People & Inspiration

In Focus: Chito Miranda Calls The Lockdown His Eye-Opener As A Dad

In Focus: Chito Miranda Calls The Lockdown His Eye-Opener As A Dad

Many on-the-go parents like Parokya Ni Edgar singer-songwriter Chito Miranda used to long for more family time. Sometimes, Chito would be at home for only four days in a month due to his busy gig schedule. Attributing one good thing the pandemic has caused recently, he later found family time suddenly more accessible while in quarantine.

For Chito, quarantine life has become an eye-opening experience as he discovered more about how his wife Neri manages the household. He has learned to appreciate the littlest things in everything, too, he said.

As a special Father's Day feature, Chito sits down with his wife as they (hilariously) talk about their newfound bonding time.

[related: In Focus: Philmar Alipayo—From Surfing Champ To Family Man]

How are you since the lockdown started?

Honestly, nag-e­-enjoy ako dito sa bahay. So, yun naman talaga yung—hindi naman dream, pero yun yung feeling ko kulang, not naman sa life, pero yun yung kulang sakin kasi I’m always out, I’m always on tour. So, what I feel I’m always missing out on (is) yung oras ko dito sa bahay. And itong quarantine na to, nagkaroon ako ng chance to spend more time here sa bahay for three months na.

Do you love being at home with me and our son?

Chito: I love being at home, period. Wala kayong kinalaman doon. Loko lang! Syempre, yung presence nyo makes it a home. Marami akong pwedeng pagtirahan na iba-ibang pamilya. Hindi, loko lang! What I’m trying to say is, family ko nasa Quezon City, I could stay there. I have a condo, I could stay there also. But this is where I want to be kasi nandito kayo and that makes it a home. Kaya enjoy ko yung home.

Neri: Totoo yan, yung palagi nyang sinasabi kapag nasa hotel sya, “It’s so empty here.”

Chito: Kahit saang bahay, kahit saan ako tumira.

What’s the division of tasks at home? Who does which?

Lahat kami team players dito. Okey yung mga staff namin dito. Pero si Neri talaga sya talaga ang—homemaker ba tawag doon? So, she handles everything! She makes sure na everything is maayos. Pareho kaming OC-OC sa ganyan. So, si Neri is always on her toes kasi ayoko ng makalat. So, she tries her best na ganun din. Sya talaga, sya talaga. Ang division, ako, support lang ako whenever she has work I try my best to take care of Miggy para hindi sya kulitin and makapag-focus sya sa work. Or, pag pagod sya, lalaruin ko si Miggy para makapagpahinga sya. Kasi aside from that, sya talaga naka tutok for that. So ako, ang role ko talaga dito is Miggy’s playmate! So, I try to make sure nakakapag-rest sya, I always ask her if she wants coffee, or tea or basta kung gusto nyang magpahinga. I try my best to take care of her.

[related: ABS-CBN Lifestyle Asks Nikko Natividad: How's Dad Life In Brunei Amid COVID-19?]

What are Miggy’s favorite cravings?

Hindi sya pihikan sa pagkain. So, kinakain nya lahat ng nakahanda. May mga favorite sya, syempre. May mga requests sya, mas lalo na for breakfast. Breakfast talaga yung gusto nya! Pero minsan, mag-re-request sya kasi mahlig sya sa Japanese ramen. Hindi instant ha, gusto nya talaga yung ginagawa ng Hapon sa harap nya na noodles!

What is Miggy’s least favorite food?

Sili! Ayaw nya ng maanghang. Pero food, wala, kinakain nya lahat. Honestly, kasi nung bata ako, sobrang pihikan ko sa food. So, ang hirap kong pakain, and I don’t want Miggy to experience that. Sa min naman kasi medyo spoiled na, “Ay ayokong kainin yan.” “Oh, sige anong gusto mo?” Luluto, i-se-serve. So, nasanay kami na kung ano yung hingin namin, yun yung ibibigay. And it was diffcult for me. Matanda na ko nung na-appreciate ko kumain ng gulay and lahat ng masasarap ng pagkain because nung bata ako, I always had something na gusto ko. Ngayon, I didn’t want Miggy to experience that. So, bata pa lang, we make sure na lahat ng klaseng pagkain ma-a-appreciate nya and hindi sya maarte. And ma-expose ko sya talaga sa lahat, and ayoko rin syang sakitin, pinapakain ko rin sya ng lahat ng klase kahit street food para hindi sya pihikan.

