Unlike the role he plays in the top-rating teleserye A Love to Last, Ian Veneracion has been married only once to his wife of 20 years, Pam Gallardo-Veneracion. But both the 42-year-old actor and his character, Anton Noble, are devoted fathers to three children.
Ian, in an interview with YES! Magazine, which has him on the cover of its August 2017 issue, stated that he’s better as a father than a husband.
“Father first, always,” he said, adding that he’s friends with his kids, Draco, 18; Deirdre, 16; and Duccio, 11. “Hindi ako strict, e,” he explained. “Kasi para kaming barkada, e. Kahit pagdating sa kalokohan, kahit sa green jokes, e!” Ergo, it’s Pam who disciplines them all.
Case in point: riding skateboard inside the house. “Nag-skateboard ako, bawal ’yon,” he pointed out. “Pagdating ng wife ko, kunwari tapos na ’kong mag-skateboard, ’yong si Duccio naman, nag-skateboard siya. Biglang papasok ’yong wife ko, sasabihin niya, ‘O, bakit nag-iiskateboard kayo sa loob ng bahay?’ Kasi ang tingin sa akin ni Duccio, parang ‘Ba’t ikaw, puwede?’ Ako naman, parang ‘’Wag mo na akong isumbong. Okay na ikaw na lang ang mapagalitan kesa tayong dalawa.’ ’Yong gano’n, hahaha!”
Once in a while, though, the fun-loving dad gets stern with the kids. “Sasabihin ni Pam na ‘O, baka pag ako ang nagsabi ng ganito, ako ang masama. Ikaw ang magsabi na bawal ang ganito.’ ‘O, sige, ako na lang ang magsasabi.’ ’Yong gano’n, tulungan kami.”
The actor -- who also paints, sings, plays the guitar and the piano, flies a plane, rides a motorbike, and engages in varied sports -- recalled where he got the inspiration for his kids’ names. Draco came from the 1996 movie, Dragonheart, in which a character named Draco was played by Sean Connery. “Draco is from a north polar constellation na shape ng dragon,” Ian said.
The name Deirdre also came from a movie, the 1998 action flick Ronin, starring Ian's favorite actor, Robert de Niro, and co-starring, among others, Natascha McElhone. Natascha played a character named Deirdre. “Pero she pronounced it as Deirdra,” Ian noted. He thought of changing the name’s pronunciation when his second child, the only girl, arrived. “You pronounce it as Di-dree. And we call her Dids,” he said.
Lastly, Duccio was named after the Renaissance painter Duccio di Buoninsegna. Ian remembered liking the sound of Duccio. “At saka nasimulan ko sa Draco na D, e. ’Tapos si Dids, D din. Siyempre ’yong bunso i-D ko na rin, para ’yong initials nila na DGV pare-pareho,” he explained.
Ian described Draco, a sophomore college student taking up psychology at the De La Salle University (DLSU), as the one who inherited his sense of humor. But he hastened to add that he and his kids all know how to have a good time. “Ang kukulit namin,” he said, grinning. “Hanggang sa bunso, actually. Laging may punch line, saka laging may naglalaro sa utak na, alam mo ’yon, laging nag-iisip ng kalokohan.”
Dids, a senior high school student also at DLSU, is not only a Daddy’s girl but also Daddy Ian’s mini-me. “She’s so much like me,” the celebrity father pointed out. “Sa ugali at sa mga hilig. She plays the piano and the guitar. So, pag may piano at guitar, kunwari pumunta siya sa piano, kunin ko ’yong guitar. Magja-jam kami. Pag nauna siya guitar, ako sa piano.”
Fifth-grader Duccio is the laidback one. “’Yong dalawa, hyper, e,” he observed. “Si Duccio, kahit no’ng baby siya, walang tantrums. Cool na cool na bata, relax lang. ’Yon ’yong ayaw ng traffic. Pag niyaya mo, kahit na sabihin mo, ‘Tara, bibilhan ka ng toy,’ ‘Sa’n?’ ‘Sa ganito.’ ‘Traffic ba do’n?’ Ganyan ’yon. Ayaw niya ng traffic, relax siya sa bahay.”
As shown in the photos Ian has posted on his Instagram account, all his three kids have taken after his passion for the outdoors and extreme sports. They are into motocross, snorkeling, fishing, sailing, wakeboarding, rock climbing, and paragliding. Ian would like them to keep in their memories those times they ventured into such activities.
“Sa tingin ko, it’s the greatest gift I can give to my children,” he declared.