recently celebrated Mother’s Day. How do you pay tribute to Marian and the mothers in your life?

After seeing Marian’s journey as a mother firsthand, I was like, “Grabe rin pala ginawa ng nanay ko sa ’kin noon.” Because of that, I now have deeper recognition and appreciation for our moms even as I already had profound appreciation for them to begin with. The love I have for the moms in my life is stronger, especially now.

It’s my duty and role to always celebrate her as a mother and be there for her as the most ideal partner or spouse, so she can fulfill her role and do what she loves to do. It’s my duty, not only to provide for her, but to cheer her on and be her partner in fulfilling different things. Because I know being a mother isn’t an easy thing.

What piece of advice can you give to younger artists who may want to follow your path?

I can only speak about what I can control. It’s good to appreciate the people who give you the opportunities. In my case, it’s GMA 7. I’m grateful that they opened their doors for me and gave me a platform to showcase whatever I have and be the best performer I can be. On the personal side, it’s about being the best dad, best actor, father and spouse that I can be.

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They (younger actors) have different circumstances. But whatever they are, I know that things will be way better than what they’re seeing right now.

TAGS: Dingdong Dantes, Entertainment

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