Neri: And kaya rin ine-expose ko si Miggy sa garden para mas ma-appreciate nya yung gulay. So, pag nag-ha-harvest kami, lulutuin ko, kakainin nya. So, parang…

Chito: Kaya mas gusto nyang kainin yung gulay because nakita nya saan... It’s interesting para kang nag-luto-lutuan tapos pwede mong kainin yung pinag-trip-an mo.

Neri: Tinuturuan namin sya ng sustainability.

Chito: Naisingit mo talaga yung garden mo!

What have you learned to cook so far? How did you do it?

Unang una, matagal na po akong nagluluto. First of all, my mom loves cooking and lagi akong nakadikit sa mom ko. So, sanay na sanay ako kung pano magluto. And I also lived on my own mula nung college for more than a decade. So, wala akong choice kundi matuto magluto. So, ang galing ko talagang magluto ng nilagang itlog—soft-boiled, hard-boiled, sunny side up. Magaling din akong magluto ng hotdog, sausage, instant ramen. Mga pang-dorm. Sausage specialty ko yan, kaya ko magluto ng sausage na hindi natatanggal yung balat. Promise. The techniques talaga, Ratatouille ang dating!

What’s the best way to entertain Miggy?

Chito: First of all, si Miggy napakasimpleng bata. He’s a three year old. Ang babaw ng kaligayahan nya. You just need time talaga na sakyan yung trip nya. As long as you spend time with him, kunwari gusto nyang laruin yung dinosaurs, laruin mo rin yung dinosaurs. Kailangan sabayan mo yung energy nya. It’s so simple to play with a kid. Kailangan mo rin—well, for me it works kasi because grabe din yung imagination ko. So, magkwe-kwentuhan lang kami.

Neri: Storytelling.

Chito: Storytelling, tapos gustong-gusto ko rin yung activities na may physical, hindi lang yung mental. So, pinagsasama-sama ko. Minsan mag-dyo-jogging kami, minsan mag-ba-bike kami. I always make sure meron syang physical activity aside from imagination and limited yung screen time. Pero I don’t deprive him of screen time kasi sa totoo kailangan din yun.

Neri: Malaking tulong din yun.

Chito: Malaking tulong din yun. Some parents don’t like it. Hindi daw pwede pero ako I think maganda na meron kasi ang dami...

Neri: Pero limited lang.

Chito: Limited lang. anything too much is bad. Yun lang, gusto ko well-rounded sya.

[related: Who's That Charmer?: Chito and Neri Miranda's Son Miggy Is Growing Up To Be Quite A Mr. Suave]

How does Miggy pull a tantrum?

Chito: Hindi sya nag ta-tantrum. We don’t give him a chance na mag-tantrum. Pero hindi din namin, we also validate his feelings. Pinaka-importante yan. Hindi mo pwede sabihin na, “Don’t do that.” Tapos tapos na. Pag gusto nya nang maging sad or gusto na nyang magalit, tatanungin muna namin, “Why are you mad? Why are you sad?” Tapos, “Do you want to act that way?” Sabihin nya, “No.” Or “If you’re still mad, doon ka muna sa ano, count to 10 or layo ka muna. Doon ka sa likod ng kurtina. If you feel better, come back.” Ganun. Wala syang chance mag-tantrum. So, minsan bago pa sya umiyak, ine-explain nya, “You know why I’m sad?” Because ganito, ganito. “Look, I’m crying na.” Tapos saka sya iiyak. Never sya nag-tantrum talaga, no? Kahit kunyari dadalhin mo sa toy store. Tapos sasabihin mo, “You can’t buy anything.”

