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Jon Dela Cruz

Photos by Jeanine McLeod of Cloud 9 Studios.


Jon Dela Cruz is the proud parent of two boys, Jake and Joseph. Known as “DJ Jake Dela Cruz’s Dad”, he has helped his son become one of the youngest and most successful DJs in the Bay Area. He also spends his time cheering on his son Joseph as he sets his sight on a black belt. He is also a husband to his wife Arlene, whom he says is his biggest supporter and best friend. In his words, “And at times when I need her to set me straight, she can also be brutally honest. That’s were Jake gets it from.”

What’s the most rewarding part of being a dad?
I always tell my kids that “children are a product of their parents.”  Everything we share helps influence and guide our children as they grow.  The most rewarding part of being a dad is watching your children take the information and put it to use. And how great is it when you see your child interact with others with respect, good manners and grace?

I also get excited when my son Jake makes good business decisions.  For example, when Jake first started his mobile DJ business, he would rent speakers for all of his events.  Many events later, he earned enough to purchase his own speaker system.  So one day, Jake came to me and said: “Dad, I now have enough money to get the new iPad. It’s awesome. I can play games, watch movies, surf the internet and it also has a great camera so I can take awesome pictures. I really want to get one.” I told Jake, sure it’s your money and you can decide what you want to do with it.  He knew that on Saturday he had to DJ an event, so he reminded me to make sure that I picked up the rental speakers.  At that time he asked me, “how much does a speaker system cost anyway?” I told him, about the same price as the new iPad.  I could see that Jake was struggling with what he wanted versus what he needed.  He really wanted the iPad because how cool and fun would that be, plus he would be the first out of his friends to get it.  But he knew that in order to grow his business, it would be more cost effective to own his own speaker system.  An hour later Jake, comes up to me and tells me, “let’s go ahead and order a new speaker system. This is an investment in my business and I can get the iPad next time.”

What is your favorite thing to do with your kids?
We love to travel, watch movies, listen to music and watch TV.  I think my favorite thing is just to spend time with them.  I am lucky that each of my sons is interested in things I loved as a child: music and martial arts.  With Jake, we spend a lot of time honing and practicing his DJ skills and we listen to a ton of new music.  Joseph loves marital arts, so we spend a lot of time practicing his techniques and sparring.  He is my little Bruce Lee.

What is the most challenging part of fatherhood?
I think the most challenging part of fatherhood is allowing my children to make mistakes and sometimes fail.  As parents we want to fix everything, and sometimes we need to let our children work it out on their own.  Our job is to support and guide them to learn from their mistakes.  That is easier said than done.

What role model in your life influenced the kind of father you are?
My family is from the Philippine, and in the Philippines it is not uncommon for multiple generations to live all under one roof.  I am talking about Mother and Father, their children and their children’s children.  When I was a kid in Chicago, my family and l lived in a multi-level apartment building with my aunts and uncles.  We all had our own apartment, but technically we were all under one roof.  I learned so much from all of them.  So, I would have to say that it’s not just one person, but everyone in my family. My parents, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles, they all played a huge role in the kind of father I am today.


As a father, how do you view your responsibilities?
Early in our marriage, my wife and I saw the following quote: “The best gift you can give to your child is self-reliance.” I view my responsibilities as a 50/50 partnership with my wife in the development of our children to become self–reliant people.  Our responsibility is to give our children opportunities and support their goals and passions by providing love, guidance and encouragement.

What advice would you give other fathers?
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Look at the big picture, and ask: “Is this helping my child become self-reliant?”

It is often difficult to balance a career with spending time with your family. How do you deal with this and make time for them?
I believe there is no special trick to this other than to schedule it in your calendar.  Also, if it is family time, then it is family time!  That means focus and make it all about them.

What is something people don’t know about you?
I was also a DJ in high school and I still know how to scratch.

What is your biggest fear?
Not being around to meet my grandchildren.

What makes you happy?
When my boys tell me that they love me, and really appreciate everything I do for them.  We are a house filled with testosterone, however we are not afraid to “hug it out.”

Where is your favorite place to go in Tampa?
I am a big foodie so my favorite place is Mise En Place.  It is a Tampa institution.

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