The âunbeatableâ father-daughter team of Arnell & Pie
Arnell Ignacio and 25-year-old daughter, Sofia or fondly called Pie, at the Mansion House in Baguio City
STAR/ File

The ‘unbeatable’ father-daughter team of Arnell & Pie

Leah Salteriio (The Philippine Star) - June 19, 2021 - 12:00am

Bonding for a father and son is common. A father and a daughter peacefully existing together is normal, too. But for a father and his daughter to develop a long-time closeness day in and day out, doesn’t happen to just everyone out there.

Especially if the dad is a single parent, that is somewhat surprising, too. But for Arnell Ignacio, not sharing an abode with his only daughter, Sofia, whom he lovingly calls “Pie,” has never been an option.

Ever since Arnell and his wife, Frannie, separated nearly two decades ago, Pie never decided to stay elsewhere but with her dad. They have been living together in one house since then, like two peas in a pod. They know each other’s idiosyncrasies, favorite things and food, likes and dislikes.

Pie, 25, took up Entrepreneurial Management and graduated from the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P).

“When she likes something and she’s intent, I simply let her do what she wants,” Arnell says of his daughter. “After a few days, sometimes, she will do another thing. She will shift to something different. But she has matured in handling things. She’s more disciplined.”

“She knows that when she starts something, she has to work on it and finish the job,” he continues. “She’s very adult now. When she doesn’t finish what she started, I don’t like it. She’s no longer like that. She’s more mature now.”

At the start of the pandemic, Pie has taken on the reins of her dad’s business, Sabon Depot, so she will learn how to make money and earn it her way. “I was still part of the business last year, but I told Pie I would turn over the business to her,” Arnell shares. “I gave her the start-up, but she now takes care of running the business, even the distribution. She’s doing so well now. I don’t need to meddle anymore. She knows how to deal with people, especially clients. Before, when she didn’t want someone, hindi niya feel, hindi din niya kakausapin. I told her she needs to talk to people. That doesn’t happen in doing business. Whether you like someone or not, if you need to talk to him, you have to do it.”

Pie is hardworking, as assured by her dad. “I think she took that from me,” Arnell asserts. “‘Yung sipag na hindi ka napapagod kasi excited ka. She can carry things and deliver what needs to be sent to clients. She doesn’t take pity on herself because she has been doing too many things and she gets tired easily. That’s me. I’m like that. People thought I never take a break and that I work non-stop. What they don’t realize, my job is my break.”

Money was never an issue for Pie. Before, handling her money became too easy for her and that was what worried her dad initially. Today, however, Pie knows how to manage her finances. She also writes for an IT company and moonlights doing reviews for products.

“Sometimes, I allow her to shoulder the expenses of our bigger house, so she knows and understands all the money needed,” he says. “Now, she can manage it, but she is so stingy. There are days when she doesn’t even want to turn on the aircon to save on electric bills. I told her there will come a time when she needs to manage everything around the house, so she needs to learn everything. She understands everything now.”

With Pie’s entrepreneurial and management skills, she was able to apply her learnings on how to run Sabon Depot with fewer people, being part of the operation. “She does everything online,” the dad proudly says. “Her clientele is growing. Sometimes, I even get surprised. she learned how to work with me and her lean staff.”

Being at odds with each other is no longer the wont of Arnell and his daughter now. “I’ve learned not to get mad at her anymore,” Arnell admits.

But when it comes to Pie’s love life, Arnell makes it a point to put his foot down when he feels the guy is not right for his daughter. “When I was still working for the government, we really fought at that time. She had a boyfriend then. She didn’t want to listen to me and she disobeyed me.”

“She needed to leave the house and stay with her mom,” he recalls. “She was too progressive at that time. Eventually, she realized she really wanted to stay with me. Ever since her mom and I separated, she always stayed with me. I’ve learned how to handle her as she grows up. I’ve learned how to deal with her.”

Their unconventional relationship has never become an issue for any of them. Apparently, they have learned to practice tolerance towards each other.

“She realized a lot of things while growing up,” he adds. “She knows there are only the two of us together. Before, she was always like a little girl who always wanted to do everything her way. No rhyme, no reason.”

“Our condominiums for rent, I allowed her to manage it,” he shares. “She was used to doing things her way without reporting to me. She wanted to solve everything without me. One of the faucets had a leak and she tried to fix it. She had an accident and she was even hospitalized. She damaged her tendon in her hand and we spent almost P200,000 when she was confined. Just because she didn’t tell me the minor problem.

“Since then, she has learned to tell me everything. I’ve been telling her she needs to know how to manage everything around the house, because there will come a time, she will settle down and have her own family. I’m also ready when that happens.”

Although Pie grew up exposed to the showbiz world, she is apparently not cut out for an entertainment career. “She has no mechanism to adjust in showbiz,” Arnell shares. “She once did a TV show, Star on Ice, where she was a figure skater. She didn’t enjoy doing the show back in 2007. (With) the long hours of taping, she didn’t like it. It wasn’t a very good experience for her.”

Through the years, Arnell and Pie have been through a lot. “We became an unbeatable team,” he beams. “We are the father and daughter, we are business partners, we are together at home constantly. I sought her out for anything that needs to be done in the house. We have a very stable relationship now. We learned to adjust in a lot of things to avoid any conflict between us. We’re way past the fighting.”

They delight in doing simple things. This Father’s Day, Arnell does not expect anything special from his daughter. “We’re not like that,” he attests. “We don’t give gifts to each other on occasions. There are times we look for small restaurants, hole-in-the-wall eateries just around our village. It thrills us when we discover something. Kaligayahan namin ‘yun. Mababaw lang, but that makes us really happy.”

Traveling is also something Arnell and Pie love doing together. The last trip they did was in Thailand in 2019 and they both had a great time bonding outside the country.

Their nine cats at home give them constant joy. “They are expensive cats,” says Arnell. “From Maine Coon to British Yorkshire, Siamese and Bengal cats, they became Pie’s friends when I’m not around.”

Arnell swears he has no love life for a long time now. He has no one special at the moment. Not that he’s also looking for one. “Ang tagal ko ng engaged,” he quips. “I’ve always been engaged to someone, but nothing seriously pushed through. Boring now for me ang love life. There’s no excitement with the people I talk to. They’re all the same.”

“You cannot force a love life. Sometimes, I still talk to Pie’s mother (Frannie),” he adds. “We’re still legally married. We were never annulled. I don’t know if she has anyone right now because I never asked. It’s better that way.”

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