I Feel U: The inspiring father-daughter relationship of Ogie and Leila Alcasid, Dingdong and Jayda Avanzado

In this episode of I Feel U, host Toni Gonzaga opened the show with a confession about being a certified daddy’s girl. She then introduced father-daughter tandem Blas and Jerilyn Ingco from Cavite.

Daddy Blas used to work as a tricycle driver. Unfortunately, the pandemic halted his source of income, considering that he is part of the so-called “vulnerable” bracket as a senior citizen. Making something beautiful out of the negativities, they thought of putting up their online food business using Blas’ kitchen genius.

The father-daughter duo came up with “Luto Ni Tatay.” They offer Daddy Blas’ home-cooked meals like laing, bulalo (his specialty), sinigang na bangus sa bayabas, chicken and pork sisig, and sinigang na salmon belly.

Daddy Blas’ kitchen expertise was a product of years of experience in the province. Since her friends and their relatives couldn’t get enough of her father’s cooking, Jerilyn thought of turning it into a business. 

Apart from having it as a source of income, the business likewise became Daddy Blas’ source of hope “During the pandemic, nakikita ko ‘yung lungkot ni Tatay kasi bilang head of the family, nandoon ‘yung anxiety, ‘yung lungkot kung paano makakapag-provide at makakatulong,” shared Jerilyn.

There were also changes in Jerilyn’s workplace. Instead of letting the negativities knock them down, they managed to get back up and even make something beautiful out of the challenges.


Ogie Alcasid and daughter Leila Alcasid

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.


Dingdong Avanzado and daughter Jayda

A lot of things are happening at the moment, mostly quite scary, but the Avanzado family finds comfort in knowing that they have each other. The patriarch, Dingdong Avanzado, said that they take advantage of the time to strengthen their bond.

For Dingdong, raising a teenage daughter is both challenging and fun. At 17, Jayda Avanzado is already a mature conversationalist, thus Dingdong learns a lot from her. Of course, he imparts the wisdom he gained through the years both from the industry (since she has already entered showbiz) and about life in general. “Sa age gap namin, marami akong mashe-share sa kanya. I think it’s important that I am able to teach her, at the same time, I get to learn more about her and her generation. I think that’s the fun part of it – ‘yung discovery.”

Dingdong is always amused by his discoveries about Jayda. Yet, he makes sure to balance what she knows with parental guidance, so she can make better judgment.

Speaking of the lessons he learned from his daughter, Dingdong revealed that Jayda taught him how to make TikTok videos during the quarantine. Their dance video has now reached 15 million views. “It’s a different world. If there’s something I learned from her, it’s being able to relate with her generation.”

Dingdong and wife Jessa Zaragoza have a balanced parenting style. They have different priorities when it comes to raising Jayda. For instance, she’s focused on physical grooming like taking care of the skin (especially since Jayda has sensitive skin). On the other hand, Dingdong is strict about building the young Avanzado’s character.

The doting father admits that he’s concerned about Jayda’s social circle. He doesn’t worry a lot, though, knowing that Jayda is a responsible young lady who knows her priorities. He’s glad to see how passionate she is about her music. There’s one thing that triggers his tough side, though – when he hears Jayda talking about boys. Dingdong smiles and said that he knows crushes are a typical part of the teenage years.

The Original Prince of OPM Pop is proud to see his daughter conquer the music scene. Her latest lockdown feat of releasing the single “Sana Tayo Na” with Darren Espanto was a significant event for the family. It was a big achievement, a family effort, a full circle of a dream coming true. More importantly, it was a touching moment for Dingdong who wrote the song two decades ago.

“When I heard it, when she re-recorded it, siya at si Darren, it was such an unforgettable moment kasi parang who would think I wrote this song a long time ago and then, and makakapagbigay-buhay nito was my daughter and si Darren nga. They made it so beautiful and so real. I’ll never forget that moment na I heard it noong gawa na siya.”

When Jayda was called in to join the interview, Dingdong can be seen smiling throughout as she talked about her friends and the dreaded topic about boys. As Jayda shared, virtual bonding with friends keeps her sane during these anxiety-inducing days. She mentioned Francine Diaz, Kyle Echarri, and AC Bonifacio. Of course, she had to communicate often with Darren Espanto, who is currently in Canada, for their music collaboration.

There are a lot of adjectives to describe Dingdong as a dad but Jayda would like to begin with “loving.” She added that he’s very expressive towards his family. He is also her mentor. Asked about the best life advice she got from pops, Jayda said, “Always have a teachable spirit. I feel like that would get you really far in life. I think the moment you stop growing is the moment you start saying na, ‘Ito na, tama na wala na akong pwedeng ibang matutunan.’ Dapat laging open ka na matuto ng iba’t ibang bagay.”

Besides doing TikTok videos, Dingdong and Jayda love to bond over food and fruitful discussions. Jayda expressed how grateful she is for her dad’s loving ways. “Just the fact na nadito siya and he chose to be here, all the decisions in the past that led up him being allowed to be with us. I’m really thankful for that kasi alam mo, especially at a time like this, being with your family is such a big blessing.”

Dingdong finally answered the question dreaded by most fathers. Is Jayda allowed to entertain suitors? Dingdong knows that his daughter is at the age where romantic feelings are starting to blossom. He also experienced that stage. Thus, he doesn’t see anything wrong with courtships as long as several conditions are met.

“I think Jayda is at the age na she can accept suitors but I always remind her, know your priorities and get to know the guy before you become serious. To answer your question, okay lang ba may manligaw? There’s nothing wrong with that as long as you know how to respect the boundaries, respect my daughter, respect us, I’m fine with it.”

To end the interview, Dingdong and Jayda were given the chance to ask each other a question. The younger Avanzado would like to know the secret to making a good connection with people. According to Dingdong, it’s about being sincere. The celebrated OPM star mentioned that the audiences connect more when a performance is real and not just too technical.

Jayda was asked about Dingdong’s shortcomings as a parent. She couldn’t think of one. She isn’t the type of person to hold a grudge or keep a record of wrongs. She knows parents also make mistakes because they’re humans, too. But what matters is how her parents willingly own up to their mistakes and make them right. Nobody is perfect. And at the end of the day, the good things still outweigh the bad.