Gian Sotto: ‘I’m there for them’
By Kristoffer Purnell
For Gian Sotto, being a father was always something he looked forward to. Upon seeing his wife Joy back in college, he told himself, “I want that girl to be the mother of my kids.” Fast forward a couple of years, Gian and Joy are now happy parents to Hugo, 14; Edrigu, 11; Sandro, 7; Rossano, 6; and their only girl, Amari, 3. Even with five kids to look after, the vice-mayor-elect of Quezon City does what he can to spend time with them all.
The 41-year-old found inspiration in the fatherly love that his own dad, Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto, gave him growing up. “I’m close to my dad…He always makes time for family. No matter how busy he gets, he always makes time for us. I admire my dad’s simplicity,” said Sotto. In fact, he never thought what kind of father he was going to be. “It all came naturally maybe because I saw how loving and caring my father was to me and my sisters.”
Making time for five kids
Sotto made sure that his own family grew up with the same love and care he did, and he does it by sparing moments of his time for his kids. Of the many bonding moments they have together, most are spent doing physical activities like martial arts, basketball, and biking. Surprisingly, it’s Joy who is more active of the two parents. The idea to immerse them in such came from Sotto’s time hanging with his father, who used to represent the country in bowling.
There are other activities that the family often do like watching a movie, hanging out at the mall, going to the beach (especially with Joy’s family in Cebu). For Sotto, doing things outside the house “won’t confine them to gadgets and social media,” plus the presence of the father teaches them a thing or two about sports. Having four boys meant Sotto would have a lot of outdoor activities, but he makes sure he has time for all his kids, including little Amari.
Life with a princess
“I thought I would only have two kids but [Joy and] I really wanted to have a girl so we kept trying,” recounted Sotto, and soon enough Amari came. As the ‘princess’ of the family, Sotto makes it a point to spend time doing the things she loves. Be it playing with her dolls and playing “house,” Sotto finds it all new to him but loves being with his “princess.” “I even allow her to put makeup on me and polish on my nails!”
A busy schedule lies ahead for Sotto as the incoming vice mayor of Quezon City, but he is no stranger to having to balance work and his personal life. Sotto makes sure his priorities were set accordingly. “I make sure that if my family needs me, I’m there for them. That simple,” he puts it bluntly. Sotto considers fatherhood a life-changing transformation: sometimes a challenge, but more often a blessing.
If there was one thing that Sotto wants his children to remember him by, it’s that he taught them to love with all their heart, mind, and soul – another thing he picked up from his own father. “I want my kids to have faith in God, to love their families, and value others above self. These things are always taught simply by example,” said Sotto, and so he does what he can to be that role model his kids can look up to: By simply being there.