When JC Santos, 30, found out he was going to be a dad, a million thoughts swam through his head. As he put it, it was like a five-second video presentation about his life that was so quick yet overwhelming. A stage actor who found his break through a successful transition to the big and small screen, JC would begin his fatherhood journey with a handful of questions:
“How’s my career going?”
“How are my bank accounts?”
“Can I now provide for my family?”
“Am I ready?”
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JC's answer to the last question turned out to be a resounding yes, and that was when he finally let it sink in. There's a momentary flush of giddiness as he reminisces on that exact moment, talking to ABS-CBN Lifestyle. “All good! Game! Dream come true! I am now ready to be a father! Thank You, God! Celebration!” he says.
JC, who last starred on iWant's 24/7, is enjoying a happy married life with chef and registered nurse Shyleena Herrera, his teenage crush whom he crossed paths with again after 15 years. He tied the knot with her last September, and welcomed their baby girl River Aletheia earlier this year.
JC describes their little one as “a funny ball of energy,” who is always ready to flash her legendary beaming smile. “She reminds me of myself—I always 100 percent smile. It’s also one of my favorite qualities about my wife,” he shares.
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JC's definitely relishing the joys of fatherhood, down to the simple things like the usual sing-song baby talk parents would do with their little ones. “I always have this habit even though she doesn’t respond. For example, whenever I change her nappies, I always say, ‘Daddy will change your diapers na,’ ‘I’ll pull your leg up ha, so that I could wipe you here and here,’ ‘Come here, baby, let’s take a bath na. You’re gonna be super clean and bango after this and Daddy's going to get super gigil again!'” he narrates cheerily.
He particularly remembers this one time he finally elicited a reaction from Baby River. “Imagine my big theatrical reaction when she started to giggle, reacting to every word I was babbling? Time pulled me to the present moment again and all the sleepless nights became worth it,” JC, who started as a Theater student in UP starring in many Dulaang UP plays, muses. “It validates the feeling that I am super enjoying fatherhood.”
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JC loves how fatherhood has since imbued him with a sense of purpose, giving him endless inspiration. “There’s nothing better than a great motivation having both a beautiful daughter and a beautiful wife,” he declares, adding how his journey helped him keep his health and well-being in check. “I have been waiting for a good chance to live a healthy lifestyle. I am now living the dream!”
Most importantly, this new 'duty' has strengthened his faith. “Having a child made me closer to (God) even more. I’ve never believed and prayed so much in my entire life and I’ve never been so grateful for everything that I have until now,” he says. “For the first time in my life, I finally felt that I have enough.”
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Photographs taken from JC Santos' and Shyleena Herrera's Instagram accounts