Rodjun Cruz shares his experience on what it’s like to be a new dad during the pandemic as he dances his way through the tough times
As a member of the Cruz family (who happen to be Philippine showbiz royalty), and cousin to Sunshine Cruz, Rodjun entered the entertainment industry with his brother, Rayver at a young age. They both started out as hosts for the children’s magazine show 5 And Up before he joined Anim-E, an all-male dancing group. Sadly, the group dissolved, but that didn’t stop Rodjun from dancing. Now, while creating dance content on TikTok (for his 3 million followers and growing), he also manages a sports apparel venture known as CruzFit while helping his wife, Dianne, take care of their new baby — Joaquin.
A working family man
“Para sa akin, sobrang blessing to be a dad,” says Rodjun. “Di ko ma-explain yung feeling — it’s overwhelming. Kasi dati pa, yan yung goal ko talaga. It was my dream to be a dad and have a happy family.”
Being a dad is not something we’d often hear from a man, nor hear them say that it’s a dream or perhaps an achievement. As we all know, starting a family comes with a lot of financial and emotional responsibilities that men have to really consider. But for Rodjun, despite his decorated career in showbiz as a host and dancer, becoming Joaquin’s dad was not only an answered prayer but something he considers his greatest accomplishment. “Parang nung naging dad ako, parang WOW, ito na yung greatest achievement ko,” says Rodjun.
Although managing CruzFit takes a lot of work out of the new dad, Rodjun is glad that majority of its operations can be managed from their home. Working online gave him a chance to witness all of Joaquin’s “firsts” such as crawling and eating solid food. “Sometimes, Joaquin even joins me when I do my TikTok videos. It’s like he’s learning how to dance before he can crawl,” laughs Rodjun. “He’s with me all the time, especially now, 9 months na siya.”
Finding the rhythm during the Pandemic
Even with the stress of the pandemic and becoming a new dad, Rodjun Cruz says that he finds his rhythm and motivation through dancing, working out, and being with his wife and his son. “Parang everyday, mas-inspired ka sa life, mas-inspired ka magtrabaho mas lalo sa panahon ngayon, mas-inspired ka na gawin lahat ng best mo para magkaroon ng magandang future si baby Joaquin,” says Rodjun. To give Joaquin everything he needs, Rodjun is willing to handle anything simultaneously and considers everything that comes his way as blessings.
But being in show business sometimes means he has to go out for prolonged periods of time for taping, leaving him at the mercy of COVID-19. And although it takes quality time away from Joaquin, he happily takes on projects from GMA Artist Center to make sure his family is provided for and that Joaquin has the life he deserves. “Medyo strict si Dianne eh,” he chuckles, “but alam ko naman na tama yan for our son. We don’t want him to get sick. So after coming back from a shoot, mag-quarantine ako for 5-7 days, then mag-RT-PCR test ako. Routine na siya and kailangan talaga since may trabaho pa din. The only time I can hug and kiss him is when my test comes back na negative.“
“Nagche-cheat ako pa minsan, pero just by peeking through the door with a face shield and face mask on, makapag-hi lang ako.” Although it looks like just a simple “hi” to some, it’s those brief moments with his son that empower Rodjun to continue spreading “positive vibes” whenever he can despite the pandemic.
“Yan yung maganda sa social media eh,” he says, “alam namin na people are suffering from depression and anxiety kaya I make TikTok videos na kasama si Joaquin pa minsan to help spread the good vibes. Kami ni Dianne, my brother Rayver, even my uncle, we dance our way through these tough times and appreciate the simple things like being together. And I’m happy that kahit paano napapasaya namin yung mga tao through our dance videos. Even through CruzFit, we [Rayver and I] want to inspire people even in our own little way.”
What’s next for Rodjun Cruz?
When asked about what his plans were for Father’s Day, Rodjun felt that a simple dinner would be the best. “Actually, ngayon ko lang narerealize na kasi people were already greeting me in advance, a Happy Father’s Day. Kasi, noong pregnant nga si Dianne, may bumabati na sakin. Pero talaga eto yung first, official kong Father’s Day, kasi andito na si Joaquin. Sometimes, I get emotional kasi narealize ko yung blessing na binigay sa amin at hindi talaga biro maging dad.”
And we couldn’t agree more — being a dad is no easier than being a mom. We sometimes think that because dads look like they’re just having fun and aren’t as serious as the moms, that they are less involved. For dads like Rodjun, they admittedly like having a good time, they get silly with their kids, but they do so with a purpose: they work hard to make sure their families have a good life. They are also instrumental in raising their kids to become good people and ultimately, help them find their purpose in life.
Gratitude, humility and positivity are the three things that we can all learn from this new dad. Despite experiencing fatherhood for the first time amidst a global pandemic, he manages to keep the faith, he acknowledges his blessings and he looks out for others. At this rate, we fully believe that Rodjun and Dianne will have a bright journey together with Joaquin as a young and growing family — full of hope, and armed with some pretty epic dance moves!
From the Modern Parenting team, Happy first Father’s Day, Rodjun!
Words KEVYN GOHU
Photography KIERAN PUNAY
Art Direction FERDI SALVADOR
Styling PAUL SESE
Makeup TAMARA PINEDA of NARS PH
Hairstyling JOSEPH FANTONE of COLORBAR PH
Sittings Editor MARGA MEDRANO TUPAZ
Shot on location at UNWND LUXURY HOSTEL
Special thanks to Carlo Dominguez, Yasmen Makki and Rafael Ladao
Love our story about Rodjun Cruz? Here are more stories about dads:
Intentional Parenting: Hayden Kho Futureproofs His Family of Three
Why Piolo Pascual is the Ultimate Cool Dad
Every Dad Needs a DadBud: Meet Joey Ong, Founder of DadBudPH
A True Modern Dad: Gabby Alipe Is Playing A Different Tune
Jake Ejercito Is The Ultimate Girl Dad And We’re All For It
Meet the Original Legendaddy, Raffy Zamora