I met Paolo Valenciano a few years ago. He was single then and we were set up as a team for a contest.
I got to know him as a fellow contestant. He and I exchanged pleasantries, not really deep into getting-to-know-you details at the time. So when I was asked to do this story about Paolo, I said yes, just to see where life had taken him.
Well, for starters, in the Zoom interview, I learned that, like most dads, Paolo Valenciano wants his family to be safe and secure.
More than just being known as the firstborn son of Mr. Pure Energy, Gary Valenciano (who was a neighbor when we were growing up), Paolo carved his own path in the live-events industry as an events and concert director.
It was in 2016 that Paolo and his wife, Sam, welcomed their baby girl, Leia. Now four years old, Leia loves to make her parents smile. “She is such an active character so being her parent is a lot of fun,” shares Paolo. “She never fails to make us laugh.”
It was then I realized that many years had passed since I first met Paolo and he has become a family man that his parents can be proud of. A great path he has chosen for himself.
As a dad, he wants to be a source of security and comfort for Leia. Growing up, he looked up to his dad as a playmate and confidant. He wants to have the same bond and relationship with his daughter, which is why, despite having a busy schedule, he tries to always spend time with her.
“I want her to feel I’m always there for her, a father who is always available, who is always listening. My dad was always a listener, and it made us feel secure and safe knowing we could run to him when we needed help. I want to be like that for Leia. I want her to always come to me anytime she needs any kind of help.”
How do you teach Leia about being healthy at such a young age, I ask. Paolo told me that he makes sure family time includes being in nature (even if it's just a park), having fresh air, and giving her space to have fun and be physically active. Paolo, Sam and Leia always eat as a family and they try to make sure she doesn't see eating healthy food as a chore.
I ask Paolo who taught him about the importance of health when he was growing up.
“My dad was sick my entire life,” he replies. “Both my parents were very strict, especially with our diets.”
His mother, Angeli, would sometimes allow some unhealthy snacks.
“But most of the time we would eat what was available to us at home, which was mostly healthy.”
Growing up in a home with a major health concern has really shaped and affected Paolo’s view on parenthood. When his own father underwent health issues when he was a kid, he realized the importance of health and protection.
“You’re always thinking that a Sunday lunch or dinner could be the last meal together,” says Paolo. “You look at life from a completely different perspective. It makes you appreciate the details.”
You’re always thinking that a Sunday lunch or dinner could be the last meal together. You look at life from a completely different perspective. It makes you appreciate the details.
Protection for all
Considering the value he places on protecting his loved ones, it is no wonder Paolo turned to AIA Philam Life, a company committed to its mission of racing against risk to protect more Filipinos.
AIA Philam Life completed its Protection Trinity of innovative products designed to address the most basic protection needs: life with AIA All-in-One, critical illness with AIA Critical Protect 100, and medical with AIA Med Assist. This year, the company launched the newest addition to its roster, AIA Health Cover.
Launched in 2019, AIA Critical Protect 100 provides comprehensive protection from 100 critical illnesses, from age zero to 100. Shortly after, AIA All-In-One was introduced, which provides protection against the four major risks in life: total and permanent disability, personal accident, critical illness, and death.
To help manage the financial burden of Filipinos on hospitalization expenses, the company developed AIM Med-Assist.
To further strengthen its Protection Trinity portfolio, AIA Philam Life recently launched its newest insurance plan, AIA Health Cover. This peso-dominated variable life insurance plan gives all-around health and critical illness protection. It provides a full range of health benefits and coverage for concerns you may have now or in the future.
With the COVID-19 pandemic bringing much uncertainty to the lives of Filipinos, Paolo emphasized the importance of security. “We need to protect our family. These days, I do whatever I can to make sure they have what they need.”
Before the Zoom ended I asked Paolo to share how he talks to his daughter about the importance of her health.
“We're strict with our diet,” he begins. “Since she hasn’t been going to school, we also try to walk every day; I tell her that's very important for her immune system.”
Paolo says that Leia kind of gets the concept of living healthy; she knows what a virus is and knows that, without a mask, the virus can get to her.
“The other day we were walking and it was funny because I told her, ‘Leia, you know our park is open,’ and she answers, ‘Because there's no more virus,’ then I said, ‘Um, it's still there, but with the mask, you might not get it.’”
Paolo believes that Leia understands that concept of staying healthy now and wants to make sure she grows up understanding the importance of health.
“I asked for advice from a neighbor: How do we do this when our parks are still closed? How do we figure this whole thing out?”
Right now, nobody knows how to raise a kid during a pandemic. Parents are learning how to deal with it every day.
“We are all learning. I believe my parents are learning from us, we're learning from them,” shares Paolo. “It's a time where young and old and everybody just really has to collaborate with each other to be able to survive this thing.”