Spotlight

Ian Veneracion: On Being a Relaxed Father and Celebrating His Career

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In time for Father’s Day 2022, Ian Veneracion graces the cover of Modern Parenting and talks about his favorite role of all—being a dad.

ian veneracion

Ian Veneracion is truly a jack of all trades that he might as well be the modern Renaissance man. He acts, sings, and paints. Not to mention—he loves sports and is a licensed pilot. This is among many other things. But if there’s one role he cherishes the most, it’s that of being a father and husband. He’s been married to his wife Pam Gallardo for 25 years and they are blessed with three children—Tristan Draco, Deirdre, and Duccio.

During his shoot with Modern Parenting, it was evident how much Ian enjoyed the outdoors. He loosened up even more as he talked about his family, the longevity of his career in showbiz, his music, and making a comeback as an action star.

A father and storyteller

Ian is an artist. How his dad painter Roy Veneracion raised him is something he injects into raising his three children. “The quality I like about my dad is that he has a deep, deep gentleness in him,” he starts. “And it’s never forceful. He would never force anything—even an idea.”

t-shirt from Marks and Spencer; jacket and pants from Pedro del Hierro available at Rustan’s Makati

“He would introduce concepts and plant seeds. And whatever grows, grows based on your personality. For example, ako mahilig ako sa outdoors, mahilig ako sa adventures. So that’s also what I tried to do with my kids. I introduced them to different sports, different art forms, and stories. I like telling stories, obviously. That’s why I’m an actor. I use my body—my facial expressions and my emotions—as an instrument to tell stories. But like all forms of art, storytelling has different mediums. That’s the similarity between how my father raised me and how I raise my kids.”

The activities he and his kids bond over vary from paragliding, hiking mountains, golfing, and even motorcycling. Some say he’s a cool dad and he admits to having a hard time drawing the line between being a father and a barkada to his children.

“It’s very hard, I admit, to draw the line. I really don’t know where the line is,” he chuckles. “Especially now that they’re growing so fast. I’ve been treating them as adults ever since. Now, they’re actually adults.”

sweater and t-shirt from Marks and Spencer

His wife Pam acts as the disciplinarian. However, when it comes to their marriage, he respects her privacy and rarely shares photos of them online. “We value privacy. I value my privacy. Lalo na yung privacy nila, I value more. They didn’t sign up to be in the public eye. So I respect that. So kaya laging protected yung privacy nila.”

Ian Veneracion to parents: “Our kids have their own lives.”

With his two children in their 20s and a teenager as his youngest, has he learned to be a more relaxed parent? “In a way, yes. Because I’ve fulfilled my goal. I’d like to think that I was raised well by my parents,” he answers. “And I think the best contribution I can give to the world to make it a better place as compared to when I found it is to have three compassionate, intelligent human beings. I think I’ve been very lucky to have them and I think I raised them well.”

Moreover, Ian believes in the importance of being true to yourself. In 2020, he and his daughter Deirdre talked about her coming out as a lesbian in an interview. While some parents initially have a hard time coming to terms with their child’s sexuality, Ian took it from a different perspective.

sweater from Pedro del Hierro and jeans from Marks and Spencer

“It wasn’t hard for me at all because I don’t see this as anything negative. To me, it’s like saying that I enjoy wearing blue jeans more than black jeans. So it wasn’t a big deal,” he shrugs. “I know it’s totally independent of the preference—the sexual preference is totally independent of one’s intelligence, one’s integrity, one’s compassion. It has nothing to do with that.”

Although he received a lot of messages from people after the interview, Ian reiterated what he said to Deirdre that time she told him about her sexuality. “I’ve received a lot of Thank-Yous from people. And I’m always touched when I hear those stories. Na nung napanood nila nahirapan sila mag-come out and they watched the interview and parang na encourage yung parents nila to embrace their sexuality,” he said.

“Exactly what I said to my daughter, don’t be apologetic. Not even to me because you don’t owe me anything. You are your own person.”

Ian adds, “It’s the same thing as what I’d like to tell other parents. That the support and the respect should always be there kahit hindi natin gusto yung path na tahakin ng mga anak natin. They have their lives, we have our lives.”

“I think it’s such a waste of life to live it apologetically as if you owe something to someone and you have to adjust.”

On doing music and returning to action films

Although an actor by profession, Ian Veneracion continues to explore the arts. In the past years, he has been doing concerts and has performed with singers like Ogie Alcasid. He also released his first song—Ninuno.

Music has always been Ian’s therapy. “Growing up, I played the guitar and piano. I started playing the guitar when I was about 11 and the piano when I was 9. And I can see that it’s a whole universe.”

He has immense respect for the craft as well. “I have so much respect for music that I never want to use it to capitalize or enhance my career.”

Although he hasn’t been performing that long, Ian is grateful people have embraced this different side of him. Aside from music, he is returning to the action genre. He recently wrapped up a Netflix production called A Love to Kill.

“It’s a story about love, greed, and betrayal,” he tells us. “I’ve done a lot of action movies in the past—90s, 2000s—that were limited by the technology that we had before. But now we can use the same cameras and lenses they use in Hollywood because it’s more accessible. Before, laging technologically backward tayo. But now it’s available—so we’re using the best stuff.”

Ang sarap gumawa ng action now and that’s my home court. The fight scenes, the stunts. That’s the most comfortable for me because doon ako maraming ginagawa. More than love stories, more than horror, more than drama, ang pinakarami kong ginawa was action movies. So for me, that’s like, ‘Okay, you’re back home. I’m back, baby!'”

Reflecting on his 40 years in showbiz

This year marks a milestone in Ian Veneracion’s career as he celebrates 40 years in showbiz. In a competitive landscape such as the entertainment industry, is there a key to longevity? Ian isn’t sure of the answer. But he is grateful for the trust he has gotten from his peers.

jacket from Pedro del Hierro and t-shirt from Marks and Spencer

“I’ve seen people come and go. And I won’t pretend that I know the formula or I know the solution to that. I don’t know. Maybe I’m lucky or blessed to be in that position,” he says.

“Anything I do—whether I do movies, comedy, a sitcom—people support it. If I do drama or horror or a love story, or I go do an exhibit, people are just supportive. I don’t know why actually. I hope that it’s because of a certain thing—quality, taste, or integrity that I’ve put into whatever I do. Somehow they trust me that I won’t give them crap.”

When the subject of reinvention comes up, Ian says, “[It’s] unintentional. The truth of the matter is I just do whatever I want. I follow my heart. It just so happens that I enjoy telling stories in movies or concerts. And I’m just so lucky that people support it.”

Humble as he is, Ian Veneracion is one blessed man. A thriving career, a family he loves and who supports him, and a fan base that backs him up. In an industry that is fickle, Ian is a prime example that while luck matters, being grounded is also important in everything you do.

Words ALEXA VILLANO
Photography ED SIMON
Art Direction DENIELLE CARAG
Styling ROSHNI MIRPURI and SIYA DARYANI for THE CLOSET CULTURE
Grooming BOTANIKA SALON
Shoot Coordination MJ ALMERO
Sittings Editor MARGA MEDRANO TUPAZ

Shot on location at PALAZZO VERDE

Special thanks to MELLA HOTEL and KIRSTY MUÑOZ

Read more about celebrity dads on Modern Parenting:

Dr. Z Teo: On The Evolving Definitions of Parenting, Business, and Success

Troy and KC Montero on Dad Life, Brotherhood, and Raising Their Children in the Philippines

Win that Split: Paeng Nepomuceno on Being a Dad and Celebrity Athlete