On the eve of the Father’s Day debut airing of “Game N’ Go”, TV5’s newest Sunday noontime game show, hosts Joey De Leon, Edu Manzano and Arnell Ignacio were naturally asked about fatherhood and family in general during the recent press luncheon to promote the show.
Joey said it should not be difficult for him to adjust to his new “Game N’ Go” family since they they’re not really strangers to each other.
“Hindi na kailangan mag-bond pa kami sa isa’t isa prior to the show. Magkakakilala naman kami at pareho kaming mahilig makipagkulitan sa mga tao. Alam ko na ang kapilyuhan ni Edu at ganun din ni Arnell so madali na yan,” the veteran comedian said.
Edu added that one of the best things about working with Joey is that it allows them to talk about their children.
“Joey is very proud of his children,” Edu revealed. “Nagkukuwento nga siya na kababalik lang niya from the graduation ng kanyang anak. Alam nyo para sa isang ama, malaking bagay na makitang maka-graduate ang isang anak.”
The actor and former Optical Media Board chairman said he puts a special premium on the education of his own children.
“Outside of Luis, I cannot encourage my other children to go into showbiz unless they finish a degree first, which is also what I encourage the young talents who are already in the business to pursue,” Edu said.
Both Joey and Edu see themselves are very fortunate to have children who are very career-driven and are in no hurry to start their own families.
“Jocas, my eldest, is in London now for her third degree. ‘Yung first two, sa States. Itong third is masters in LBM, luxury brand management. Jaco, the second, graduated sa Fordham and works with TAPE at may show siya sa GMA News TV, while my youngest Jio, is now at Tisch School of the Arts in New York U taking up film and TV. Wala pang gustong mag-asawa,” Joey said of his children with Eileen Macapagal.
Edu said his 19-year old daughter is currently finishing her MassComm studies in Ateneo while Arnell is proud of the fact that only daughter Sofia is now a college freshman taking up Entrepreneurship at the University of the Asia and the Pacific.
As for their children who are in showbiz, Joey revealed that Keempee who is now part of the Eat Bulaga “Dabarkads” is now a single dad, while Chenee, who used to act, is now a mother of four children, whom the doting grandfather sends to school.
Edu himself is proud of how son Luis, who succeeded him as host of ABS-CBN’s “Deal Or No Deal”, has developed into a great game show host. “He’s a natural and even better than I am, like he was born to do it,” he said.
With regards to any special plans for this coming Father’s Day aside from of course, doing “Game N’ Go,” all three admit that in terms of spending time with their respective families, almost everyday is Father’s Day to them.
“Lagi naman kaming magkakasama,” Arnell said. “I see my dad three or four times a week. I also spend a lot of time with Sofia. Pag hindi kami lumalabas, nagkukwentuhan at nagluluto lang sa bahay. Kaya pag natatanong ako about that, wala akong masyadong masabi.”
“We spend a lot of time together,” Edu added. “Luis and I in particular are talking about doing a project together and it’s good that we communicate more often as there was a time I put so many things ahead of my children that I deeply regret and so now I often ask them for their understanding.”
Edu in particular cites an incident when daughter Adi once told him, “I don’t see you anymore.”
“That was kind of a wake-up call for me,” he revealed. “Now may kanya-kanya na silang buhay, but I’m happy that they can still fit me into their schedule and I see to it that I also find time for them.”
When asked how they would each rate themselves as a father, Joey hinted that while it has its ups and downs, fatherhood is not exactly rocket science for him.
“Mabait naman akong tatay. Mahirap na lang magbuhat ng sariling bangko, pero mabait talaga ako sa mga anak at apo ko. Game ako, e. At go nang go. Kaya game and go,” Joey cracked.
For Edu, however, fatherhood is serious business given his own experience. “I think it’s still premature for me to say that I’m a successful father. I’m still doing everything I can to become a good father.”
“Ako, you can say it’s complicated,” quipped Arnell. “Kasi I’m both mother and father to my Sofia so I have to be there for her all the time, especially now that she also has a boyfriend.”
But more than being a father himself, Arnell said he is blessed to be the son of a wonderful father who, in fact, dropped by to see him at the press conference.
“I feel very, very lucky. Para bang hindi ako naka-graduate, hanggang ngayon spoiled pa rin ako dyan,” he said of his dad. “We never outgrew the stage that we are his children. We have a lot of happy moments lalo na pag kumpleto kami, including ‘yung mga apo. Wish ko sana yun din ang nakikita ko sa ibang pamilya kasi iba talaga pag nagsasama-sama.”
“Game N Go” will air live every Sunday at 12 noon on TV5 starting June 17. Also co-hosting the show with Joey De Leon, Edu Manzano and Arnell Ignacio are Gelli de Belen and Shalani Soledad.