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Aug 1, 2017
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Aside from Bruno Mars, there is another guy who can legitimately use the hashtag “blessed” without getting flak—Drew Arellano. The GMA Network host, triathlete, entrepreneur, husband to hottie Iya Villania, and new dad is definitely on a roll. This guy used the word “lucky” to describe himself several times in the course of the interview.

He arrives at the FHM photo shoot bright and chipper, especially for someone who has just come from a triathlon meet. While others would probably still be in bed groaning with pain, he was able to do ab crunches in front of the cam, and it was only after the shoot that he told staff that his feet were blistered from not wearing socks during the swim/bike/run race. “They will slow you down,” he explains.

Slowing down is not on his agenda anytime soon, especially since he now has more inspiration in his life, his son Primo.


What does it feel like to be a dad?

Primo is such a bundle of joy. I don’t know how best to describe the feeling, but the house is always in a very good mood. I was there when Iya gave birth. It was funny; it was everything I expected it to be. Visually, you think it is not the most beautiful thing, but it actually was. I was just focused on the baby and not anything else. I was thinking the whole time, ‘oh my God, this is it!’

Some dads swap the abs for a dadbod when they start having kids. You don’t seem to be in any danger of that.
I think it’s important to stay active. It’s just natural for the whole family, even for my wife, to stay fit, especially now. At the race I had just joined, people were looking for her, but she didn’t sign up. She is training, though. We choose our battles din naman, it doesn’t mean that we binge. We are normal people and we just like getting the endorphins active. I think it’s good that society is beginning to think healthy. It is good for my business, the Tri Temple, as well!

Have you been cutting down on your activities, though?
I still train for tri, although my training partner and I plan on doing only two races for the first quarter of the year. I am still busy traveling for my show Byahe ni Drew. Being active is part of my job, it’s part of my personality. I am very lucky to have a super wife who prioritizes family. I think mothers need to be exalted because of that. As dads, we can only do so much. Pero, syempre, I try to lessen my activities, because I also want to stay home. Before, my mindset was, “Yay! I’m going to Coron!” Now, I am still excited, but when I get home from a three-day trip, there’s this split second when my son would look at me and think, ‘Who is this guy? Oh, yeah, that’s my dad!’

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Has your own dad been instrumental in your growing years?
My goal is to be like him. How I see life, how I treat other people, yung positivity, I guess I got from him. He was always there for everything—soccer practice, basketball practice, games, my races—he was there. At the time, you wouldn’t make much of it and I took it for granted, but now that I am a dad, I realize that he is a central figure in my life. He was there even though my parents were separated. My mom was also there for us, 100 percent. So it was like, 200 percent for us.

Have you been cutting down on your activities, though?
I still train for tri, although my training partner and I plan on doing only two races for the first quarter of the year. I am still busy traveling for my show Byahe ni Drew. Being active is part of my job, it’s part of my personality. I am very lucky to have a super wife who prioritizes family. I think mothers need to be exalted because of that. As dads, we can only do so much. Pero, syempre, I try to lessen my activities, because I also want to stay home. Before, my mindset was, “Yay! I’m going to Coron!” Now, I am still excited, but when I get home from a three-day trip, there’s this split second when my son would look at me and think, ‘Who is this guy? Oh, yeah, that’s my dad!’

What advice will you give your own boy someday?
I think it is important for him to experience the world. I traveled alone when I was only 13; my parents taught me to be independent. I was the fourth child, so I wasn’t sheltered, and I grew up fast.

Do you still find ‘alone time’ with Iya?
That is very vital. The first few months, tutok kami sa baby, but now we find time. When we celebrated our wedding anniversary, nag-backride siya sa akin and we went to Zambales for an overnight trip. There are moments when we look at each other and realize, ‘Uy, tayong dalawa lang.’ this turns into ‘Uyyyy, tayong dalawa lang!’ (chuckles)

You are aware that many guys have a crush on your wife. How did you find someone like Iya?
With Iya, I was just lucky. I am telling you, I never tried to find someone special. I think Someone is up there looking out for us and helping us out. With everything that is happening in our lives right now, especially with Primo, it is a blessing. Someone is on our side.

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You are always up for an adventure. Do you find yourself taking fewer risks because you are a family man now?
At first, I thought of taking less risks. But I told myself, ‘No,’ it’s part of who I am, it’s in my personality to try and maximize my life. I figured you just have to be smarter. There are what you call calculated risks. With things like sky diving, each and every time I do it, I am not scared anymore because I keep doing it. Your insurance company would not be happy about it, but yeah! In my head I just feel so lucky for this different point of view. Not a lot of other people get to see it.

Is there any new adventure you’d like to try?
Another passion I have right now is motorcycle riding—there’s a feeling of freedom, I love feeling the wind and the engine between my legs. Of course, when you talk of motorcycles, the first think you think of are the accidents. There’s a negative notion agad. But you can learn how to be safe. If you look at the statistics, the casualties come from a lack of education. That is why I took another course with the California Superbike School in Clark, Pampanga. I pressure myself to learn and be smarter on the road. What they teach you there are survival reactions, like what you do in different situations. When you know what to do, you don’t panic. Iya used to disapprove, but I explained that it lets me spend more time with them because I don’t have to leave as early for work. I take her with me sometimes, and now she is also keen to learn how to ride, too.

So what do you say to other guys who aren’t looking to get out of their comfort zones?
Life is all about living it to the fullest. Being passionate about something is unlocking your potential. I think when you find a passion—whether it is sports or video games, whatever it be—you are very disciplined about it because you have a goal. When you have a goal you pursue it with dedication to achieve that goal and it brings out the best in you.

This story was originally published in the April 2017 issue of FHM Philippines.

Minor edits were made by the FHM.com.ph editors.

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Photography RG Medestomas

 

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