Neri: Lalaruin lang nya!

Chito: Lalaruin lang nya, okay lang sya. No tantrum! Napakaswerte namin. We’re not judging the parents na may kids nag-tu-throw ng tantrum kasi each kid is different, no? Swerte lang namin na si Miggy, na-ko-comprehend naman nya kung pano i-explain na… Kasi he’s a kid. Minsan magagalit yan or mapipikon, naglalaro, mapipikon. Tas magagalit na ganyan. Pero sasabihin mo, “Oh you’re mad. Why are you mad? Tell me so we’d understand.” Oh, hindi sinasadya, “Are you okay?” Ganun lang. That’s how we handle the tantrum. We validate his feelings, tapos we say, “Oh, take time out until you’re better and then talk to me.”

How do I look like when I’m on a tantrum?

Chito: Pag mainit ulo mo, talagang iwas na lang.

Neri: Bakit mainit ulo ko, bakit?

Chito: Kasi istrikto ka talaga! Hindi lang namin, istrikto sya pati sa sarili nya to be fair. Hindi lang sa tao sa paligid nya.

Neri: Istrikto ako sa lahat!

Chito: And sometimes, when she’s having a bad day. Kailangan mo rin i-validate, “Oh, bakit mainit ulo nya?” Dati sinasabayan ko pa yan, “Bakit ka nag-iinit ng ulo?” Tapos mag-ka-clash kayo. Na-realize ko it’s much simpler na, “Oh, mainit ulo nya, give her space.” Iwas ka na lang muna. It took time for me to learn that kasi ganun din reaction ko. Confrontational talaga ako, eh. Pero ngayon na-realize ko na kay Neri talaga, kunyari mainit ulo tapos nasungitan ka, imbis na sabayan mo, iwas ka na lang. Tapos magpakabait ka lalo, tipong, “Ah, okay ka na ba? Gusto mo coffee.” Kasi pag na-guilty na sya, “Ang bait bait naman neto.” Ganun lang.

Do you ever get tantrums?

Chito: No. But just like Neri, I have my bad days. May mga days talaga na, and that is something na na-gets na namin. Kasi parehas na malakas yung personalities namin, eh. I’m the boss of my world, and she’s the boss of hers. And dyan kami nag-ka-clash kasi parehong malakas. Pero na-gets ko na yung ano, pag may tantrum din ako tapos pag may tantrums si Neri, iwas ako. Respect her tantrum, wag mo nang sabayan. Ngayon kung may tantrum ako, tapos nandyan si Neri, wag ka nang mag-tantrum andyan si Neri, eh.

Neri: Grabe!

Chito: Init ng ulo mo,Uy si Neri!” “Init ulo mo?” “Hindi po! Saya ko oh.” Nag-ta-tantrum ba ko?

Neri: Ngayong quarantine, wala hindi kami—konting sungit, pero hindi ka naman kasi stressed.

Chito: Ngayon syempre stressful because wala yung—sarado lahat ng restaurants ko. The income is more difficult now. Pero I don’t let it bother me as much kasi mas stressed ako (nung) may tugtog kasi I need to be well-rested, I need to be kailangan kumpleto tulog. Unlike now, kung magpuyat ako, at magising ako ng maaga kasi si Miggy gusto mag laro, I don’t let it bother me kasi wala naman akong kailangan pagtipiran ng boses.

[related: In Focus: Mickey Perz On Raising A Kid With Fellow PBB Alum Gee-Ann Abrahan]

What topics in school is Miggy learning?

Chito: Reading, yan ang mga subjects nya. Reading, counting, patterns, not naman patterns, shapes, ganyan, the basics. Pre-school. Katuwa naman!

Neri: Reading, literature, shapes, colors. Naka-perfect naman sya. Hindi at saka nag-e-enjoy sya. Yun ang maganda.

What’s the most challenging part of homeschooling?

Chito: Hindi pa natin na-experience na hindi online, eh. Pero ang nakita ko lang, the difference of having someone, a baby na nag-o-online, as compared to physically to be in school is, mas meron kang me-time.

