People & Inspiration

In Focus: Mo Twister On How Fatherhood Changed Him For The Better

In Focus: Mo Twister On How Fatherhood Changed Him For The Better

Fans of FM morning radio in the Philippines would find it hard not to know DJ Mo Twister.

With a career that spans almost two and a half decades with Magic 89.9, Mo's career permeated not just the morning airwaves, but in the 90s transcended in television and cinema. Born in Queens, New York as Mohan Gumatay, the once controversial showbiz host and actor has since moved back to the US in 2012—while still maintaining his radio show Good Times With Mo.

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Mo's recent on-air proposal to long-time partner and former co-DJ Angelika “Angelicopter” Shmeing last May seems to further solidify his shift in image. Yes, he is now a total family man. In an interview with ABS-CBN Lifestyle, he gushes over his new role serving his three biggest inspirations in life—22-year-old Moira (his eldest daughter with former actress Bunny Paras), 10-year-old Lucas (Angelika’s son from a previous relationship), and six-year-old Amsterdam.

“During Father’s Day, we generally have a simple elebration. Dinner out, but the highlight is usually the great gifts I get from my wife and the kids. We treat both Mother's Day and Father's Day with the same importance and fanfare as birthdays,” he explains.

Mo brands himself as "definitely the good cop. I am not the disciplinarian type and I get that from my own parents—who never spanked me or my siblings. I tend to let my kids get away with a lot of things but thankfully, they are not naughty kids. They rarely ever do anything worth any disciplinarian action."

He admits his parenting style is not really that different from his parents way of bringing up him and his siblings.

"My dad and mom were such great gift givers. They brought us pasalubong everyday from work, even if it was just a small piece of candy. They made sure to stop by the store and pick something up for us on the way home. I can see that similarity in me. Come Christmastime, I make sure that the tree is filled with gifts for the kids. I’ll wrap any gift, no matter how simple or small para lang when it’s Christmas morning they are opening as many gifts as possible."

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That said, Mo likes to think he's a much warmer and open as a dad.

"I am different from my dad in that I am more vocal about how much I love my kids and I make sure to tell them. I know my father loved me very much but like I said earlier, I think many fathers of his generation weren’t really the showy type. They showed it differently, in more quiet and subtle ways," he says. "I, on the other hand, am much more obvious about it and whether that’s to compensate for past generations or perhaps I can’t help myself and containing it is just not possible — I’m going to be openly affectionate to them."

All things considered, Mo likes to think he's adopted FIlipino values when it come to raising his kids.

"It’s to a point wherein our American friends find it odd that we do it certain things," he laughs. "One example would be the sleeping arrangements at home. I love that the kids sleep with us at night even if they have their own rooms. Some American parenting books even say that is bad for their growth which could be true, but I feel comfortable in having them with us each night. We encourage them to learn Filipino and Angelika makes sure to cook Filipino food with at least 75 percent of the dishes we eat at home!"

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Mo's maturity as a parent might have come with his past experiences. When his first daughter was born, for example, he admits he had to do a lot of growing up.

“Honestly, I wouldn’t say I was ready to be a father when I had Moira since I was only 22 years old, but I had to learn to get ready very quickly. When my relationship with her mom did not work out, I also had to learn to accept that I wouldn’t be able to be with her day to day like I was accustomed to when she was a baby. That was the biggest adjustment and I think that might be a common answer for many parents out there that have had a relationship go sour," he narrates.

"Shortly after our breakup, Moira and her mom migrated to the US, and I was in the Philippines, so seeing her was certainly not as often as I would have liked which was the biggest challenge. Thankfully, and this must be said, her mom ended up marrying a very good man who was able to be a positive father figure in Moira’s life and I am so grateful for that. So, she has two fathers and on Father's Day, I’ll see her post both of our pictures on her Instagram. He deserves all the love Moira has for him. He’s been great to her,” he muses.

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At this point in his life, Mo says he has fully embraced his role as a father and head of family.

