The ballad of Dingdong and Jessa

FUNFARE - Ricky Lo - The Philippine Star
The ballad of Dingdong and Jessa
The couple recently celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary. ‘What strengthens our relationship is putting Jesus Christ at the center of our lives,’ says Dingdong Avanzado. ‘And making beautiful music together,’ adds Jessa Zaragoza.
STAR / File

In a field where some marriages can’t stand the test of time, Dingdong Avanzado and Jessa Zaragoza take pride in having beautifully survived the trials.

“Our love is deeper now more than ever,” said the couple who celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary recently. The celebration was understandably much more quiet than in the past years due to the uncertainty of the times.

“We couldn’t go out so we just spent it at home,” shared Jessa, “just Dingdong and me with our daughter Jayda.

With only daughter Jayda. ‘I would love to have one more child,’ admits Jessa. ‘But at 42, high risk na daw ako.’

“Pero meron naman kaming friends na nakaalala and they sent us special treats. It was a simple celebration but very meaningful.”

Admittedly, theirs is not a perfect marriage...and what marriage is perfect anyway?

“So many challenges, the same ones that other couples encounter,” added Dingdong. “In our case, being in showbiz is challenging enough. We are aware of the fact that many relationships in showbiz don’t last long. There’s also the challenge of being constantly away from the family, especially when I was in politics as vice governor of our province in Siquijor. That meant less time with the family.”

The 11-year age gap doesn’t get in the way.

“I think that it became an asset in the long run,” continued Dingdong, the older one. “You become more patient and understanding with your better half as you get older. Hahahahaha!!!”

The biggest thing that helped them overcome the challenges is having a strong faith and putting Jesus Christ at the center of the family.

“Of course,” Jessa stressed, “malaking bagay din ‘yung we try not to take everything in life too seriously. We find things to laugh about and we make sure to give each other space. And, yes, make an effort to keep the romance burning. I think that’s where the big age gap becomes factor. Lastly, having Jayda and the constant presence of music in our lives are vital elements in overcoming these challenges. Making beautiful music together is a big factor.”

Was it deliberate to have only one child? How do you raise Jayda, especially now that she’s grown?

Dingdong: “To answer the first question, our constant traveling because of the nature of our work was a factor kaya di na kami nakagawa pa nang isa. Actually, kung ako ang tatanungin gusto ko pa talaga.”

Jessa: “Honestly, I also want but I am deeply concerned about my age. I am already 42 and sabi nila na medyo high risk na if I get pregnant at this stage of my life. I had a miscarriage about three years ago and since then, I can’t help but have reservations about getting pregnant.

“Regarding raising Jayda, the biggest challenge to us was, how to instill the proper core values in her; especially in this day and age when our society is so permissive and conservative values are being silenced and perceived as outdated or not conforming to today’s standards.

“Thankfully, we were blessed with a child who is wise beyond her years and who has developed an awareness of God’s truth (the Bible) at a very young age. That keeps her grounded which is what she needs since she has already started her career in showbiz.”

Asked if he ever experienced the so-called seven-year itch, Dingdong replied, “Hmmm, parang hindi naman. Ano ba ‘yung itch na yon? Hahahaha!!!”

And have you ever had a major fight that could have led to breaking up? It’s common among showbiz couples, isn’t it?

Jessa admitted, “We will be lying if we say na hindi. There were times that our marriage was put to the test. But thankfully, by God’s grace, we overcame. He sent us people who counseled us and helped us get back on track.”

In the next breath, Jessa also admitted that she was selosa when she was younger.

“Siguro nung kabataan ko po hindi maiiwasan na maging selosa. But now, as I grew older, I have learned to be more flexible and understanding. There’s more maturity in every aspect of my life.”

Is Dingdong faithful?

“Oo naman...sa pagkaka-alam ko. Hahahaha!!!”

(E-mail reactions at [email protected]. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)


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