Dingdong the enabler of dreams

Micah Levin Isla - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - His life is as multi-faceted as the roles he portrays on screen. His evolution from a teen heartthrob to a man worth his salt — a transition anchored on unyielding passion — is a feat many hopefuls in show business can only fantasize about.Award-winning actor, director, producer, and youth leader, Dingdong Dantes belongs to a rare breed of celebrities: The kind that steers clear of nasty scandals and cheap gimmicks to keep their careers afloat.

Husband to GMA Network’s “primetime queen” Marian Rivera since 2014, and now father to Maria Letizia — the baby who almost broke the Internet last December — one may wonder, does a guy of Dingdong’s caliber still dream?

The answer is yes, of course. In fact, he is on a mission to help more dreams come true.

In a recent press event at Makati Shangri-La where Dingdong was introduced as the newest ambassador for Abbott’s Ensure line, The STAR caught up with the man of the hour.

The decision to choose the artist to be the spokesperson was not unfounded. The campaign — which is basically about helping our parents and grandparents achieve their unfulfilled dreams by giving them proper nutrition besides love and care — is something that strikes a chord with the multi-hyphenated star.

“My dad is my idol; I want to follow in his footsteps and be like him. I want to ensure that he will live a happy and healthy life for as long as he can,” he said.

The project came at the perfect time. Dingdong has just finished refurbishing his father’s old BMW bike, a task he undertook when the latter implied that he wanted to ride again like he used to in the ‘60s. This anecdote became the central theme of the brand’s lifestyle advocacy.

“My dad was an active guy during his prime,” he shared, adding that he inherited his father’s love for thrill and adventures. “I want to help him achieve his dreams; our parents still have a lot of things that they want to do, but old age is preventing them. As a son, I want to help my dad attain whatever goals he still has, and I feel that it is my duty to remind him about the importance of nutritional supplements, like Ensure, in reaching those goals,” he added.

Now that he’s a father himself, he realized how vital proper nutrition is. “Just like my dad, I want to stay healthy and live long for my kids,” the role model pointed out.

So what is Dingdong and his dad’s next dream venture? “We want to fly a plane together,” he answered.

In 2014, Dingdong took an oath at Malacañang and was formally christened as commissioner-at-large for the National Youth Commission (NYC). With his YesPinoy Foundation going strong and his stint at the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) still active, Dingdong is definitely no stranger to the world of leadership and volunteerism. When asked about his dreams for the country, a smile spread across his face.

“I’m happy to say that 45 percent out of the 56 million registered voters belong to the 18 to 34 bracket, this means that the millennial vote is crucial. I am confident that the youth of today will go out of their way to look into the candidates’ profiles, scrutinize their integrity and weigh their ability to unite us as one republic. I’m hoping that the enthusiasm these people project in social media will translate to educated votes,” he said.

With his almost squeaky clean image, it’s no surprise that there are rumors of him welcoming the thought of running for office. “I have no plans. I’m not thinking about that. Right now, my focus is on my mandate with the NYC,” he cleared.

Now that the cat is out of the bag, Dingdong’s big TV comeback is through the highly anticipated retelling of Encantadia — GMA’s iconic fantaserye. In its original run in 2005, the actor played the enigmatic warrior Ybarro; in the sequel, he returns as Raquim.

With a new ambassadorship at hand and a TV show to boot, how does Dingdong keep his private life blissful?

“In any relationship, it’s important to define roles and make certain priorities clear; like how clear it is to me that I am still a son to my dad, me and Marian know that our priority now is our family, our daughter,” he expressed.

Dingdong also pointed out that he and wife Marian — who he had described as an excellent first-time mom — religiously follow a “twice-a-month date” policy to keep the fire burning. And what about his dreams for little Zia who’s now four months old and already making delightfully audible sounds according to her dad? Will he allow his princess to dive into the world of showbiz?

“Well, if she really wants to then why not? It’s that simple,” he said firmly.

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