Neri: Totoo.

Chito: Pag nasa school yung anak mo. Kasi pag online, you still have to be there, mas lalo nang online kailangan mo, you have to be there physically to make sure that what is happening, “Okay ba yung computer? Kailangan ba nya mag wiwi?” Kasi minsan napipigilan nya because may inaaral sya eh, diba? So, it’s demanding pag online, for us also. Unlike pag nasa school.

Neri: Teacher na bahala.

Chito: Teacher na bahala, diba?

Neri: Pero maganda ang napansin ko with homeschooling din, mas tutok ka. Makikita mo, “Ah, ito pinag aaralan nila.” So, parang ikaw din nag-aaral kayo together with your child. So, pagkatapos nun, titignan ko yung next, nag-a-advance reading kasi kami ni Miggy para at least kinabukasan, madali na lang nyang intindihin o mas mabilis nyang sagutan yung mga tuturo ng teacher nya.

Chito: Totoo rin. Kung baga na-wi-witness mo first-hand yung hindi mo nakikita sa school. Kasi pag nasa school, feedback lang ng teacher eh, diba? So, nakikita mo first-hand, mas tutok ka sa nangyayari. What I’m missing out naman, ang nakikita ko for parents, mas may me-time pag nasa school and mas may interaction pag nasa school sya. Nandun physically yung teacher mo, andun yung kaklase nya.

[related: In Focus: Philmar Alipayo—From Surfing Champ To Family Man]

What do you do when Miggy asks for more playtime?

Chito: We let him as much as gusto nya mag-play.

Neri: Kasi he’s only three.

Chito: Gusto ko mag-play sya kesa mag-gadget sya. Pero as I said, hindi ko sya di-ne-deprive ng—kasi pagbawalan mo mas nagke-crave sya for that. “Sige, laro ka lang. Pero oh that’s too much na. In five minutes, tigil mo na yan. After that you play naman.Kids play, so, hayaan mo lang sya maglaro.

What household chore do you like doing the most?

Chito: Sanay ako sa household chores. As I have earlier mentioned, sanay ako, tumira ako sa—wala kaming, wala akong kasama nun. Well, I had a housemate pero sarili syang maglinis ng banyo nya. I had my own CR, I had my own mga pagkain. So, I needed to cook and clean after myself, fix the bed, I needed to collect my dirty clothes and bring it home para malabhan.

Neri: Saan sa bahay? Iuuwi mo sa nanay mo!

Chito: Oo tapos kukuha ako ng fresh batch! Pero aside from that, ako lahat talaga. So, marunong ako mag chores. Pero dito kasi, the thing is—hindi ako pala utos—pero pagbaba ko, ayos na lahat eh. Inayos na ni Neri lahat. Meaning, nakahanda na yung food. Pero kunwari bumaba ako tapos hindi pa handa, kaya ko. Nag-se-set ako ng table.

Neri: Marunong naman sya maghain mag-isa. Hindi naman sya mag-uutos.

Chito: Pero, I don’t shy away from chores. Kung kailangan kong maghugas, naghuhugas ako. Kung kailangan kong maglinis, naglilinis ako. It’s just that malinis na eh.

What have you discovered about yourself during the quarantine?

In touch naman ako sa pagkatao ko ever since. Wala akong self-discovery na nabago pero I have a deeper appreciation of things. Mas na-appreciate ko ngayon yung things na I don’t appreciate as much tulad dati. Napaka-appreciative ko kasi even before mag-quarantine, na-appreciate ko mag road trip, at yung byahe ko pauwi na-enjoy ko mag-stopover sa mga gas station at kumain—lahat yan na-appreciate ko. Pero ngayon, meron akong deeper appreciation talaga of what you took for granted before this. 

What have you discovered about me during the quarantine?

Chito: Wala akong bagong discovery about Neri, but na-realize ko. Again, as I have said, I have a deeper appreciation of things na nakita ko how difficult it is to run a household. Kasi kumbaga, when I’m at work before this quarantine, kung baga nakita ko yung end product na eh. Kung baga nakita ko yung pelikula naka edit na. Maayos na.

