There may have been ups and downs this year for actor-host Paolo Ballesteros, but he is certainly ending 2016 with a bang.
The actor has just won Best Actor in the 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) in his portrayal as a transgender woman in the comedy-drama and top-grossing film Die Beautiful. Paolo already won Best Actor for the said role in the 29th Tokyo International Film Festival last November.
As he makes waves here and in the international scene for his acting chops (he became a household name because of his comic relief as Lola Tidora in Eat Bulaga’s "Kalyeserye" and his makeup transformations -- see him here as Julia Roberts), there is one role, he says, he takes seriously: dad to 8-year-old daughter Keira Claire, his daughter with former girlfriend, Maria Katrina Nevada
The mom and daughter currently live in Chicago, Illinois, in the United States. So the father and daughter communicate constantly via video.
Asked what he is like as a parent, Paolo answered, “Strikto ako, eh. Makulit din ako, pero pagdating sa anak ko strikto ako.
“I have my mga pamangkin din sa bahay, anak ng kapatid ko. Mas lenient ako sa kanila kesa sa anak ko, kasi parang iniisip ko, wala namang pwedeng ibang dumisiplina sa anak ko kundi ako, di ba? So I think I have to do that part bilang isang parent kasi otherwise paano matututo?” he reasoned out.
While they live a thousand miles apart, Paolo’s bond with his daughter has remained strong, and Keira sees to it that her dad knows it. “Laging tumatawag sa ‘kin yon, nagvi-video call pag merong gustong gift, pag nagsa-shopping sila ng mommy niya.”
This may be a simple gesture from his daughter, but Paolo said Keira’s thoughtfulness is very touching. Trivia: the celebrate the same birthday, November 29.
Like any dad who lives apart from his kids, Paolo misses his daughter. “Syempre nami-miss ko ang kakulitan, lalo na 8 years old, napakakulit ng ganyan, but may mga pamangkin ako sa bahay, and I get to talk to her [Keira] din halos every day,” the actor continued.
Paolo wholeheartedly agreed with Keira’s mom that it was in their daughter's best interest that she get her education in the U.S., even if it meant that the actor would be far from his daughter.
“Kasi ngayon, sabi ng mommy niya, syempre gusto niyang alagaan hangga’t bata. Every parent would love that, especially mommy siya, so I have no questions about it. Lahat naman tayo gustong mag-aral sa ibang bansa, so okay lang. Sabi ko [sa anak ko], ‘Go! Pag di mo na kaya, then you’re always welcome here.”