If you happen to tune in to 89.9 a few years ago, you probably know him. This guy is the warm and soothing voice behind Love Notes. Joe D'Mango started off as a regular disc jockey at 19, with no background in radio whatsoever. He was a simple computer science student, who with much courage, joined a dj search. Fortunately, he won first place! From then, he worked as a dj for 13 years and later on managed three different stations. When I asked him, "How did Love Notes start?" He said with a smile, "I just suggested the new concept to my boss and he agreed to give it a try. Little did we know that it was there to stay."
You may be curious as to how I met him. No, I didn't work as a radio dj like him. No, I didn't pitch in a song. And definitely no, I didn't try calling the station to request for a song. He is (believe it or not) now an interior designer! I went with my mom one time to consult him. Just by seeing the spark in his eyes for the project, he indeed has a passion for innovation. He enjoys working with challenging spaces and turning them into beautiful works of art. He loves designing; that's why this is where he is now.
I was very curious at how he was able to achieve anything that his eyes aimed at successfully. He answered me, "All I can say is that I'm really blessed." Indeed, God has been good to him. He has been given a fulfilling career, one that is neither too stressful nor hectic. Unlike other designers that enjoy hoarding as many clients as possible and earning as much fees as possible, he is the type that does one project at a time. He customizes every set-up and makes every house and every condo unit unique and worthy of a "wow." He handpaints the walls, leaves his own artwork or two. I realized that he is blessed possibly because he is not driven by profit. He is simply pursuing the passion that God has embedded in his heart.
One time, my mom and I went to check out the interior in his house. It was mostly white with bold streaks of lines, minimalist in style, with cozy shades of browns. Many of the details were finalized with creativity and wit. One example is they placed some secret doors, one leading to his very own version of dexter's laboratory (where he keeps his techie robotic stuff), another one to keep their household tools, and still another one to keep the family's medical supplies.
The first room I stepped into was that of his daughter Anj. The walls inside were also painted white; one of the walls showcased five colorful guitars hanging side by side. "She loves music and she sings," Joe smiled like a proud father. And so I asked for a sample and she smiled shyly, held one of her guitars and said "I'm a little bit sick, but okay, I'll try."
Her father played a cd she had recorded while we were walking through the sala to the dining area. "One of the songs there is an OST of a movie that entered the Metro Manila Film Festival," Joe shared. Cool! I thought. Later I learned that she had never taken any voice lessons. Although she enjoys music, she doesn't plan to do it full-time. Instead, Anj took a one year course in ISCAHM and now works in the kitchen of a very prominent hotel. I wondered how her parents allowed her to take a one year course, because as far as I know, most parents would have their children enroll in the usual 4-year bachelor's degree which has a safer back-up plan. She replied with no hesitation, "my parents are very supportive." True! Her mom and dad encouraged their daughter to "go and try singing", "go and try recording", "go and submit your songs", and even confirmed her gift, "you are good in it! Keep it up!"
I also got to talk to Bing, Joe's wife, that afternoon. Bing told me that their family (Joe, Bing & 4 daughers) is very closed with each other. Their daughters would open up freely, they would gladly talk about their boyfriends, about their plans, their joys and their pains. They would talk about anything and everything under the sun. The secret is she tells her daughters that she and Joe are always open to hear them out. If they are unhappy towards something Joe or Bing did, they are open to hear the girls out with no bitter feelings. By listening to the girls, and getting to know them one by one, the girls have learned to enjoy each other's company and developed a healthy esteem. Believe it or not, it is possible to have 0 sibling rivalry in a family of 6!
As I walked into their indoor garden where their big fat persian cat had hidden, I realized that this is the type of family that many of us can emulate when we become parents. They try to make the communication lines open as much as possible. For them, the lack or missed communication can cause unnecessary strife and hard feelings. That's why they make an effort to listen to their children. They put value in each and every individual in the family. It can already be seen in the design of their house. For example, the original work station of Joe was replaced with an in-house TV theatre because the girls had suggested it. It's not that they are spoiled. Joe just realized more people in the family would be able to enjoy the new room. The parents see their children as important and included their voice in the important decision makings. (The new theatre room has become the family bonding room.)
They also help discover and develop the God-given gifts that rest in each child. They appear to be the most excited motivators for the girls. Joe, for example, shared Anj' songs to his friends in the radio station. Bing allowed the eldest to have a whole make-up set and table with lights in her room. I don't think all budding make-up artists have that in their rooms.
I realized, if and when I become a mother myself, I'd want to help develop my children's gifts as well. Gifts are God-given and they play a big role in fulfilling God's purpose in their lives. Who am I to ignore their gifts and push them to do whatever I want? Lord willingly, I would be able to mold my children based on who the Lord has purposed them to be, and of course, in a fun and fulfilling way. I want them to become like Joe, who is able to pursue his passion victoriously for the Lord's glory.
This is a photo taken in their dining area. Behind us is the indoor garden.
L-R: Joe D'Mango, Anj, Me, Bing