Neri: Behind-the-scenes!

Chito: Hindi ko na nakikita yung behind-the-scenes na sobrang hirap pala. Aside from running a household or maintaining a household, you also have to take care of a toddler. That is sobrang draining pala talaga sya. Not in a negative way na ayaw mo na pero really tiring. So, now nakita ko yun. Mas na-appreciate kita, syempre. And as for me, para makabawi, ganun pala yun, mas t-try ko maging mas mabuti, mas sensitive, mas maingat magsalita, mas less demanding, mas matulungin kung maaari.

[related: In Focus: Eric 'Eruption' Tai Now A 'Blessed' Dad Of One After 'Delicate' IVF Procedure]

When this is all over, where will we go on vacation?

Chito: First of all, we’re going to Quezon City to visit my family. And after two hours siguro doon. Hindi, after spending time with them, gusto kong mag-Subic muna. Road trip talaga!

Neri: Yung hometown ko noon, Subic, doon ako pinanganak. Tas akyat kami ng—?

Chito: Baguio! Mga favorite places ko, kung saan sya nag-stay at tumira.

Do you think you’ve been a good dad since the quarantine started?

Chito: Of course, as I said even before the quarantine, I consider myself a good dad.

Neri: Totoo din naman yun!

Chito: I’m really proud of that. Hindi ko tinataas yung sarili kong bangko—tama ba yun? Pero alam ko yung kailangan kong gawin as a dad. I make sure that everything is provided for and when I work, lahat ng income ko is for my family. Yun talaga ang priority ko, my priority is my family. And Miggy is provided for, pati yung future nya inaayos ko, inaasikaso ko. And I take time out talaga to make Miggy feel na mahal ko sya. Not just to provide and give toys. No. Gusto ko talaga may time.

Neri: Time. Bonding, connection.

Chito: I think yung pagkukulang ko, mas nakabawi ako during the quarantine because as I said yun yung feeling ko I’m missing out on yung being, spending more time with Miggy kasi I’m always out. Sometimes for a month, I’ll be home for four days lang. So, now nabigyan ako ng chance turuan si Miggy mag swimming, turuan syang mag-bike, mag-kite din.

Do you think I’ve been a good mom since the quarantine started?

Chito: Look, good mom ka talaga kahit walang quarantine. Pero nakita ko lang kung gaano kagaling nung nag quarantine. Because now, for three months na-witness ko first-hand, kumbaga sa pelikula, nakita ko yung behind-the-scenes. So, wala naman akong doubt before, pero mas na-validate lang at mas na-appreciate ko lang. Alam ko naman ever since na good mom ka, eh! Pero ngayon nakikita ko talaga na, kasi we have different ways eh. Mas strict ka sakin na parent, eh. So kunwari kay Miggy, minsan sasabihin ko, “Wag ganyan. Wag ganyan ka strict, dapat relax lang.” Pero nakita ko na maganda din effect kay Miggy. “Want me to call Mommy?”

Neri: Ako yung panakot! Ha ha!

Chito: Pag may ginawang kalokohan, “Want me to call Mommy?” “No.” “Oh umayos ka.Ayos sya!

Do you still love me after everything?

Chito: Corny nyan, ah. Wag na yan sagutin. Hindi ako expressive sa mga ganyan. Ano ba yan! Wag na natin sagutin yan.

Neri: Pero gano mo ko ka-love?

Chito: Okay lang. Sakto lang. Just right, kung ano lang yung nararapat. Syempre! Obvious naman, wag na lang pag-usapan. Corny yan. Di bagay sakin yung mga ganyan. 

Neri: Yung mga ganyan. So yung mga post mo, hindi?

Chito: Ni-repost ko lang yung mga sinusulat mo!

ALSO READ: Kitchen Whiz: Stars Share Their Fave Seafood Recipes!

Photos from @chitomirandajr and @mrsnerimiranda

Banner image by Kang Garcia

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