At only 28, Dave “Dodong Dave” Quirante already wears too many hats.
He’s a physical therapist with a PhD, a businessman who built and runs his own boutique hotel in Cebu, a fast-rising social media star and content creator, a newly-signed recording artist by Viva Records, and just recently, a husband to a lovely wife whom he proposed to twice!
Asked where he gets his energy for all these from, he says:
“Haha! I’m just making use of what I have right now at this age.”
DODONG DAVE, THE PT & THE VLOGGER-CONTENT CREATOR
Of his many hats, being a vlogger is what occupies most of his time lately given the pandemic situation.
I’m actually head of a public pediatric rehab center sa Lapu-Lapu City,” he told us via our Zoom interview. “Pero right now hindi kami nagre-receive ng mga patients because of the current pandemic. So, walang face-to-face rehabilitation treatment that are ongoing right now. So, we just give home- instruction program to our patients.”
But unlike most who just went into vlogging because the lockdown didn’t give them things to do, Dave had been at it since he was a teen.
In fact, he was already vlogging even before the tern was coined.
“Way before YouTube and everything...my parents are always buying cameras and stuff. So I would record myself like just talking to the camera,” he recalls laughing. “I was already vlogging kahit wala pang vlogging at that time. But I wouldn’t upload. I just record it for my sake. Parang ganu’n.
“I’m just being entertained by myself, parang ganu’n. So, I didn’t know you can actually do that, you know, to entertain other people.”
In college, while taking up Physical Therapy at the Velez College in Cebu—yup, the guy is born and raised in lovely Cebu—he started tinkering with Vine, a mobile app that was popular at that time, as a hobby.
“Siguro I was eighteen years old at that time,” he tells us. “I started doing very short six-second videos. Very relatable naman. When I was like 19, that was the first time that I started going viral pero at a smaller scale as compared to today.”
And though he’s enjoying doing short videos, his school load did not afford him to have extra time for anything else.
“But then I was already at my third year of college yata and I was worried...crucial time for me kasi I couldn’t juggle between studies and ano content creating kasi I still need to use my brain juice to create content.
“So, ayon, I decided to drop the whole vlogging thing because I needed to take up my professional career... the first thing to do was to get my local Philippine license and then after that, dumiretso na ako to get my US license.”
He took up his doctorate in Physical Therapy at the Arcadia University in Pennsylvania, USA.
After that part of his life was settled, he decided to revisit his vlogging hobby.
“That was year 2017 ulit ako parang naging relevant sa social media,” he goes on.
His medium of choice, this time, was Facebook.
There, he would post not just funny contents but serious well-written short films and even mini-series as well. All these time, he’s been wearing the all-in-one writer/director/actor hat as well.
“’Yong shorts films naman if it’s like short film-short film talaga, it would take me a day to shoot it...one day or two days tops. Pero ’yong editing, it’s up to my editor na kasi hindi ako nag-e-edit ng mga short films kasi I don’t have those skills like the cinematography, wala.
“All I do is create the script...I can do the screenplay naman, like I tell the cinematographer na this is what I want to happen for this specific scene. Ganu’n. Kasi ’yong cinematographer ko is just my cousin so we just have this exchange of creative ideas. But then the story mainly revolves around the story I created. So, ’yon.”
Dave, needless to say, is one creative soul, which makes us wonder why he took up physical therapy instead of filmmaking or theater or anything related to the creative field?
“Actually, ano, ever since I was young, I’ve always been inclined to the medical field. I could not imagine myself not being in the medical field kasi I know naman ’yong creative side ko, it’s more of a hobby kasi.
"The main reason why I started vlogging was I actually found myself funny. Hahaha! And then every time I see a video of myself parang natatawa ako.”
But the self-amusement preoccupation has already branched out to TikTok, where his female alter ego, Debra, often appears (alongside her appearance on Dave’s Facebook videos).
The pandemic baby, Debra, who often has heated exchanges with her boyfriend Dodong Dave, personifies the insecure, annoying, kalat-kalat girlfriend that our male friends love to rant about; but one they also couldn’t unlove and break off from.
