What’s it like to be a dad to twin teenage boys? Actor and entrepreneur Marvin Agustin says it’s double the trouble and then some…
It’s not everyday you get to hear actor and entrepreneur Marvin Agustin talk about his kids. Everyone wants to hear about his cooking, his restaurants, and being in showbiz… not to mention his thriving YouTube Channel. While Marvin wears many hats, the one he’s proudest of is the one that’s closest to his heart — being a dad.
We spoke to Marvin about what it was like to be a dad to twin teenage boys and how his life choices — including being an actor —helped him become the father and entrepreneur he is today.
On being a dad to teenage twins
According to Marvin, it’s true what they say about being a parent to twins: it’s double the trouble. While Marvin doesn’t have to do a lot of disciplining — Santiago and Sebastian are well into their teens — he admits that this stage is a whole other ball game. And being twins doesn’t make things easier — the boys always have each other’s back. “You can’t discipline them the same way because they’re two different people!” he laughs.
The biggest challenge? Dealing with social media and the internet. “It’s scary how they have everything they want to know in the palms of their hands,” Marvin quips. “Back in the day, we relied on our parents to tell us and teach us everything. Kids nowadays get all the information they want, with the click of a button.”
It’s a thought that many parents of teenagers have nowadays. Gone are the days when you were the end all; kids aren’t afraid to question what you have to say and point out when you’re wrong. In fact, he says his kids can smell the bulls**t from a mile away. “I can’t really threaten them anymore, they know exactly what’s going on,” he laughs. With his hands tied, Marvin resorts to the only tactic he can: to have an open relationship with his kids. “I want to be the person that they talk to about anything,” he says. “They should be able to turn to me for advice whenever they want.”
It’s a big change, considering how it all started — Marvin admitted that he was the bad cop and the kontrabida for awhile. In fact, at one point, he stopped giving presents altogether — but that’s another story. Which is why, Marvin says, as a dad, you have to keep on evolving. “Being a dad is something that you’ll never master or perfect; it’s complicated but really fulfilling,” he explains.
On spending time together
Like many teenagers, Sebastian and Santiago have carved out their own paths. Both are musicians — they play the drums and bass and have their own band — and are serious about baseball. In fact, they play baseball for their school and even their local village. “I always tease them about joining their band. I’d always tell them that I’d be the best lead singer,” says Marvin. And, predictably, the three guys love to bond over food. While the twins enjoy a good steak, and according to their dad, cochinillo, they consider it a special treat whenever their dad cooks. “They love what I cook,” he says. “Even if it’s food that they say isn’t their favorite.”
Quality time is important for the actor-turned-entrepreneur, especially since his time with his sons is limited. He only has them on weekends and certain holidays — he co-parents with the twins’ mom, Tetet Dy. “We might not live in one house like most families, but Tetet and I promised each other to always be selfless and take out the pettiness when it comes to the kids,” he says. It’s been a harmonious setup so far; they’ve established the two-household life for their kids and have been very open about it. “We’ve always told them, you have two families, two houses. Your mom and dad are friends but aren’t living together,” Marvin explains. “We might not be like other families, but it doesn’t mean that we love you less or want the best for you.”
On setting a good example
As a dad, Marvin believes that his greatest legacy are the challenges he faced throughout his life. “My life started becoming serious when I was 16. I was auditioning to be an actor, and I was also a mascot at a fast food chain,” he shares. “I think it’s why I treat my sons like adults, I want them to learn from everything that I’ve been through.”
As tough as life was for Marvin back then, it is these same life experiences that he believes made him the person he is today. And as a dad, it’s these same hardships that he wants his children to learn from. “They’re lucky they didn’t have to go through what I did, and I’m lucky to be able to provide for them so they don’t have to,” he says. And the boys are open to it all, all too willing to hear about their dad’s life story.
While Marvin is happy to provide for his children, he hasn’t lost perspective on what his kids really need—the value of hard work and appreciating what one has. “It was something I realized early on. I wanted them to be grateful for what they had; I’d tell them stories about how I couldn’t afford to get to school, how I couldn’t afford my own lunch, and worse, not know how to get home because I didn’t have any money for transportation,” he shares. “I want them to see that hard work pays off, and that it helps you achieve your dreams.”
There’s no doubt that these life lessons are the greatest gifts Marvin can pass on to his sons. Through their dad’s experiences, Santiago and Sebastian can see for themselves what it takes to become successful in life and perhaps apply these lessons to their own lives too.
Words JANA BLANCO
Photography FLOYD JHOCSON
Art Direction JANN PASCUA
Styling PAUL SESE
Makeup TAMARA PINEDA of NARS PH
Hairstyling JOSEPH FANTONE of COLORBAR PH
Shot on location at UNWND LUXURY HOSTEL
Special thanks to Carlo Dominguez, Yasmen Makki and Rafael Ladao