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an article by Mario Bautista, The Manila Times, 15 March 1999

AMONG the new stars of Viva being launched to stardom in Honey My Love So Sweet, Dingdong Dantes seems to have the most fans. When they dance together in various TV shows, it's his name that the audience calls repeatedly: "Dingdong! Dingdong! Dingdong!" And to think that he is a reluctant movie star.

He finished grade school and high school at the Ateneo. "Ang hilig ko talaga is to dance," he says. "At 15, I joined an all-male dance group called Abztracts. That's where a Viva talent scout saw me and included me in the cast of the new batch of T.G.I.S. stars. Ayaw ng parents kong mag-artista ako."

His dad is a former pilot who's now into business. Being the eldest of five kids, his parents want him to just concentrate on his studies.

"Wala talagang nag-show sa family namin," he says. "Ako lang. At lahat ng kapatid ko, bawal nang mag-showbiz."

Born on Aug. 2, 1980, he got his mestizo good looks from his mom, Angeline, who is of Spanish ancestry. "They finally allowed me to act, on condition that I won't neglect my studies. I'm now taking up human resource development at San Beda, minoring in philosophy."

He's also known as Inaki in T.G.I.S., as Brix in Anna Karenina, and as Lance in TEXT. He also appears regularly as a host in S.O.P., all with GMA-7.

He admits to courting Antoinette Taus, his partner in T.G.I.S., and Honey My Love So Sweet.

"But I'm not in a hurry na pasagutin siya because her parents want her to be officially courted only after she has turned 18 on Aug.30."

Toni was taken out of T.G.I.S. by her dad, allegedly because she's getting too close to Dingdong. What can he say about this?

"Well, I respect their decision dahil pinangangalagaan nila talagang mabuti ang anak nila. But I was told the official reason is that her working load kasi has become so hectic at may klase pa siya, kaya nagbawas siya ng trabaho. As for me, I guess I just have to prove to her parents that malinis ang intention ko sa kanya ang I'm worthy of her."

In Honey My Love So Sweet, he plays Paco, a student leader who is at odds with another student leader, Jenny, played by Toni. "Noong una, lagi kaming nagkakainisan because we are rivals, but we'll end up with each other pala."

Viva later plans to have him record his own album and launch him as a singing and dancing entertainer like Ricky Martin. What can he say about this? "Kaya ko ba yon?" and he starts singing: "Uno, dos, tres...."