For the past three years since his eldest child Leila Alcasid migrated to the Philippines, Ogie Alcasid feels like it’s only now that he’s getting to know her deeper. The stay-at-home phase surprisingly unearthed things they haven’t known about each other. Leila spent her childhood with her mom in Australia. Ogie would only visit several times in a year to catch up with them. And now that Leila is under his care, Ogie gets a full view of how much she’s grown.

When it comes to raising a beautiful millennial daughter, Ogie said that he isn’t on the strict side. He lets Leila do her thing. She’s working and will soon start studying again. She now has a boyfriend and her dad seems just fine with her relationship status. Besides, Ogie could see how responsible she is.

On his ‘bunso,’ Nate, the doting dad is worried about the effects of the “new normal.” He’s scared of how being stuck at home might affect the child’s maturity. Thus, seeing Nate sustain friendships with other kids and cousins, even just through virtual means, somehow gives him comfort.

The Alcasid family learned to focus on positivity amidst the crisis we’re facing. For one, the luxury of time was converted into family bonding. They would rise early, so Ogie can take the dogs for a walk and wife Regine Velasquez-Alcasid can prepare their meals just in time when Leila and Nate wake up at around 10 AM. The afternoons are quite spent in idle until dinner time comes again.

Ogie would acknowledge that there are stressful parts, of course. But, thankfully, he has his wife to lean on. They love each other’s company, just as how Regine put it during her guesting on I Feel U. Ogie added that Regine makes life a lot better, and easier, especially since he’s been taking on the father role for 23 years already. And sometimes, that’s too much of a load to bear.

When the lights and microphone turn off, Ogie is no longer the OPM icon the public adores. He unmasks himself from that persona for a while and takes on the role he does best – being a dad at home. “As a parent, a lot of people try to identify us celebrities. These are people who go out on TV or online and sing and act. But if you unpack us, we’re just really parents and husbands and wives. And it has been the most rewarding thing to be a father.”

Ogie mentioned that arguments are a normal part of any parent-child relationship, especially in his case with Leila who he only got to be with for the past three years. However, the fights are just the result of trying to recognize their individualities. It’s a never-ending journey.

In return, Leila is proud of her father. She remains in awe of his works as a singer, hearing others call him as an icon, seeing him perform, and listening to his songs. She agrees to how Ogie described their relationship. According to Leila, they have gone through a lot of phases and growing. But in the end, they somehow managed to have a mutual understanding. They respect each other’s boundaries yet Ogie would know when to step in.

Leila understands that maintaining a relationship doesn’t require parental effort alone. There’s also a time when kids must be there for their parents and do their parts as in reality, even the parents also go through hardships.

“We’ve reached this point where we treat each other equally. He’s my dad but I also need to be his support system as well. We kind of got to this point where we just know how to listen to each other and determine who needs the support at what time. We found a really good balance,” she expressed.

When asked about his favorite memory of Leila as a child, Ogie said they used to bathe together. He likes reading them stories as well. At one phase in Leila’s childhood, she thought his dad is quite rough on her, as though she’s his male buddy. They would play karate and hide-and-seek then. And she loved to ask for a massage.

Leila likewise shared the fond moments when Ogie would visit and stay for a few days in Australia. “The night before he had to go back to the Philippines, I would cry and I would ask him to sleep with me in the bed. Then, he would stay with me until he had to leave early in the morning.” Thus, she’s grateful for the chance to be with his dad 24/7 during this quarantine.

They say that daughters can soften their fathers’ heart and Ogie couldn’t agree more. He is proud of Leila considering how much she’s grown despite the emotional challenges she’s gone through at a young age due to her parents’ separation. “Noong naghihiwalay kami, siya ‘yung affected talaga. She was five years old. The journey hasn’t been easy for her but she turned out to be really, really good.”

In return, Leila admires her father’s generosity. She is a witness to his selflessness, to how he puts others first despite going through his personal hardships as well.

To end the interview, the tandem was given the chance to ask each other a question. Ogie would like to know if he is a good father. Coming straight from Leila, of course, he is. “I think one thing that we, kids, have to understand is that every parent is different. Every parent has their own struggles and strengths,” said Leila.

She used to compare Ogie to her mom, Michelle. But as she grows more mature, she realized that they are two different people. “I’d like to appreciate you for all the things you give me, all the wisdom you give me. He makes so much effort my whole life to be there for every single event, my graduation, all my birthdays, everything,” she assured her dad.

More than that, she’s extremely grateful for being with him at the moment. “Even if there are things I am going through that you don’t understand, you still try your best to support me and be there for me. And I know that I am not alone,” she further expressed. “You may think that you’re not doing enough. You may think that it’s not sufficient, but you do a lot more than you know for me and you affect me more than a lot you know.”

When it was her turn, Leila also asked if she is a good daughter. For Ogie, she is more than that. “Mahirap ‘yung pinagdaanan ng panganay ko. So, she could have become, I don’t know, a total rebel. Pwede siyang maging galit na galit lang sa’kin, ‘di ba? She could’ve done that. But I believe there is this real goodness in your heart, which is a forgiving heart. You’re very good, sweetheart and you are a good person” he told her.

Amid the lockdown, Ogie was able to finish a new song titled “Beautiful.” It was a collaboration with ASAP Natin ‘To co-star Moira dela Torre. It’s been an easy task, as though he felt a special anointing in writing the piece. The recording was done virtually with a skeletal force. “The song is about the beautiful things that Jesus Christ is doing behind the scene. Medyo ironic siya kasi ang daming hindi beautiful na nangyayari, hindi lang sa surroundings pati na rin sa atin. But if we take on the lens of Jesus, then we will see that he is doing something beautiful,” he explained.