“The thing I love most about fatherhood is somewhat cliché, but it is watching them grow in every aspect. I am particularly fond of seeing my children’s vocabulary expand. I love hearing them use new words and understanding what they mean and when to properly use them. I also love affection. I think many Filipino men from past generations were not really the showy type when it came to hugs, kisses and I love you's.  They were the show-no-emotion-macho-figures and I am the complete opposite,” he declares.

Unlike his DJ persona that will not mince words when it comes to his opinions on radio, Mo at home is always in full father mode.

“My on-air persona is completely opposite at home, period. Not just in dad mode, but in every aspect. I will say this, though: One day, my kids will be old enough to listen to recorded radio show material and they will likely not be able to recognize the person behind the familiar voice. It worries me actually. I don’t want them to be shocked by some of the things I have said because I am so different at home than I am on air. I am most terrified by them getting their hands on my GTWM podcast material," he shares with a laugh.

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Just like any proud dad, Mo is more than happy to share what his kids have imbibed from him even at an early age.

“I love that my kids are so kind. Moira and Lucas have such incredible hearts. They are genuinely kind people. Amsterdam is much younger and feisty, so her personality isn’t as predictable as the other two, but I know she will be just as thoughtful as she matures into her own person. Even at six years old, she’s somewhat baby-baby pa and we like that about her."

Mo muses on all of whom continue to inspire him as they come of age.

"I think the quality they most absorbed from me is the ability to look at the positive side of things. Lucas is especially keen on this. No matter what problem he comes across, he is very quick to find the bright side," he says. "Moira is a champion of this as well. Many of you know that Moira has some physical limitations. However, she remains a shining beam of positivity. I’m glad that Amsterdam has them to look up to and to learn from!"

As a dad, Mo likes to cement his new life with his little joys by going on family trips.

“My favorite thing to do with the kids is travel. It is a lot of fun to experience it with them!" He then turns sentimental, "From seeing them roll their own little luggage through the airport, to buckling them in the airplane, to seeing their own passports getting stamped, and of course, witnessing them absorb all the things that a new place brings. I love watching them take it all in."

[related: Lifestyle Buzz: Father’s Day Gift Ideas That'll Surprise Dad Amid Lockdown]

Aside from continuing his radio show and Good Times With Mo podcast, Mo is also currently working at an international airport in Las Vegas. He explains the latter as being stationed at the control center "wherein we oversee airport operations and handle aircraft/terminal emergencies."

He says of this newfound career, "It’s really fun, and sometimes, intense work. Our offices overlook the runway and I get to see airplanes take off and land constantly!" he gushes. "This is something that has been very close to my heart since I was a child. I also went to college for Aviation Science with hopes of may be being an air traffic controller one day. Radio/TV got in the way of those dreams, but this is the closest thing to that and I am absolutely loving every day of it! I know aviation may seem quite a bit away from what I’ve been doing career wise for the last 25 years, but I am just thrilled to finally get into an industry I’ve been so passionate about."

All said, Mo seems to now live the life—especially calling fatherhood as his main role in life.

“Being a parent, whether it be a father or mother, is about putting their life before yours, at all times. Perhaps not everyone would agree with that statement but I believe your life isn’t yours anymore the moment you become a parent," he shares. "That doesn’t have to be a bad thing. You just have to be cognizant of the fact that everything you do, no matter how small and mundane, you have to factor in how it will affect your child as well. I wish I was more aware of that 10 years ago. It is also why I’d advise people to have children when they’ve been able to check off a lot of things in life they plan to do that might be difficult once they have children. That could be solo travel, college/graduate degree, living abroad for a few years, etcetera."

Mo loves fatherhood so much he wants another child—"because I would so much want to experience it all one more time. I really can’t put into words how much I’ve enjoyed being a father. The happiness it returns back to me on a daily basis makes life so more fulfilling. I know raising children is difficult and the world can be cruel and scary, but selfishly, it has brought so much joy and meaning to my life that I want to hold on to that feeling as often as I can."

ALSO READ: In Focus: Are 'Flexible Workspaces' The New Normal Among Co-Working Spaces?

Photos courtesy of Mo Twister

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