We were there for an exclusive pictorial-interview with Ian Veneracion (42, last Feb. 7, 1975), hands-down the hottest TV romantic actor today, thanks to A Love To Last, the Kapamilya soap in which Ian plays Anton, the head of his own company, with Bea Alonzo as Andeng as the events organizer he falls for. The role, far removed from those that he played as an action star, has catapulted Ian to the top of the ratings game and spawned a legion of fans composed mostly of, yes, matrons, earning him the title Kilabot ng Mga Matrona.
People remember Ian as the little son of Joey de Leon in the early ‘80s sitcom Joey & Son which also starred Eileen Macapagal (as Ian’s tutor) who would eventually became Joey’s wife. Did you know that Ian is a documented pilot (graduated from Airlinks) and also a painter like his father, Roy Veneracion (with whom Ian has done a few exhibits)?
When Ian walked into the room, first thing he also noticed was the huge painting on the wall.
“That’s my Dad’s work,” he smiled.
And that’s what Ver shot as today’s Conversations’ lead photo.
Here’s the Kilabot in his own words:
When I’m in love, it’s a love to last because for me love is a habit that constantly reminds not only the other person but also myself to keep that habit.
Did I ever imagine that A Love To Last would be a big hit? Honestly, no! I’ve never stopped working as an actor. It’s a job and I just have to do the best that I can. I’m flattered that a lot of people follow the teleserye at talagang kumakapit sila like they did for me and Jodi (Santamaria) in Pangako Sa’yo (with Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo). I’m way, way past the peak age as an actor and I’m now into father roles, so natutuwa naman ako.
To what do I would attribute the success of A Love To Last? Well, the story is very good, thanks to the good script, and the narrative is solid. We have a good director, Jerry Lopez Sineneng, who trusts his actors. For example, with me and Bea, the script is more like a guide. Some scenes are galing na sa amin. Magic happens during the shoot. We would think of some lines and we say, “Saan galing yon? OK yan, a.”’ And we work on that. It’s also the sincerity and the honesty. Hindi aktingan. What you see is what you get. When we cry, we shed real tears.
So they say that men don’t cry? So what? It shows vulnerability. Gender doesn’t matter. We are human and some things make us cry. There’s nothing wrong with that. As an actor, kelangan mong humugot from your personal experience.
I’m very much like Anton in so many ways. Family is important to Anton. I can relate to Anton as a father, especially how he puts importance on his children. Sometimes, there are lines that make me think, “Si Ian ba ang nagsabi nito o si Anton?” Kasi they are close to real life. But I’m unlike Anton in the sense that he is rich and I am not, hahahaha!!! Anton falls for a girl younger than he is.
Can I fall for a girl younger than me in real life? Of course, that’s a possibility. Andeng is a lady in her late 20s and Anton is not that much older than she is. They are both at the peak of and the most attractive part of their lives.
My wife (Pam Gallardo) and I have three children — Drico, 18; Deirdre, 16; and Duccio, 11. I am basically a family person. I’m fortunate to have this job na kapag busy, busy talaga. Pag wala, wala talaga. There’s a lot of time between projects, may mga months na wala akong ginagawa, and I spend it with my family. I set aside weekends for my family. Being a father is my priority. My career just complements my family life.
How do I deal with my new-found success? Nothing has changed. Believe it or not, but there’s no difference at all. I still have the same friends, I still live in the same house, I still drive the same car. I think the only difference is that, while before only one or two would have their picture with me, now mas dumadami.
How do I cope with being a Kilabot Ng Mga Matrona? I’m proud of it, hahahaha!!! I meet a woman in her 60s and she swoons, and that makes me happy that I am able to bring out the youth in her. I would say it’s easier magpakilig ng isang woman in her 20s, kumbaga nanliligaw ka madaling mambola ng bagets, and a bit harder to do the same with older women.
Yes, I am a one-woman man. Yes, I am faithful. My wife knows that, that’s why she doesn’t get jealous. Everything is just work, nothing personal. With Bea and me, everybody knows that Bea is dating someone and I’m married, and everything is just make-believe.
What I learned from my parents is respect. At home, we respect each other’s privacy. If my phone rings, hindi pinakikialaman ng wife ko. She doesn’t ask, “Sino ang nagti-text na ‘yan? Sino ang tumatawag na ‘yan?” And vice-versa. Malaking bagay sa akin ang respect.
I like the fact that I have so much passion for so many things. Kung gagawin ko lahat ng gusto kong gawin, it would take a thousand lifetimes. I want to fly an airplane, I want to go scuba-diving, I want to rock-climb, I paint, I want to climb the Himalayas. What I hate about myself is that one passion lasts for six months and I’m on to another passion. But I go back to it. Like I collect guitars and they are just there. Binabalik-balikan ko na lang every now and then.
Yes, I still paint. If I were to paint Bea, I would focus on her face, close-up. I don’t do nudes, not so much. What if Bea would ask me to paint her in the nude? Why not! No guy would say no to that. Who other actresses would I like to paint in the nude? Let me see…Liza Soberano and, lagot ako sa kanya, …guess who? They need not worry. I would give them the paintings.
I have a private pilot’s license but it’s not current because you have to keep on flying for it to be current. I have tried sky-diving. I’m also into paragliding which is cheaper, less hassle, and all you need is a pair of wings, you jump off a cliff and you fly.
If I were to fly a plane with only one passenger, who would it be? Of course, my wife. I wouldn’t mind being stranded on an island with my wife for a year.
What do I remember most from my days as a child actor (Joey & Son)? Tito Joey’s sense of humor, his green jokes, hahahaha!!!! Tito Joey and direk Al Quinn were fond of cracking green jokes on the set and they probably thought I wasn’t listening or I didn’t understand. The next day, bida ako sa school because I would repeat their green jokes. (Asked what he remembers about the child Ian, Joey said, “The way he would roll his ‘r’s’ when he talked.”)
When all this is over, I would tell myself, “What a wonderful ride! It’s like a roller-coaster ride and I’m here to enjoy it.” Even my life, when it ends, I already made bilin to my children to put this epitaph on my tombstone: HERE LIES A MAN WHO LIVED LIFE TO THE FULLEST. AND LAST WORDS WERE: LIFE IS TOO F_____G SHORT.