Ten years ago, celebrity makeup artist and proud gay man Paolo Maranan held his son Coy—his unico hijo from surrogacy—in his arms for the first time. He found it a terrifiyingly beautiful experience, one that would turn his life around in things he never even imagined and make him realize that fatherhood is the best job ever.
On top of the things that's keeping him busy these days—running Styluxe Salon and Makeup Studio, nurturing his relationships with his loved ones including partner Martin dela Paz, and keeping fab and fit, Paolo's commitment in raising Coy is unparalleled. Below, he talks more about his son and how their fun tandem has made them both grow over time.
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How has being a father changed you?
It changed me a lot kasi before mahilig ako sa random trips. Ngayon hindi na pwede. Hindi na ako pwedeng mawala basta-basta. Pero iba kasi ‘yung joy na nabibigay nya. Lagi kong sinasabi na ang parenthood, masarap na mahirap. You become more responsible. Iba na ‘yung merong isang kaluluwa na dependent sayo at hindi ka pwedeng mag-disappear tulad nung single ka. It changed me in such a way na kapag nakakakita ako ng pulubing bata dati, naaawa ako. Ngayon, naiiyak ako sa inis. Na-i-imagine ko yung anak ko, paano kung sya ‘yun? Sobrang umiinit ‘yung ulo ko.
What do you think about as a parent?
Ang worry ko, iba na kasi ‘yung generation ngayon. Everything’s given to them easily, tapos yung mga maliliit na bagay, hardship na for them. Doon ako takot. So sana, my son can open up to me, na maging barkada niya ako, na "It’s okay, I won’t judge you."
What’s your favorite thing about being a parent?
Kinikilig ako thinking na meron akong anak. Meron akong someone who will love me unconditionally. ‘Yun ‘yung sa tingin ko I’m proud of. Kasi hindi lahat meron no’n, nung ganung klaseng love.
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Can you walk me through a day with your child?
Favorite niyang mag-Timezone. Medyo competitive sya, nakikita ko nga ‘yung sarili ko sa kanya. Nagpapatalo ako, tapos tuwang-tuwa sya. Malakas siya mang-asar. Tapos kakain kami. Usually, if I have a board game, magbo-board game kami. Or magta-try kami ng bago activities, like Trampoline Park or Laser Tag. Tapos movies.
How would you describe your child?
He is very smart. He’s smarter than me pa nga. He doesn’t ask questions, especially like, bakit dalawa dads niya. Ini-instill naman namin, unti-unti. Never nyang tinanong ‘yung about gay, never nyang tinanong ba’t ‘yung mommy ko wala. He’s really smart and independent when it comes to that. He’s also super nice to be with when traveling. Dalawang beses lang yan nag-tantrum sa loob ng sampung taon, bilang na bilang ko lang. Ganun siya kabait na bata. Nasasama ko ‘yan sa shoot kasi he’s so behaved. Pag tumaas na ‘yung boses ko, tiklop na yan. Sya ‘yung kapag may nagte-take turns sa slide, papaunahin niya kasi ayaw nya ng gulo. Ganun ‘yung personality nya, mapagparaya.
How do you express your love?
Ma-gift ako. That’s my expression of love. Then I learned na quality time yung kanya, so I adjust to him. Kapag natutulog sya, hina-hug nya ako. Hindi ako ma-hug pero hina-hug ko rin sya. I show my love to him through commitment also.
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What are some of the ways you discipline them?
I mentioned na mabait sya, pero may times na minsan, syempre bata, I let him commit mistakes. Minsan tumataas boses ko, tapos nanginginig na ‘yan, then magso-sorry na. Bihira naman ‘yun kasi madali siyang pasunurin. Wala akong kaproble-problema.
How have your child shaped and taught you?
Mas naging tolerant ako sa petty stuff. Parang ang dali ko na siyang dedmahin. Kasi bata sya e, child-like, so he speaks his mind. Direct to the point. Kapag inisip mo ‘yung mga sinasabi nya, parang "Oo nga ano? Ganoon lang pala ka-simple ang buhay." I treat life now as less complicated compared before. Because of him, I learned that.
How do you want your kid to remember you?
I want him to remember me as the better version of my dad. Kasi yung dad ko has been a good dad. Na more than loving, balanse akong mag-discipline sa kanya. I buy him everything he wants and needs pero valuable. And sana maisip niya na cool ako. Na pwede siyang mag-open up sa’kin. Na parang, ah, "Si Papa, I can tell him anything under the sun and he won't judge me."
ALSO READ: In Focus: That Entertainment's Chuckie Dreyfus On Life As A (Hot) Dad Of Two
On Paolo: Button-down shirt, suit and pants, all from Mango
Produced and directed by Mels Timan | Photography by Vyn Radovan | Cinematography by Lui Jimenez and Kang Garcia | Editing by Lui Jimenez | Styling by Red Dimaandal | Grooming by Renee Solis, Rainer Roca, and Lalai Glendro for teamMVP | Shot on location at The Green Door, Poblacion, Makati | Special thanks to Janlee Dungca of Castro PR and Jeffrey Hidalgo