Their exchanges—and even Debra’s solo hanashes—are so relatable, they’re funny. (You’ve got to meet her, guys.)
“Last year lang po talaga [siya nabuo] during the pandemic,” narrates Dave. “Kasi diba, remember when quarantine protocols were very strict and then we’re all like stuck inside the house?
“Parang a lot of things running through my mind. If I watch movies or I watch videos parang I get ideas na, ‘Ah, this actually happened to me before at a more dramatic scale.’ Parang ganu’n.
“So, that’s when I started formulating scripts. I was thinking na maybe I could create this as contents not knowing na it could actually go viral.
“The first Debra video got a lot of attention and then I saw its potential na parang a lot of people are very engaging towards the video. I started doing a lot of different scenarios using Debra. Parang the second Debra video hit a million views in two days.”
And now that Dave has also been signed up by Viva’s digital creator network, Oomph TV, he’s also testing the YouTube waters.
“Yeah, that’s what’s my initial plan talaga to push YouTube first. But then YouTube is a very hard platform to penetrate,” he admits. “Kasi diba you have to get recommended by YouTube to actually have higher views as compared to Facebook naman na ano once your video is shared, it automatically distributes to a lot viewers.
“So that’s why I think Facebook was a much easier platform for me to penetrate as compared to YouTube. Ako naman, I really wanna penetrate all of the ano, social media world. Haha!”
With his creativeness, we’re quite sure he’s not gonna run out of ideas for contents anytime soon. In fact, he’s already factored those in for when things normalize once the pandemic is over. What was once a hobby is now a major part of his life.
“Actually I learned how to manage my time,” he says. “Well, it was different during the quarantine kasi that time I could produce like four or five videos a week. Of course, we are all just stuck at home and there’s nothing to do.
“Ngayon na parang like I have access with the office and stuff like that...and there’s a lot of things happening. So, parang I just goal na one video per week.”
But this time, besides Debra, he now has his own wife, the artistahin (pun intended) Chao Artista, to co-star with him in most of his contents. He says she no choice.
“Kasi I told her, ‘You’re marrying someone who is, you know, a content creator. So, you can’t expect me to hide you from the world.’”
With his wife, he says he plans on putting out alot of young-married-couple-related contents.
“Kasi that’s my life right now. It’s very relatable to me as of the moment. ’Yong mga first namin as husband and wife and a lot more videos with my wife. Kasi I really push her na to do it. I told her there’s no backing out ’cause you married me. Hahaha!”
DODONG DAVE, THE HOTELIER & SINGER & FUTURE ARTISTA
Two years ago, the restless Dave was able to convince his parents to help him build a boutique hotel, which now the cosmopolitan Pocket Hotel, an affiliate of the Oyo hotel chain, in Lapu-Lapu City.
“It’s my brain child,” Dave, the businessman, beams.
“I started building the hotel when I was 26 years old.
The lot is owned by my parents. Before it was ano paupahan lang na bahay.
“Then I asked my parents if could build a hotel. They supported me with the process ’cause I can’t make a big loan kasi from myself lang so I asked my parents to loan for me. Pero everything else ako na ’yong gumawa. So, ako na ’yong nag-build from scratch.”
With an all-vaccinated staff, Dave, alongside his many duties, is also efficiently running a hotel that manages to remain in demand despite the pandemic.
And just this year, Dave also released his debut single under Viva Records, called “Ginhawa.” Originally called “Kwarantin,” “Ginhawa” is about one’s desire to speed up time so he could be with his beloved once again.
Written in a mix of Tagalog and Visayan by another Cebuano gem, RJ Ensalada, the very relatable and sing-able “Ginhawa” easily made it to Spotify’s Fresh Finds Playlist.
Initially adamant to try the singer’s hat, Dave is now itching to record another one, eyeing the end of the year as his deadline.
It seems there’s nothing Dave can’t become once he puts his mind into it.
“Kinuha ko na po lahat. Haha,” he says laughing at his own restlessness. “Politiko na lang po ang kulang. Haha!”
