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

It is during this time that this dad discovered the simplest joys in life and had a deeper appreciation of things

NOTE: This article/interview originally appeared on ABS-CBN Lifestyle Hub as a Father's Day 2020 feature. Chito Miranda and Neri Naig-Miranda, who are parents to four-year-old Miggy, recently shared that they're expecting their second child together and revealed that they're going to be welcoming a baby boy soon.  


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.



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Neri: How are you since the lockdown started?

Chito: Honestly, nag-e­-enjoy ako dito sa bahay. So, 'yun naman talaga 'yunghindi naman dream, pero 'yun 'yung feeling ko kulang, not naman sa life, pero 'yun y'ung kulang sa'kin 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.


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

Chito: I love being at home, period. Wala kayong kinalaman doon. Loko lang! S'yempre, 'yung presence niyo makes it a home. Marami akong p'wedeng 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 siya, “It’s so empty here.”

Chito: Kahit saang bahay, kahit saan ako tumira.


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

Chito: Lahat kami team players dito. Okay 'yung mga staff namin dito. Pero si Neri talaga siya 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 ganu'n din. Siya talaga, siya talaga. Ang division, ako, support lang ako whenever she has work I try my best to take care of Miggy para hindi siya kulitin and makapag-focus siya sa work. Or, 'pag pagod siya, lalaruin ko si Miggy para makapagpahinga siya. Kasi aside from that, siya talaga nakatutok for that. So ako, ang role ko talaga dito is Miggy’s playmate! So, I try to make sure nakakapag-rest siya, I always ask her if she wants coffee, or tea or basta kung gusto niyang magpahinga. I try my best to take care of her.




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Neri: What are Miggy’s favorite cravings?

Chito: Hindi siya pihikan sa pagkain. So, kinakain niya lahat ng nakahanda. May mga favorite siya, s'yempreMay mga requests siya, mas lalo na for breakfast. Breakfast talaga 'yung gusto niya! Pero minsan, mag-re-request siya kasi mahilig sya sa Japanese ramen. Hindi instant ha, gusto niya talaga 'yung ginagawa ng Hapon sa harap niya na noodles!


Neri: What is Miggy’s least favorite food?

Chito: Sili! Ayaw niya ng maanghang. Pero food, wala, kinakain niya lahat. Honestly, kasi nu'ng bata ako, sobrang pihikan ko sa food. So, ang hirap kong pakain, and I don’t want Miggy to experience that. Sa amin naman kasi medyo spoiled na, “Ay ayokong kainin 'yan.” “Oh, sige ano'ng 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 nu'ng na-appreciate ko kumain ng gulay and lahat ng masasarap na pagkain because nu'ng 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 niya and hindi siya maarte. And ma-expose ko siya talaga sa lahat, and ayoko rin syang sakitin, pinapakain ko rin siya ng lahat ng klase kahit street food para hindi siya pihikan.




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

Chito: Kaya mas gusto niyang kainin 'yung gulay beicause nakita niya saan... It’s interesting para kang nag-luto-lutuan tapos p'wede mong kainin 'yung pinag-trip-an mo.


Neri: Tinuturuan namin siya ng sustainability.

Chito: Naisingit mo talaga 'yung garden mo!


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

Chito: 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 nu'ng 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!


Neri: 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 niya. You just need time talaga na sakyan 'yung trip niya. As long as you spend time with him, kunwari gusto niyang laruin 'yung dinosaurs, laruin mo rin 'yung dinosaurs. Kailangan sabayan mo 'yung energy niya. 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.




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Neri: Storytelling.

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


Neri: Malaking tulong din 'yun.

Chito: Malaking tulong din 'yun. Some parents don’t like it. Hindi raw p'wede 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 siya.


Neri: How does Miggy pull a tantrum?

Chito: Hindi siya nag-ta-tantrum. We don’t give him a chance na mag-tantrum. Pero hindi rin namin, we also validate his feelings. Pinaka-importante 'yan. Hindi mo p'wede sabihin na, “Don’t do that.” Tapos tapos na. 'Pag gusto n'ya nang maging sad or gusto na niyang magalit, tatanungin muna namin, “Why are you mad? Why are you sad?” Tapos, “Do you want to act that way?” Sabihin niya, “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.” Ganu'n. Wala siyang chance mag-tantrum. So, minsan bago pa siya umiyak, ine-explain niya, “You know why I’m sad?” Because ganito, ganito. “Look, I’m crying na.” Tapos saka siya iiyak. Never siya nag-tantrum talaga, noKahit kunyari dadalhin mo sa toy store. Tapos sasabihin mo, “You can’t buy anything.”




