Updated 18:24 PM PHT Wed, June 29, 2016
Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — It’s kind of unfair that someone in his forties remains this ridiculously good-looking, and it almost makes you hope that he’s just this pretty boy devoid of any substantial traits — as in a just world. But Ian Veneracion belongs to the multi-hyphenate generation: He’s a painter, musician, licensed pilot, paraglider pilot, skydiver, scuba diver, and a damn good actor to top it all off. And he knows that people call him a DILF, as bannered by BuzzFeed in its article “Here’s Why Ian Veneracion Is The Philippines’ Ultimate DILF.” “My daughter showed me that,” Veneracion says. “I asked what a ‘DILF’ was and she said it’s the guy version of a MILF. I said, ‘I know what a MILF is!’”
We are sitting cross-legged on a tiled kitchen counter. He’s asked if he could smoke and drink coffee during the interview, so the house’s owner has pointed us in this direction. Initially, I thought the interview would just be some casual showbiz chit-chat, but I didn’t expect the awareness that Veneracion has about the industry he works in, a mix of nonchalance and fiery passion. Jumping from one project to the next, he has only one idea in mind, and that’s to entertain himself. “I know it sounds selfish, but I’m doing all these things for me, really,” he shares. “For me I’m past that stage where you want to entertain people. Wala, the only person I’m trying to entertain is myself, actually. If I think it’s fun and challenging, kung kaya ko ba o hindi, gagawin ko, papasukin ko. It just so happens that [people] find it entertaining watching me entertain myself.” He laughs.
Veneracion has been acting since 1982, starting as Joey De Leon’s titular child in “Joey & Son” before moving on to the 80s teen-star staple “That’s Entertainment,” where he had been part of the Monday group. The show was a common jump-off point for a lot of its stars, many of whom — such as Manilyn Reynes, Billy Crawford, Donna Cruz, and Lea Salonga — are still very prominent names in the local entertainment industry today. “Naging family [kami dun] eh,” he says. “So merong bond kami na kahit sobrang tagal kaming hindi nagkita, para kayong batchmates. Kayo lang nakakaintindi ng lahat ng maganda at hindi maganda na nandun sa pinanggalingan nyo. Ang galing.”
Veneracion thought “Life begins at 40” was merely a motto for guys past their prime, perhaps an illusion under which to fuel their drive as they leave their youth behind. But for him, a new life actually did start when he reached his forties. He was 40 when he got the role of Eduardo in the remake of ABS-CBN’s “Pangako Sa ’Yo,” which led to various endorsements, including a massive Bench billboard along EDSA. “Yung mga anak ko nga eh, sabi, ‘Daddy, pabebe ka diyan,’” he laughs. “So nakakatawa na … I don’t think it’s up to me pala. Sometimes we’re trying to decide what we want, what to do. And then you realize it’s not up to [you].”
Now that the show has long wrapped up, Veneracion is just taking his sweet time. The day of our interview, he’s having some sort of an aimless day, riding his BMW bike anywhere he pleases. He has a few films lined up, including one directed by Antoinette Jadaone, “The Achy Breaky Hearts,” which opens this week and reunites him with his “Pangako Sa ‘Yo” co-star, Jodi Sta. Maria, and another directed by Jerrold Tarog, which comes out later this year. He also returns to TV with the teleserye “The Second Wife” with Bea Alonzo and Iza Calzado.
"I’m past that stage where you want to entertain people. Wala, the only person I’m trying to entertain is myself, actually. If I think it’s fun and challenging, kung kaya ko ba o hindi, gagawin ko, papasukin ko. It just so happens that [people] find it entertaining watching me entertain myself."
Juggling his interests and roles, Veneracion thrives on uncertainty, as it leaves him more room for possibilities. He’s not one to chart his future, or whatever projects he still wants to take. “I don’t even know if I’ll even be acting next year, six months from now,” he says. “Knowing me, looking at my past, oo, malamang nandyan, pero meron akong pitik minsan na, ‘No, I want to do something else, ayaw ko na ‘to,’ as if role lang din yung pini-play ko sa sarili ko. I’m an actor, I’m doing this, but I can easily shift my role: ‘No, I’m a painter,’ or, ‘No, I’m a musician, I’m an adventurer, I’m on a six-month journey somewhere.’ That’s why I’m an actor, that’s how I see myself.”
But if there’s one constant in his life, something that has him anchored, it’s being a father. “For me, that’s the thing I value the most, being a father to my kids,” he shares. “Kapag nagka-anak ka na, hindi na ikaw yung center ng universe, sila na. Regardless kung ano ang tingin ko sa sarili ko, it will still lead towards my being a father."
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