Is he trying that hat on, too?
“Hindi naman pero ’yong family ko is coming from politics so I saw how crazy it is in the political world,” he admits. “So, parang I don’t think I’m getting into this anytime soon, hahaha!”
Is mainstream showbiz in his plans?
“Actually that’s one of the plans,” he readily admits.
He says he may have been in showbiz already if his mom did not get in the way.
“When I was in elementary there was a talent scout from GMA and then they started putting me into this workshop for the summer,” Dave recalls. “And then parang my mom did not like it that much kasi she thought it’s getting in the way of school and stuff.
“I think she was scared na ano I would want to do that more than actually finish school. ’Yong ganu’n. And then my mom was a type of mom na parang she doesn’t like getting out of the comfort zone. So if that would mean na I have to move to another city, I don’t think she would go for it.”
The GMA workshop wasn’t his first brush with showbiz. He was actually a bit player in the Carlo J. Caparas movie, Jacqueline Comes Home, the 2018 biographical crime movie about the controversial Chiong murder case that took place in Cebu.
In fact, he met his now-wife in the same movie set.
“We were both parang extra lang kami doon,” he says of him and Chao. “So we both understand the entertainment industry, ’yong ganu’n.”
And now that he’s a Viva artist and a full-fledged adult, his mom won’t get in the way this time.
“Yeah, she doesn’t control me naman na anymore,” he laughs.
Once the pandemic is over and things go as planned, he says his wife would be co-terminus with him as far as showbiz entry is concerned.
“Of course I told her nga if ever it comes to that na we become like full on artistas talaga—kasi that’s what Viva has planned out for me—I told her na, ‘Ikaw, are you open to becoming artist kasi maganda ka naman?’ ‘Sure.’ She’s very supportive. So, parang she just does whatever we love to do together.
“So, yan, we’re hoping we can finally pierce the bigger screen not just your cellphone screens. Soon.”
DAVE, THE ENAMORED HUSBAND
At the time of our virtual interview, Dave had been a husband for only one week exactly.
He exchanged I dos with his girlfriend of one year, Chao Artista, through an intimate ceremony last August 8, 2021.
“Actually, it was a very small ceremony, it was parang pang-barkada lang style,” he says. “But then it was actually everything we’ve ever dreamed of kasi ano that was really the initial plan na we didn’t want a big wedding, we just wanted a civil wedding with our close friends and family. So, it was nice, it was very nice.”
But Dave, who proposed to Chao twice, says there will also be a second wedding, possibly during their first wedding anniversary.
“Actually, we’re still gonna have a big ceremony pero kasi ’yong quarantine protocols kasi dito sa Cebu, they’re always extending. So, parang we just got really exhausted with all of the extensions and everything so we’ve decided to postpone it to next year na lang siguro or during our anniversary as husband and wife—08/08.”
And babies, just like the grander wedding, will have to wait, too, he says.
“Maximum of three [kids] lang talaga,” he declares matter of factly. “But we’re not having any kids for like the next three years siguro kasi we really, really want to travel muna. Kasi it’s very difficult to travel with a small kid tapos ano we’re still young naman, we’re in no rush to do that right now. Siguro three or four years from now. I just wanna travel with my wife. So, we’re putting the baby plan on hold muna.”
Asked whether marriage, though only just a week-old, everything he expected, Dave beams and says:
“Yes, yes, yes! Actually it’s more than I expected. Kasi a lot of people are always saying na it’s always sweet on the first...’yong ganu’n. It is different with me kasi my wife, we’ve been friends longer than we’ve been a couple. So, ganu’n and then we just really got each other...we have a lot parang inside jokes, parang a lot of conversations na dapat that stays in our bedroom lang and then after wala na.
“We’re just each other’s best friends. ’Yong parang ganu’n na parang okey lang kami na hindi kami lumalabas with our friends as long as we’re just together. Parang ganu’n kami. Parang we’re each other’s worlds talaga. So, ’yon were very happy na we’re finally together legally.”
And we’re legally happy for you, too!
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