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Neri: Lalaruin lang niya!

Chito: Lalaruin lang niya, okay lang siya. 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 niya kung pano i-explain naKasi 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?” Ganu'n 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.”


Neri: 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 sa'min, istrikto siya pati sa sarili niya 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 niya?” 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 niya, give her space.” Iwas ka na lang muna. It took time for me to learn that kasi ganu'n 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 siya, “Ang bait-bait naman nito.” Ganu'n lang.


Neri: 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 d'yan 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 nand'yan si Neri, 'wag ka nang mag-tantrum and'yan si Neri, eh.




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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 kamikonting sungit, pero hindi ka naman kasi stressed.

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


Neri: What topics in school is Miggy learning?

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


Neri: Reading, literature, shapes, colors. Naka-perfect naman siya. Hindi at saka nag-e-enjoy siya. 'Yun ang maganda. What’s the most challenging part of homeschooling?

Chito: Hindi pa natin na-experience na hindi online, ehPero ang nakita ko lang, the difference of having someone, a baby na nag-o-online, as compared to physically 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 ang online kailangan mo, you have to be there physically to make sure that what is happening, “Okay ba 'yung computer? Kailangan ba niya mag-wiwi?” Kasi minsan napipigilan niya because may inaaral siya 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 nu'n, titignan ko 'yung next, nag-a-advance reading kasi kami ni Miggy para at least kinabukasan, madali na lang niyang intindihin o mas mabilis niyang sagutan 'yung mga tuturo ng teacher niya.

Chito: Totoo rin. Kumbaga 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 namanang nakikita ko for parents, mas may me-time 'pag nasa school and mas may interaction 'pag nasa school siya. Nandu'n physically 'yung teacher mo, andu'n 'yung kaklase niya.




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Neri: What do you do when Miggy asks for more playtime?

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


Neri: Kasi he’s only three.

Chito: Gusto ko mag-play siya kesa mag-gadget siya. Pero as I said, hindi ko siya dine-deprive ngkasi pagbawalan mo mas nagke-crave siya 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 siya maglaro.


Neri: What household chore do you like doing the most?

Chito: Sanay ako sa household chores. As I have earlier mentioned, sanay ako, tumira ako sawala kaming, wala akong kasama nu'n. Well, I had a housemate pero sarili siyang maglinis ng banyo niya. 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! Ha ha!

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-utospero 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.




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Neri: Marunong naman siya maghain mag-isa. Hindi naman siya 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.


Neri: What have you discovered about yourself during the quarantine?

Chito: 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 kumainlahat 'yan na-appreciate ko. Pero ngayon, meron akong deeper appreciation talaga of what you took for granted before this. 


Neri: 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, kumbaga nakita ko 'yung end product na eh. Kumbaga 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 siya. Not in a negative way na ayaw mo na pero really tiring. So, now nakita ko 'yun. Mas na-appreciate kita, s'yempre. And as for me, para makabawi, ganu'n pala 'yun, mas ita-try ko maging mas mabuti, mas sensitive, mas maingat magsalita, mas less demanding, mas matulungin kung maaari.




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Neri: 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. Tapos akyat kami ng—?

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


Neri: 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 bangkotama 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 niya inaayos ko, inaasikaso ko. And I take time out talaga to make Miggy feel na mahal ko siya. 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 siyang mag-bike, mag-kite rin.


Neri: 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 nu'ng 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 ehMas strict ka sa'kin na parent, eh. So kunwari kay Miggy, minsan sasabihin ko, “'Wag ganyan. 'Wag ganyan ka-strict, dapat relax lang.” Pero nakita ko na maganda rin 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 siya!


Neri: Do you still love me after everything?

Chito: Corny n'yan, 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. S'yempre! Obvious naman, 'wag na lang pag-usapan. Corny 'yan. 'Di bagay sa'kin 'yung mga ganyan. 'Yung mga ganyan.


Neri: So 'yung mga post mo, hindi?

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




Photos from @chitomirandajr @mrsnerimiranda