Unlike most dads, Eric “Eruption” Tai’s journey toward fatherhood was not what was accustomed. Difficult, if you may, as he and his wife Rona Samson underwent a costly and emotionally exhausting procedure called In vitro fertilization (IVF). Yet, as he tells ABS-CBN Lifestyle, the fruit turned out to be all worth it—Baby Legend.
These days, Eric is pursuing a career that allows him more quality time with his son everyday—professional gaming. Eric was already in acting, commercial modeling, and hosting in Australia before becoming a missionary of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints here in the Philippines. He eventually dabbled in modeling here before rising to become It's Showtime's then-resident big bear of a host “Eruption.”
“I’m roughly the same guy I was before, just more driven!" he enthuses. "Legend motivates me to work harder to achieve my goals, but moreover our family goals. Thanks to Legend, he inspired me to push through with streaming kasi I can do it from home lang at di kailangan lumbas para magtrabaho. This allows me to work my own hours and spend more quality time with my family. So, this was indeed a huge blessing in disguise even until now. I’ve been streaming ever since he was born. Such a huge blessing, thanks son!”
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Eric admits he may have had more challenging moments before Legend arrived. But, he breathes out, no regrets.
“That was really a tough and hard lesson to learn, pero in the end talaga, blessed pa din kami because we have this little ray of light and bundle of happiness. I felt ready to become a father but no one really knows how it feels to be a father till it actually happens that the baby is in your arms."
He then recalls, "It’s a memory I’ll never forget. Having said that, it wasn’t just fun and memorable moments. We were in the hospital for two weeks in total—one week for Rona’s hypertension prior to giving birth, and one week for Legend being in the Neonatal intensive care unit. Oh my, the tests and trials we had to go through that month! But I’ll tell you this, we never lost faith in the Lord and actually, our testimonies were strengthened. He never left us. To God be the Glory!”
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Eric finds it amusing how he didn't use to have real plans to become a dad.
“They never thought I’d ever settle down or let alone be a father. I actually never thought of it myself, either!" he laughs. "I was too picky, I guess, to be able to settle down. But thank heavens I did and made the right choices to lead me to being a husband and now a father! Some of the best times thus far in my lifetime!"
It all seemed that Eric's own father was part of his new fate.
"The gaming side of me—I will forever be thankful to my dad who bought me my first Nintendo when I was five years old. With that came wonderful lessons," he shares. "'Pwede ka maglaro after your homework, chores, and your sports!' (my dad would say). And I’ve been at it ever since. The importance of being masipag—di lang sa gaming pati sa work, studies, and sports. And I must add to this—church! These things have always been a huge part of my life and forever will be."
With his son now more than a year old, Eric admits he has also done some growing up along the way.
"Fatherhood has changed me in such a way that I’m more considerate and cautious with everything I do and say. It teaches us more patience and sacrifice. An amazing daddy journey thus far, I must say it has been," he says.
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As a dad, does Eric also keep the gentle giant image at home?
"i am definitely the good cop in the 'kumander and I' relationship," he answers with a laugh. "But I think it’ll be different when it comes to raising a child. I would probably play both roles. So, (I think I would be) more of the middle cop!"
He explains, "Growing up my dad was really strict, as in. But then again I might be the same, just a little less aggressive."
Being a dad, though, has never affected Eric's commitment to fitness. He still tries to maintain his signature-brawny physique, working out five times a week.
“Me and my wife never liked to go out. We’re the boring—but very fun—typical type of couple. Eat then Netflix and workout!" he shares. "But when Legend was born, I didn’t gym at all for the first two months because all I wanted to do is be home and with him. Premature kasi. It was still a delicate stage for him and Rona. So, I had been and will always be there for them no matter what the circumstances are."
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Despite a pandemic, Eric is seeing things with a silver lining—and all this is thanks to his son.
“I love waking up next to my son everyday. It’s a breath of fresh air and a beam of inspiration before I get up and seize the day. Legend brings so much hope and love to our home. I love playing Superman with him, tossing the balls around, playing catch or hide-and-go-seek, and even reading with him. He loves books now!" he gushes.
"Legend’s smile and laughs are amazing. He’s maturing quickly. He’s got the height of a two to three year old daw! Big boy na, so we’re wishing for a slower process before he starts bouncing off the walls with total kulitness," he adds excitedly. "He’s very active and already loves running around!"
While the prior IVF proved their difficulty to have a child, Eric is praying he and Rona can bear another child in the future—even if it means undergoing another IVF procedure. He's just that in love with being a dad, he says.
"We definitely want another kid, but this time it’ll depend on Mommy. If we can get another IVF procedure done, we may have a chance. I want a girl now."
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Photos courtesy of Eric Tai