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an article by Abegail A. Villanueva, Mr. & Ms., 2 March 1999, p. 24 & 26

What heroic deed could I possibly have done to deserve this chance to actually meet and talk to...Rafael "Dingdong" Dantes. An extraordinary guy who can numb you with his mesmerizing eyes, drain your strength with his captivating smile or worst of all, make you lose your senses with his wit and charm. Truly, Dingdong is a heavenly sight to look at but there is more to him than that.

Dingdong is Jose Sixto Dantes III in real life. 'Dingdong' because when Dingdong was still a kid, he used to pee anywhere a lot.

Facing the camera is no longer a new thing to this guy. Dingdong first appeared in a Carnation milk commercial when he was but three and continued endorsing many products until he turned 16. At 15 he joined the Abstract Dancers to satisfy his love for dancing and ended up going show biz.

Nowadays, Dingdong, via his role as Inaki Torres in the highly rated TGIS, has hit it big. His portrayal of the spoilt, arrogant but oftentimes vulnerable rich boy has led many to believe that the two are one -- a proof that he has talent and not just the looks. But even with the success of the show and his ever growing popularity, Dingdong still has two feet planted firmly on the ground.

"I consider everything that has happened to me as a blessing," declares the young heartthrob. "When this year started, I prayed 'cause I believe everything should start with a prayer tapos nag-internalize ako to have more peace of mind so that I will know what I want. Minsan kasi masyadong magulo sa showbizness. I made a New Year's resolution that I'd be more responsible to all my commitments and be more passionate in everything I do. Also be more intelligent enough to know what's good or not. I also wish I'd be guided to be able to choose what is right in life."

Well, it looks like he's doing a good job. Aside from his two weekly shows, TGIS and Anna Karenina (he plays Brix), he's been assigned a new one, Text, plus a soon to be shown movie. While he may still have a long way to go before he reaches the "actor" status Richard Gomez and Aga Muhlach have achieved, Dingdong is ready for the challenge to do more mature roles.

Mature, and not sexy roles, he stresses. "I won't be comfortable doing it, and if I won't be comfortable, it is not fun anymore. Mahirap kasi yung napipilitan ka lang and besides there are other ways to show that you're mature, hindi lang diyan (sa pagpapa-sexy).

Just turned 18 (last August 2), Dingdong enjoys the full trust of his parents. The eldest in a family of five (two boys and three girls), his father and mother believe that he is mature enough to know what he wants and that the choices he makes will be the right ones.

At the top of his list of priorities is to finish his studies and earn a degree. Dingdong stresses he values education very much. He is currently a first year student at San Beda College taking up double major in Philosophy and Management.

"Philosophy kasi pampatatag ng personality at puwede siyang pre-law kasi I want to be a lawyer before tapos Management background for business."

By the looks of it, this young man wants to get into five different careers -- politics, business, flying, acting and directing. Knowing Dingdong, he'd probably be able to juggle all those different fields. But right now, he's just a normal teener. Someone who's a little hyper at times, with a desire to pursue adventure. "I want to explore new things cause I believe there's still plenty of things to learn. I also know that not everything that you learn will come to you. You have to look for and discover those things."

Confidence is one thing Dingdong positively exudes but would you believe that he can still get affected by peer pressure?

"I consider peer pressures as pangpa-mature. It is there to test you on how you would deal with things and it helps strengthen you as a person. Me, I may have failed sometimes but those failures were constructive."

He is, indeed, one of but a 'million' wanting-to-hit-it-big-time in the biz. What sets him apart though is, well, there's his just-lovely eyes which remind one of the Gabby-William days. And there's his inexplicable appeal, too.

Dingdong? It may be a weird choice for a screen name but the name grows on you somehow. And that's not even discussing how the guy with the name has such a moving effect on people.